Moving on Up: John and Mary Jane Boyett’s Retouched Portrait

In the modern world of “glamour shot” photography,  a few digital improvements photoshopped into the family portrait are perhaps expected.  But even in the 1930s,  a family photo  could be upgraded with the judicious application of a little paint.  In fact, according to digital forensics expert, Dr. Hany Farid, “photographs have been manipulated for nearly as long as photography has been around. The nearly iconic portrait of Abraham Lincoln (circa 1860), for example, is a composite of Lincoln’s head and Senator John Calhoun’s body.”

Sharp-eyed reader, Richard Wheeler,  recently commented that the “formal” portrait of Mary Jane Sirmans and John Boyett (see John Boyett (1865-1938) ~ Ray City Farmer) is actually a retouched version of a more casual photograph of the couple (see The Calhoun Farm), presented here, side-by-side.   The Boyett’s home place was situated southeast of Ray City, GA on the shore of Banks Lake.

John Boyette (1865-1938) and Mary Jane Sirmans Boyett (1867-1946). John Boyett's land consisted of more than 1000 acres situated in present day western Lanier County, GA. (Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

Original photo of John Boyette and Mary Jane Sirmans Boyett, circa 1930-31. Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Edward John Boyette and Mary Jane Sirmans, circa 1900. Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

Retouched family portrait of John Boyette and Mary Jane Sirmans Boyett. Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

” My mother, a great grand daughter of John and MaryJane’s has the exact same portrait (shown above, right) hanging in her living room,” said Wheeler. “In this photo John’s jacket and tie are painted on and Mary Jane’s dress and shawl are painted over. In the original (above, left) my great grandmother can be seen holding my grandfather as a infant, but they are painted out of these doctored portraits. This photo was taken 1930 or early 31. John died April 2 1938, from injury/illness days after crashing his pick-up truck.”

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The Calhoun Farm

The Calhoun Farm, near Ray City, GA, 1955.

The Calhoun Farm, near Ray City, GA, 1955.

The Calhoun Farm, situated southeast of Ray City on the shore of Banks Lake, originally made up a part of the Boyett family land.

John Boyette (1865-1938) and Mary Jane Sirmans Boyett (1867-1946). John Boyett's land consisted of more than 1000 acres situated in present day western Lanier County, GA. (Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

John Boyette (1865-1938) and Mary Jane Sirmans Boyett (1867-1946). John Boyett’s land consisted of more than 1000 acres situated in present day western Lanier County, GA. (Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

When John Boyett died in 1938, his estate was divided among his six sons and three daughters. Born near Rays Mill, GA in 1865,  John Boyett was a son of William Hill Boyett and Jemima Taylor Boyett.  By the time of his demise he had acquired 1,016 acres of land in land lots 496, 497, 516 and 517 in the 10th District. (see John Boyett (1865-1938) ~ Ray City Farmer)

His daughter, Lue Annie Boyett Calhoun, inherited just over 100 acres of the family farm and a little cash.

After inheriting land from her father, Lue Annie and her husband, Joseph Burton Calhoun, moved from their place in Florida back to the farm at Ray City, GA. (see The Marriage of Joe Calhoun and Lue Annie Boyett)

I. Mitchell Calhoun, grandson of Lue Annie and Joseph Burton Calhoun, recalls,

“Grandma always said that as a girl she got a little less than the boys. Granddaddy [Joseph Burton] Calhoun was an auto mechanic at the time and he and his family lived down in Florida, but he had been raised on a farm. My father [Joseph Berton Calhoun, Jr.] was around 20 at the time. So my grandparents moved back to the farm. A good part of the land Grandma inherited was wooded land so she traded some of her land with one of her brothers for cleared land so the final farm they had was around 80 acres. So that became the ‘Joe and Lue Annie Calhoun’ farm for the next 50 plus years. Granddaddy Calhoun died in 1972 and Grandma Calhoun died in 1993. The farm was passed on to their heirs and then was sold by them in the mid 1990s. I have many wonderful memories of the farm as a boy and as an adult. “

“Granddaddy Calhoun told me many times how they moved to the farm in 1938 and had to clear the trees to make a lane (about 100 yards) from Boyett Road up to the house site. Then he took the trees, that he cut down to clear the lane and the home site, to the saw mill and cut into boards and he used these boards to help build the house. It was a simple house but I spent many a night in it as a boy and as an adult. A few years after the land was sold (early 2000s) the house was torn down.”

Joseph Burton Calhoun was a civic minded farmer, a member of the Lakeland Masonic Lodge, and the Parent-Teacher Association. In the 1940s, the school lunchroom in Lakeland was supported by donations, and vegetables contributed from the Calhoun farm were among the lunchroom fare.

Joseph Burton Calhoun at work on the farm near Ray City, GA, circa 1955. (Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun)

Joseph Burton Calhoun at work on the farm near Ray City, GA, circa 1955. (Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun)

I. Mitchell Calhoun, grandson of Joseph Burton Calhoun recalls his grandfather at work in the barnyard out back of the farmhouse. 

“I used to like to watch him use the farm equipment.  He had a big John Deere tractor that he was very proud of.  It had a drum on the side that turned.  Some of the equipment (such as a corn grinder) had a similar drum.  He would line the tractor up with the equipment, place a wide leather belt that formed a circle around the two drums, then he would back up the tractor until the belt was tight.  He would then engage the drum on the tractor and through the belt this would engage the drum on the corn grinder, etc. and off everything went.  He would pour corn in the top and corn meal would come out one end.”

Joseph Burton Calhoun at work on the farm, circa 1955. (Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.A

Joseph Burton Calhoun at work on the farm, circa 1955. Situated near Ray City, the farm was located within the boundaries of Lanier County, with the county seat at Lakeland, GA. (Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.)

Ford automobile owned by Lueannie and Joseph Burton Calhoun, on the Calhoun Farm, 1955. (Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun)

Ford automobile owned by Lue Annie and Joseph Burton Calhoun, on the Calhoun Farm, 1955. (Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun)

Calhoun Farm, aerial view.

Calhoun Farm, aerial view. (Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun)

Special thanks to Mitchell Calhoun for the contribution of images and content for this post, and to Wilburn Thomas (Tom) Boyette for additional input.

The Marriage of Joe Calhoun and Lue Annie Boyett

Lue Annie Boyette, born May 27, 1899 was the only daughter of Mary Jane Sirmans and John Boyett,  subject of previous posts. Her father was a large landowner with a farm near Ray City in Berrien County.

Luannie Boyette & Joseph Burton Calhoun of Ray City, GA, 1919. Image courtesy of I. Mitcchell Calhoun.

Lue Annie Boyett & Joseph Burton Calhoun of Ray City, GA, 1919. Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

Lue Annie married Joseph Burton Calhoun on March 4, 1918 in Berrien County, GA.  She was a bride of 19; he was a 26 year-old groom, of medium height and build, blue eyed and blond haired.

http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/u?/countyfilm,190170

Joseph Burton Calhoun, in army uniform, 1819.

Joseph Burton Calhoun, in army uniform, 1819. Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

Joseph Burton Calhoun was a son of Samuel Augustus “Gus” Calhoun and Rachel B. Bullard, born and raised in Rays Mill, GA (nka Ray City). Prior to marriage he had been living in Moultrie, GA where in 1917, he was employed by J.M. Bryan as a mechanic.

In 1918, the newlyweds were separated by the Great War, as Joe entered service in the U.S. Army. (Joseph Burton Calhoun ~ WWI Soldier)

Lue Annie and Joseph first made their home in Ray City, where they were enumerated in the 1920 census. Joseph continued his trade as an auto mechanic, now working on his own account. They had a house right on Main Street, where Lue Annie cared for their children, Alberta and Joseph B., Jr.

Enumeration of Luannie Boyette and Joseph Burton Calhoun, 1920, Ray City, GA

Enumeration of Lou Annie Boyette and Joseph Burton Calhoun, 1920, Ray City, GA

By the Census of 1930, Joseph and Lue Annie Calhoun had moved to Orlando, FL. There, Joseph Burton Calhoun continued his profession as an automobile mechanic. Lue Annie kept house and raised their three children.

Enumeration of Joseph and Luannie Calhoun, 1930 Census, 1403 South Division St., Orlando, FL

Enumeration of Joseph and Lou Annie Calhoun, 1930 Census, 1403 South Division St., Orlando, FL

http://www.archive.org/stream/15thcensuspopula326unit#page/n1083/mode/1up

In 1935, the Calhoun’s owned a home at 4074 35th Ave N. in St. Petersburg, FL. Joseph worked as a service station attendant.

Enumeration of Joseph B. and Luannie Boyette Calhoun, 1935 Florida State Census, St. Petersburg, FL.

Enumeration of Joseph B. and Lue Annie Boyette Calhoun, 1935 Florida State Census, St. Petersburg, FL.

When Lue Annie’s father,  John Boyett,  died in 1938, his estate was divided among his nine children. His only daughter, Lue Annie Boyett Calhoun, inherited just over 100 acres of the family farm. Lue Annie and her husband moved from Florida back to the farm near Ray City, GA.

For the next 3o years, Lue Annie and Joe raised their children and crops on the Calhoun farm. They were well known citizens of the Ray City and Lakeland area. They were members of the Ray City Baptist Church and the Lakeland Parent-Teacher Association. Joe was a member of  Masonic Lodge #434, and a member of the committee that oversaw the construction of a new Lodge Hall at Lakeland, GA in the 1940s.

Joseph Burton Calhoun died in 1972 and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery in Ray City. For fifteen more years Lue Annie continued to live on the Calhoun Farm, but 1987 she returned to Florida to live out her final years.  She died in 1993 in Winter Garden, FL.  She was laid to rest at Beaver Dam Cemetery next to her husband.

John Boyett (1865-1938) ~ Ray City Farmer

Edward John Boyett was a brother of William Jackson Boyett.

John Boyett’s parents were among the pioneer settlers of Berrien County.  His father,  William Hill Boyett, came   to then Lowndes County area from North Carolina as a boy , about 1853, and later acquired land near present day Ray City,  GA.  John Boyett’s mother, Jemima Taylor, was born January 22, 1842 in South Carolina, and came to Georgia with her family in the early 1850s.   His parents were married on Christmas Day, Dec 25, 1856 in Berrien County, GA  exactly ten months after the county was formed.

Edward John Boyette and Mary Jane Sirmans, circa 1900.  Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

Edward John Boyette and Mary Jane Sirmans, circa 1900. Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

John Boyett was born on his mother’s 23rd birthday, January 22, 1865, during the Civil War.  At the time his father was serving in Columbus, GA making shoes for the Confederate States Army.   Folks Huxford reported:

“Mr. BOYETT volunteered Aug. 22, 1862, in Co., “I”, 50th Georgia Infantry Regiment, C.S.A., as a private.  He was detailed as a shoemaker Nov. 17, 1862 and sent to Columbus, Ga., where he rendered that service to the army until February, 1865.  He was paroled at Thomasville, May 11, 1865, and returned home.”

John Boyett grew up on his father’s farm in the 1300 Georgia Militia District, near Ray City.

On January 15, 1891 John Boyett married Mary Jane Sirmans in Berrien County, Georgia.

http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us:8888/u?/countyfilm,191792

According to  Mitchell Calhoun, grandson of the subject, “Edward John Boyett was a rather large farm owner in the early 1900s between Ray City and Lakeland, Georgia.  They lived along ‘Boyett Road’ and that general area.  There are quite a number of Boyett descendants in that area today.  And the Empire Church and the Beaver Dam Cemetery at the First Baptist Church of Ray City has a lot of their graves.”

Boyette Road near Ray City, GA.

Boyette Road near Ray City, GA.

John Boyett died in 1938 and his estate was divided among  his nine children.

Gravemarker of John Boyett, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Gravemarker of John Boyett, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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