Obituary of Jay Sirmans, September 29, 1916

Jay Sirmans was born April 16, 1864 and lived all of his life in the vicinity of Ray City, GA.

Jay Sirmans of Ray City, GA. Image detail courtesy of berriencountyga.com

Jay Sirmans of Ray City, GA. Image detail courtesy of berriencountyga.com

Jay Sirmans was the youngest son of Elizabeth Knight and Hardeman Sirmans, the eighth of their twelve children. His sister Martha Elizabeth Sirmans married Joe S. Clements, who was treasurer at the Clements Sawmill and later served as Mayor of Ray City. His sister Clara Sirmans married Irishman Frank Gallagher and they had a farm east of Ray City. His sister Annie B. Sirmans (1872 – 1963) married John Chilton Matheny; she was later the owner of Ray’s Mill. His sister Valeria Sirmans (1874 – 1961) married James Isaac Lee

On 22 March 1893 Jay Sirmans married Rachel Allifar Smith (born July 30, 1869)  a daughter of Mary Jane Smith and  John Woods Smith.

Children of Rachel Smith and Jay Sirmans:

  1. John Hardeman Sirmans, born February 23, 1899 in Georgia;  died April 28, 1966 in Berrien County, Georgia
  2. J B Mitchell Sirmans, born January 19, 1905 in Berrien County, GA; died July 13, 1983 in Lanier County, Georgia; buried Empire Cemetery.

In 1899, Jay Sirmans gained a bit of local attention after his attempt to capture a large alligator for exhibition in the western states.

Obituary of Jay Sirmans

Jay Sirmans died rather unexpectedly at the age of 52.

Obituary of Jay Sirmans, Ray City, GA

Obituary of Jay Sirmans, Ray City, GA
Tifton Gazette, Sep. 29, 1916 — page 2

Tifton Gazette
September 29, 1916 — page 2

J. Sirmans, Ray City

Mr. J. Sirmans, a well known resident of Berrien county, living about a mile and a half from Ray City, died at his home Wednesday night at 9 o’clock, says the Valdosta Times.
Mr. Sirmans had been ill for about 10 days but his condition was not thought to be serious. His death came as a great surprise.
Mr. Sirmans is survived by his wife and two sons.

Sirmans was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA. He was a member of Woodmen of the World, and insurance through the fraternal organization provided a large and distinctive monument to mark his grave.

Gravemarker of Jay Sirmans, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Died September 20, 1916

Gravemarker of Jay Sirmans, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Died September 20, 1916

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Portrait of Hardeman Sirmans and Elizabeth Knight

Hardeman Sirmans and Elizabeth Knight

Hardeman Sirmans and Elizabeth Knight , Berrien County, GA

Hardeman Sirmans and Elizabeth Knight , Berrien County, GA

Ray City History
Hardeman Sirmans (1821 – 1896)  Elizabeth Knight (1830 – 1912)

Hardeman Sirmans was born October 25, 1821 in Appling County, Georgia, the son of Jonathan Sirmans and Martha “Patsy” Rouse.

During the Indian War in 1838-39 Hardeman Sirmans and his father served as privates under Captain Levi J. Knight (later General Knight) in the Lowndes County militia. They both appear on the 1838 Muster Roll of Captain Knight’s Independent Company.

In 1847 Hardeman married Elizabeth Knight, daughter of General Levi J. Knight and Ann D. Herrin. She was born in 1830.

According to Folks Huxford,

“Mr. Sirmans served in the Indian War as a private in a volunteer company of Lowndes County militia commanded by his father-in-law, Capt. (afterwards General) Levi J. Knight, August 15th to Oct 15 1838. He was 1st Lieutenant of the 664th militia district, Lowndes County, 1845-46, then served as Captain in same district 1847-1851. For nearly twenty years Mr. Sirmans was a member of the Masonic order, receiving his degrees in Butler Lodge, No. 211, F. & A.M. at old Milltown (now Lakeland) in 1858. He withdrew and was granted a demit Dec. 8 1877, on account of his church’s attitude toward secret orders. He united in 1877 with Empire Primitive Baptist Church and was baptized. On Jan. 21, 1888 he withdrew from the church, but was restored Nov. 21, 1888. On Nov. 26, 1892, charges were preferred against him in his church for voting the Populist ticket in the preceding General Election; however, the church minutes state he ‘satisfied’ the church, Dec. 24, 1892, and the charges were dropped. He remained a member until his death Sept. 21, 1896. His children seemed to have disagreed over the division of his estate, and it was finally divided by arbitration in Berrien Superior Court, March 8, 1897. Mrs. Sirmans died Sept. 6, 1912, and was buried by her husband in the cemetery at Empire Church.”

Before the Civil War, Hardeman Sirmans was a slave owner. One of his slaves was Richard McGowan. For a time after the war, Richard McGowan continued to live on the Sirmans farm, working as a farm laborer.

Children of Elizabeth Knight and Hardeman Sirmans:

  1. Levi Winfield Sirmans 1848 –  married Nancy R. Clements
  2. Jonathan D Sirmans 1850 – 1926 married Nancy Elizabeth Clements
  3. Sarah Malissa Sirmans 1852 – 1898
  4. Lott W. Sirmans 1854 – 1898 married Josephine Knight
  5. Thomas Hardyman Sirmans 1860 – 1931
  6. Martha Elizabeth Sirmans 1862 – 1935 married Joe S. Clements
  7. Joseph O Sirmans 1862 – 1848 married Olive Pearl Matheny
  8. Jay Sirmans 1864 – 1916 married Rachel Allifar Smith
  9. Clara Sirmans 1868 – 1928 married Frank Gallagher
  10. Christiana Sirmans 1869 – 1943 married Joseph Bartow Gaskins
  11. Annie B. Sirmans 1872 – 1963 married John Chilton Matheny
  12.  Valeria Sirmans 1874 – 1961 married James Isaac Lee

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Leila Clements and Lawrence Luke

Leila Clements

The January 12, 1913 edition of the Clinch County News announced the marriage of Leila Clements, of Ray City, and Lawrence Luke, of Nashville, GA.

NASHVILLE, GA.     Miss Leila O. Clements and Mr. Lawrence Luke, of Nashville, were united in marriage at the home of the bride, near Ray’s mill.  The bride is a daughter of Mr. Joseph Clements.  Mr. and Mrs. Luke will reside here.    Miss Alice King and Mr. Carl Register, of Masssee, were united in marriage.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. T. B. McCranie.    Another marriage which took place at Massee was that of Miss Lilious Foy to Mr. Albert Newborn.      Miss Nell Bullard was a recent visitor to this city.    Mrs. M. M. Moore and little daughter of Nacona, Texas, are visiting here.  They are the guests of Mrs. F. S. Lee.

Leila Clements was a daughter of Martha Elizabeth Sirmans and Joseph Seaphus Clements, and a granddaughter of David G. and Jincy Clements. Leila’s father was a farmer, but she and the other Clements children all attended school.

Wedding announcement of Leila O. Clements and Lawrence Luke appeared in the Atlanta Constitution, January 12, 1913.

Wedding announcement of Leila O. Clements and Lawrence Luke appeared in the Atlanta Constitution, January 12, 1913.

Joseph S. Clements home, just north of Ray City, circa 1905. Standing on the porch, left to right, Leila, Decanter, Bessie, Quinton, Martha E. Sirmans Clements, and Joseph S. Clements. Image courtesy of berriencountyga.com

Lawrence Dupont Luke was a lawyer and former teacher from Nashville, GA. He was tall, dark and handsome, a slender man with grey eyes and black hair. He was a son of Oscar Bartow Luke and “Mattie” Martha Jane Walker, and a grandson of David Perry Luke.

In 1917, Lawrence and Leila Luke were living in Douglas, GA, where Lawrence practiced law, while Leila kept house and tended their young children, Chester and James.

Later, Leila and Lawrence made their home in Alma, GA. where they owned a house on Dixon Street. Their next door neighbor was hotel operator Elizabeth Dixon.

Lawrence D. Luke died in 1926 and was buried at the old city cemetery, Nashville, GA. Leila Clements Luke died in 1961 and was buried next to her husband.  Upon their deaths Chester and James Luke were buried in adjacent graves.

Grave of Leila Clements Luke, Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA

Grave of Leila Clements Luke, Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA

Grave of Lawrence D. Luke, Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA

Grave of Lawrence D. Luke, Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA

 

Grave of Chester K. Luke, Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA

Grave of Chester K. Luke, Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA

Grave of James Lawrence Luke, Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA

Grave of James Lawrence Luke, Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA

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