Ray City Home of Reid Hearn Cox and Hazel Hall Cox

Home of Reid Hearn Cox and Hazel Hall Cox.  The Coxes were residents of Ray City in the 1940s

Home of Reid Hearn Cox and Hazel Hall Cox, Jones Street, Ray City, GA. The Coxes had this home built in 1939. Hazel's father, Lawrence Cauley Hall, resided with the Coxes in the 1940s.

Cox Residence, built 1939
Home of Reid Hearn Cox and Hazel Hall Cox, Jones Street, Ray City, GA. The Coxes had this home built prior to 1940. Hazel’s father, Lawrence Cauley Hall, resided with the Coxes in the 1940s.

Hazel Jeanette Hall (1918-1974) was a daughter of Lawrence Cauley Hall and Eula Belle Swindle, of Ray City, GA.  She was a granddaughter of Mary Etta and Redding D. Swindle, and Cassie Lee and John Lewis Hall.  Hazel’s sister, Eunice Hall, was the wife of Polk Cheshire Brockman, of Atlanta, who was a pioneer in the recording of country music.

Reid Hearn Cox (1912-1966) was a salesman of music supplies. He originated from Eatonton, GA, a son of Charles Patterson Cox and Mattie Reid Hearn, and studied at Mercer University in 1932.

Hazel Jeanette Hall and Reid Hearn Cox were married in 1937 in Atlanta, GA.


Eatonton Messenger
Thursday, February 18, 1937

Miss Hazel Hall Weds Mr. Reid Cox

      The Druid Hills Presbyterian church formed the setting yesterday for the marriage of Miss Hazel Jeannette Hall and Reid Hearn Cox which was a beautiful event taking place at 5 o’clock. Rev. William M. Elliot, Jr., the pastor, performed the ceremony in the presence of a large gathering of relatives and friends of the young people.
      The interior of the church was beautifully decorated for the nuptials.  Palms and ferns banked the altar, and tall standards of callas with seven-branched candelabra hold-holding white tapers completed the decorations. Preciding and during the ceremony Mrs. Haskell Boyter, pianist, presented a program of music and Le Roy Bledsoe sang.
      Acting as bridesmaids were Miss Jane Cox, sister of the bridegroom, and Miss Dorothy Brockman, wearing dresses of gold blister satin with short coasts fashioned with repeplums  and gold satin sandals. Their flowers were arm bouquets of Pernet roses, snapdragons and delphiniums in pastel shades tied with ice-green ribbon.
      Mrs. Polk Cheshire Brockman was her sister’s matron of honor. She ware the gold satin dress in which she was married.  It was worn with a coat, trimmed with sable fur.  Her hat was an off-the-face model of brown maline, and she carried an arm bouquet of talisman roses.
      Miss Ann Brockman, niece of the bride, was the ring -bearer. Her dress was a floor-length empire model of ice-green satin and she wore a yellow ribbon in her hair.  She carried the ring in a calla, showered with valley lilies.
       Jasper Sojourner. Dr. S. L. Morris, Jr., Dr. E. C. Moore and C. Roy Arnold were ushers.
       Entering with her brother, Polk C. Brockman, by whom she was given in marriage, the bride was met at the altar by the groom and T. Pitts Davidson, who acted as best man. Her blond beauty was further enhanced by her wedding gown of white satin, fashioned along princess lines with a high cowl neck and leg-o-mutton sleeves which ended in a point over the hands and trimmed with self-covered buttons. The same buttons trimmed the waist at the back and the full skirt flared into a short train.  Her long veil of illusion fell from a coronet cap, beaded in seed pearls and crystals and she carried a sheaf of calla lilies.
    After the ceremony Mr. and Mrs. Brockman entertained at a reception at their home on Springdale road for the bridal party and out-of-town guests.  Mrs. Swindle Hall, mother of the bride, and Mrs. C.P. Cox, the bridegroom’s mother, received with Mr. and Mrs. Brockman and Mr. and Mrs. Cox.
    In the dining room the table was covered with a point Venice lace cloth, and the center decoration was a bride’s cake placed on a mound of pastel flowers. Yellow candles in pastry candlesticks embossed with orange blossoms, callas and lilies of the valley, were used.  Miss Jane Cox kept the bride’s book and Misses Dorothy Brockman, Essie Bell Brockman and Mesdames J. B. Sojourner, H. E. Montgomery and H. A. Brockman assisted in entertaining.  Roses, snapdragons and delphiniums were arranged throughout the house.
    The bride and groom left for a wedding trip. The former wore a two-piece traveling suit of apricot wool with brown accessories.  Her flowers were a shoulder corsage of orchids.
    Mrs. Cox is the daughter of Mrs. Swindle Hall, of Ray City, Ga. For the past several years she has made her home with her brother and sister, Mr. and Mrs. Polk Cheshire Brockman, on Springdale road.  Mrs. R. D. Swindle, of Ray City, grandmother of the bride, was a guest at the wedding. W. H. Hearn, of Eatonton, grandfather of the bridegroom, was also present. – Atlanta Constitution, February 6th.

The newlywed Coxes first boarded with Arlie Guthrie and Marvin Purvis in their home on Main Street, Ray City, GA. Marvin Purvis was a merchant of Ray City, and the Purvis’ grocery store was on the south side of Main Street near Lyman F. Gidens’ Barber Shop and just east of the tracks of the Georgia & Florida Rail Road. The Purvises were among Ray City’s better-off families; the Purvis household had been one of the first in town to acquire a radio.

In 1939, the Coxes built a house of their own  on the northeast corner of North Street and Jones Street, Ray City, GA.


Hazel Hall Cox and Reid Hearn Cox became Ray City homeowners in 1939.

Hazel Hall Cox and Reid Hearn Cox became Ray City homeowners in 1939.

Eatonton Messenger
October 19, 1939

Mr. and Mrs. Reid Cox are now building a new home at their home in Ray City. Reid, you know, is the son of Mrs. Charles P. Cox and the grandson of W. H. Hearn.

Liberty Magazine, June 8, 1940. Liberty was a weekly magazine, originally priced at five cents and subtitled, "A Weekly for Everybody." It was said to be "the second greatest magazine in America," ranking behind only The Saturday Evening Post in circulation. It featured contributions from some of the biggest politicians, celebrities, authors, and artists of the 20th Century. It ceased publication in 1950.

Liberty Magazine, June 8, 1940.
Liberty was a weekly magazine,  said to be “the second greatest magazine in America,” ranking behind only The Saturday Evening Post in circulation. It featured contributions from some of the biggest politicians, celebrities, authors, and artists of the 20th Century. It ceased publication in 1950.

After the Coxes moved into their new home, the Purvises moved just a block down the street to a home on the corner of North Street and Bryan Street.

Hazel Hall Cox was a woman of fashion, “a real glamour girl, always made up – high heels, fancy hairdo.” Hazel Cox took all the women’s magazines, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, Colliers, Liberty, Life, etc., and after reading she shared them with Arlie Guthrie Purvis.

The Coxes later moved to the Atlanta area where Reid developed and manufactured high capacity dryers used in laundromats all over the country.

Reid Hearn Cox died April 22, 1966, and Hazel Hall Cox passed on November 18, 1974. They  are buried at Decatur Cemetery, Dekalb County, GA

Graves of Hazel Hall Cox and Reid Hearn Cox, Decatur Cemetery, Decatur, GA.

Graves of Hazel Hall Cox and Reid Hearn Cox, Decatur Cemetery, Decatur, GA.

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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


      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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Mary Swindle Won $10 in Contest to Choose Name of Ray City

In a 1971 newspaper article, Henry A. Swindle, who was a lifelong resident of Ray City, GA, recalled  how the town got its name. Henry  was  a boy when the town became incorporated in 1909.  His father, Redding D. Swindle,  served as the appointed mayor until the first elections could be held.

Henry Alexander Swindle, son of R. D. and Mary Etta Swindle, orn September 15, 1897. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation www.berriencountyga.com

Henry Alexander Swindle, son of R. D. and Mary Etta Swindle, orn September 15, 1897. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation http://www.berriencountyga.com

The first residents  decided to hold a contest to select a new name for the town.  Henry’s mother, Mary Etta Swindle, came up with the winning entry.

She won $10,” he said, “for naming the town. There were many families around here named Ray, and since this was a thriving community, bigger then than Nashville or Lakeland, she thought  Ray City would be a good name. It was formerly Ray’s Mill.

“There was a sawmill and lumber mill here that employed about 300 people and a big cotton gin that baled lost of cotton.  Ray City was growing fast then, I was a good, big boy then and I’m 74 now. But Nashville was the county seat, and that town outgrew Ray City finally.”

Children of Mary Etta and Redding D. Swindle:

  1. Eula Swindle, born 1887; married Lawrence Cauley Hall
  2. Rozzie P Swindle, born 1889–
  3. Matie Swindle, born 1890–
  4. Daisy Swindle, born 1894–
  5. Henry Alexander Swindle, born 1897; married Ora Kathleen Knight
  6. Myrtle J Swindle, born 1900–
  7. Dewey L Swindle, born 1903–

Henry A. Swindle took a job as bookkeeper for J.J. Parks, who operated a grist mill and ginnery in Ray City and a farm in Alapaha. Henry married Ora Kathleen Knight, daughter of Sullivan J. Knight and Eliza Allen. He became a strong supporter of the Ray City Methodist Church and served on the Ray City School board.

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