Lucious Norman Gillham

Lucious Norman Gillham was a veteran of World War II and came to Ray City, GA with his wife after the war. He was born in Jackson County, GA on January 5, 1908, a son of George Washington Gillham and Estelle Mae Gillham.

Lucious N. Gillham enlisted April 24, 1943 at Ft. McPherson, Atlanta, GA.  At the time of enlistment he was living in Fulton County, GA, and was employed as a textile mill worker.  His father and older siblings had all been mill workers at the Porterdale Mill at Newton County, GA since before 1920s.  Lucious was only educated through the 5th grade, after which he left school to take up work. After the death of his father in 1925, Lucious went to work at a textile mill in Varennes, SC but by 1935 he was back at the Porterdale Mill working as a doffer.

Porterdale Mill belonged to the Bibb Manufacturing Company,  one of the largest employers in the state.  “The City of Porterdale is located 35 miles east of Atlanta on the Yellow River in Newton County, Georgia.  In 1899 the Bibb Manufacturing Company built a twine mill on the river and named it Porterdale Mill after a founder of the community, Oliver Porter.  The community of mill homes attracted workers looking for jobs and a better life.”

Porterdale Mill, Georgia

Porterdale Mill, Georgia

People came from all over the state to work in the Porterdale mill.  Among the many workers enumerated at Porterdale in the 1940 census  were Pasco Olandro Hall, of Ray City, GA; Tom Sirmans Jones, of Nashville, GA;  Grady Bloodworth, from the upper 10th District of Berrien County; Jesse Franklin Bennett of Adel, GA; Lois, Jessie Mae, James and Elmer Black, four teenage siblings from Lowndes County, GA.  One wonders if Lucious Gillham and the mill workers from South Georgia knew each other, and if their association later influenced Lucious to come to Ray City. At any rate, Lucious  and Jeanette Gillham moved about 1947 to Ray City,  where for 18 years they worked a farm on Route 1.

Lucious Gillham died on May 28, 1965 and was buried at Pleasant Cemetery, near Ray City, GA.  His obituary appeared in the Nashville Herald.


Obituary of Lucious Norman Gillham, of Ray City, GA

Obituary of Lucious Norman Gillham, of Ray City, GA

Nashville Herald
June 3, 1965

Lucious Gillham Dies On Friday Morning

        Lucious N. Gillham, who made his home on Route One, Ray City, and was for the past eighteen years a resident of that area, succumbed to a lengthy illness early Friday morning, May 28. Mr. Gillham was confined to Berrien County Hospital at the time of his passing.
        Born on January 5, 1908, the deceased was 57 years of age.  A native Georgian, he was the son of the late George W. and Stella Mae Lowrey Gillham. He was married on December 31, 1935 to the former Miss Jeanette Dorsey, by whom he is survived. Mr. Gillham saw service in the United States Army during World War II, and before declining health curtailed his activity he was a farmer.
        Funeral services were conducted from the Pleasant Primitive Baptist Church at 2 o’clock on Sunday afternoon, May 30, with Elder Howard Weaver officiating. In accordance with Primitive Baptist doctrine, an unaccompanied choir sang three time-honored hymns of consolation, Amazing Grace, Rock of Ages, and In the Sweet Bye and Bye. Laid to rest in the churchyard cemetery, Mr. Gillham was accompanied to his place of last repose by a cortege of military men from nearby Moody Air Force Base.
        Besides his widow, Mr. Gillham leaves three sisters, Mrs. Doris Dix, of Griffin, and Mrs. Mildred West and Mrs. Beatrice Goode, both of Douglasville. There are also a number of nices and nephews.
       All details were completed under the direction of Lovein Funeral Home.



Grave of Lucious N. Gillham and Jeanette Dorsey Gillham, Pleasant Cemetery near Ray City, GA

Grave of Lucious N. Gillham and Jeanette Dorsey Gillham, Pleasant Cemetery near Ray City, GA

Eulogy of Elder Ansel Parrish

Ansel Parrish (1824 -1891)

 Elder Ansel Parrish, of Berrien County, GA was one of the ablest and best known Primitive Baptist preachers of his time.  Ansel Parrish joined Pleasant Church at the age of 19 and was baptized by Elder Moses Westberry, Jr.  He thereafter dedicated his life to the service of the Primitive Baptist faith. During the Civil War he ministered to the confederate soldiers in 50th Georgia Regiment at their encampment near Savannah, GA.  He became a leader among the Primitive Baptists, and preached at many of the churches in the area.  From the death of Elder William A. Knight in 1860 until 1865, the close of the Civil War,  Ansel Parrish served as pastor of Union Church, the mother church of all the Primitive Baptist churches in this section. He died January 16, 1891 leaving a widow and seventeen children, and eighty grandchildren.

Ansel Parrish (1824 - 1891). Image courtesy of

Ansel Parrish (1824 – 1891). Image courtesy of

Recognized throughout the Wiregrass, “he was considered a great power in the church as well as out of the church”.

The Thomasville Times
August 16, 1884

Moultrie Meanderings.

The yearly meeting of the Primitive Baptists at Barber’s church, three miles east of here, came off last week. The attendance was large, Elder Ancil Parrish, one of the old landmarks, was present. Uncle Ancil bids fair to weather the storms of several winters yet. The creed of these people may be at fault, or not, I don’t pretend to say; but the predominant idea of their lives seems to be embodied in the maxim: “Be honest, industrious and attend to your own business, and they endeavor to carry out this proposition with might and main.

Ansel Parrish married Molcy Knight on December 15, 1842.

Elder Ansel Parrish, (1824 -1891), and Molcy Knight Parrish (1826 - 1897). Image courtesy of

Elder Ansel Parrish, (1824 -1891), and Molcy Knight Parrish (1826 – 1897). Image courtesy of

Following the death of Ansel Parrish on January 16, 1891, Eulogies appeared in The Valdosta Times:

The Valdosta Times
Saturday, January 24, 1891

He Will Be Missed.

        Many of our readers knew a man, now gone from view, whose plain and simple life, unadorned with the polish of modern culture, illustrated in a striking degree many of the higher and nobler attributes of manhood; whose life-work stamped him a man of power.  Although denied in his youth the benefits of the ordinary high schools of the country, and necessarily therefore a stranger to theological seminaries, yet he had the gift of oratory, and the force of strong convictions. He expounded the Scriptures as he understood them, and labored to make men better.  He was not skilled in the arts of the modern doctors of divinity, nor was he a juggler with words. He was a plain blunt man. To him there shone a light through the clouds of the letter of the word which fired his heart and loosened his tongue. He went out among his people and taught them justice and the ways of peace. He was a law-giver of the old-time type. When brothers quarreled he called them together, heard the testimony, settled the dispute, and sent them away reconciled. He always kept them out of the Courthouse when he could, but if he failed he followed them to the bar of the court, and there exercised a wonderful influence in the settlement of the case. The people believed his heart was pure and his judgment was sound, and seldom a jury was found which would not accept his convictions and make them their own verdict, in spite of the pleadings of the lawyers. It was his custom on such occasions to take a seat within the bar of the court room, and when the lawyers on his side opposed to his convictions would rise to address the jury he would sit dumb and motionless. It is said the lawyers, knowing his power, would often address much of their speech to him, hoping to draw some token of assent, but he could not be coaxed or driven from his position. But when the other side – the right side – was being presented to the jurors, his face would show his sympathy; and repeatedly, and unconsciously, as it were, when strong points were being driven home by the logic of the speaker, or when important quotations bearing on the case would be drawn from the evidence, he would nod assent, and give audible tokens of approval. He was always in touch with the juries, and the verdicts always came right.
It has been often said by lawyers practicing in that court that he was more greatly to be feared, if he was against their client, than the logic and eloquence of the most astute practitioner in the circuit.
This good old man – simple and home-spun in his ways – was a power in the region about him. If he drove to the county town, or to a railway station, a crowd would gather round his buggy before he could get out, and two or three would begin unhitching his horse.
He asked no money for his preaching, but he always had plenty – the product of a well-tilled farm; and no widow, or other deserving poor person in the neighborhood, went unprovided for if he knew of their want. It is said that he studiously avoided giving publicity to his charities, and that the beneficiaries were often ignorant as to the identity of their benefactor.
The fame of this man went beyond the limits of his neighborhood and county. Wherever those of his faith and order assembled in Wiregrass Georgia or Florida he was known, and his name was reverently mentioned. If he was present he was a leader; if absent, his absence was felt.
Such a man was Elder Ansel Parrish, the old Primitive Baptist preacher of Berrien County, as seen by one who was neither his partisan nor his parishioner.
When news of his fatal illness spread over the country hundreds of his devoted friends and followers journeyed to the bedside of the dying preacher to get a last look into the depths of those great grey eyes before the light went out and the old-time fire burnt down in their sockets. And when they laid his body away in the old family burying ground, a great concourse of people gathered to mingle their tears with the sod in the new made mound.

A week later, The Valdosta Times followed up with a tribute to Elder Parrish.

The Valdosta Times
Saturday, January 31, 1891

 Ansel Parrish

        A Brief Biographical Sketch Of One Who Will Be Missed. “Oh for the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is still.” Elder Ansel Parrish was born in Bulloch County, Ga., July 7th, 1824, and died at his home seven miles southwest of Nashville in Berrien County January 16th, 1891.
Elder Ansel was the fourth son of Henry and Nancy Parrish, who moved from Bulloch to Lowndes, now Berrien County, in 1825, and the future preacher learned to take his first toddling steps at a camp fire on the road while his parents were moving here.
He grew up with the meager opportunities common to our country and his literary attainments were therefore meager. Of a calm temper he was early separated from the wild life of the country and joined the Primitive Baptist Church in 1843, being in his nineteenth year, and was ordained an Elder March 18th, 1854. He was married to Miss Mollsey Knight, whose father was William Knight  [William Cone Knight] and her mother a daughter of Jesse Carter, thus uniting the two largest family connections in Lowndes County. To write of him as a neighbor and friend, a husband and father would be out of place here. Those who knew him best loved him most.
It is as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus I would fain write most, and then, he was so widely known that the task will alas fall short of his merit. The writer heard him preach first and most frequently at Salem (Adel) Church of which he was one of the Pastors for a long number of years, assisted by his uncle, brother and co-worker the late lamented Elder Ezekiel J. Williams. As a preacher he was earnest in the faith as he interpreted the word of God, yet not harsh, ever bearing in mind the faith of others. He devoted his early and mature manhood to his Master’s service and when the infirmities of age began to creep on him he seemed to not regard them as an excuse to satisfy self ease, but labored on, and when he could not stand in the sacred desk to deliver his message he preached seated. For all this work and work in physical pain, he never, to my knowledge, asked a dollar as a reward.
A good substantial farmer, he was not only self sustaining but ever ready to open his hand to the needy when his already open heart heard the cry of distress. Seventeen children, 14 of whom are living, 7 sons and 7 daughters were born to him. He leaves 80 living grandchildren, and 24 dead, preceded him of his 8 brothers and 2 sisters, only the venerable Josiah Parrish of Ava, and Absalom of Arkansas survive him.
Elder Parrish was at the time of his death Pastor of the following Churches:  Pleasant and Cat Creek, literally falling in the line of duty. May his fidelity to his Master’s cause be taken as an example by those whom he has so long and faithfully warned. In him his family has lost all that goes to make a husband and father, and his Church its wisest counselor.

The archives of the US GenWeb project provide the following biography:

Biography of Elder Ansel Parrish

Elder ANSEL PARRISH was one of the ablest and best known Primitive Baptist mininsters in his day for over 35 years prior to his death. He was considered a great power in the church as well as out of the church. He was born in Bullock County, July 7, 1824, a son of Henry and Nancy Parrish.
        He was married Dec. 15, 1842, in Lowndes (now Berrien) County, to Molcy Knight, born Nov. 7, 1826, daughter of William Cone Knight. 
        Elder Parrish was first converted and united with Pleasant Church in Lowndes County, Aug. 19, 1843, and was baptized. Mrs. Parrish followed him into the church and was baptized November, 1847. He was ordained a deacon in his church, Feb. 2, 1848, and served in this office until he was licensed to preach, Jan. 17, 1852. Two years later, March 19, 1854, he was ordained to the full Gospel Ministry by a presbytery composed of Elders Wm. A. Knight, J. B. Smith and J.E.W. Smith. From then until his death, Jan. 16, 1891, his was a very busy and fruitful ministry among the Primitive Baptist Churches in Berrien and adjoining counties. His first cousin, Elder E. J. Williams, was Pastor of Pleasant Church when he (Elder Parrish) was ordained and continued as such until 1881 when he declined re-election; thereupon Elder Parrish was called. He continued as Pastor of his home church until his death. At the time (1881), he was already serving Cat Creek Church in Lowndes County, and in April, 1881, he was called as Pastor by Friendship Church near Hahira, also Salem Church in Adel. These four Churches he continued to serve as pastor until his death 13 years later. He also served as Moderator of the Union Association several years. Elder Parrish owned a large tract of land in Berrien County and gave each of his sons a farm when they married. Mrs. Parrish died June 25, 1897. She and her husband were buried in the Lois Cemetery near Pleasant Church.


Grave of Ansel Parrish (1824 - 1891), Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA. Image source:

Grave of Ansel Parrish (1824 – 1891), Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA. Image source:

Children of Molcy Knight and Ansel Parrish

  1. Rachel E Parrish 1844 –
  2. Elizabeth L Parrish 1845 – 1928, married Marion Register
  3. James W Parrish 1847 – 1916
  4. Nancy E Parrish 1848 – 1924
  5. Mary Eleanor Parrish 1849 – 1909, married John Lee
  6. Henry William Parrish 1851 – 1928
  7. John A Parrish 1853 – 1914
  8. Sarah Laura Parrish 1854 – 1933, married William M. Register
  9. Ezekiel Crofford Parrish 1856 – 1924
  10. Martha M.  “Mattie”  Parrish 1860 – 1942, married Aaron A. Knight
  11. Josiah Allen Jones Parrish 1861 – 1929
  12. Jesse A Parrish 1864 – 1938
  13. Amanda Celestia Parrish 1866 – 1900
  14. Naomi Parrish 1867 – 1886
  15. Moorna Parrish 1868 –
  16. Child Parrish 1869 –
  17. Alderman B Parrish 1871 – 1932

Related Posts:

More on the late Mr. and Mrs. Hughes

H.D. O’quinn, a citizen of Berrien County who in 1881 came from Clinch County,   had been a neighbor of William and Ellen Hughes, subject of recent posts ( The Bloody Story: 1889 Murder of the Hughes Family in Clinch County, Two Men Hanged in Clinch County). The widow Ellen “Nellie” Sellers Rice and the widower William Hughes were married in Clinch County, GA about 1874.  Following the brutal double axe murder of the Hughes in 1889, H.D. O’quinn wrote a condolence in the Valdosta Times. He reflected upon “an unusual coincidence” between the Hughes family and the Rice family.  Not only were William Hughes and Nellie Rice wed, but there were four unions between their sons and daughters.

William Hughes m. Nellie Rice, 1874
James H. Hughes m. Phoebe Rice, 12 Jan 1871
John Jasper Hughes m. Lucretia “Crecy” Rice, 15 Jul 1874
Frances Hughes m. Artemus Rice, 15 Jul 1874
Francis Marion Hughes m. Jane Rice, 187?

  Later descendants of Ellen “Nellie” Sellers Rice and William Hughes , including granddaughters Creasy Brown and Nancy Hughes, would come to live at Ray City, GA.

hughes-murder-1889The Late Mr. and Mrs. Hughes HUMMING, Ga., Nov. 18th, 1889.    Alas! Alas! How sad I feel while thinking of that awful outrage. My heart is sorely pained within me.  The tenderest sympathies of my heart is enlisted in behalf of their many children, grandchildren, and other relatives and friends.  In 1865 I moved to Clinch county and lived a near neighbor to Mr. Hughes until I moved to Berrien county some eight years ago. A better neighbor I have never known.  In all the relations of life he was upright, truthful, honest, industrious, economical, accommodating, kind, and benevolent, an still better, religious, being a leading member of high standing with the Primitive Baptists.  Some few years after our first acquaintance Mr. Hughes lost his first wife, with whom I was not well acquainted, but have heard she was a good woman, and no better proof of that could be given than the good qualities of her numerous family of children she left behind.  After a few years of widowhood Mr. Hughes married Mrs. Nellie Rice, relict of Mr. Guess Rice, who lost his life in the late war.  All that has been said above can as truly be said of his late companion.  They lived together many years in prosperity, peace, harmony and mutual affection, and in death were not divided, being barbarously slain by assassins solely for the purpose of robbery, for I have not  the remotest idea that they ever had an enemy. Mr. and Mrs. Hughes each had large families of children when they were married. An unusual coincidence occurred between the two families. On account of their industrious, economical, moral habits and many other good qualities, a reciprocal, mutual attachment seemed to spring up between them.  Before Mr. and Mrs. Hughes  were married James Hughes and Phoebe Rice, their oldest son and daughter, were married. After the old folks married they brought all their children to live together.  It was not long before  Jasper Hughes and Theresa Rice, and Artemus Rice and Frankie Hughes were married at the same time. Afterwards Marion Hughes and Jane Rice were married at home also.     Again and again would I tender my most sincere condolences to the sorely bereaved ones that are left here in these low grounds of sin, sorrow and death to mourn over the tragic end of their dearly loved parents and their irreparable earthly loss. Yet we trust they m ay realize consolation in looking through the dark clouds of sorrow and see a silver lining, assuring them that those for whom they mourn are freed from sickness and sorrow, pain and death are are secure in that land of everlasting security and eternal repose. O, may we all meet them safely there. 

H. D. O’quinn

George Calhoun Mikell

An old clipping from the Clinch County News, dated November 8, 1929 gives a brief history of the Mikell family, beginning with George Mikell who was a pioneer settler of Clinch County.  Three of his grandsons, Rufus Lane Mikell, George Calhoun Mikell and Otis Willie Mikell (subject of earlier post – see Ola Crews and Otis Mikell) became residents of Ray City, GA.  The news clipping, which provided in part the  following information , is transcribed below.

George Calhoun Mikell, Ray City, Georgia

George Calhoun Mikell made Ray City his home some time before 1920.  He was a Primitive Baptist and is buried at New Ramah Cemetery in Ray City.

Grave marker of George Calhoun Mikell (1896-1960), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Grave marker of George Calhoun Mikell (1876-1960), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

George Calhoun Mikell was born March 4, 1876, a son of Rebecca Lee and John A. Mikell.  His paternal grandparents,  Rachel Roberts and George Mikell (1818-1880), are buried at Wayfare Primitive Baptist church in unmarked graves.

His father, John A. Mikell (abt 1846 – 1889), was a respected Clinch County citizen who lived near Dupont, GA. “John A. Mikell was baptized July 5 1883 into the membership of the Primitive Baptist church, and on Dec 1, 1883 was dismissed by letter and united with Olive Leaf church near Dupont. Mr. Mikell served as deputy sheriff under Sheriff J. M. Jeffords who sheriff from 1881 to 1887.  He was elected justice of the peace of the 1280 district, commissioned January 24, 1881, serving two terms of four years each”

When George was thirteen years old, he lost his father. John A. Mikell died April 9, 1889 and was buried at North Cemetery, Clinch County, GA.

George’s mother, Rebecca Lee, was a daughter of Phoebe Register and Zachariah Lee. She was born November 5th, 1845 in what is now Clinch county, GA. She  married John A. Mikell about 1868.  Following the death of her husband in 1889 she continued to live in Clinch county where she farmed, with the help of her children, in the 1280th district .    After her sister, Elizabeth Lee Fiveash, died on May 05, 1912, Rebecca Lee Mikell married her brother-in-law George Appling Fiveash (1842-1927).   On the death of George Fiveash in 1927, the twice-widowed Rebecca Lee Mikell Fiveash went to live with her son, George Calhoun Mikell, at Ray City, GA. She died December 08, 1932 in Lowndes Co GA.  She was buried at North Cemetery, DuPont, Clinch County, GA.

George C. Mikell married Mary Hughes on January 31, 1904, in Clinch County.  She was  a daughter of James H. Hughes.

George C. Mikell and his brother John P. Mikell both became “leading members of the Primitive Baptist denomination in this section, one a layman and the other a minister; one adhering to the ‘old line’ association and the other to what is called the ‘Peace Movement’ association of the old Union Association.  Elder John P. Mikell as a preacher is known far and wide for his gifts and influence as a Christian worker, and his brother George is making his association a capable clerk and as a layman is known and loved for his upright, Christian life.”

George C. Mikell, Nov 1, 1929, Clinch County News

George C. Mikell, Nov 1, 1929, Clinch County News

In the census of 1910, George C. Mikell was enumerated with his wife and son, Ollie, in the 1280 district of Clinch County. Some time after 1910 he brought his family from Clinch to Berrien County. On September 12, 1918 he registered for the draft for World War I in Nashville, GA.  At age 42, he was tall and slender with blue eyes and black hair. He was a self-employed farmer with a home on Rural Free Delivery route #2 out of Nashville.   By the time of the 1920 census, the Mikells were living on a farm near Ray City on the Nashville Road.

The 1930 census shows George and Mary still farming at Ray City, George’s mother living in their household. His mother died in 1932, and was buried with her first husband at Wayfare Primitive Baptist Church in Clinch County.

George’s wife, Mary Mikell died April 25, 1939 and was buried at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.  Later he remarried, taking Nellie Hughes, daughter of John Jasper Hughes, as his second wife.  When George C. Mikell passed in 1960, he was buried at New Ramah Cemetery next to his first wife.

Clinch County News
Friday Morning, November 8, 1929

Our Column in History


    George Mikell, an old pioneer citizen of Clinch county, came to this section from Bulloch county, and settled in what is now Echols county where he married. Later he moved to a point near Dupont and spent the remainder of his life there. He was born in Bulloch county in 1816, and died about 1880. His wife was Rachel Roberts; she was born in 1830, but we have not learned who her parents were but we infer she was a daughter of John  Roberts who also came to this section from Bulloch county.
    To them were born only three children, viz:

    1. John A. Mikell who married Rebecca Lee.
    2. Sarah who married Mark or S. M. Bennet.
    3. Bettie or Elizabeth who married Samuel Tomlinson.

    George Mikell and his wife were members of Wayfare Primitive Baptist church, and are buried there.  Their graves are not marked. George Mikell had two brothers, Bob and Charles.  The former lived in Wayne county and the latter moved to Florida.

John A. Mikell

    John A. Mikell was born in this county about 1846, and as above stated, the only son of George and Rachel Mikell.  He lived near Dupont, where he was a respected citizen.  He married Rebecca, a daughter of Zachariah Lee, and a sister to the late P. M. Lee of Dupont.  She was born Nov. 5th 1845 in this county, and is now living with her son Mr. G. C. Mikell at Ray City, having just past her 84th birthday this week.  Her husband had been dead forty years having died April 9th, 1889.   He is buried at the North cemetery. To Mr. and Mrs. Mikell were born ten children, viz:
    1.  Ardelia who married Moses Pittman, living at Arcadia, Fla.
    2. Alice who married Roland Zeigler.
    3. Rufus L. who married ollie Morgan, daughter of Granville Morgan.
    4. Charlton Z. who married Mrs. Lula Crews.
    5. George C. who married Mary, daughter of James H. Hughes.
    6. Perry C. who married Bessie Powell; living at Quitman.
    7. Phoebe who married R. A. Dasher and lived near Bemiss.
    8. John P. who married Sallie, daughter of George Corbitt of Echols county.
    9. Otis W. who married Ola Crews.
    10. Augustus T. married Annie Wilkerson of Berrien county.  He is the only one of the ten children not living.
    John A. Mikell was baptized July 5, 1883 into the membership of the Primitive Baptist church, and on Dec 1, 1883 was dismissed by letter and united with Olive Leaf church near Dupont.
    Mr. Mikell served as deputy sheriff under Sheriff J. M. Jeffords who sheriff from 1881 to 1887.  He was elected justice of the peace of the 1280 district, commissioned January 24, 1881, serving two terms of four years each, his last term expiring just before his death.
    John P. Mikell and his brother Geo. C. have both become leading members of the Primitive Baptist denomination in this section, one a layman and the other a minister; one adhering to the “old-line” association and the other to what is called the “Peace Movement” association of the the old Union Association.  Elder John P. Mikell as a preacher is known far and wide for his gifts and influence as a Christian worker, and his brother George is making his association a capable clerk and as a layman is known and loved for his upright Christian life.

Some Other Data

    The writer would like to find out more about the older Mikells or the forefathers of George Mikell.  Back up in Bulloch county where they lived we find a number of references to them on the county records but of course we cannot identify them.  The following Mikell marriages are of record there:
     Alexander Mikell and Rebecca Hollingsworth, Dec 7, 1804.
    Charles Mikell and Dicy Lee, Dec 17, 1804.
    Thomas Mikell and Mary Row, April 3l 1805.
    John Mikell and Hannah Stuart, Aug. 6, 1805.
    Thomas Mikell and Mary Woodcock, Nov. 10, 1807.
    William Mikell and Mary Anderson, Nov 21, 1809.
    John Mikell and Catherine Lowther, Feb. 8, 1826.
    John Mikell, an old citizen of Bulloch county, died in 1799, and his estate was administered by his widow Elizabeth, and Edward Mikell.  They were appointed administrators Feb. 10, 1800. Their bond was for $20,000 and signed by Sherod McCall and James Mikell. The estate was appraised in 1800 by Stephen Denmark and John Rawls and Jesse Mixon, and valued at $8099.75.  Among the property enumerated were 13 slaves and $3500 worth of cattle. A petition for division of the estate was filed by the widow in May, 1803, and the Court granted partitioners to divide the land, and among these were George Mikell, James Mikell, Sr., and James Mikell, Jr.  In a sales account filed by the administrators in May 1803, Sarah Mikell, Francis Mikell and James Mikell were mentioned as younger heirs.  In March, 1807, the administrators were required to show cause why they had not made any return. Further than this we did not find out about this estate. It seemed to be the only Mikell estate administered in Bulloch prior to 1820.

Ola Crews and Otis Mikell

The Minutes of the One Hundred Twentieth Annual Session of the Union Primitive Baptist Association, October 18-20, 1975 noted the passing of Ola Crews Mikell:





Anne Leola “Ola” Crews was born in Clinch County, GA on   September 14, 1891, the eldest child of Perry Crews and Rhoda Guthrie. She appeared with her family in the Census of 1900 in the Mud Creek district of Clinch County. Her father was working a rented farm there.

In 1909, Ola Crews married Otis Willie Mikell in Clinch County.  Born April 8, 1885 in Berrien County, he was a tall and slender young man, with dark hair and blue eyes.  His  mother was Rebecca Lee (1845-1932). His father, John A. Mikell (1848-1889), served terms as Justice of the Peace, Road commissioner, and Deputy Sheriff in Clinch County, GA.

Otis Mikell and Ola Crews marriage certificate.

Otis Mikell and Ola Crews marriage certificate.

While the Clinch County marriage license clearly shows that O.W. Mikell and Ola Crews were joined in matrimony on March 7, 1909, census records from this period are confusing.

On the one hand, it appears that Ola continued to live with her mother for some time after her marriage.  In the 1910 census of of the Mud Creek district, Ola Crews was enumerated on April 19 in her widowed mother’s household, under her maiden name, as a single female.  Her mother, Rhoda Crews, was head-of-household, a farmer, working her land on her own account.

On the other hand, the census of Militia District 1280 in Clinch County, enumerated in May, 1910 shows  O.W. Mikell as head of household with his wife, Ola Mikell, married one year.  Otis and Ola were renting a house on the farm owned by his mother. Otis’ brother, George Calhoun Mikell,  and his family were renting the house next door.

Ola and Otis Mikell were members of the Primitive Baptist faith.  Church records show that Ola Mikell united with Olive Leaf Primitive Baptist Church near Dupont, GA in September, 1911.

Some time before 1916, Otis and Ola moved to Ray City, GA. On February 12, 1916 Ola joined with New Ramah Church at Ray City by letter.  The WWI draft registration records show Otis worked as a farmer at M.C. Lee’s place.

In the Census of 1920, Otis W. Mikell was renting a farm on a settlement road near Ray City.  By this time, the Otis and Ola’s household included their five children: Annie C., Alvin L., Cleo,  and the twins  Clementine and Pauline. Also in the Mikell home was Otis’ brother, Augustus.  Farming next door was  John Troutman from Bavaria, Germany, and boarding with him was the Primitive Baptist preacher, Alfred F. Fender.

In the 1930s,  Otis and Ola  were renting a farm and raising their children in the Lois district, near Ray City.

Children of Ola Crews and Otis Mikell:

  1. Annie Clarice Mikell 1911 – December 12, 2002
  2. Alvin Lee Mikell 1913 – 1987
  3. Lula Cleo Mikell, April 4, 1915 – October 27, 2013
  4. Pauline Mikell 1919 – 2006
  5. Clementine Mikell 1919 – 1992
  6. Ola Mae Mikell 1929 –


Otis Mikell died February 19, 1958. Ola Crews Mikell died Feb 14, 1975. They are both buried at New Ramah Cemetery in Ray City, along with others  of the Mikell family connection.

Ola Crews and Otis Mikell, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Ola Crews and Otis Mikell, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Obituary of Catherine Knight Swindle (1872-1928), Ray City, GA

Another news clipping from the Ray City News,  Jan 3, 1929 edition

Mrs. J. S. Swindle was born Catherine Knight, a daughter of John W. Knight and Candacy Leaptrot.   She was a sister of  Primitive Baptist minister Aaron Anderson Knight, Sullivan Jordan Knight, and sister-in-law of George Emory Swindle.

Catherine Swindle (1872-1928) obituary, Ray City News, Ray City, GA

Clipping from the Ray City News, Jan 3, 1929 edition.


Ray City News. Jan 3, 1929.
Mrs. J.S. Swindle Passed Away on Christmas Day

    Mrs. Catherine Swindle, widow of the late J. S. Swindle passed away at  her home here on Christmas morning following a stroke which attacked her Saturday night.
    Mrs. Swindle, known to hundreds of friends and relatives as “Aunt Kit” was 57 years of age and had spent all her life here. She and her husband were truly pioneer citizens of Ray City as the town was built upon a part of their lands. She was preceded to her brave by her husband by about nine years.
    She was a daughter of the late John W. Knight and had a large and prominent family connection. She was the last one of this family of children.  For many years she had been a faithful member of the Primitive Baptist Church and was laid to rest at the Pleasant Church cemetery. Her pastor, Elder William Tomlinson of Douglas preached the funeral.
    The pallbearers were: Messrs. L. W. Sirmon, G. P. Swindle, H. A. Swindle, Ivey Moore, L C. Swindle and Homer Clements. A.D. Wiseman undertaker.
     Mrs. Swindle leaves behind a large host of friends and near relatives to mourn their loss, three children as follows, Bryan Swindle, Bartow, Fla, Mrs. Truby Gray, and L.J. Swindle of Ray City, Ga.
    The bereaved ones have the heartfelt sympathy of the people of this section in their loss.


Children of Catherine Knight and James S. Swindle:

  1. Eva Nancy Swindle – born 1889; married Elias Moore Knight, February 14, 1907; died November 15, 1925; buried Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA
  2. James Bryan Swindle – born September 7, 1897; married Myrtle Patterson, September 20, 1920; died October 7, 1949; buried Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA
  3. Trubie Inez Swindle – born November 9, 1901; married Clarence Jones Gray, October 17, 1917; Divorced 1941; Died Lake City, FL
  4. O.K. Swindle – born January 4, 1894; died September 2, 1905; buried Pleasant Cemetery, near Ray City, GA
  5. Leonard James Swindle – born November 7, 1904; married Cleo Tempy; divorced 1941; died 1966; buried Salt Springs, FL.
Catherine Knight Swindle, (1872-1928) Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA. Wife of James S. Swindle and daughter of John W. Knight.

Catherine Knight Swindle, (1872-1928) Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA. Wife of James S. Swindle and daughter of John W. Knight.

Related Post

Reverend William A. Knight at old Troupville, GA

An article from the July 17, 1910 edition of the Atlanta Constitution tells the tale of some “Historic Georgia Towns That Exist No Longer.”  In the mid 1800s Troupville was the county seat of Lowndes County, GA and was the center of commerce for the region. Among the prominent Lowndes settlers who frequented the town was Reverend William A. Knight. He was the religious leader of many of the Primitive Baptist churches in the area and the father of Levi J. Knight,  earliest pioneer to settle at the site of present day Ray City, Berrien County, GA.


“The town was named for the Honorable George M. Troup and was a place of prominence with comfortable residences, mills, workshops and stores. Immense crops of corn and other produce were made. ‘Uncle Billie Smith’ was an interesting character in this old town and was numbered among the early settlers, together with the Varnedoes, Goldwires, Platts, Dr. Ashley, Isaac De Lyon, Dashers, Francises, Roundtrees, Reverend William A. Knight, John and Jacob Bryan, William Sharpe, Major Simmons, William and J. Deas”

“The overflow of the rivers rendered this place doubtful as to health, chills and fever grew frequent in the fall, and from time to time removals occasionally occurred to more healthful localities until this once-recognized town was a deserted spot, all caused by the beautiful rivers flowing on as tranquilly to their destinations as if nothing had happened to the dead town that nestled so close to its waters.”

Related posts:

Joseph John Spell ~ Obituary, 1961


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.


Related Posts:


Hardeman Sirmans Obituary

Hardeman Sirmans died  September 21, 1896 in Ray’s Mill, Berrien County, Georgia

The Valdosta Times Saturday, September 26, 1896

 Mr. Hardy Sirman, an old and esteemed citizen of Berrien County, died at his home near Ray’s Mill on Monday night of last week, after an illness of only a couple of days. He was taken violently ill Saturday evening with something like cramp colic and found little relief until death ended his sufferings. He was sixty odd years old and leaves a wife and a large family of children and other relatives to lament his death.

Burial: September 23, 1896 Empire Church Cemetery, Berrien County, Georgia.

Hardeman Sirmans, Empire Cemetery, near Ray City, GA

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Irene Primitive Baptist Church

Irene Primitive Baptist Church near Ray City, GA

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