Ray City Girls and Boys at Camp Wilkins

Ray City School students were among the girls and boys who attended 1931 summer courses at Camp Wilkins in Athens, GA. Camp Wilkins was built in 1924 as the first state 4-H camp in the nation.

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia,

 “The roots of the Georgia 4-H Club began in 1904 in Newton County as a countywide boys’ corn club. Statewide corn- and cotton-growing contests were held in 1906. Chicken and pig contests were held in 1908. In that same year the program was also extended to black youngsters. Club work for girls began in Hancock County in 1906 and consisted of garden clubs, tomato clubs, and canning clubs. By 1911 more than 1,500 girls were active in the pre-4-H Club activities.  In 1924 the nation’s first state 4-H camp, Camp Wilkins, was built on the University of Georgia campus.”
1925-camp-wilkins

Cooking breakfast at Camp Wilkins, a part of Georgia State College of Agriculture, after a nature hike. Circa 1925-1932. Image source: Vanishing Georgia, Georgia Division of Archives and History, Office of Secretary of State.

 In  the summer of 1931 a number of local Ray City youth and adults attended Camp Wilkins, the first 4-H camp in Georgia.  Camp Wilkins offered  summer course programs June 14 through August 13 through the Georgia State College of Agriculture and the Mechanical Arts in Athens, GA, at the University of Georgia.

“BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ SHORT COURSES AT CAMP WILKINS

A short course of nine weeks is given every summer for the boys and girls who have won scholarships in the different agricultural and home economics clubs of the state. This course is also open to boys and girls who do not win scholarships.

Scholarships in the short courses are given by fair associations, chambers of commerce, women’s clubs, banks, and other public-spirited organizations and individuals who are interested in stimulating education in agriculture and home economics among boys and girls.

Every year more than 2,000 boys and girls take advantage of the elementary instruction which is made very practical indeed and is visualized as far as possible by application and illustration.”

Among the boys attending from Ray City were Bernard Johnson (RCHS 1930), Brown King (RCHS 1930),  Leland Langford  (RCHS, 1939),  J. D. Luke, Billy McDonald,  James Swindle  (RCHS, 1936). The girls were Clyde Carter (RCHS 1936), Margaret Carter  (RCHS 1930), Mabel McDonald (RCHS 1930), Clyde Moore, Doris Swindle  (RCHS 1930), and Grace Swindle, and Beth Terry (RCHS 1930).  Ray City adults Chloe Gardener Johnson   and Carrie McDonald were also at Camp Wilkins, attending a summer course for farm women.   The 4-H activities in Berrien County were coordinated by County Agricultural Agent Donald L. Branyon, and the Home Demonstration Agent was Mary Nell Davis.  In Georgia, there were also Negro Boys’ clubs, Negro Home Demonstration Clubs, Negro Agricultural Agents and Negro Home Demonstration Agents, but none serving Berrien County.  The black division of 4-H was headquartered at Savannah State College (now Savannah State University), and separate events were held for its members in Dublin, GA.
Announcement of the Georgia State College of Agriculture and the Mechanical Arts for the session 1932-1933 with Register of Officers and Students for the Session 1931-1932, Athens, Georgia

Announcement of the Georgia State College of Agriculture and the Mechanical Arts for the session 1932-1933 with Register of Officers and Students for the Session 1931-1932, Athens, Georgia

Camp Wilkins, Athens, GA

Camp Wilkins, Athens, GA, 1925

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Camp Wilkins

Club girls at Camp Wilkins studying home foundation plantings and shrubbery, 1925.  The building is Barrow Hall on the UGA campus.

Horticulture class at Camp Wilkins, Athens, GA

Horticulture class at Camp Wilkins, Athens, GA, 1925

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Athens, June 17-22, 1929. Farm women's camp, Georgia home demonstration council.

Athens, June 17-22, 1929. Farm women’s camp, Georgia home demonstration council.

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Billy McDonald at the University of Arizona

Billie McDonald, University of Arizona, 1952

Billie McDonald, of Ray City, GA at the University of Arizona, 1952

Billie McDonald, a son of Lacy Albert McDonald and Carrie Eugenia Langford, was born  November 10, 1920 at Ray City, GA.  He was a grandson of William C. McDonald and Jane Lastinger McDonald.

Billie and his sisters attended the Ray City School.  Mabel McDonald graduated from the Ray City  School (then a junior high school) with the class of 1930 and went on to graduate from Valdosta High School in 1932.   Eugenia McDonald graduated  from Ray City High School with the class of 1936, and Billie McDonald graduated with the RCHS class of 1938.  One of Billie’s classmates at Ray City was  J.I. Clements who went on to a long coaching career at Georgia Southern University.

Billie McDonald’s father, Lacy A. McDonald, (1881-1960) was born at Cat Creek, Lowndes County, GA and worked in the Cat Creek District as a rural mail carrier. Lacy McDonald was probably educated at Kings Chapel School near Ray City, as was his sister, Lillie McDonald, who attended the school in 1906.

Billie’s mother, Carrie Eugenia Langford (1894-1984), was born at Rays Mill, GA (now Ray City) on August 31, 1894, a daughter of William E. Langford and Mary Virginia Knight, granddaughter of William Washington Knight, and great granddaughter of Levi J. Knight, original settler of Ray City, GA.  Her parents owned a place between the farms of her uncle Walter Howard Knight and cousin Paul Knight.

Lacy McDonald and Carrie E. Langford were married on January 3, 1915 in Berrien County, GA. The ceremony was performed by Perry Thomas Knight, Minister of God. Afterward,  they made their home at Ray City, on the farm of Carrie’s parents.  Lacy continued to work as a rural mail carrier.  His 1918 draft registration gives his physical description as short and slender with brown eyes and dark hair.

In the summer of 1931,  ten-year-old Billie McDonald, his sister Mabel and their mother all went to Camp Wilkins, the first 4-H camp in Georgia.  Camp Wilkins was a program at the Georgia State College of Agriculture and the Mechanical Arts at Athens, GA, now known as the University of Georgia.  Billie and Mabel were there for the summer-long boys’ and girls camps. Their mother, Carrie McDonald, was there for a week long session for Farm Women.  Also attending from Ray City  that summer at Camp Wilkins were Leland Langford  (RCHS, 1939),  J. D. Luke, James Swindle  (RCHS, 1936), and girls Clyde Carter (RCHS 1936), Margaret Carter, Clyde Moore, Doris Swindle, and Grace Swindle.  Chloe Johnson was there also, attending the summer school for farm women.    The 4-H activities in Berrien County were coordinated by County Agricultural Agent Donald L. Branyon.

Billie Graduated with the RCHS class of 1938.  In 1950, he was enrolled at the University of Arizona.  While pursuing his degree there he was a member of the Ramblers hiking club.

Billie McDonald, of Ray City, GA, attended the University of Arizona in 1950. Billie was a member of the Ramblers hiking club.

Billie McDonald, of Ray City, GA, attended the University of Arizona in 1950. Billie was a member of the Ramblers hiking club.

 The only prerequisite for membership in Ramblers,  Arizona’s hiking club, is an incurable wanderlust. Ramblers departed regularly each Sunday for many points of interest in the Southwest, including Miller Peak, Mt. Lemmon, and Baboquivari Peak. The Rambler pin identifies those who have tramped on a required number of hikes.

Billie McDonald married Lucile “Lucy” Ponsell (Lucy) McDonald (1921-2008). She was born near Waycross GA  and lived in Jacksonville, FL during her early life. She also lived in Arizona, Alabama, Missouri and Mississippi before settling in Ray City, GA. She was a volunteer at  the Ray City library. She was a member of the First Baptist Church in Ray City where she also worked in the church library.

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Ray City’s Women of G.S.W.C

Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA

Georgia State Womans College, 1925. (Now known as Valdosta State University)

Georgia State Womans College, 1925. (Now known as Valdosta State University)

From 1922 to 1950 the state college in Valdosta, Georgia now known as Valdosta State University operated as a four year college under the name Georgia State Womans College.  A number of Ray City women attended the college during this period. Here are a few who appeared in available yearbooks:

Dorothy Boyette

Dorothy Boyette, of Ray City, GA. Attended Georgia State Womans College in 1944.

Dorothy Boyette, of Ray City, GA. Attended Georgia State Womans College in 1944.

Margaret Carter, a the daughter of Cora and Yancy F. Carter, attended G.S.C.W in 1935:

1935 Margaret Carter, sophomore, Georgia State Womans College

1935 Margaret Carter of Ray City, GA, sophomore, Georgia State Womans College

Frances Clements, daughter of Hod P. Clements of Ray City, GA excelled at technical studies.  After completing high school at  the Ray City School she went on to enroll at Georgia State Womans College in 1943:

Frances Clements, of Ray City, GA. A 1944 sophomore at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA.

Frances Clements, of Ray City, GA. A 1944 sophomore at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA.

Annie Ruth Clements  was born at Ray City, GA about 1924, a daughter of Mary Elizabeth Lee and  William A. Clements. Her father was a farmer and butcher at Ray City. She enrolled at Georgia State Womans College in 1943:

Ann Ruth Clements of Ray City, GA, a 1943 freshman at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA (now Valdosta State University.)

Ann Ruth Clements of Ray City, GA, a 1943 freshman at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA (now Valdosta State University.)

Geraldine Fletcher Giddens, born Geraldine Hester Fletcher on February 2, 1924, was a daughter of Eliza Carter and Zachariah Fletcher. She  married Norvell “Joe” Giddens, and made her home at Ray City, GA while attending G.S.W.C.:

Geraldine Fletcher Giddens was a resident of Ray City, GA while attending Georgia State Women's College during the 1940s.

Geraldine Fletcher Giddens, 1943 freshman class photo, Georgia State Womens College. She was a resident of Ray City, GA while attending G.S.W.C. during the 1940s.

Mary Luelle Giddens was born at Ray City,  GA on November 22, 1915, one of thirteen children born to Eugene Madison Giddens and Georgia Ida Rigell. She attended G.S.W.C. in the 1930s:

Louelle Giddens, 1934 student of Georgia State Womans College.

Luelle Giddens, 1934 student of Georgia State Womans College.

Thera Ollis Hambrick attended  G.S.W.C. in the 1930s and later served as librarian at the school. She wrote  Valdosta State College: The First Half Century:

Thera Hambrick, of Ray City, GA, 1935 freshman at Georgia State Womans College.

Thera Hambrick, of Ray City, GA, 1935 freshman at Georgia State Womans College.

Mary Lee, a daughter of  William D. “Bill” Lee and Mollie Bell Clements,  was born February 6, 1915 in Berrien County, GA:

Mary Lee of Ray City, GA at Georgia State Womans College (nka Valdosta State University)

Mary Lee of Ray City, GA at Georgia State Womans College (nka Valdosta State University), 1933

Mollie Idelle Lee was born Feb 28, 1919 near Ray City, GA  in  that part of Berrien County that was cut into Lanier County in 1920.   She was the youngest child of Mollie Clements and William David Lee.

Mollie Idelle Lee, 1937. Freshman at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA.

Mollie Idelle Lee, 1937. Freshman at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA.

Judy Moore attended G.S.W.C. while a resident of Ray City, GA in the 1950s.

Judy Moore, of Ray City, GA, 1950 freshman at Georgia State Womans College.

Judy Moore, of Ray City, GA, 1950 sophomore at Georgia State Womans College.

Elsie Quarterman  attended Georgia State Womans College in Valdosta, GA (now known as Valdosta State University.) The 1931 Pine Cone, the college annual, gives her home town as Ray City, GA.  Elsie graduated from G.S.W.C. in 1932 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and went on to become a noted ecologist:

Elsie Quarterman, 1931.

Elsie Quarterman, 1931.

Doris E. Swindle was born and raised in Ray City, GA.  She was a daughter of  Sarah Ellen  “Stell” Daniel and James Henry Swindle. Her father was a farmer and merchant of Ray City, and served in the Georgia House of Representatives in the 1930s. She died in an automobile accident in 1941.

1934 Doris Swindle, Georgia State Womans College

1934 Doris Swindle, Georgia State Womans College

Grace Swindle was the youngest daughter of  Sarah Ellen  “Stell” Daniel and James Henry Swindle, and sister of Doris Swindle and James Aaron Swindle.

Grace Swindle, Freshman, Georgia State Womans College.

Grace Swindle, Freshman, Georgia State Womans College.

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Ray City Class of 1930 Didn’t Walk

It is that time of year when communities and schools everywhere celebrate the graduation of their students with the presentation diplomas in graduation exercises.   Sadly, financial exigencies 0f 1930 precluded graduation exercises for the Ray City School Class of 1930.

At that time, the operation of the Ray City school was governed by a locally elected Board of Trustees which also operated under the Berrien County School Board. The local school trustees were elected on the calendar year,  not the school year, and served a two year term.  Thus, the Ray City school trustees elected in January of 1929, Joseph Henry Pascal “Joe” Johnson, Rozzie P. Swindle and Moses Albert Studstill, along with three returning members, Dr. George Hill Folsom, Elias Moore “Hun” Knight, and William Henry Edward Terry, were responsible for the spring semester of the 1928-1929 academic year and the  fall semester of the 1929-1930 academic year.

The Nashville Herald
Jan 24, 1929

Ray City School Trustees named for the year 1929.

The Ray City School Trustee election  was held last Saturday, Jan. 12., and the following citizens will guide the destinies of the school for the year 1929: Mr. W. H. E. TerryDr. G. H. Folsom, Mr. E. M. Knight, Mr. M. A. Studstill, Mr. R. P. Swindle, and Mr. J. H. P. Johnson.

    Both Mr. Studstill and Mr. Swindle offered for re-election, with Mr. J. H. P. Johnson the only new candidate in the race, Messrs. Terry, Knight, and Folsom were held from the last term. Mr. Studstill lead the list with 40 votes, Mr. Johnson 38 and Mr. Knight 6.

    The Ray City school is reported as having had a very fine fall term of school and with the fine corps of teachers and their board of education, on of the best years in the history of Ray City Schools we be completed in June.

The 1928-29 academic year had been quite full of accomplishments for the Ray City School, despite a flu outbreak in January.  But the 1929-30 academic year was a financial challenge, and the school struggled to remain open for the entire nine month school year. Only through the generous contributions of local citizens and by charging students a tuition, was the school able to continue for the full term.

The Nashville Herald
May 22, 1930, front page

Ray City School Closes May 25th

COMMENCEMENT BEGINS TONIGHT AND ENDS SATURDAY EVENING WITH THE USUAL CLASS PLAY

      The Ray City School will come to a close Saturday night when the Senior Class play, entitled “A Hen-Pecked Hero,” will be given.  The commencement will begin tonight with the grammar school program, activities being postponed from Friday night on account of the Nashville Senior Class play.  Due to the school being run on a tuition basis, the commencement sermon and the graduation exercises will not be held.

      The Senior Class has been practicing daily for the past several weeks in preparing for the class play to be held Saturday night.  It is said to be very good and should draw a large attendance on that night.

Cast of Characters

Helen Hallmark, a college senior, Mable McDonald.
Doris Dartless, another senior, Doris Swindle.
Botzky, a rushing Russian, J.T. Smith.
Lilly, Russia’s fairest lily, Edra Byrd.
Barker, a defective detective, W.H. Knight.
Ted Slocum, the football coach, Bernard Johnson.
Mrs. Holden, why son-in-law left home, Beth Terry.
Iantha Brown, the romantic bride, Margaret Carter.
Prof. William Brown, her lesser half, Brown King.
Bud Cedman, with good intentions, J.R. Knight.
Countess Kalmanoff, the cause of it all, Virginia Knight.

      The Ray City school has enjoyed a very successful year and 225 students were enrolled.  At the end of the seventh month, it was feared that the school would be compelled to close down on account of finances, but public spirited citizens and patrons made the nine months term possible by contributions and placing the school on a tuition basis, which furnished the necessary money to continue operations.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

Additional notes:

Mabel V. McDonald was a daughter of Carrie Eugenia Langford and Lacy Albert McDonald. She was a sister of Billie McDonald and Lillie McDonald.  Her father was a rural mail carrier at Ray City,GA serving the Cat Creek area.  Mabel attended the summer course at Camp Wilkins, University of Georgia in the summer of 1931.

Doris E. Swindle was a daughter of Sarah Ellen “Stell” Daniel and James Henry Swindle. Her father was a farmer and merchant of Ray City, and served in the Georgia House of Representatives in the 1930s. Doris attended Camp Wilkins at UGA in the summer of 1931, and went on to attend Georgia State Womens College (now Valdosta State University). She was killed in an automobile accident in 1941.

J. T. Smith was  John Thomas Smith, son of Leila Terry and Grandson of Zack Terry.  J. T. Smith and brother, Edwin, later operated a dairy farm near Ray City, GA.

Edra Byrd was a daughter of Mattie Swindle Byrd, and a granddaughter of Mary Etta and Redding D. Swindle. In 1930, Edra was living with her grandparents. Her grandfather, Redding Swindle, served as Ray City’s first mayor and was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Ray City School.

W. H. Knight was a son of Josie Langdale and Paul Knight.  His father was a farmer of Berrien County.  W. H. Knight was a grandson of Jimmie Gullet and Walter Howard Knight.

Bernard Lamar Johnson was a son of James Randall Johnson and Ruby Texas Knight. In 1930 his father was a farmer near Rays Mill, GA. Bernard attended Camp Wilkins at UGA in the summer of 1931

Beth Terry was a daughter of Charles Oscar Terry and Esther E Russell.  Her father was a pharmacist and prominent businessman of Ray City. In the summer of 1931, Beth attended the summer course at Camp Wilkins, University of Georgia.

Margaret Carter was born and raised in Ray City, GA. She was the daughter of Cora and Yancy F. Carter. Her father was a Ray City Councilman, board member of the Bank of Rays Mill, and operator of the Y.F. Carter Naval Stores, which in the 1930s was the largest firm in the community.  After completing school at Ray City, Margaret attended the summer course at Camp Wilkins, University of Georgia in the summer of 1931. She went on to attend  Georgia State Womens College (now Valdosta State University).

Franklin Brown King was a son of Ida Guthrie and Jim King.  He went on to a long career as a merchant marine.

John R. Knight was a son of Walton and Mildred Knight. He later lived in Lanier County.

Virginia Florence Knight was a daughter of  Carl Herbert Knight and Mattie Julia Hadsock.  In 1934, she married William A. “Bill” Garner. The Garners would later run the Ray City Post Office.

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Wilma Harper Shultz Began 60-year Teaching Career at Ray City

Margaret Carter, G.S.W.C.

 

Margaret Carter

Margaret Carter attended school in Ray City and graduated with the Ray City School Class of 1930

In 1934 and 1935,  Margaret Carter was attending Georgia State Womans College in Valdosta, GA, where she was a member of the Glee Club.

Margaret Carter was born and raised in Ray City, GA.  She was the daughter of Cora and Yancy F. Carter.

 

 

 

 

 

1934  Pine Cone
Georgia State Womans College Yearbook

GLEE CLUB

The first record of the Glee Club was in 1914 under the direction of Miss Mary Young.  Then the  membership of the club was about sixteen, and the main feature was the annual operetta which was sponsored by the club with the aid of some of the talented people in town. From the very first Christmas festival the Glee Club has constituted a most enjoyable part of the program as well as various other programs during the year.

Now the membership has increased to forty-four girls selected by competitive tests as to excellence of voice and ability to read music at sight.

The club entertains at various civic functions in Valdosta as well as at chapel, teas, and dinners on campus. At the Christmas festival the Glee Club leads the singing from the whimsical folk carols to those of a deeper religious note.  One of the most delightful customs is the singing of quaint old English melodies at dawn on the morning that the Christmas holidays begin.

The culmination of the club activities is the annual concert presented by the Glee Club each spring.  This year the concert was a lovely and colorful affair having as its theme the color tones of music.

1935 Margaret Carter, sophomore, Georgia State Womans College

1935 Margaret Carter of Ray City, GA, sophomore, Georgia State Womans College

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