Ray City was boyhood home of Morris Levin

Morris Levin

Morris Levin, 1931. Image detail courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Morris Levin, 1931.  Morris Levin grew up in Ray City, GA and was later instrumental in bringing industry to the Nashville, GA area. Image detail courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Morris Levin was born August 21, 1915,  in New Hanover County, North Carolina.  He was a  son of Nettie Simon and Abe Levin. As a child he came with his parents  to Ray City, GA where his father went into the grocery business for several years.  The 1920 census shows the family lived in a house on Jones Street, and that Abe Levin was a business owner and employer.  Abe Levin showed his support for the community with an advertisement in the 1929 debut of the Ray City News newspaper.

As a teenager, Morris Levin worked on the Ray City farm 0f Effie Guthrie Knight.  He assisted June Guthrie, Effie’s brother, with the farm labor.    June was responsible for the day to day operation of the farm from a young age, and was a farmer all of his life.  Later, the Levins moved to Nashville, GA and operated stores there for many years.    Whenever the Guthries shopped at the Levin store in Nashville, Morris always treated them with such cordiality and respect.  Many Ray City people, folks like Arrin and Verde Futch, continued to shop with the Levins at their Nashville stores.

Morris and Beverly Levin. Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Morris and Beverly Levin. Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Among the Levin’s good friends in Nashville, was Maude Sizemore.  Maude worked as a practical nurse, and was raising two boys on her own.  The Levins, through their community connections, were able to help Maude with good job opportunities.  One job was providing care for the children of Abraham Simon (A.S.) Harris,  a prominent merchant and owner of the largest department store in Ocilla, A.S. Harris Department Store.


Morris Levin,  photographed at Ivy Inn,  Berrien County, GA by A. W. “Wink” Rogers. Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Morris Levin, 1965.  Photographed at Ivy Inn, Berrien County, GA by A. W. “Wink” Rogers. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

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Abe Levin Starts Family Business At Ray City, GA

Leon Levin at Grand Opening of Levin’s Foodland, Nashville, GA circa 1962.

Abe Levin was a Jewish immigrant who entered the retail merchandise business in Ray City, GA in the 1920s.  Abe was born in Russia in 1891.  His parents were Austrian Jews, but sometime before he was born they moved to Russia.  In 1903, when Abe was about 12 years old, he came to America where he became a naturalized citizen. He married a Russian Jewish woman, Nettie Simon,  who had also immigrated to America in 1903.  The 1920 census shows that the mother tongue of Abe and Nettie Levin was “Jewish”.

The Levins were living in Maryland when their first son , Leon I. Levin, was born about 1914.  By September 1915 when their second son, Morris, was born they were living in North Carolina, and a third son, Charles, was born there in December 1917.

Some time before 1920 the family moved to Georgia and settled in Ray City, where Abe opened his own store.  The 1920 census shows that he was the owner and an employer.  The family lived in a house on Jones Street  where the neighbors were other merchants of Ray City:  men like Gordon V. Hardie, butcher; Claud Clements, grocer;  and Walter Aultman, ice dealer.

By 1930 the Levins had moved to Nashville, Ga. where the family was long engaged in retail trade.

A. Levin’s store on the south side of the courthouse square, Nashville, GA in April 1965. Image courtesy of Berrien County Historical Society http://berriencounty.smugmug.com

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