Charles X Jones Was a Leading Spirit of Ray City

In a shady cemetery plot at New Bethel Church, about seven miles southwest of Ray City, GA, lies the grave of the town’s first elected mayor, Dr. Charles X. Jones.

Grave of Charles X. Jones (1870-1933), First Elected Mayor of Ray City, GA

Grave of Charles X. Jones (1870-1933), First Elected Mayor of Ray City, GA

Charles X. Jones was born in Carroll County, GA on September 15, 1870 (or 1869 according to his death certificate).    When Charles  was born  his father, Maj. William Dudley Jones, was 50 and his mother, Martha H. Word, was 45. His father was a farmer at Bowdon, GA and also served as county tax collector of Carroll County. His mother’s parents were John Bryson Word and Amelia Sparks.

Census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, son of Major William Dudley Jones, in Carroll County, Georgia, on June 3, 1880.

Census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, son of Major William Dudley Jones, in Carroll County, Georgia, on June 3, 1880.

Charles X. Jones grew up on his father’s farm near Bowdon, GA in the 1111th district of Carroll County.  Bowden was a progressive community and the site of Bowdon College, “Georgia’s fifth chartered institution of higher education and first coeducational institution. Bowdon was a frontier community of merchants and yeomen who nourished the growth of a school where earnest students of limited means bettered their lives and their communities…Graduates have carried the honor of the institution into our state and national capitals and throughout the world. From her halls have come educators, doctors, lawyers, journalists, judges, bankers, farmers, industrialists, governors, and senators.”  Charles X. Jones was admitted to Bowden College where he completed the full program of study and graduated on July 1, 1891.

Bowdon College, GA, photographed circa 1899. Charles X. Jones graduated from Bowdon College in 1891.

Bowdon College, GA, photographed circa 1899. Charles X. Jones graduated from Bowdon College in 1891.

Jones later attended the medical school in Augusta, GA now known as Georgia Regents University, and received his medical degree  in 1898.

Old Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA. Charles X. Jones graduated with a medical degree in 1898.

Old Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA. Charles X. Jones graduated with a medical degree in 1898.

After medical school, young Dr. Jones came to Berrien County,GA to the Ray’s Mill Community.  He boarded with James S. Swindle and Catherline “Candas” Swindle while establishing his practice.

Census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, physician, in Rays Mill, Berrien County, Georgia, on June 13, 1900.

Census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, physician, in Rays Mill, Berrien County, Georgia, on June 13, 1900.

In 1901, Dr. Jones married 17-year-old Effie J. Mclean; he was about 31 years of age. The marriage ceremony was performed in Berrien County, GA by Elder Aaron Anderson Knight, Primitive Baptist Minister of Ray City.  Elder Knight’s church at that time was New Ramah Church in Ray City, GA

Dr. Charles X. Jones married Effie J. McLean on December 3, 1901 in Berrien County, GA.

Dr. Charles X. Jones married Effie J. McLean on December 3, 1901 in Berrien County, GA.

In 1903, Charles X. Jones purchased a 4 acre tract of land from James S. Swindle along Card Creek, the outflow of Ray’s Millpond now known as Beaverdam Creek.  That same year Charles and Effie began their family with the birth of their first child, Sam Jones.

In the summer of 1905, word came from Bowdon, GA that Dr. Jones’ father had died of a stroke. The obituary was published in the Atlanta Constitution and other state papers.

Obituary of Major William Dudley Jones, died June 19, 1905.

Obituary of Major William Dudley Jones, died June 19, 1905. Atlanta Constitution, June 21, 1905.

Atlanta Constitution
June 21, 1905

Major W.D. Jones, Carrollton, Ga.

Major W. D. Jones, a very highly respected citizen of this county, who lived near Bowdon, died suddenly as a result of a stroke of paralysis yesterday. He was 90 years old. He was the father of the late Colonel J. W. Jones, of Bowdon, and of Dr. Charles X. Jones, near Valdosta.

In 1908, Charles X. Jones’ tract of land was platted into town lots in the newly incorporated town of Rays Mill, GA.  Charles and Effie built the first house in  the  town and became its first residents. This house was located on the lot that surrounds the present Methodist Church. The street which ran past the Jones residence was named Jones Street in the doctor’s honor. Redding D. Swindle was  appointed as the mayor until the first elections could be held, and Jones carried the election in the first casting of ballots for the government of the new town. Mary Etta Swindle, wife of R.D. Swindle won a contest to name the new town, proposing it be called Ray City, GA although the title of Rays Mill persisted for many years thereafter.

The Jones residence was the very first household enumerated in Rays Mill, GA in the census of 1910. Dr. Charles X. Jones was enumerated with a reported age of 39, wife Effie J. Jones (26), and their children Sam Jones (7), Fred Jones (5), Trixie Jones (3), and Charles X. Jones, Jr (1).

Census enumeration of Dr. Charles X. and family in Rays Mill, Berrien County, Georgia, April 15, 1910.

Census enumeration of Dr. Charles X. and family in Rays Mill, Berrien County, Georgia, April 15, 1910.

Dr. Jones was also a banker. When the Bank of Rays Mill was formed in 1911, Dr. Jones  was elected Vice President of the bank, and served on the Board of Directors along with B. P. Jones,  J. S. Swindle, J. H. Swindle, W. H. E. Terry, L. J. Clements and bank president Clarence L. Smith. Later, Charles X. Jones  and Clarence L. Smith served together on the board of directors of Southern Bank & Trust Co., formed 1913 in Valdosta, GA.  The Southern Bank & Trust Company closed its doors in 1918.

By 1920, Dr. Jones had acquired a farm south of Ray City, near the community of Barretts on the Ray City – Valdosta Road, where he relocated and continued his medical practice. This was in the 1307th Georgia Militia District, the Cat Creek District of Lowndes County, GA. In the census of 1920, Jones residence was enumerated by census taker Arthur Walton McDonald, brother of Lacy A. McDonald who was a mailman at Ray City.

1920 census enumeration of Dr. Charles X. Jones, Lowndes County, GA

1920 census enumeration of Dr. Charles X. Jones, Lowndes County, GA

By the time of the 1930 census, Charles X. Jones was about 60 years old and retired from medical practice. His farm place near Barretts, valued at $5000,  was owned free and clear of mortgage. Census record indicate Jones had become a merchant/operator of a dry goods store.  Also in Dr. Jones household were his  son, Charles X. Jones, Jr.,  daughter Trixie Jones Moore (widow of Carl L. Moore), and her children, Mattie Lou Moore and Helene Moore. Trixie Jones Moore, worked as a general merchandise clerk, while Charles X. Jones, Jr. helped with the farm work.

1930 census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, Lowndes County, GA. Now retired from medical practice, Jones operated a dry goods store and maintained his farm in the Barretts Community.

1930 census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, Lowndes County, GA. Now retired from medical practice, Jones operated a dry goods store and maintained his farm in the Barretts Community.

On August 3, 1933 Charles X. Jones suffered an attack of “apoplexy” – a venerable word for a stroke, a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), often associated with loss of consciousness and paralysis of various parts of the body.  Before the day was out he succumbed to death.

Charles X. Jones was a civic minded citizen and an important figure in the incorporation of the town of Ray’s Mill (now Ray City), GA.  He was said to be a leading spirit of the town.

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Ora Kathleen Knight Swindle

Ora Kathleen Knight Swindle, of Ray City, GA.  She was a daughter of Eliza Allen and Sullivan Jordan Knight, and wife of Henry Alexander Swindle.

Ora Kathleen Knight Swindle, of Ray City, GA. She was a daughter of Eliza Allen and Sullivan Jordan Knight, and wife of Henry Alexander Swindle.  Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw.

Ora Kathleen Knight was born May 16, 1904 in Berrien County, GA, youngest daughter of Eliza Allen and Sullivan Jordan Knight. She was a sister of Rossie Knight.

As a young child Ora Kathleen Knight moved with her parents in 1911  to Brooks County, near Barney, GA. But her father died almost immediately after the move to Brooks County. Kathleen and her sister, Rachel, returned with their widowed mother to Berrien County. They moved into the farm home of Kathleen’s grandparents, Rachel Moore Allen Shaw and Francis Marion Shaw, just outside of Ray City, GA.

The Shaw farm remained their home until Kathleen married Henry Alexander Swindle on November 24, 1920.

Henry Alexander Swindle,   Ray City, GA.  Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Henry Alexander Swindle, Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

 

The newlyweds made their home in Ray City, GA where Kathleen’s mother, Eliza Allen Knight, came to live with them for the next 25 years.

♥ ♥ ♥

Obituary of Kathleen Swindle


RAY CITY — Kathleen Swindle, 99, of Ray City, died Monday, June 2, 2003, at Savannah Square in Savannah.

She was born on May 16, 1904, in Berrien County to the late Sullivan J. and Anne Eliza Allen Knight. She was a homemaker, member of Ray City United Methodist Church and was active in United Methodist Women and Eastern Star. She was the widow of Henry Alexander Swindle who died in 1974.

She is survived by two daughters, Carolyn Monroe, Greenville, S.C., Barbara Wood, Savannah; three grandchildren, Kathi Wood, Carol Ann Self, both of Savannah, Alex Monroe, Anderson, S.C.; and two great-grandchildren, Lindsay Brock Monroe, Jordon Alexander Monroe, both of Anderson, S.C.

Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, June 5, 2003, at Ray City United Methodist Church with the Rev. Wayne Mitchell officiating. Burial will be in New Ramah Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 7-9 p.m. today. — Lovein Funeral Home, Nashville, a member by invitation of Selected Independent Funeral Homes

Graves of Ora Kathleen Knight and Henry Alexander Swindle,  New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Graves of Ora Kathleen Knight and Henry Alexander Swindle, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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Notes on Sarah Malinda Clements

Sarah Malinda Clements (1862-1947)

Sarah Malinda Clements was born March 12, 1862 in Berrien County, GA. She was the youngest of 13 children born to David G. Clements and Gincey Sirmans.  She was a sister of Levi Jordan Clements, who was the patriarch of the Clements sawmill business at Ray City.

Sarah’s parents were pioneer settlers of the area. They were married in Lowndes County, GA on January 1, 1835.   Her father came with his parents to Lowndes County about 1832.  Her grandfather William Clements and William A. Knight had been neighbors in Wayne County, GA, and her aunt Anne Donald Clements had married Levi J. Knight in 1827. Her mother was  Gincey Sirmans, a daughter of Abner Sirmans and Bettie Kirkland. Abner Sirmans, his brothers, and father, Josiah Sirmans, were among the first permanent settlers of Clinch County, GA, having arrived there in 1822. Her aunt Elizabeth  “Betsy” Sirmans married Etheldred Dryden Newbern, another pioneer settler of Berrien County.

Sarah’s father and both of her grandfathers, fought under the command of their friend and neighbor Levi J. Knight in the Indian Wars of 1836-1838.  David G. Clements, William Clements and Abner Sirmans all served with Captain Knight’s Independent Company. David Clements was among those who took part in the Battle of Brushy Creek, one of the last real engagements with the Creek Indians in this region.

Soon after marriage, David G. Clements acquired lot of land 406, 10th district, on which he lived and farmed until his death. He was cut into Berrien out of Lowndes County, 1856. In Berrien County, the Clements home place was in the 1144th Georgia Militia District just north of Ray’s Mill (now Ray City), GA.

lot-470-471-maps-w-roads-ac

In 1854, Sarah’s sister, Elizabeth Clements, married William Gaskins. The Clements were neighbors of William Gaskins, son of Fisher Gaskins.   The Gaskins were another of the early pioneer families of Berrien County.  William Gaskins came to the area with his father and brothers, John Gaskins and Harmon Gaskins, with their large herds of cattle,  about the same time the Knights and Clements were homesteading in the area around Beaverdam Creek (site of present day Ray City, GA).

At the outset of the Civil War, Sarah’s father and brother, John C. Clements, answered the call of General Levi J. Knight to form a company of men for Confederate service; their names appear on an 1861 muster roll of the Berrien Minute Men.  John C. Clements served with Company K, 29th Georgia Regiment; David G. Clements later appears on the 1864 census of southern men who were excluded from the draft on account of age.

1870 census enumeration of 8-year old Sarah Clements in the household of her mother, Gincey Clements.  https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0135unit#page/n438/mode/1up

1870 census enumeration of 8-year old Sarah Clements in the household of her mother, Gincey Clements. https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0135unit#page/n438/mode/1up

Sarah, born during the Civil War, grew up on her father’s farm during the Reconstruction period in Georgia.  She attended the local country schools and was educated through the 5th grade. It appears that she lived in her father’s home until his death in 1888.

Although  Sarah married twice, she was not lucky in love. She did not marry until the age of 36.

1880 census enumeration of Sarah Ann Clements in the household of her father, David G. Clements. https://archive.org/stream/10thcensusl0134unit#page/n379/mode/1up

1880 census enumeration of Sarah Ann Clements in the household of her father, David G. Clements. https://archive.org/stream/10thcensusl0134unit#page/n379/mode/1up

In the Census of 1880, 18-year-old Sarah Ann Clements was enumerated by Census taker L.E. Lastinger in her father’s household. Also present was Sarah’s older sister Mary Ann, to whom she was devoted for life, and their siblings.  Next door were Sarah’s sister, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Clements, and her husband William Gaskins. Also neighbors were William’s niece Mary Evelyn Gaskins and her husband George W. Fender.

On October 26, 1898 Sarah married William J. “Bill Jack” Knight.  He was born in 1860, but otherwise little is known of his history. The ceremony was performed by Albert Benjamin Surrency in Berrien County, GA.

Sarah Clements

Sarah Clements

Sarah Clements and William J. Knight are enumerated together in the census of 1900 in their Rays Mill home. Sarah’s spinster sister, 59-year-old Mary Ann Clements, had also come to live in the Knight household.   Sarah’s brother, John C. Clements, and his family remained as neighbors, as did George W. Fender.

William and Sarah owned their farm near Ray’s Mill  free and clear of mortgage.  Only one offspring was born of this union, but the child died young.

William J. Knight died on January 22, 1909 at his home near Ray’s Mill, GA.

Obituary of William J. Knight, husband of Sarah Malinda Clements

Obituary of William J. Knight, husband of Sarah Malinda Clements

Tifton Gazette
January 29, 1909

Information reached here Monday of the sudden death of Mr. “Bill Jack” Knight, a prominent resident of the Ray’s Mill district. Mr. Knight had been slightly indisposed for two or three days.  After eating a light supper Friday night as he was sitting at the fireside he suddenly fell over and died.  Mr. Knight was fifty years of age and was married about seven years ago to Miss Sarah Clements, of this place.  He was laid to rest at the Beaverdam burial grounds.  – Milltown News.

The widow Sarah Knight was enumerated (as Sarah Clements) in 1910 with her sister Mary Ann Clements in their home just east of Ray’s Mill.  They were neighbors of John B. Fountain and Frank Gallagher.

Some time before 1920 Sarah married for a second time, joining in matrimony with James W. Suggs.  He was from Dooly County, GA, a son of Malinda “Lynne” Ammon and Wright Suggs.

Sarah and James W. Suggs were enumerated together in the Census of 1920, at their farm on a settlement road near Ray’s Mill. Sarah’s sister and constant companion, Mary Ann Clements, resided with the Suggs.  On adjacent farms were Parnell Knight and Henry D. Bennett.

The 1926 Influenza epidemic reached its peach in Georgia in March;  1926 was the worst flu year since the pandemics of 1918-1919 which had claimed 675,000 lives in the U.S. and more than 30 million worldwide. Sarah’s sister, Mary Ann Clements, at the age of 86, succumbed to Influenza, dying  on March 26, 1926.  She was attended by her nephew, Dr. Henry W. Clements, who was a son of Rowena Patten and Levi J. Clements.  She was buried at Empire Church Cemetery.

Death certificate of Mary Ann Clements, March 26, 1926, Ray City, GA

Death certificate of Mary Ann Clements, March 26, 1926, Ray City, GA

Sometime between 1920 and 1930 James W. Suggs died, leaving Sarah widowed for the second time. Sarah, now on her own, boarded in the farm home of Sherrod Winfield Fender and his wife, Lula Bell Smith. Sherrod was a son of George W. Fender, and a neighbor of Henry Studstill, Arrin H. Guthrie, and Phil McGowan. Also lodging in the Fender household was Chester Nobles.

Sherrod W. Fender died in 1931, but Sarah continued to live with the widowed Lula Smith Fender. The 1940 census shows Sarah Suggs enumerated as a “companion” of Lula Fender.

1940 census enumeration of Sarah Clements Suggs in the Ray City, GA household of Lula Fender.

1940 census enumeration of Sarah Clements Suggs in the Ray City, GA household of Lula Fender.

Sarah Malinda Clements Suggs died April 8, 1947.   She was buried at New Ramah Cemetery at Ray City, GA. (Lula Fender was a member of the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church.)

Grave of Sarah Clements Suggs (1862-1947), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.  Image Source: Robert Strickland, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=52222556

Grave of Sarah Clements Suggs (1862-1947), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Image Source: Robert Strickland, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=52222556

Charles Russell Herring ~ Killed by a Rattlesnake

As summer draws to a close  it is not unusual to spot a rattlesnake along the roadsides or fields of Berrien County, GA.   On September 3, 1937 the Clinch County News reported a fatal rattlesnake encounter at Ray City, GA

Charles Russell Herring was a son of Minnie J. and Charles B. “Barney” Herring, of Ray City, GA. He was born March 4, 1910 and raised in Berrien County, in the Connell’s Mill district just west of Ray City.  His parents owned a farm on the Hahira, Cecil & Milltown road.

Obituary of Charles Russel Herring, killed by a rattlesnake, Ray City, GA, 1937

Obituary of Charles Russel Herring, killed by a rattlesnake, Ray City, GA, 1937

Charles Russell Herring

Russell Herring, 27, Ray City farmer, was bitten Tuesday afternoon by a rattlesnake, dying the next day.  Anti-venom serum rushed  to Nashville to save his life, arrived too late.  He was bitten as he and a companion were sawing wood in a swamp near his home.

Grave of Charles Russell Herring, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Grave of Charles Russell Herring, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.  Image source:  Robert Strickland.

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Memorial to Levi J. Gaskins

Levi Joseph Gaskins, a son of Gideon Gaskins and Sarah “Sally” Knight, was a member of New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City, GA. His maternal grandparents where Ann D. Clements and General Levi J. Knight, and on his father’s side were Polly Barrow and John Gaskins.  Upon his death in 1921, Levi J. Gaskins was buried at New Ramah Cemetery.

Levi J. Gaskins, 1860-1921, Rays Mill, GA

Levi J. Gaskins, 1860-1921, Rays Mill, GA

Minutes of  the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church

Memorial

It is with much sorrow and regret that we here record the death of our beloved brother Levi J. Gaskins who was born to this Life Nov. 18th, 1860 and Died Dec. 15, 1921.

He together with his faithful wife united with the Church at New Ramah on Sept 7, 1916 at which place he lived to his Death. He was united in marriage to his wife who was Miss Mary Strickland Feb 24th, 1878.

We can truthfully say of our beloved and departed brother that He was ever faithful kind and gentle. As a husband father and friend, and as a neighbor he was ever ready to raise the fallen and help the weak. In truth His life was as we feel the life of a Christian who is unselfish and unassuming.

Our beloved brother was never the author of confusion in the Church or in His community, and we feel that His life is worth of our Imitation

 and we would say that we grieve not for Him as we would for one who has no Hope for we feel that our loss is His eternal gain and when the blessed Savior comes again to gather his jewels home that this dear brother will be formed and fashioned like his Glorious body and be escorted away to that Celestial City not made with hands where there will be no more sickness sorrow pain nor Death.

We pray God’s greatest and richest blessings upon the berieved family Trusting that they may be able to be resigned to the will of Him who doeth all things well.

by your committy

C. B. Herring
W. L. Register
G. C. Mikell

Grave of Levi J. Gaskins and Mary E. Strickland, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Grave of Levi J. Gaskins and Mary E. Strickland, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

30

Henry Washington Woodard – Ray City Blacksmith

Woodard Blacksmith Shop

Henry Woodard and Kiziah “Kizzie” Corbitt Woodard lived in Ray City, GA in the 1930’s.  Henry Woodard operated a blacksmith shop  located  on the Ray City Nashville Highway between Main Street and Jones Street.

Henry and Kizzie Woodard photographed in Pearson County, GA.

Henry and Kizzie Woodard photographed in Pearson County, GA.

Henry Woodard, born Nov. 11, 1867, was the eldest son of Wiley H. Woodard and Delilah Ann Brantley.  He was born in Militia District 1144 (the Rays Mill District), Berrien, Georgia and grew up in the Ray’s Mill vicinity. In the Census of 1880 Henry Woodard  is enumerated with his parents, living in the household of his grandfather, Wiley Woodard, in the 1300 Georgia Militia District (now in Lanier County).

Henry Woodard married Kiziah Corbitt on January 5th, 1890 in Clinch County, GA.  She was born September 28, 1866,  a daughter of Rowena Guthrie and Martin Lafayette Corbitt.

It may be that Henry Woodard purchased the Ray City blacksmith shop from Emma Warr, widow of the town’s previous blacksmith. Her husband, Rollie Warr had died some time in the 1920s.

Henry Woodard owned a home in Ray City valued at $600.  His next door neighbors were Edwin D. Griner, who worked as a miller at a Gristmill, and his wife Sarah, who was a trucker on a  truck farm.

Woodard lived and raised his family in Clinch, Coffee, and then Atkinson county before moving back to the area of his birth in Berrien county.  He was occupied most of his life as a farmer but by the time he moved back to Ray City in the 1920s, he had taken up working as a blacksmith.

Children of  Kiziah “Kizzie” Corbett and Henry Woodard:

  1. PEARL WOODARD, b. March 20, 1891 Clinch Co. GA; d. March 05, 1941,Coffee County GA.
  2. HENRY LAFAYETTE WOODARD, b. March 1894; m. Loucreasy O’steen; d. Feb. 9, 1959, Ray City, GA.
  3. LOU ANNIE “Lizzie” WOODARD, b. May 2, 1895, Georgia; m. John Riley Osteen; d. March 7, 1983.
  4. DENNIS WOODARD, b. December 1899, Georgia; d. Abt. 1970.
  5. DELILAH WOODARD, b. 1911; m. JACK CRIBB; d. April 14, 1990

Kiziah Corbitt and Henry Washington Woodard are buried at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Georgia.

Grave of Henry Washington Woodard and Kiziah Corbitt, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave of Henry Washington Woodard and Kiziah Corbitt, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

1910 Train Wreck Gave Charlie Taylor A Fat Lip

On a Monday morning,  February 21, 1910 Charles A Taylor, a farmer who lived just east of Rays Mill, GA , took a train trip on the Georgia & Florida Railroad.  Shortly before 10:00 am that morning, he boarded the train headed for Valdosta.  But just a few miles down the track, as the train approached the station at Bemiss, about ten miles south of Ray City,  there was a head-on collision.

1909 Train wreck  on the Georgia and Florida Railroad at Bemiss, GA about ten miles south of Ray City.

1909 Train wreck on the Georgia and Florida Railroad at Bemiss, GA about ten miles south of Ray City.

The Valdosta Times
February 22, 1910  Pg 5

ENGINES IN A COLLISION

Baggagmaster Wetherington Hurt in Smashup at Bemis Today

(From Monday’s Daily.)

    Passenger train No. 3. southbound, and a northbound freight train on the Georgia & Florida Railroad, had a head-on collision at Bemiss, eight miles north of Valdosta this morning about 10 o’clock.  The cause of the collision has not yet been fully ascertained.  One report says that the freight train instead of pulling into the south end of the side-track at Bemiss, ran on to the north end, preparatory to backing onto the siding, when it was struck by the passenger train which was slowing up for the station.  Another report is that the brakes on the freight train refused to work and the engineer was not able to control his train.
    Mr. C. S. Wetherington, baggage-master, of this city, was the only person seriously hurt in the collision, though a number of passengers were badly shaken up and one of them had some slight cuts on his face.  The full extent of Mr. Wetherington’s injuries had not been learned when The Times went to press, but unless he is hurt internally it is not believed that they are very serious. Mr. Wetherington is a son-in-law of Elder A. V. Simms, of Valdosta.
    Mrs. Lankford, wife of Judge Lankford, of the county court of Douglas, was slightly bruised and Mr. C. A. Taylor, of Rays Mill, had his lip cut.  Neither of these parties are seriously injured, however.
    Dr. J. B. S. Holmes, the road’s surgeon, was telephoned to immediately after the wreck and he went to the scene in an automobile to minister to the injured.  The baggagemaster was brought to the city in an automobile, and is now at the Halycon, where he is receiving medical attention.
    It is said that both locomotives were practically demolished, the passenger locomotive plowing its way almost half through the other.  The passenger cars were not greatly damaged.  The fact that both trains were running very slowly is all that prevented the collision from being a much more dangerous one – possibly a repetition of the disastrous wreck on the Georgia Southern & Florida last week.  The freight train was making only eight or ten miles an hour, at the time and the passenger was probably not running faster than fifteen or eighteen miles an hour.
    The track was blocked by the wreck and all trains were delayed for many hours.

Born  in 1870, Charles A. Taylor was a son of  William Henry Taylor (1849 – 1918) and Amanda F. Parrish (1850 – 1930).  He lived and farmed all of his life near Ray City, GA.  Charlie Taylor died in 1927 and was buried at New Ramah Cemetery at Ray City.

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Ray City Residents Among Refugees from 1926 Hurricane

The hurricane that hit south Florida in September of 1926 was one of the worst storms in U.S. history.

The hurricane that hit south Florida in September of 1926 was one of the worst storms in U.S. history.

When the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 struck, Ray City and Nashville residents were among a number of Georgians caught in the devastation.  Pearlie Sutton Conner and four of her children were among the refugees, as well as Oliver Conner, all of Ray City, GA. Nashville residents stranded by the storm included: M.A. Harper and wife; Mrs. H. Giddings and three children;  Maude Harper  Griner , wife of Arnold Griner;  Rachel Hill Griner, wife of Samuel Bryant Griner; Jerome Griner, and Arnold Griner, Jr.

Miami's new drydock, results of hurricane, Sept. 18, 1926. Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Miami’s new drydock, results of hurricane, Sept. 18, 1926. Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Pearlie Sutton Conner was the wife of James Wilson Conner. Her father was George Washington Sutton and her mother was Julia Ann “Annie” Spell.  The 1890 Berrien County, GA Property Tax Digests show that Geo W. Sutton owned 100 acres in Land Lot 510, 10th District valued at $300.  The Sutton farm was not far from Ray City, in the Connells Mill District, the 1329 Georgia Militia District. The Suttons took their mail at the Lois community.

James Wilson Conner, born on June 22, 1877 in Pulaski County, GA was the son of Daniel Johnson Conner and Nancy Caroline Conner. It is said that his mother died in childbirth and that he was raised by Louisa Conner, who is thought to be a cousin. His father was a Confederate veteran who was wounded in the Civil War.

By the census of 1900 Pearlie’s family had moved about 200 miles west of Ray City to the small community of Ponce De Leon, FL situated on on the Florida Panhandle, where her father owned a farm free and clear of mortgage.

Pearlie Sutton and James Wilson Conner were married in 1899, and were enumerated in the 1900 census of Holmes County (Ponce de Leon District), FL living on the farm next door to her father’s property.

1900 census enumeration of James W. Conner and family, Ponce de Leon, Holmes County, Florida.

1900 census enumeration of James W. Conner and family, Ponce de Leon, Holmes County, Florida.

Some time before 1920 James and Pearlie had moved their family back to Berrien County, Georgia. They owned a farm on the Nashville Enigma Public Road which James worked on his own account.

1920 census enumeration of James W. Conner and family, 1157 Georgia Militia District near Nashville, Berrien County, Georgia.

1920 census enumeration of James W. Conner and family, 1157 Georgia Militia District near Nashville, Berrien County, Georgia.

http://www.archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu235unit#page/n424/mode/1up

Within a few years, the Conners moved to Ray City, GA . At least they made their home there by 1926. James Wilson Conner was a member of New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church at Ray City, until dismissed by letter.

In 1926 their daughter, Cora Lee Conner, was married to Leamon Andy Godwin. The wedding took place in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

So it came to pass that in the very last days of  the summer of 1926, Pearlie Sutton Conner and four of her children were in south Florida. It was then, on September 18, 1926 when the Great Miami Hurricane made landfall.

The 1926 storm was described by the U.S. Weather Bureau in Miami as “probably the most destructive hurricane ever to strike the United States.” It hit Fort Lauderdale, Dania, Hollywood, Hallandale and Miami. The death toll is estimated to be from 325 to perhaps as many as 800. No storm in previous history had done as much property damage. 1926 Miami: The blow that broke the boom

Much has been written about The Big Blow of 1926. The population growth of south Florida in the preceding decade had been explosive, fueled by the Florida land boom. The newcomers and tourists had slight experience with hurricanes.  The approach of the tropical storm raised little alarm with the public, or with authorities.  It was just hours before the storm came on shore that a hurricane warning was finally issued,   “But in 1926 there were few avenues for warning people. Only a handful of people owned radios to hear the warnings broadcast on South Florida’s only radio station.”   After the storm had passed, the damage was captured on film. A 1926 silent movie newsreel, Miami: The Magic City, documents the extent of the damage and The Sun Sentinel and PBS have informative articles.

At the time, Miami’s hurricane was considered the country’s greatest natural disaster since the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. Today the Category 4 storm ranks among 20th-century U.S. hurricanes as the 12th strongest and 12th deadliest. After adjustment for 1996 construction costs, the storm is the U.S.’s 20th most costly, with an estimated $1.5 billion in property damage. – The American Experience: The Hurricane of 1926

The Atlanta Constitution headline tolled the death and decimation of the 1926 hurricane.

The Atlanta Constitution headline tolled the death and decimation of the 1926 hurricane.

In the aftermath of the storm, the Red Cross and the National Guard assisted with aid to the refugees. When transportation could be arranged, Florida travelers fled the destruction.  Many Georgians boarded northbound trains at West Palm Beach, including Pearlie Sutton Conner and her children, and other Berrien County residents.

The Atlanta Constitution
September 23, 1926

GEORGIA REFUGEES HOMEWARD BOUND

West Palm Beach, Fla., September 22. – The following Georgia refugees from Hollywood came here today and were given transportation to their former homes:
Mr. and Mrs J. R. Bowman and two babies, Winder, Ga; Mrs. R H. Armstrong and five children, Cochran, Ga.; Martha and Gladys Burgamy, Cochran, Ga; Mrs. B. W. Atkinson and baby, Stone Mountain, Ga.; Mrs. C. J. Sutton and two children, Atlanta; Mrs. H. E. Webb, Vidalia, Ga.
Mrs. J. W. Webb, Vidalia, Ga.; Mrs. J. J. Chancellor and two children, Cordele, Ga.; Mrs. J. M. Thornton and one child, Madison, Ga.; Mrs. Beulah Lester, Columbus, Ga.; Mrs. Annie Franklin and three children, Clarksville, Ga.; Mrs. R. C. Davidson and three children, Comer, Ga.; Mrs. J. B. Bivings and two children, Savannah, Ga., Catherine Bivings, Macon, Ga., Lilla, Lula, Lillian and Robert Hudson, Thomasville, Ga.; Mrs. Lincoln Frost and baby, Thomasville, Ga.; Mrs. Reuben Rushing and baby, Thomasville, Ga.; Mrs. E. M. Stokes, Cochran, Ga.
Mrs. S. A. Crews, Waycross, Ga.; Mrs. L.D. Fletcher and three children, Andalusia, Ga.; Mrs. B. H. Thomas and two children, Winder, Ga.; Mr. and Mrs. Jack Hutchinson and son, Atlanta; Mrs. E. W. Cross and daughter, Cordele, Ga.; Mrs. A. L. Pittman, Athens, Ga.; Mrs. R. A. Clyatt and two children, Atlanta; Mrs. Arnold Griner, Mrs. S. B. Griner, Jerome Griner and Arnold Griner, Jr., Nashville, Ga.
Mrs. G. W. Thomas and four children, Winder, Ga.; Mrs. J. H. King and two children, Comer, Ga.; Julia and Estelle McClanden, Wadley, Ga.; Mrs. W. L. George and two children, West Green, Ga; Mrs. E. E. Olds and child, Lawrenceville, Ga.; Mrs. W. L. Revel and three children, Sargent, Ga.;

GEORGIA REFUGEES LEAVE FOR HOME
Continued from First Page.

Mrs. R. L. Thompson and two children, Winder, Ga.; Mrs. Ruby Hall and six children, Comer, Ga.; Mrs. J. W. Conner and four children, Ray City, Ga.; Oliver Conner, Ray City, Ga.; Mrs. L W. Conder and baby, Columbus, Ga.; Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Daniels and six children, Cochran, Ga; Mrs. R. H. Darnell and four children, Fairmont, Ga.; Mrs. J. W. Ingram, Jr.; and son, Dublin, Ga.; Mrs. A. Roll and two children, Atlanta, Ga; Mrs. W. R. Titshaw and son, Pitts, Ga.; Mrs. H. T. Hosskins and child, Comer, Ga.; Mrs. O. P. Gulibeau, Augusta, Ga.; Mrs. H. G. Harvey and two children, Pelham, Ga; Mrs. J. D. Duvall and daughter, Toccoa, Ga.; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Kramer, Atlanta; Mr. and Mrs. Orris Canatsy and child, Pitts, Ga.; Mrs. J. A. Warren and 10 children, Pitts, Ga.; M. A. Harper and wife, Nashville, Ga.; Mrs. Lillie Titshaw and three children, Pitts, Ga; Mrs. H. Giddings and three children, Nashville, Ga.; Mrs. P. W. Ross, Cordele, Ga.; Mrs. A. C. Wilkens, Cordele, Ga.; Buelah Wilkens, Cordele, Ga; Mrs. R. W. Dowdy and six children, Pitts, Ga.; F. F. Keener and four children, Toccoa, Ga; Mrs. G. G. Sanders and two children, Elberton, Ga.

At home in Georgia, the Conners continued to reside in the Ray City vicinity. In the Census of 1930, they were enumerated in the 1300 Georgia Militia District, to the east of the town, in Lanier County.

Enumeration of James W. Conner and family, 1300 Georgia Militia District, Lanier County, Georgia.

1930 census enumeration of James W. Conner and family, 1300 Georgia Militia District, Lanier County, Georgia.

http://www.archive.org/stream/georgiacensus00reel372#page/n518/mode/1up

 The Conners remained in Ray City, thereafter.   James Wilson Conner died in 1954 and Pearlie Sutton Conner died in 1959. They were buried at New Ramah Church cemetery, at Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Pearlie Sutton and James Wilson Conner, New Ramah Church Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Pearlie Sutton and James Wilson Conner, New Ramah Church Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Related Posts:

Millard Townsend was Pioneer in Special Education

Millard C. Townsend, subject of previous posts , and his family became residents of Ray City, GA some time prior to 1920. Townsend studied at Mercer University in the 1920s (see Millard Carnege “Mill” Townsend, of Ray City, Made Mark at Mercer , Millard C. Townsend and the Mercer Debate Team .

Gravemarker of Daniel Wiley Townsend, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Gravemarker of Daniel Wiley Townsend, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

His father, Daniel Wiley Townsend died at Ray City in 1928 and was buried at New Ramah Cemetery.

After college, Millard moved to Roanoke, Virginia, where he boarded with the family of Charles A. Ball, a Virginia real estate agent. Millard took a job as a teacher at the National Business College, and later became the Personnel Director for the college.

1930 census enumeration of Millard Townsend in Roanoke Virginia. In the 1920s, Townsend lived in Ray City, GA.

1930 census enumeration of Millard Townsend in Roanoke Virginia. In the 1920s, Townsend lived in Ray City, GA.

http://www.archive.org/stream/15thcensus2482unit#page/n393/mode/1up

Townsend became a leading advocate for special education and did much to organize support for mentally and physically handicapped children in the state of Virginia.

Millard C. Townsend, former Ray City, GA resident, was a leading advocate for the mentally and physically disabled in Virginia.

Millard C. Townsend, former Ray City, GA resident, was a leading advocate for the mentally and physically disabled in Virginia.

Halifax Gazette
October 14, 1954

State Retarded Children Work To Be Explained

M. C. Townsend

Education of mentally retarded and physically handicapped children will be the theme of an address before the Junior Woman’s Club here Friday night, October 22.
 The speaker will be M. C. Townsend, personnel director of National Business College, Roanoke, and one of the state’s pioneers in the mentally retarded education program. Townsend appeared here last June at the invitation of instigators of a movement to start a Council for Retarded Children here. His talk drew warm response, and since then efforts have been pushed to establish such a class here under auspices of the State Department of Education and private groups.
 Townsend is a graduate of Mercer University, Macon, Ga. The father of an mentally retarded child himself, Townsend early became interested in a plan to train and educate such handicapped children.
 He was the leader in the first Council for Retarded Children in the state, established at Roanoke. Later he helped organize the Virginia State Association for Mentally Retarded Children, an organization that numbers several Councils for Retarded Children in the state. He served as legislative chairman for the association last year, and was instrumental in securing the first state
 appropriations to the State Department of Education to assist with educational programs for the handicapped.
Former Governor Battle named him to the first commission to study the needs of mentally and physically handicapped children.
The Junior Woman’s Clubs of the state numbers the program as one of its principal projects and has offered its support to local councils fostering the educational program.

Related Posts:

Ferris Moore ~ Ray City Iceman

Ferris Moore (1906-1978)

Born Feb 17, 1906, Ferris Moore was the son of Hattie and J. Lacy Moore, and the grandson of Rachel J. Shaw and James Burton Moore.

About 1929  Ferris C. Moore married Bertice Vickers. The couple first made their home not far from Ray City in Lois, GA  where Ferris worked as a farmer.  Later, they moved to Ray City to live next door to Ferris’ father.  Their house was on the south side of Main Street and just east of Cat Creek.

Home of Ferris and Bertice Moore. Ray City, GA.

Home of Ferris and Bertice Moore. Ray City, GA.

In Ray City, Ferris Moore worked as an iceman. He delivered ice to local residences every other day.  He had an icehouse located on Paralleled Street, next to the tracks of Georgia & Florida Railroad.  The icehouse was a small shed, perhaps 10 by 10 feet. There was a small porch that served as a loading dock.

The  ice came from an ice plant in 300 pound blocks, and the iceman used an ice pick to cut what ever size blocks were needed. An eight pound block of ice sold for a nickel. The ice delivery man worked alone, with the ice loaded on an open truck and covered with a tarp.  Most people had an “ice box”  that served as a refrigerator of sorts,  and an eight  pound block of ice would last just about two days.

The 1940 census of Ray City shows Ferris Moore was a businessman and employer, managing a cold storage facility.  His father, James Lacy Moore was working as an ice dealer.

At times, Ferris Moore took handyman jobs in Ray City.  In 1951, when Rossie and Lessie Futch moved the home  at 507 Jones Street, Ferris Moore helped to paint the interior.

Ferris Moore died July 1, 1978 in Ray City, GA.  He was buried at New Ramah Cemetery.

Ferris G. Moore and Bertice Vickers Moore, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia

Ferris G. Moore and Bertice Vickers Moore, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia

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