Jesse E. Sirmans also known as Jesse Carroll Sirmans

Another news item from the Watson Grade community, near Ray City, GA was the death of  J. E. Sirmans, which occurred on March 12, 1904.

Tifton Gazette
March 25, 1904

Mr. J. E. Sirmans Dead.

Mr. J. E. Sirmans died last Saturday night at 11:45. He had been sick only about four days, and was not thought to be dangerously ill until a few hours before his death. Mr. Sirmans has been suffering with heart trouble for several years and Dr. Askew, of Nashville, says it was pleurisy complicated with heart trouble that caused his death. He leaves a wife and ten children to mourn his loss. His remains were interred in the Fender cemetery.

Of course, the name of Sirmans itself variously appears in historical records as Sirmons, Sermans, Simmons, and in other forms. In this case there has been some mystery over the given name as well.

It seems that this son of  Benjamin E. Sirmans and Francenia Carroll is known in many family genealogies as Jesse Carroll Sirmans.  But his census, tax, and marriage records, as well as the obituary above, indicate that his name was actually Jesse E. Sirmans.

Who was J. E. Sirmans? The census records of 1900  show that Jessie E. Sirmans owned a farm in the 1300 Georgia Militia District in the neighborhood of the Patten and Watson families  a few miles northeast of Ray City.

1900 census numeration of Jesse Sirmans, with his wife Malind King Sirmans, and children Henrietta, Maggie, Ezekiel, Mary Alice, Ben, Ruth, Charlie, Neddie, and Joseph. Image courtesy of Internet Archive:  https://archive.org/stream/12thcensusofpopu180unit#page/n82/mode/1up

1900 census numeration, 1300 GMD, of Jesse Sirmans, with his wife Malinda King Sirmans, and children Henrietta, Maggie, Ezekiel, Mary Alice, Ben, Ruth, Charlie, Neddie, and Joseph. Image courtesy of Internet Archive: https://archive.org/stream/12thcensusofpopu180unit#page/n82/mode/1up

At the time of his death in 1904,  Jessie E.  Sirmans had ten children, matching the obituary above.  Jessie Sirmans’ eleventh child, Eugene Sirmans, was born eight months after his death.

Children of Jesse E. Sirmans and Malinda King:

  1. Henrietta Sirmans (1883 – )
  2. Maggie E Sirmans (1885 – )
  3. Ezekiel Sirmans (1887 – 1941)
  4. Mary Alice Sirmans (1890 – )
  5. Ben Sirmans (1892 – )
  6. Ruth M Sirmans (1892 – )
  7. Charlie L Sirmans 1893 –
  8. Neddie Sirmans 1895 –
  9. Joseph I Sirmans 1900 –
  10. Edna Sirmans 1903 –
  11. Eugene Sirmans  (November 8 , 1904 –  July 5, 1989)

Jesse’s father, Benjamin E. Sirmans  was a farmer in Clinch County, GA. “Records show in 1854 he purchased land in lot 436 of the tenth district of Clinch County from Martin Mattox.”  Jesse was born about 1859, and first appears in census records in 1860, at age 1.

1860 census enumeration of Jesse E. Sirmans, age 1, in the household of his parents, Benjamin E. Sirmans and Francenia C. Sirmans. Also enumerated is Jesse's brother, David J. Sirmans, age 3. Image courtesy of Internet Archive: https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu117unit#page/n213/mode/1up

1860 census enumeration of Jesse E. Sirmans, age 1, in the household of his parents, Benjamin E. Sirmans and Francenia C. Sirmans. Also enumerated is Jesse’s brother, David J. Sirmans, age 3. Image courtesy of Internet Archive: https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu117unit#page/n213/mode/1up

In 1860, the Sirmans were neighbors of General David Johnson, who fought in the Indian Wars of 1836, and who was an uncle of Benjamin E. Sirmans.

1870 census enumeration of Jesse Sirmans, with his parents, Benjamin and Francenia Sirmans, and siblings David, Margaret, Martha, Joseph, William, and Benjamin, Jr. Image courtesy of Internet Archive: https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0144unit#page/n326/mode/1up

1870 census enumeration of Jesse Sirmans, with his parents, Benjamin and Francenia Sirmans, and siblings David, Margaret, Martha, Joseph, William, and Benjamin, Jr. Image courtesy of Internet Archive: https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0144unit#page/n326/mode/1up

In 1861 Jesse’s father “purchased 490 acres of lot 393, in the tenth district of Clinch County from Jared Irwin.”

When Jesse was about 18 years of age his father died , expiring on November 22, 1877. Benjamin E Sirmans was buried in Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA. He left an estate of ” approximately 400 head of cattle and land in Lots 437 and 438 in the seventh district of Clinch County, GA. Jesse’s uncles, Ezekiel Johnson Sirmans and David J. Sirmans, acted as executors for the estate  and sold off the cattle to pay his father’s debts.

According to tax records of 1880 Jesse’s mother, Francenia Carroll Sirmans, owned 264 acres on parts of lots 437 and 438 in the 7th Land District,(GMD 586, Mud Creek District) this land valued at $400.  On November 4, 1880, Francenia sold her portion of the estate to  Jesse’s uncle, Senator Franklin B. Sirmans.  A few months later, on April 3, 1881, Francenia married Henry Mainor.

The 1880 enumeration of Jesse E. Sirmans has not been located, but it appears that he continued to reside in Clinch County, GA.

On December 21, 1882, Jesse E. Sirmans married Malinda King in Clinch County, GA.

December 21, 1882 marriage certificate of Jesse E. Sirmans and Malinda King, Clinch County, GA.

December 21, 1882 marriage license of Jesse E. Sirmans and Malinda King, Clinch County, GA.

Tax records show by 1886 Jesse Sirmans owned 405 acres on Lot 484 in the 7th Land District,(GMD 586, Mud Creek District) this land valued at $150. By 1887 it appears he had disposed of some of the less valuable acreage, retaining 210 acres on Lot 484 in the 7th Land District,(GMD 586, Mud Creek District) this land valued at $150. In 1890 he owned 410 acres on lot 484 in the 7th Land District,(GMD 586, Mud Creek District) this land valued at $200.

Some time before 1900, Jesse E. Sirmans relocated his family to Berrien County where he farmed in the Watson Grade community, just northeast of Ray City, GA.  His aunt Lucretia Sirmans Cook resided at Watson Grade with her husband John Jasper Cook, and children (Charlotte Cook, Melvina Cook, Aaron Cook, Sarah Ann Cook, James Cook, and Mary Ellen Cook)  as did others of the Sirmans and Cook family connections.

 

Elijah Fawcett of Possum Creek

As a young man, Elijah Fawcett spent many years in Ray City, GA. He was a half-brother of Connie Moore, subject of the previous post.

Elijah Fawcett was a Ray City resident from about 1902 through the 1930s.

Elijah Fawcett was a Ray City resident from about 1902 through the 1930s.

Elijah Fawcett was born in Manchester, NC on June 6, 1891, a son of  and Charles Solomon Fawcett. Some time before the turn of the century, young Elijah moved with his family to Mud Creek in Clinch County, GA where they were enumerated in 1900. Elijah’s father, and older half-brother Connie Moore, worked a rented farm.But within a couple of years, the family moved to Ray City, GA.

As a young boy, Elijah attended school, eventually finishing seven grades. When he was about 12 years old, his half-brother Connie Moore disappeared, and was presumed killed, while working as a guard at a large convict camp in Fargo, GA.

About 1913 Elijah Faucett was married and began raising a family with his wife, Cora. Some time before 1917 his mother died, after which it appears that his father came to live in Elijah’s household.

In June of 1917, along with other men of the Ray City area, Elijah Fawcett registered for the draft for World War I. At 36 years old he was a tall man, with a medium build, black eyes and black hair. He was employed in farming by John L. Allen, who at that time owned a 260 acre farm located just southwest of Ray City, near Possum Creek.

(One wonders if there was a Moore family connection here. John Levi Allen was a son of Rachel Moore Allen. Elijah’s mother had married a Moore man in her first marriage; Elijah’s older half brother was Connie J. Moore.)

By the census of 1920, Elijah Fawcett had moved his family and widowed father to Red Bluff, South Carolina where he rented a farm. Some time before 1930, he moved everyone back to Ray City, including his now 81 year-old father. With the help of his teenage sons, Arthur and Marvin, Elijah was working a rented farm. It appears that prior to 1935, through unknown circumstances or death, his marriage to Cora ended.

Elijah Fawcett relocated from Ray City to the New River district.  In a second marriage he was wedded to an Alabama woman, Mattie Louise Harrison.

Mattie Louise Harrison, second wife of Elijah Fawcett

Mattie Louise Harrison, second wife of Elijah Fawcett

The couple owned a farm on the Lenox-Enigma Road. Later, Mattie and Elijah Fawcett moved to Alabama.

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Almost Gone ~ Graves of D. Edwin Griner and Sarah Rouse at New Ramah Cemetery

Grave marker of D. Edwin Griner (June 21, 1870 - March 12, 1942), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Grave marker of D. Edwin Griner (June 21, 1870 – March 12, 1942), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

In the 1930’s D. Edwin Griner  was a miller working at a grist mill in Ray City, GA.  He and his wife, Sarah “Sallie” Rouse grew up in Berrien County, GA and lived for many years in and around Ray City.   They are buried at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA, although their grave markers have become almost illegible.

The cemetery at New Ramah is well tended these days, although the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church was torn down last year. The concrete markers of Edwin and Sallie Griner have not suffered from neglect, just from the wear of time. Concrete is less durable than granite: Memory less durable than concrete.

Here, then, is a brief tribute to the memory of  Edwin and Sallie Griner:

D. Edwin Griner was born June 21, 1870 in Berrien County, GA, a scion of the earliest pioneer families of Georgia and of Berrien County. He was the eldest son of Sallie Gaskins and Samuel Griner.

His father was Samuel Jackson Griner (1848-1909). He was descended from the Greiner family who came to Georgia with the Salzberger immigration. Edwin’s Great Grandfather, Captain John Griner fought in the Revolutionary War.

His mother, Sarah C. “Sallie” Gaskins, was the daughter of Harmon and Malissa Gaskins, early settlers of Berrien County.  Her father fought in the Battle of Brushy Creek, the last real engagement with the Indians in this region.

Although the grave marker of D. Edwin Griner bears the birthdate of June 21, 1870, he is not recorded in his parents household in the Census of 1870, since the census that year only enumerated “the name of each Person whose place of abode, on 1st day of June, 1870, was in this family.” At the time of his birth, Edwin’s parents were living in the 1148th Georgia Militia District, and posting their mail in Nashville, GA.

Edwin’s father, Samuel J. Griner, worked as a farmer, although at 21 years of age he did not yet have any land of his own – he had $284 in his personal estate. Perhaps he was working the land owned by one of his  many Gaskins in-laws who lived nearby.

Through 1880, Edwin’s father continued to farm in the 1148th Georgia Militia District. Ten-year-old Edwin attended school, as did his younger siblings who were old enough. Although his mother was occupied “keeping house,” she had evidently suffered a disability of some type, for the 1880 census record shows that she was, “Maimed, Crippled, Bedridden, or otherwise disabled.”

On October 22, 1894 D. Edwin Griner married Sarah “Sallie” Rouse in Berrien County, GA.  She was the daughter of Robert and Kizzia Rouse. The couple made their home in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill District where the census of 1900 shows they owned a farm near Sallie’s parents and others of the family connection.

D. Edwin Griner and Sallie Rouse were married October 22, 1894 in Berrien County, GA.

D. Edwin Griner and Sallie Rouse were married October 22, 1894 in Berrien County, GA.

In 1910, Edwin  and Sarah Griner were enumerated by census taker Redding D. Swindle there in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill District, along with son William, and daughter Sarah V.  The Griners owned a farm, free and clear of mortgage, where Edwin was farming on his own account. Sarah’s family was farming in the same neighborhood. Her brother, Joseph Rouse, was working the farm next door, and also in Joseph’s household was her widowed mother, Kizzie N. Rouse. Nearby, was the farm of another brother, Alfred Rouse.

Some time prior to 1920 D. Edwin Griner moved his family to Clinch County, GA where he owned a farm on the Stockton Road in the Mud Creek District.  Edwin and  son, Willie, did the farming while his Sarah and daughter, Sarah V., kept house.

By 1930, the Griners had moved back to Ray City, Berrien County, GA.  They had a house in town valued at $700.  The household included Edwin, Sarah, and their son,  William, who had lost his wife.    Thelma Sirmans and her boys were renting the place next door, and the blacksmith, Henry Woodard, was another neighbor.  Edwin worked as a miller, a wage employee at a local grist mill.  His gravemarker shows that he was also a Mason, perhaps a member of the Ray City lodge No. 553, or one of the other local lodges.

D. Edwin Griner died March 12, 1942. He was buried at New Ramah Cemetery on Park Street, Ray City, GA.  At his side rests Sarah “Sallie” Rouse Griner.  No date of death is discernible on the concrete headstone marking her grave, but her obituary gives her date of death as January 29, 1951.

Sarah "Sallie" Rouse Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Sarah “Sallie” Rouse Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Griner graves at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA. Left: Sarah "Sallie" Rouse Griner. Middle: D. E. Griner. Right: Willie "Bill" Edwin Griner.

Griner graves at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA. Left: Sarah “Sallie” Rouse Griner. Middle: D. E. Griner. Right: Willie “Bill” Edwin Griner.

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