Luther E Langford

Luther Elthedred Langford, Ray City, GA native and descendant of General Levi J. Knight.

Luther Elthedred Langford, Ray City, GA native and descendant of General Levi J. Knight.

Luther Etheldred Langford (1879-1957)

Luther Etheldred Langford was born November 12, 1879 at Rays Mill (now Ray City), GA, the firstborn child of William E. Langford (1854 – 1933) and Mary Virginia Knight (1856 – 1916). His paternal grandmother was Elizabeth Ray, the sister of Thomas M. Ray who co-founded Ray’s Mill. His paternal grandfather, Etheldred Langford, was killed in the Civil War at the Battle of Gettysburg. On his mother’s side, he was a grandson of William Washington Knight, and a great grandson of Levi J. Knight, original settler of Ray City.

Luther E. Langford married Amanda Asbell October 23, 1910 in Colquitt County, GA.  She was born February 7, 1887.

Luther Etheldred Langford and Amanda Asbell

Luther Etheldred Langford and Amanda Asbell “Mandy” Langford, of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of Johnnie Mobley.

Luther and Amanda Langford made their home in  Berrien County, Georgia.  On Sept 12, 1918 Luther reported to the Berrien county draft registration board, where his WWI draft card was completed by registrar D.A. Sapp. Luther’s occupation at the time he registered was farming, self-employed. At 39 years of age, he was tall and slender with gray eyes and light hair. His farm place on Rt 2, Ray City, Ga,  was located about 1 mile east of town on the old Milltown (now Lakeland) – Ray City Road.

Luther and Amanda spent their lives in Berrien County raising crops and children.

Sadly, one child was taken from them while just a tot.  The September 4, 1925  Nashville Herald reported the tragic death: “Little Muriel Langford, the 5-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Luther Langford, who resides about a mile from Ray City on the Milltown-Ray City road died Tuesday morning from what was thought to be the bite of a rattle snake.”  (See Ray City Child Dies From Bite of Rattle Snake, 1925)
Children of Amanda Asbell and Luther E. Langford:

  1. Edwin Vasco Langford, born August 2,  1917 ; died 2005  – Served in WWII; taught at Ray City School after the War.
  2. Leland Etheldred Langford, born July 10, 1919; died 1949
  3. Merle Elizabeth Langford  born May 31, 1922; died 1925
  4. Merice Lancing Langford  born June 22, 1926; died 1993
  5. Lillian Allene Langford born September 16, 1929 –
  6. Clyde Rudolph Langford born September 15, 1931; died 2006

Luther Etheldred Langford died 11 May 1957. He was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia, USA

Gravemarker of Luther Etheldred Langford and Amanda Asbell Langford, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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Dr. Sloan Had Ray City Roots

Dr. William David Sloan (image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

Dr. William David Sloan (1879 – 1935)  (image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

William David Sloan was born March 12, 1879 in the 1144 Georgia Militia District, the “Rays Mill District.” He was one of 11 children  born to Martha Susan Gordon and James Murray Sloan.

William David Sloan’s parents  came from North Carolina. His father moved the family from North Carolina to Mississippi for a brief stay, then to Echols Co., Ga.; thence to Berrien County, GA in 1871 where he engaged in farming. His father, James M. Sloan, a son of David and Diadema Sloan, was born January 18, 1833 in Duplin County, N.C., and  died November 20, 1894.

In 1897,  W. D. Sloan went with Lane Young to Thomasville, GA to study at  Stanley’s Business College.  The census of 1900 shows 21-year-old William  back in the Rays Mill District living in the household of his widowed mother .  She owned the family farm, free and clear of mortgage, which she worked on her own account, with the assistance of farm laborer Charlie Weaver. William’s mother, Mrs. Martha Susannah Gordon Sloan, died Oct. 25, 1908.

Julia Elizabeth Knight Ridgell, widow of David Rigell, married Dr. William Sloan.

Julia Elizabeth Knight Ridgell  (photo circa 1910), widow of David Rigell, married Dr. William Sloan.

In 1907 William received a scholarship from the Governor.  The August 28, 1907  issue of the Atlanta Constitution noted that W. D. Sloan, of Milltown, had been appointed by the governor to receive a scholarship at the Medical College of Georgia.

He moved to Augusta, GA where he studied medicine at the  University of Georgia’s Medical Department, now known as Georgia Regents University. He graduated from UGA with a medical degree in 1910 and went into general practice, working on his own account.  At the time he was boarding in the household of Charles Conner, of Watkins Street, Augusta, GA.

William David Sloan returned to Berrien County, GA and sometime after 1911 married Julia Elizabeth Knight Rigell.  She was the widow of David Rigell, an early merchant of Rays Mill, GA. She was born August 9, 1880, a daughter of Walter Knight and Jimmie Gullette.

Dr. William David Sloan and Julia Knight Rigell Sloan. (Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

Dr. William David Sloan and Julia Knight Rigell Sloan. (Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

William David Sloan enlisted in the Army Medical Service in 1917, and served during World War I.

Dr. William David Sloan, Army Medical Service, WWI. (image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

Dr. William David Sloan, Army Medical Service, WWI. (image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

Dr. Sloan later made his home in Stockton, GA but often visited his many family connections in the Ray City area. In September 1925, he happened to be on hand when little Merle Elizabeth Langford suffered a fatal rattlesnake bite. (Ray City Child Dies From Bite Of Rattle Snake, 1925)

Dr. William David Sloan and his automobile. Dr. Sloan was born and raised in the Rays Mill, GA vicinity.

Dr. William David Sloan and his automobile. Dr. Sloan was born and raised in the Rays Mill, GA vicinity.

In his later years Dr. Sloan suffered from kidney and heart disease.

The Journal of the American Medical Association, March 2, 1935 issue reported the obituary of William David Sloan.

William David Sloan, Stockton, Ga. ; University of Georgia
Medical Department, Augusta, 1910; served during the World
War ; aged 55 ; died, January 10, in a hospital at Atlanta, of
chronic nephritis and heart disease.

He was buried at Wayfare Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, in Echols County, Georgia.

Grave of William David Stone (1879-1935, Wayfare Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Echols County, GA.

Grave of William David Sloan, M.D. (1879-1935), Wayfare Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Echols County, GA.

Julia Rigell Sloan died September 10, 1955.  She was buried at the City Cemetery in Lakeland, GA  next to the grave of her infant daughter, born February 3, 1907.

 

Grave of Julia Rigell Sloan, City Cemetery, Lakeland, Lanier County, GA

Grave of Julia Rigell Sloan, City Cemetery, Lakeland, Lanier County, GA

 

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Ray City Child Dies From Bite Of Rattle Snake, 1925

The September 4, 1925 Nashville Herald reported the tragic death of Merle Elizabeth Langford.

Child Dies From Bite Of Rattle Snake

     Little Muriel Langford, the 5-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Luther Langford, who resides about a mile from Ray City on the Milltown-Ray City road died Tuesday morning from what was thought to be the bite of a rattle snake.

     The child was playing in a potato patch, near the house, while her mother was working nearby, when she cried out and ran to her mother. The mother thinking the child had fallen down and hurt herself took her into her arms to console it when she noticed that blood was oozing from her leg just above the ankle. Thinking that possibly the child had been bitten by a snake or some reptile the mother started for the house but before reaching the house the child had become limp.  The father, who was at the home of a brother nearby was notified and an effort to secure a physician in Ray City failing, Dr. Smith of Milltown was summoned and arrived within a short time after the child was bitten. Dr. Sloan of Stockton was passing and was also called in and both these physicians rendered all the aid that medical skill could give, but the child died within half an hour after their arrival. 

     The funeral services were held at Beaver Dam church and the internment took place in the church grave yard Wednesday, Rev A. W. Smith of Ray City and Hahira conducting the rites.

Merle Elizabeth Langford, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Merle Elizabeth Langford, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Rattlesnakes have always been a part of Wiregrass Georgia.  The New Georgia Encyclopedia entry on Georgia folklore observes, “In its unburnt state, wiregrass became an integral part of the terrain and served as cover for wildlife, a place where quail might nest or predators like rattlesnakes might lurk.”    As early as 1763, European text were referring to the venomous rattlesnakes of Georgia.  A Universal History, published that year in London over-optimistically reported, “Their woods abound with … snakes-; but none of them, except the rattle-snake, are venomous and, as in Louisiana, the natives have a ready and infallible cure for its bite.”  By 1804, treatments for rattlesnake bites were discussed in Georgia newspapers. In the Southern Botanical Journal of  August 4, 1838  Thomas Fuller Hazzard of St. Simons Island discussed additional treatments for venomous reptile bites and cases where the victims survived. But  he also noted, “many persons die annually from the bites of poisonous reptiles in Georgia and Carolina.”

The New Georgia Encyclopedia goes on to discuss the Wiregrass ecosystem as a source for Georgia folklore and the rattlesnake motif in storytelling.

Rattlesnakes constitute another popular motif.  A rationale for ritually burning the forest, unchecked rattlesnake populations represent a real threat to people. Personal experience narratives, as the prime prose narrative form of our times, frequently function as cautionary tales, warning about this potential threat. Several wiregrass Georgia towns (Claxton, Whigham) annually host rattlesnake roundups. These festivals shift public attention to the prevalence of this dangerous species, especially since local laws prohibit burning the woods without a special permit. Instead, communities sponsor roundups in which competitors literally capture hundreds of snakes. Every year, for example, as many as 20,000 people attend the parade and festival in Whigham (population 605). Claxton promotes its roundup as “the beauty with the beasts” competition: the judging of the snake competition occurs at the same time as the crowning of the Roundup Queen.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  in Atlanta, GA only a handful of  snakebite fatalities occur  annually in the U.S. today.

Venomous snakes found in the United States include rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths/water moccasins, and coral snakes…. It has been estimated that 7,000–8,000 people per year receive venomous bites in the United States, and about 5 of those people die. The number of deaths would be much higher if people did not seek medical care….There are many species of rattlesnakes in the United States. Rattlesnakes are the largest of the venomous snakes in the United States. They can accurately strike at up to one-third their body length. Rattlesnakes use their rattles or tails as a warning when they feel threatened. Rattlesnakes may be found sunning themselves near logs, boulders, or open areas. These snakes may be found in most work habitats including the mountains, prairies, deserts, and beaches.

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