Charles Bruner Shaw

Charles Bruner Shaw (1888-1950)

Special thanks to Bryan Shaw for sharing photos and content for this post. Portions reprinted from Shaw Family Newsletter: Charles Bruner Shaw

Born in 1888 in a corn crib on the John Allen farm just outside Ray City, GA, Bruner Shaw would later serve as a police officer for the town. He was a son of Francis Arthur Shaw and Victoria Giddens Knight.

Bruner Shaw in police uniform about 1926. Photographed in Florida.

Bruner Shaw in police uniform about 1926. Photographed in Florida. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw.

After Bruner’s mother died of scarlet fever in 1889, he and his brother Brodie Shaw were raised by their grand parents, Francis Marion Shaw and Rachel Moore Allen Shaw.  The home place of  Francis Marion Shaw and Rachel Moore Allen Shaw was just west of Ray City, at Lois, GA just off Possum Branch Road.  Bruner attended school  through the eighth grade at the two-room Pine Grove School. The Pine Grove and Kings Chapel schools were filled at various times with the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of Rachel and Francis Marion Shaw. 

Bruner Shaw circa 1905

Bruner Shaw circa 1905

At a young age, Bruner Shaw married Mollie Register, daughter of William M. Register (1852-1926) and  Sarah Laura Parrish Register (1854-1933), and granddaughter of Elder Ancil Parrish the old Primitive Baptist preacher of Berrien County.  The Registers were a prominent family of Nashville, GA.  Bruner and Mollie were married on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1905, in a ceremony performed by Bruner’s uncle  Aaron Anderson Knight,  of Ray City, GA. Reverend Knight was  then primitive baptist minister of  Pleasant Church, just west of Ray City, GA.  The bride was one month shy of her 20th birthday; the  groom had just turned 17.

Marriage certificate of Charles Bruner Shaw and Mollie Register, December 31, 1905.

Marriage certificate of Charles Bruner Shaw and Mollie Register, December 31, 1905.

 

 

Bruner farmed for a while at Ray City, GA near his brother, Brodie Shaw. The census of 1910 shows other neighbors included Mack SpeightsJoseph S. Clements, Bryant Fender, and Frank Gallagher.

A Year of Tragedy

In January, 1911, when his aunt and uncle, Eliza Allen and Sovin J. Knight, moved to Brooks County to a farm on the Little River near Barney, GA, Bruner went along, moving his young family to an adjacent farm. But shortly after their move to Barney, “on April 16, 1911, just 26 days after the purchase of the new farm, Sovin suffered a severe heart attack and died in his new home.

After this family loss  coupled with the death of his infant daughter, Pecola, Bruner Shaw sold his Brooks County farm and returned to Berrien County.  Just six weeks after the sale, his wife, Mollie Register Shaw, died of Scarlet Fever.  She was buried at Pleasant Cemetery, near Ray City, GA.

Bruner’s widowed aunt Eliza later moved  her daughters, Kathleen and Rachel, back to Berrien County to live in the farm home of her parents  (Bruner’s grandparents) , Rachel Moore Allen Shaw and Francis Marion Shaw, just outside of Ray City, GA.

Grave of Mollie Register Shaw (1886-1911), Pleasant Cemetery, near Ray City, GA. Image source: Cat

Grave of Mollie Register Shaw (1886-1911), Pleasant Cemetery, near Ray City, GA. Image source: Cat

The young widower soon enlisted the help of a teen-age girl to help take care of his children. Fifteen-year-old Charlie Ruth Griffin was the youngest child of William Harrison “Hass” Griffin and Rebecca Jane Parrish, born June 25, 1897 in her family’s cabin on South Old Coffee Road in Berrien County.  Her siblings were Sarah Rebecca, Georgia Lavinia, Mary Ellen, Margaret Frances “Fannie”, Willie Henrietta, William Franklin, and Robert Bruce Griffin.

Charlie Ruth Griffin while a student at White Pond School. Original image detail courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Charlie Ruth Griffin while a student at White Pond School. Original image detail courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

As Charlie took care of Bruner’s children they grew very close to their nursemaid. After a very brief courtship, Bruner and Charlie were  married November 23, 1913 at the home of the Reverend Aaron Anderson Knight in Ray City.  Reverend Knight was then serving as the first pastor of the newly organized New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church at Ray City.

 

Marriage certificate of Charles Bruner Shaw and Charlie Ruth Griffin, November 24, 1913, Ray City, GA

Marriage certificate of Charles Bruner Shaw and Charlie Ruth Griffin, November 24, 1913, Ray City, GA

 

Charlie gave Bruner three more children,  Francis Marion Shaw, Lynette Narcissis Shaw, and Charles Bruner Shaw, Jr.,  and raised Bruner’s two children, Juanita and William Arthur, as if they were her own.

Bruner and Charlie Shaw were a part of society and leisure at Ray City, GA and Berrien County.  In February, 1914 Bruner was among the people from Ray City attending the carnival at Nashville.  Others from Ray City included  Annie Mae Carter, Margie Dasher, Pearl Hardie Knight, Mr. and Mrs. G. V. Harvie, W. H. Luckie, George Norton, J. J. and J. S. Clements.

In 1914, Charlie Ruth and her husband, Bruner Shaw, and daughter, Juanita Shaw, were also seen at the Mayhaw Lake Resort on Park Street near Ray City. Mayhaw Lake was “The Place” in Berrien County for more than a decade. It was built in 1914 by Elias Moore “Hun”  Knight, of Ray City. The amusement park was such a popular spot that the Georgia & Florida Railroad gave special rates for picnic parties from all points on their line. People from all over the area would journey to Mayhaw Lake, especially on holidays such as the 4th of July and Labor Day. A boarding house [later the home of Effie Guthrie Knight] up the road towards Ray City was opened up by the Paul Knight family   specifically to provide lodging for the Mayhaw crowd. 

Posing in front of the roller skating rink at Mayhaw Lake in 1914, left to right: Burton Moore; Tom Parrish; Manson Johnson; unidentified lady; Charlie Ruth Shaw with her husband, Bruner Shaw, and daughter, Juanita Shaw; lady; Viola Smith Davis; lady; Mrs. Burton Moore and daughters, Kate Hazen, Thelma Register; Lonnie Smith; boy; man; Shellie Ziegler; and Jessie Ziegler Touchton. Members of the band in the background include: Rossie Swindle, Glenn Johnson, Lonnie Swindle, and J. H. Swindle.

Posing in front of the roller skating rink at Mayhaw Lake in 1914, left to right: Burton Moore; Tom Parrish; Manson Johnson; unidentified lady; Charlie Ruth Shaw with her husband, Bruner Shaw, and daughter, Juanita Shaw; lady; Viola Smith Davis; lady; Mrs. Burton Moore and daughters, Kate Hazen, Thelma Register; Lonnie Smith; boy; man; Shellie Ziegler; and Jessie Ziegler Touchton. Members of the band in the background include: Rossie Swindle, Glenn Johnson, Lonnie Swindle, and J. H. Swindle.

It was about this time that Bruner began his life-long pursuit of the law enforcement profession.  Bruner entered police work through occasional employment as a deputy at Ray City.  At that time the Police Chief at Ray City was Bruner’s cousin, Cauley Shaw.

An incident report in the Nashville Herald, October 9, 1914:

Considerable excitement was occasioned here Monday by a report that Cauley and Bruner Shaw and two other young men of Ray’s Mill had been shot about twelve miles down the Valdosta Road. Several gentlemen from here [Nashville, GA] went in an automobile. But when they reached the scene, they found that the wounds were not serious. A negro for whom they had a warrant, shot at them with a shotgun loaded with bird shot.

The Tifton Gazette also reported the incident:

Tifton Gazette reports Bruner shot while serving an arrest warrant, October 6, 1914

Tifton Gazette reports Bruner shot while serving an arrest warrant, October 6, 1914

Tifton Gazette
October 16, 1914

C. B. Shaw, C.H. Jones and Charley Thomas were shot by a negro named John Williams, near Rays Mill Oct. 6, says the Milltown Advocate. Thomas has some trouble with the negro about hauling some cotton and the negro fired at him. He went to Rays Mill, secured a warrant and returned for the negro. The negro opened fire and slightly wounded three of the party who returned from Rays Mill with Thomas. The negro escaped.

Over the next few years, Bruner did stints in the police departments of Milltown (now Lakeland), GA and at Willacoochee.  By early 1919, Bruner had been hired by Berrien County Sheriff J. V. Nix as a deputy at Nashville, GA.

Until 1919, most of the activities of a peace officer involved chasing down petty thieves, and raiding an occasional “skins” (gambling) game…

Production and consumption of moonshine – illegal liquor – was also a problem for law officers. State-wide prohibition in Georgia had passed in 1907, with Ray City’s own representative Jonathan Perry Knight among those leading the charge.

However, with the passage of the 18th amendment to the Constitution (prohibition), a whole new illicit business was the target of he county sheriff and his deputies. “Blind tigers”, as they were commonly referred, brewed alcohol in what was known as a “lard can” still, using syrup and meal processed through a copper worm. The product was a high explosive liquor with enough alcohol in it to burn like gasoline. Drinking of such had been known to cause blindness, if not death. Thus the name “blind tiger.”

By 1919,  reports of drunkenness and lawlessness in Ray City were making newspapers throughout the section. There were plenty of “blind tigers” running stills and selling bootleg liquor in Berrien County and Ray City, and gambling, too, despite the efforts of lawmen like Bruner Shaw, Cauley Shaw,  Gus Clements, Frank Allen, Marcus Allen, Jim Griner, Wesley Griner, and W.W. Griner.

In April, 1919, part-time deputy Bruner Shaw was again shot by an assailant.

1919 Tifton Gazette reports Bruner Shaw shot by John Harris

1919 Tifton Gazette reports Bruner Shaw shot by John Harris

Tifton Gazette
May 2, 1919

Shaw Shot by Negro

Nashville, Ga., April 23- Bruner Shaw, a well known young farmer who has served as special deputy sheriff a numbWer of times, was shot from ambush Saturday at the home of Will McSwain, a negro farmer living near Lois, this county. Shaw recognized his assailant as John Harris, a young negro whom he had arrested at Adel several months ago on a misdemeanor charge. The wouldbe murderer used a 23-calibre Winchester rifle, and the bullet entered the left side of Shaw’s head. He was able to come to Nashville today and swear out warrants against the negro, who is in jail here, having been captured by Sheriff Nix.

 

While pursuing his law enforcement career in other towns, Bruner Shaw maintained his Ray City connections. In 1920 Census records show Bruner and Charlie were residing in Ray City. According to Bryan Shaw,  Bruner’s last child, Charles Bruner, Jr., was born on February 6, 1920, in a home on Trixie Street behind the Marion Shaw home in Ray City. Bruner and Charlie resided in the home for three more years, participating regularly in the events of the community, especially dances and song fests.

Nashville Herald
March 15, 1923

News from Ray City—Everybody that wants to laugh as they haven’t since the war, come out on “Dad’s Night” . . . Last but not least will be some very fine singing by several of our gentlemen singers. They alone will be worth your time, should we have no other attraction. Mr. Bruner Shaw has promised us they will give at least four selections.

Later that year, Bruner Shaw was present at the startup of Ray City’s first power plant.

Sometime that fall Bruner, Charlie Ruth, and their five children moved to Polk County, Florida, where Bruner was hired as a deputy.  There was steady work tracking down bootleggers and their moonshine stills. Details of  big raids appeared in the papers:

The Polk County Recorder
March 2, 1924

“With drawn guns and expecting a battle to the death, sixteen deputies from Sheriff Logan’s force [and two federal agents] surrounded an abandoned sawmill camp in Eastern Polk County. Deputies Hatcher and Shaw volunteered to be a party to call for the surrender of the men sought.”

•∏•

Tampa Tribune
March 31, 1924

Lakeland Deputies Catch Moonshiners

Still of 100-Gallon Capacity Is Haul; Several Arrests Are Made

(Special to the Tribune)
Lakeland, March 30. – Lying in the woods near Bowling Green, Deputies [Newt] Hatcher and Shaw of the sheriff’s office Friday night watched a suspected bootlegger uncover two gallons of moonshie near the hiding place. Floyd Douglas, it is alleged, was getting the liquor to sell to Federal Officer Standau, unaware of the officer’s identity. Five gallons more were found in a search, and Douglas and the liquor were taken into custody. This is said to be Douglas’ second offense.
Just before the Bowling Green visit, the three officials made a big haul at Mulberry, here a 100-gallon copper still, 18 barrels of mash and six gallons of ‘shine were found in a swamp a mile from town. A negro man and woman were arrested as operators of the still.

•∏•

The Tampa Times
April 19, 1924

Raids Discourage Makers of ‘Shine

(Special to The Times.)
Bartow, April 19. – When the home of a Mrs. Beaumont, just over the Polk county line in Hillsborough county, was raided Wednesday the officers making the raid captured 244 bottles of 4 1/2 percent beer and three half pint bottles of shine. The arrest was made by Polk county Deputy Sheriffs Hatcher and Shaw with Federal prohibition Officers Standau and Dugan, who took the prisoner and evident to Tampa.
The recent series of captures of “shine” outfits conducted by Sheriff Logan and his deputies seems to have discouraged the moonshining industry in Polk county, according to reports from the sheriff’s office and judging from the record of convictions of violators of the prohibition laws in the criminal court combined with the sentences imposed by Judge Olliphant it seems highly probably that bootleggers of Polk county will decided that business isn’t so good in these parts.

In July, 1924 Bruner served as Night Police Chief in Haines City, FL. His friend and colleague, Newt Hatcher, was the Day Police Chief.

Bruner Shaw in front of his squad car at Haines City Florida. Image detail courtesy of Bryan Shaw

Bruner Shaw in front of his squad car at Haines City Florida. Image detail courtesy of Bryan Shaw

The exploits of Officer Shaw were occasionally reported in the Tampa Tribune.  On December 21, 1925, the paper reported C. B. Shaw was involved in a gun battle with a murder suspect.

December 21, 1925 C. B. Shaw in gun battle with Odom Dunlap, alleged murderer of Owen Higgins.

December 21, 1925 C. B. Shaw in gun battle with Odom Dunlap, alleged murderer of Owen Higgins.

Later, Bruner Shaw served as chief of police at Frostproof, FL.  A high profile case while Bruner Shaw as chief of police at Frostproof Florida was the kidnapping of  E. L. Mercer, well-to-do citrus grower.

June 6, 1928 Tampa Tribune reports Frostproof, FL police chief Bruner Shaw investigating kidnapping of E.L. Mercer

June 6, 1928 Tampa Tribune reports Frostproof, FL police chief Bruner Shaw investigating kidnapping of E.L. Mercer

In the fall of 1929, the Shaw family returned to Berrien County, GA where Bruner sharecropped the John Strickland property on the old Valdosta highway. While the family went about bringing in crops of corn, tobacco and cotton, and the children [Marion, Lynette, and Charles, Jr.] were attending school at Kings Chapel, Bruner found temporary employment with the Berrien County Sheriff and the Ray City Police.

By November, 1930 Bruner Shaw was named Chief of Police in Alapaha, GA and moved the family there. He was once again again in pursuit of “blind tigers.”

Nashville Herald,
December 18 , 1930

Last Wednesday afternoon Chief C. B. Shaw and Deputy Sheriff Wesley Griner and W. W. Griner went over near Glory and went down in the river swamp about one mile west of Glory and found 180 gallons of corn mash. There was no still found with this buck. The officers poured out the contents and busted up the barrels. The people of Alapaha are pleased with the work of Mr. C. B. Shaw since he has been Chief of Police. We all hope that Mr. Shaw will stay on here as he is doing such good work and helping to clean up the community by catching blind tigers.

Moonshine still bust about 1930 near Glory, GA on the Alapaha River . Chief of Police, Bruner Shaw, 2nd from the right. Other identified is Brooker Shaw, brother of Chief Shaw, 2nd from the left.

Moonshine still bust about 1930 near Glory, GA on the Alapaha River. Chief of Police, Bruner Shaw, 2nd from the right. Other identified is Brooker Shaw, brother of Chief Shaw, 2nd from the left.

It was the midst of the Great Depression, and though his work was appreciated, the pay was meager.  In the summer of 1931,  Bruner removed his family from Berrien County for last time and the Shaw family moved back to Frostproof.

The Shaw Family Newsletter: CHARLES BRUNER SHAW, SR: Have Badge, Will Travel, by Bryan Shaw, relates the story of Bruner Shaw’s life, law, business, and family.

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Elizabeth Roena Patten Clements (1858-1951)

Elizabeth Roena Patten Clements,  matriarch of the sawmill family of Ray City, died in 1951. She was the widow of Levi J. Clements and  a daughter of William and Elizabeth Register Patten.   In the early 1920s the Clements Lumber Company  was the largest business in Ray City, GA.

Obituary of Roena Patten Clements.

Obituary of Roena Patten Clements.

Valdosta Times
Friday, February 2, 1951

DEATH CLAIMS MRS. CLEMENTS OF RAY CITY

Mrs. Levie J. Rhoena Clements, 93, passed away at her home in Ray City this morning about 10 o’clock. Funeral services will be held at New Ramey Primitive Baptist Church at Ray City at 3 p. m. Saturday. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Lillie Gaskins, five sons, Dr. H. W. Clements, Adel; J. L. Clements, Fort Meade, Fla; W. G. Clements, Ebb, Fla; and J. I and J. S. Clements of Ray City.  Twenty grand children and 28 great-grandchildren also survive. Mrs. Clements was born in Berrien county and was a resident of that section all her life. Pallbearers will be the grandsons. Elder Marcus Peavy, pastor at Ray City, will conduct the services.  He will be assisted by the Rev. John W. Harrell, pastor of the Ray City Baptist Church. Wiseman Funeral Home, Adel, will direct the arrangements.

Funeral of Roena Patten Clements was held Saturday, February 3, 1951 at New Ramah Baptist Church, Ray City, GA

Funeral of Roena Patten Clements was held Saturday, February 3, 1951 at New Ramah Baptist Church, Ray City, GA

Mrs. Clements Is Laid To Rest

     Funeral services for Mrs. Rhoena Clements were held Saturday at 3 p. m. at the New Ramah Baptist Church.  Services were conducted by Elder M. C. Peavey and the Rev. John W. Harrell.
Mrs. Clements died Friday morning after an illness of several months.  She was a member of an old and prominent Ray City family.
Amazing Grace and I’m Going Home were sung by a mixed choir.  Interment was in the churchyard cemetery.
Active pallbearers were Donald Clements, Hugh Clements, Mason Clements, Kief Clements, J. I. Clements, Jr., Ralph Clements, Austin Clements and Dr. Fred C. Clements.
Honorary pallbearers were H. P. Clements, J. H. Swindle, Y. F. Carter, L. H. Webb, W. A. Clements, P. N. Sirmans, R. P. Swindle, C. W. Schmoe, Morris Johnson and H. W. Nelson.

Roena Clements 1858-1951, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Roena Clements 1858-1951, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Children of Elizabeth Roena Patten Clements and Levi J. Clements:

  1. Henry W. Clements, M.D.,   b. 1877, Ray City, Berrien Co., GA ,   d. 6 Feb 1952
  2. Lucille “Lillie” Clements,   b. 17 Feb 1879, Berrien County, GA,   d. 25 Apr 1967
  3. Lucius Jordan Clements,   b. 26 Dec 1880, Berrien County, GA ,   d. 20 Dec 1965, Ft. Meade, Polk County, FL
  4. Pearle E. Clements,   b. 6 Oct 1882, Berrien County, GA,   d. 9 Sep 1904
  5. William Grover “Bill” Clements,   b. 1 Oct 1884, Ray City Berrien Co., GA ,   d. 30 Jul 1984, Cross City, Dixie County, FL
  6. Joseph S. Clements,   b. 14 Aug 1886, Berrien County, GA,   d. 23 Aug 1963, Berrien County, GA
  7. James Irwin Clements,   b. 14 Aug 1886, Berrien County, GA,   d. 9 Feb 1965, Berrien County, GA

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Death of Sarah Griner

As told in previous post Almost Gone ~ Graves of D. Edwin Griner and Sarah Rouse at New Ramah Cemetery) Sarah “Sallie” Rouse married D. Edwin Griner on October 22, 1894 in Berrien County, GA.  She was the daughter of Kizzia and Robert O. Rouse, of Ray’s Mill, GA.

Sarah’s father was a veteran of the Civil War, having served in Company I, 50th Georgia Regiment.  He was fighting with his unit in November 1863 at Knoxville, TN when he was wounded in the face, breaking both cheek bones and impairing his vision. He was  captured by Union forces on January 5, 1864 and imprisoned at Rock Island Prison.  He remained a prisoner of war until March 27, 1865  when he was exchanged  at  Boulware and Cox’s Wharves, James River, VA and was subsequently furloughed. He was later denied a Confederate pension.

Edwin and Sarah Griner 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.  To that story we now add the obituary of Sarah Griner,  died Monday, January 29, 1951.

Valdosta Times
January 30, 1951

Obituary of Sarah Griner, (1871-1951) Ray City, GA

Obituary of Sarah Griner, (1871-1951) Ray City, GA

Valdosta Times
January 30, 1951

Mrs. Sara Griner of Ray City is Claimed by Death

Mrs. Sara Griner, 80, died Monday afternoon after several months of illness.  She had lived in Ray City all of her life, and was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church.
    She is survived by one son, William Griner; one daughter, Mrs. Berdie Cook, both of Ray City; two grandchildren.
    Funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at 3 o’clock at the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church in Ray City.  The Rev. John W. Harrell and Elder M. C. Peavy will conduct the services.
    Lakeland Funeral Home is directing arrangements.

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

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

Children of  Sarah Rouse Griner and D. Edwin Griner:

  1. Carl Griner, born September 11, 1894; died November 5, 1900; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA
  2. Eugene Griner, born May 26, 1896; died November 3, 1900, buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA
  3. Lona Belle Griner, born April 15, 1899; died November 11, 1909;  buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA
  4. William Edwin Griner 1902 – 1984
  5. Sarah V Griner 1905 –

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Memorial Day Remembrance of the Service and Sacrifice of Hubert Felton Comer

Hubert Felton Comer

Hubert Felton Comer

Memorial Day Remembrance of the Service and Sacrifice of Hubert Felton Comer

In the 2007-2008 Georgia Legislative Session, The Georgia Senate passed a resolution to dedicate the Ray City bridge over Cat Creek in memorial to Hubert F. Comer:

A RESOLUTION

Dedicating certain portions of the state highway system; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, Hubert F. Comer served in the United States Navy and was assigned to the USS Rich, a destroyer escort during the Normandy invasion in June 1944; and

WHEREAS, the USS Rich hit three German mines off the Normandy coast two days after the Normandy invasion; and

WHEREAS, Hubert F. Comer was listed among the missing, and his body was never recovered; and

WHEREAS, Hubert F. Comer was awarded the American Area Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medal, and the Purple Heart; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and appropriate to honor Hubert F. Comer for his service and ultimate sacrifice in that service to the United States of America, the State of Georgia, and Berrien County by the naming of the SR 37 bridge on Cat Creek in honor and memory of his service and sacrifice.

Hubert  Felton Comer, age nine, was enumerated along with his family in the 1930 census living in the Lois community near Ray City, GA. He was a son of Margaret Jane Hudson and Audley H. Comer.  His father was a farmer, and Hubert and his older brother, Harold, assisted with the farm labor.

Hubert Felton Comer, 8th Grade, New Lois School, Berrien County, GA.

Hubert Felton Comer, 8th Grade, New Lois School, Berrien County, GA.

Hubert, and siblings who were of age, attended the one room school house at Lois.  A 1936-37 class photo (detail at right) depicting Hubert at about age sixteen is available at the Berrien County Historical Photos Collection.

Later, Hubert attended the Ray City School where he graduated from high school about 1940  (see Glee Club Gave 1939 Christmas Cantata).

Hubert Felton Comer enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve on April 6, 1942.

Hubert Felton Comer was born July 14, 1920 and died June 8, 1944.

The Nashville Herald
September 28, 1944

Hubert F. Comer Reported Dead

    Hubert F. Comer, 24, Carpenters Mate Second Class, U.S.N.R. , missing in action since July 9, was reported dead in a letter received last week by his wife.  The letter stated that he had been carried on the official records of the Navy Department in the status of missing since June 6, 1944.  He was servicing on board the U. S. S. Rich when that vessel was lost in the European Invasion as a result of enemy action.
     News of his death read:
     “It is with deep regret you are here advised that, although the body of your husband was not recovered, his commanding officer has reported that the circumstances surrounding his disappearance have lead to a conclusion of death.  It is hoped you may find comfort in the knowledge that he was serving his country at the time of his death.”
     He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Comer of Ray City, who received similar news of his death.
     Young Comer was graduated from the Ray City high school in 1940 after which he was employed on construction projects at Augusta.  He enlisted in the Navy in April of 1942 and was married to the former Miss Paula Skinner in June 1943. His last leave at home was in March of this year.  He was a person of good moral character and his many friends are grieved to learn of his death.
     Survivors include his wife and parents, four brothers, M. Sgt. Harold Comer of Eglin Field, Fla., Sgt. James E. Comer, somewhere overseas, Jerry and Murray Comer of Ray City, and two sisters, Ms. Algerine Garner, of San Diego, Calif., and Miss Barbara Comer, of Ray City.

Aboard the USS Rich:

Hubert Felton Comer aboard the USS Rich (DE 695), WWII.

Hubert Felton Comer aboard the USS Rich (DE 695), WWII.

The USS Rich was officially described as, “DE – 695: displacement 1,800; length 306’; beam 36’10”; draft 13’6”; speed 24 knots; complement 215; armament 3 3”, 4 40mm., 8 20mm., 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog-type), 3 21” torpedo tubes; class Buckley.”

The USS Rich (DE-695) was laid down on March 27, 1943 by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, MI.; launched June 22, 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Ralph McMaster Rich; and commissioned October 1, 1943, Lt. Comdr. E. A. Michel, Jr., USNR, in command.

The USS Rich (DE-695) was laid down on March 27, 1943 by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, MI.; launched June 22, 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Ralph McMaster Rich; and commissioned October 1, 1943, Lt. Comdr. E. A. Michel, Jr., USNR, in command.

The USS Rich was laid down on 27 March 1943 at the Defoe Shipbuilding Company, Bay City, Michigan, the third destroyer escort to be built at that yard. She was launched on 22 June 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Ralph McMaster Rich, widow of Lt. Rich.

After completion, the USS Rich was sailed from the builder’s yard at Bay City, IL to Chicago, Illinois, arriving September 24, 1943. From there, she passed through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and down the Chicago River. At  Joliet, IL, pontoons were attached to the ship so she could be pushed down the Des Plaines River, Illinois River, and Mississippi River as part of a barge train.

USS Rich on the Mississippi River. Image source: http://www.informediate.com/USSRichDE695/Photos/PhotoGallery.htm

USS Rich on the Mississippi River. Image source: http://www.informediate.com/USSRichDE695/Photos/PhotoGallery.htm

The ship was docked at the Todd Johnson Shipyard in Algiers, Louisiana, on the west bank of the Mississippi at New Orleans.  Hubert Comer and the rest of the crew reported aboard, and the USS Rich was commissioned on October 1, 1943, Lieutenant Commander E. A. Michel, Jr., USNR, in command.

Crew of the USS Rich DE695 at commissioning ceremony in New Orleans, LA, October 1,1943. Image source: http://www.informediate.com/USSRichDE695/Photos/PhotoGallery.htm

Crew of the USS Rich DE695 at commissioning ceremony in New Orleans, LA, October 1,1943. Image source: http://www.informediate.com/USSRichDE695/Photos/PhotoGallery.htm

Hubert Felton Comer listed on the muster roll of the USS Rich (DE 695) during WWII.

Hubert Felton Comer listed on the muster roll of the USS Rich (DE 695) during WWII.

Following a shakedown cruise off Bermuda, the USS Rich was primarily engaged in coastal escort and patrol duty with Escort Division 19 (CortDiv 19) until the end of February 1944.   Then assigned to trans-Atlantic escort work, she completed three round-trip crossings by May. On May 10, 1944, Rich departed New York City in escort of a convoy to Britain in what would be her last transit of the North Atlantic.

USS Rich (DE 695)  somewhere in the Atlantic.

USS Rich (DE 695) somewhere in the Atlantic.

On May 23, 1943 the USS Rich arrived at Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and awaited a convoy to escort back to the United States. Instead, Rich was assigned to the Normandy Invasion force, and commenced preparations for “Operation Neptune”, the naval phase of the invasion of Normandy. She arrived at Plymouth, England on June 4, and was assigned as an escort to the battleship Nevada.

Delayed by weather for 24 hours, the “U” force sailed for France on 5 June, with Rich and her sister ship Bates in the screen of the bombardment group of Task Force 125 (TF 125), which consisted of the battleship Nevada and the heavy cruisers Quincy (CA-71), Tuscaloosa, and HMS Black Prince. On “D-Day”, 6 June 1944 and the two days following, she screened naval gunfire support ships off “Utah” Beach as they laid fire for the troops landed on Utah Beach to the northwest of the Carentan Estuary. On 6 June, Rich laid down a smoke screen which foiled an attack by German E-Boat.

On the morning of June, 8, 1944, soon after 08:45, she was ordered by the Commander of Task Group 125.8 (TG 125.8) aboard Tuscaloosa to proceed to Fire Support Area 3 to assist the destroyer Glennon which had struck a mine northwest of the Saint-Marcouf Islands. Rich proceeded at full speed to the area, and then followed in the wake of two minesweepers to the immediate area of the Glennon. Closing on Glennon, Rich dispatched a whaleboat, only to learn that her assistance was not needed at that point. Rich then started to round the disabled ship and take up station ahead of the minesweeper which had taken Glennon in tow. She moved at slow speed, with extra hands on the lookout for enemy planes and mines.

USS Rich with the USS Glennon

USS Rich with the USS Glennon

At approximately 0920, a mine exploded 50 yards off Rich’s starboard beam.

“Although men were shaken and power and lights lost temporarily, no serious damage occurred from the mine blast.  The ship was not so lucky when a second mine was encountered three minutes later.  A deafening explosion thundered from beneath RICH.  Men were thrown from the bridge to the deck.  A 50-foot section of the ship’s stern was torn off and set adrift.  Survivors attempted to cling to debris or swim to safety and the seriously wounded were helpless in the mangled wreckage.  A series of emergency reports reached the bridge – several torpedoes were making hot runs in their tubes; the main deck had sagged, vicinity of No. 2 engine-room; compartments forward of the engineering spaces had suffered only minor damage.  But, there was never time to assess the reports.  Only minutes later, a third mine unleashed its fury on RICH.  She stayed afloat less than thirty minutes before settling into the sea.  RICH and 89 crewmembers were gone.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward A. Michel, Jr. received the Navy Cross for heroism and devotion to duty.  USS RICH DE 695 was the last DesLant ship to go down to Nazi mines off Normandy.”

Roscoe, Theodore, “United States Destroyer Operations In World War II”, 1953, US Naval Institute.

One year after the sinking of the USS Rich, a memorial service was held in Ray City for Hubert Comer:

The Nashville Herald
June 7, 1945  Pg1

Memorial Services for Hubert Comer At Ray City Friday

      Memorial services for Hubert F. Comer, C. M. 2-C,  U.S.N.R., will be held Friday, June 8, at 4 E.W.T. at the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City.
       Seaman Comer served on the Destroyer Rich and participated in the invasion of France last June.  The U.S.S. Rich served as an escort ship and screening vessel in protection of heavier ships.
       During the invasion it stood by to render aid to another destroyer when it struck several mines and went down.   Seaman Comer went down with his ship and was never seen again.  He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Pauline S. Comer of Nashville, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A.T. Comer of Ray City, four brothers, Harold Comer of Eglin Field, Fla., James and Jerry Comer, who are overseas, and Murray Comer of Ray City, two sisters, Mrs. Algerine Garner, and Miss Barbara Comer of Ray City, and his grandparents, Elder and Mrs. Joe Hudson, of Bartow, Fla.
       Primitive hymns will be sung. Elder M. S. Peavy and Elder C. H. Vickers will officiate. A marker will be placed in the cemetery.

Memorial marker, New Ramah Cemetery. In Memory of Hubert F. Comer who died at sea, Jul 14 1920 - Jun 8 1944. "Nobly he fell while fighting for liberty."

Memorial marker, New Ramah Cemetery. In Memory of Hubert F. Comer who died at sea, Jul 14 1920 – Jun 8 1944. “Nobly he fell while fighting for liberty.”

Memorial marker for Hubert Felton Comer, Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

Memorial marker for Hubert Felton Comer, Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

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

Chloe Johnson’s Bible and Census Records

Chloe Gardner Johnson, long time resident of Ray City and member of New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, GA kept a record of birth dates in her family bible.

Chloe Johnson's Family Bible page showing birth dates. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Chloe Johnson’s Family Bible page showing birth dates. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Joseph H. P. Johnson
and
Cloe A Johnson
was married Dec. 17th 1899

JHP Johnson
was born Feb. 22 – 1869

Cloe A. Johnson
was born Nove. 17 – 1879

Roan Glenn Johnson
was born Nove 17 – 1901

Joseph Wallace Johnson
was born April 23 – 1903

Mildred Lee Johnson
was born Jan. 12, 1905

Floyd Bennett Johnson
was born Sept 16 – 1906

E. Lawton Walker Johnson
was born June 14 – 190

James Howard Pascal Johnson
was born July 31 – 1918

Robert Bruce Johnson
was born Aug – 14 – 1919

Maurice Johnson
was born May 28 – 1922

Bat Johnson
Born Jan 5, 1914

Bess Johnson
Born Aug 1 1912

 Cloe and Joe

In the summer of 1900, the newlyweds Chloe Gardner and Joseph Henry Pascal  “Joe” Johnson were enumerated in DuPont, GA where they were renting a house.  J.H.P Johnson was working as a merchant while Chloe kept house. Six months earlier they had been married at the Methodist church there in DuPont  (see Family of Chloe Gardner Johnson.)   Note the spelling of the bride’s name in the census enumeration,  “Cloe”.   Family members report, “Chloe didn’t pronounce her name like the traditional way, she pronounced it ‘Chlo’. And apparently was pretty insistent on it being pronounced that way!” 

1900 census enumeration of Joseph and Chloe Johnson, DuPont District, Clinch County, GA.

1900 census enumeration of Joseph and Chloe Johnson, DuPont District, Clinch County, GA.

http://www.archive.org/stream/12thcensusofpopu188unit#page/n480/mode/1up

The 1910 census enumeration found Chloe and Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson in the town of DuPont, Georgia Militia District 128o, Clinch County, GA. The census taker’s notations are somewhat confusing, but appear to indicate that JHP Johnson was a farmer and that Chloe and their young sons, Rowan “Glenn” Johnson and Joseph “Wallace” Johnson, assisted with the farm labor. By 1910, other children in the Johnson household included Floyd Johnson, Lawton “Walker” Johnson and Mildred Johnson.

1910 census enumeration of J.H.P. Johnson and Chloe Johnson, Dupont Town, Clinch County, GA.

1910 census enumeration of J.H.P. Johnson and Chloe Johnson, Dupont Town, Clinch County, GA.

http://www.archive.org/stream/13thcensus1910po176unit#page/n1140/mode/1up

 Before the 14th Census, 1920, Chloe and “Joe” H. P. Johnson had moved near Ray City, GA arriving there some time before 1918.  It was around this time that JHP’s stepmother, Caroline “Carrie” Daye Johnson, passed away, his father had died in 1904.  The Johnsons owned a farm, free and clear of mortgage, located on one of the “settlement roads” near Ray City.  Rowan Glenn Johnson, their eldest son, was employed as a salesman in retail drugs. Local histories say  son Wallace Johnson was working for the Bank of Rays Mill by age 14, which would have been circa 1917. But the 1920 census does not document his employment. In the later 1920s, Wallace Johnson worked as an assistant cashier at the Citizens Bank of Ray City.

1920 census enumeration of Joe H. P. Johnson and Chloe Johnson, Berrien County, GA.

1920 census enumeration of Joe H. P. Johnson and Chloe Johnson, Berrien County, GA.

http://www.archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu235unit#page/n323/mode/1up

By  1930, Chloe and  “Joe” H. P. Johnson had one of the finest homesteads in the Ray City, GA area, owning a home was valued at $6000. In all of Ray City and the Rays Mill District, only E.M. Hun Knight had a place of equal value.  Although they lived in town, Chloe was still a “farm woman” and attended the 1931 summer course for Farm Women at Camp Wilkins, UGA in 1931.

1930 census enumeration of Joe H. P. Johnson and Chloe Johnson in the Rays Mill Precinct, Berrien County, GA.

1930 census enumeration of Joe H. P. Johnson and Chloe Johnson in the Rays Mill Precinct, Berrien County, GA.

Constitution of New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church

New Ramah Primitive Baptist  Church (1913 – 2010)

New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City, Berrien County, GA was founded in 1913. The church building was dismantled in 2010.

New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City, Berrien County, GA was founded in 1913. The church building was dismantled in 2010.

New Ramah Church was located on the southwest side of Ray City, between Park Street and Cat Creek. The primitive baptist church was organized August 30,  1913, and built by four Knight brothers who were the descendants of William A. KnightAaron Anderson Knight was called as the first pastor and served until his death in 1925.

Upon the constitution of New Ramah Church, the minutes of the church recorded this initial entry:

State of Georgia, Berrien, Co.
August 30, 1913

By the Goodness of God, now when names are after written, having been Baptized upon a Profession of faith by the Lord Jesus Christ having here to fore been members of different Churches did consent on the propriety of becoming a Constituted body near Rays Mill, Ga.

Believing it to be expedient, finding a fellowship with each other, jointly chosen to set apart this day for Constitution.

Petitioning Salem, Empire, Unity & Pleasant Churches for Ministerial aid as a presbatry (Presbytery) which has granted Eld. I. A. Wetherington from Unity Church, Eld. H. W. Parrish from Salem Church, Eld. A. A. Knight from Pleasant Church, Eld. E. R. Blanton from Pleasant Hill Church and Eld. E. Lindsey from Ty Ty Church were clothed with church authority and gave theyr attenuance and letter of dismission being presented and no deficiency appearing, being sound in the facts and principals of the Gospel, that is to say believing that the scriptures of the Old and the New Testament are the Word of God and contains everything necessary for the faith and practice, Particular the existence of one true God, the fall of Man and his inability to recover himself, God’s savoring [sovereign] choices, of his people in Christ, theyr Covenant head from before the foundation of the world effectual calling purification by the imputed righteousness of Christ alone,  The final perseverance of the saints in grace, and eternal salvation in Glory, the duty of baptism by immersion, and the Lords Supper. Thus pronouncing to be upon above principals.
      And having this day being the 30th day of August, 1913, been pronounced a Church of Christ in order
        having united upon equal terms and here after be called and known by the name of New Ramah Church, and for this end deliberately solemly give our selves to the Lord, and to each other by the will of God, Independent of any religious body or congregation what ever, covenanting and promising each other to live to gether as becomes brethering in Gospel hands for the maintaining of Christian fellowship and gospel discipline agreeable to the holy scripture and as true yoke fellows agreed to stand or fall together in order, for which we do agree to receive, and adopt the following plan of or form of Decorum and Rule of practice.

Church Decorum
 New Ramah Church

1st   – – – –  —— —— or Conference shall be —– —– —- —– every member must —- —- —– —— —– —–

2nd  Church meetings shall begin and end with Divine worship.

3rd Church members failing to attend two Conferences in succession it shall be theyr duty to make known to the Church the reason of theyr absence at the next conference, and the Church judge of the same, but if the failure happen without the Church having knowledge of there being laudable reasons, she shall have him cited and Judge of such failure.

4th The Pastor of the Church shall preside as moderator when present unless some objections be made in which case the Church shall choose another

5th At the opening of every Conference it shall be the duty of the moderator to invite visiting brethering & Sisters of Sister Churches to seats with the Brethern of this Church, and then make known to the Congregation that a door of the Church is open for the reception of members the proceed to take up all Reference as they stand in order and all business that comes before the Church in order

6th  The moderator shall in his Power preserve order, Shall explain and put questions. He shall have an assistant (when present) if needed but in his absence a moderator protem shall be appointed.

7th The Moderator shall have the same right of speech as another member but shall not vote unless the body be equally divided.

8th The Church shall have a Clerk who shall keep a fair record of theyr proceedings and sign theyr order before the Conference rises.  Minutes taken by the Clerk shall be read and amended before the conference rises if necessary.

9th  In debate, only one person shall speak at the same time, who shall rise from his seat and address the Moderator in an orderly manner.

10th  The person speaking shall strictly attend to the subject in debate, shall not reflect on the person that spoke before him by making remarks on his slips, or imperfections, but convey his own ideas.

11th  The person speaking shall not be interrupted unless he breaks through these rules.  Then the moderator shall call to  order if dissatisfied he shall —- the voice of the conference.

12th No person shall speak more than twice to the same proposition till every one choosing to speak has spoken.

The Church minutes of New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church provide the list of male and female members below.  Notations next to the names were updated by the Clerk with the status by which the member joined and departed the congregation. Many notations were too faint to be legible for transcription.

Males

B. H. Sirmans
C. H. Vickers
W. F. Rayaln  Exp
D. W. Townsend  dead
C. R. Herring Dead
J. T. Moore  Dead
J. W. Conner Dis By letter
H. T. Cercey
C. C. Smith Exp
L. L. Blanton
Gilford Stalvey
M. S. Pevy
Willie Green Dis by letter
A. M. Ray  By letter
O.W. Mikell by let
P.S. Skinner let
D. J. Skinner
Joe Spells
S. G. Gaskins
Robert Burkholtz
John Burkholtz
Jimmie Taylor
K. S. Bennett
Lacy Shaw

Females

Mary Sirmans Dead
Carrie Peters Dead
E. B. Clements
Ada Gaskins
Chloe Johnson
Cassie Hall Con X
Ola Mikell by let
Roena Clements Con
Lillie Spells bapt
Minnie Herrin bapt
Eva Moore bap X
Mary Cersey let
Elizabeth —- X
Nettie Skinner let
Lizzie Smith
Laura Chitty bapt
Mary? Skinner dead
Lila Allen
Fannie Gaskins
Kizzie Woodard
Eliza Knight let
Lula Kendrick bapt
Lula Fender bapt
Delia Bennett bapt
Mary Allen bapt
Della Spells bapt
Pearlie Peevy bapt
Orie Blanton ? bapt

Related Posts:

Historic Marker Placed at Site of New Ramah Church

Historical Marker - New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City, GA.

Historical Marker – New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City, GA.

SITE OF NEW RAMAH
PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH
1913-2000

PASTORS
Elder A.A. Knight                  9/1913 – 6/1925
Elder C.H. Vickers                 9/1925 – 10/1970
Elder J.R. Stallings                1/1971 – 12/1971
Elder Elisha Roberts             1/1972 – 8/1973
Elder M.S. Peavy                    9/1973 – 9/1978
Elder Robert A. Register    9/1978 – 8/1996
Elder Robert Skinner           9/1996 -12/2000

On September 16, 1913 E.M.  Knight conveyed 7 acres of land to the elders of New Ramah Primitive Baptist church for $300. The statement of faith included in deed was as follows:

“New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, their successors and assigns, holding to the doctrine of predestination, election, and the final perseverance of the Saints, observing the ordinances of Communion, Baptism (Emersion) and washing the Saints feet, and known as the Old School Primitive Baptist, holding one protracted meeting annually, and that is to be only three days, and using no musical instrument in the worship, (any departure from the above principles shall disinherit such action from any and all the rights, privileges, and title to the property).”

Historic Marker - New Ramah Church, Ray City, GA.

Historic Marker – New Ramah Church, Ray City, GA.

Mary Elizabeth Clance and William Henry Mixon

Mary Elizabeth Clance and William Henry Mixon came to Ray City, GA some time around 1901 and made it their home for the remainder of their lives.

William Henry Mixon and Mary I. Clance

William Henry Mixon and Mary I. Clance. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

William Henry Mixon was born November 27, 1854 in Marion County, GA. He was a son of Drucilla Balcom and James  Michael Mixon. His grandfather was Michael Mixon (1794-1838), believed to have been killed in  Lowndes County, GA while fighting in the Indian Wars in 1838. William’s father,  James Michael Mixon (1830-1911),  was a Confederate veteran who was wounded during the Civil War.

William’s parents separated after the Civil War, and William moved with his father to Twiggs County, GA to the home of his great-grandmother, Sena Mixon.   When William’s father moved on to Pulaski County, William stayed behind in Twiggs County. It appears that around 1874, William’s father  moved with his second wife, Amanda Smith, and their minor children from Pulaski County, GA to Lowndes County.  In the census of 1900,  James M. Mixon was enumerated in the Rays Mill district of Berrien County, Georgia Militia District 1144.

According to census records William Henry Mixon married Mary I. Clance about 1880 in Twiggs County, GA. His occupation in 1880 was working as a miller at a grist mill.  Mary Clance was a daughter of Mary L. Blaylock and Wiley Clance. Her father once served as Justice of the Peace for Twiggs County, GA, and was also a wounded Confederate veteran.

About 1901 William and Mary followed William’s father south to Berrien County, GA.  The census of 1910 shows them in the Rays Mill district of Berrien County, GA where William was farming on his own account.  William Henry Mixon died on Christmas day, 1915 and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Children of William and Mary Clance Mixon were:

  1. Annie Bell Mixon: born  Jun 1882 in Wilkinson County, Georgia; married William Carl Griner on 17 Jan 1904;  died 1917 in Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.
  2. Hattie Leona Mixon: born  June 1886 in Wilkinson County GA; married Lee Knox (son of Alton Knox) on 14 Dec 1904 in Berrien County, GA; died 29 Oct 1963 in Colquitt, Georgia.
  3. Mary Lee “Mamie” Mixon: born  1 Jan 1890 in Wilkinson County, GA; married Joseph John “Joe” Spells on 15 Jul 1917 in Berrien County, Georgia; died  29 Jul  1926 in Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Georgia.
  4. Ida Mae Mixon: born 12 Feb 1893 in Wilkinson County, GA; married Joseph Browning about 1921 in Clinch County, GA; died 18 Jun 1980 in Lanier County, GA; buried at Fender Cemetery, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia.
  5. Ethel “Effie” Pearl Mixon; born in Wilkinson County, Georgia on 11 Sep 1899; married Joseph “Leroy” Brown on 25 Aug 1927; died 28 Nov 1984 in Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia; and buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia.
  6. Alva Lorine Mixon: born 25 Mar 1895 in Wilkinson County, GA; married Thomas Henry Kirk about 1910, died 23 Jan 1977 in Lake Worth, Florida.
  7. Samuel E. “Sammie” Mixon;  born 7 Jun 1898 in Wilkinson County, Georgia; died of pneumonia 19 Oct 1918 while serving in France during WWI; buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia.
  8. Utha Gertrude Mixon: born 27 May 1902 in Nashville, Berrien , Georgia; married William  Lonnie Royal 21 Jun 1917 in Berrien, Georgia –
    divorced; died 10 Aug 1991 in Columbus, GA; buried at Fender Cemetery, Lakeland, Lanier County, Georgia.
  9. Bessie Mixon: born 9 Jun 1906 at Nashville, Georgia; died 11 Jul 1908; buried between her parents at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Georgia.
Mary I. Clance, circa 1948. Married 1) William H. Mixon, 2) H.T. Cearsey. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

Mary I. Clance, circa 1948. Married 1) William H. Mixon, 2) H.T. Cearsey. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

Grave marker of William Henry Mixon, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of William Henry Mixon, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

After the death of William Henry Mixon, his widow, Mary Clance Mixon, married Henry Thomas Cersey. When she died in 1948, she was buried near her first husband at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Nashville Herald
August 26, 1948
Mrs. Mary Cersey, 83, Died last Saturday; Final Rites Monday     Mrs. Mary Cersey, lifetime resident of Berrien County, died in a Hahira Hospital Saturday afternoon after a long illness. A resident of Ray City, she was 83 years of age, having been born in Wilkerson County on May 26, 1863.
     Mrs. Cersey is survived by five daughters, Mrs. Lee Macks, Moultrie; Mrs. Joseph Browning, Ray City; Mrs. Oliver L. Kirk, Lakewood, Fla; Mrs. Effie Brown, Ray City; and Mrs. Lonnie Royals, Stockton; two sisters, Mrs. J. E. Kitchens and Mrs. J. W. Coleman, Wintergreen, Fla; 20 grandchildern, and 36 great-grandchildren.
     Funeral services were conducted Monday afternoon at 3 o’clock at Beaver Dam Primitive Baptist church by Elder C. H. Vickers and Elder M. E. Peavy.  Interment was in the church cemetery at Ray City. Active pallbearers were D. J. Skinner, J. T. Richardson, G. B. McLendon, B. J. Akridge, O. V. Conner, and M. W. McLendon, Honorary pallbearers were G. G. Mikell, O. W. Mikell, B. F. Skinner and J. J. Spell.  A selected choir sang Primitive hymns.

NOTE: Beaver Dam church (now known as Ray City Baptist Church) was not Primitive Baptist.  The Primitive Baptist church in Ray City was New Ramah Church.  Charlie Vickers and Marcus Peavey were pastors at New Ramah.

Grave marker of Mary I. Mixon Cersey, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Mary I. Mixon Cersey, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Images and information on Mixon family history contributed in part by http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

Mamie Mixon and Joe Spells

Mary Lee “Mamie” Mixon was born on New Year’s Day, 1890, a daughter of Mary I. Clance and William Henry Mixon. The census of 1910 shows Mamie living with her parents in the Rays Mill district of Berrien County, GA where her father was farming on his own account. On Christmas day, 1915 her father died; he was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Before a year had passed, on October 29, 1916 Mamie’s widowed mother remarried. Mamie’s new step-father was Henry Thomas Cersey.

The following summer Mamie herself was a bride. She married Joseph John “Joe” Spells on July 15, 1917 in Berrien County, Georgia.  He was a son of Mary Matilda Browning and George Spells, a pioneer settler of Lowndes County, GA. The marriage was performed by Lyman Franklin Giddens, Justice of the Peace in Ray City.

Marriage certificate of Mamie Mixon and Joe Spells.

Marriage certificate of Mamie Mixon and Joe Spells.

At 22, Joe Spells was tall with a medium build, blue eyes and light-colored hair. He was working for his brother, William, as a farmer. At the time, Joe Spells was illiterate, signing his WWI draft registration with his “X” mark.

Joe Spells registered for selective service for World War I in 1917.  He was drafted and served in WWI as did Mamie’s brother, Sammie E. Mixon. Sammie died of pneumonia while serving in France, but Joe survived the war and came home to Mamie.

After the war, the Spells made their home on the farm of Mamie’s step-father, Henry T. Cersey, located in the 1157 Georgia Militia District on the Nashville and Valdosta Road. Joe worked as a laborer.

Joe and Mamie Spells had two children:

  1. Joseph W. Spells, born May 1, 1918; Ray City High School class of 1937; married Eloise McKay (Nov 5, 1914 – July 7, 1986);  died in Winter Park, Florida July 7, 1986.
  2. Edward Samuel Spells, born April 25, 1921, Ray City, Berrien County, GA and died June 2, 1992, Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL

A third child, a baby girl, was born and died in the summer of 1926. According to records, the child died on July 30, 1926, although the death certificate was not filed until August 4, 1926. The death certificate attributed the cause of death to “convulsions in childbirth.”  The infant girl was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Death Certificate for infant girl Spells, daughter of Mamie and Joe Spells, Ray City, GA..

Death Certificate for infant girl Spells, daughter of Mamie and Joe Spells, Ray City, GA..

Mamie Spells would survive her daughter by only one day.  She was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Mamie Mixon Spells

Mrs. Joe Spells Passed Away Sat. July 31

The funeral services for Mrs. Joe Spells who died at the home of her mother, Mrs. H. T. Cersey, Saturday, July 31, were conducted last Sunday morning at the Baptist church at Ray City at 11 o’clock in the presence of a large crowd of relatives and friends. Mrs. Spells was 36 years of age and was a member of the Ray City Baptist church and was a christian woman, a true wife, a loving daughter and mother. To know her was to love her. She had been in declining health for some time, but was in bed only about ten days. Her death was not unexpected to her love ones, but was a shock to her friends who knew not of her illness.

She is survived by her husband and two small children, J. W. and Edward, 8 and 5 years old respectively; her mother and five sisters. They are Mrs. Lee Knox and Mrs. Lonnie Royals, of Ray City, GA.; Mrs. Joe Browning, of Lakeland, GA.; Mrs. Effie Chance, of Macon,GA., and Mrs. J.H. Kirk, of West Palm Beach, Fla.

_____________________________

CARD OF THANKS

We wish to take this method of thanking our many friends for the kindness shown us during the illness and death of our wife, daughter and sister, Mrs. Joe Spells.

Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Cersey.
Mrs. Lee Knox.
Mrs. Joe Browning.
Mrs. Effie Chance.
Mrs. Lonnie Royals.

The Census of 1930 shows the  widower Joe Spells and his two sons living in the Rays Mill Precinct, Georgia Militia District 1144.  Also living with them was Mamie’s  widowed mother,  Mary Mixon Cersey.

Joe Spells later remarried.  He died in 1961 and was also buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Daily Times
Spell, Joseph John March 12, 1961

Joe Spell

      LAKELAND- Joe Spell, 65, died at the local hospital early Sunday morning following a sudden attack suffered Saturday morning. He was born and had lived all his life in the Lower Tenth District section of Berrien County where he was a prominent farmer.   Mr. Spell was a veteran of World War I and a member of the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church at Ray City

      Survivors include his wife, the former Matilda Richardson: two sons M Sgt J. W. Spell with the U. S. Air Force in Germany; Edward Samuel Spell of Atlanta; three sisters, Mrs. Henry Spires of Adel, Mrs. Cauley Downing of Florida and Mrs. Morris Daniels of Jacksonville, Fla.: one brother, John Spell of Valdosta: seven grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.

      Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 3 p. m. at New Ramah Church with burial in Beaver Dam Cemetery with Music Funeral Home of Lakeland in charge. The body will remain at the home of his brother-in-law, Pope Howell until the hour of the service.

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