Family of Gus Calhoun, Berrien County, GA

Ray City farmer Samuel Augustus  “Gus” Calhoun, subject of previous post (Gus Calhoun, Ray City Farmer), was from boyhood a lifelong resident of the Ray City area. He was born May 25, 1868, a son of Elizabeth Bell and Joseph Calhoun.

Gus Calhoun married Rachel Bullard on May 19, 1891 in Lowndes County, GA.  She was a daughter of Mack Bullard and Luvellia Ray, and a niece of Green Bullard.  The Calhouns made their home in the Cat Creek community,  located about 10 miles southeast of Ray City in Lowndes County, GA (Census of 1900.)

Samuel Augustus Calhoun and Rachel Bullard, circa 1907. Image courtesy of Irvin Mitchell Calhoun.

Samuel Augustus Calhoun and Rachel Bullard, circa 1907. Image courtesy of Irvin Mitchell Calhoun.

By 1910 Gus Calhoun had moved his wife and children a few miles north to Ray’s Mill (nka Ray City), Berrien County, GA where he rented a farm next to his father-in-law, Mack Bullard.

Children of Samuel Augustus Calhoun and Rachel Bullard:

  1. Joseph Burton Calhoun (December 10, 1892  – February 23, 1972) married Lue Annie Boyette
  2. Lizzie Bell Calhoun (1895 – )
  3. Mack  Calhoun (1897 – )
  4. Robert Lee  Calhoun (1899 –  )
  5. Gussie  Calhoun (1900 – )
  6. James Dewey  Calhoun (June 22, 1904 – November 3, 1980) married Mary Elizabeth Brogdon
  7. Lula  Calhoun (1904 – )
  8. Cola L.  Calhoun (1906 – )
  9. Max Nathan Calhoun (1910-1970)
  10. Charles Birch Calhoun (1913-1995)
Rachel Bullard and Samuel Augustus Calhoun family, circa 1907. The 1910 census records show the Calhouns living at Ray City, Berrien County, GA during this time.The original photo was discovered in the attic of James Dewey Calhoun, Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Brogdon. About 1996, Irvin Mitchell Calhoun, great grandson of Samuel Augustus Calhoun had the photo professionally restored.

Rachel Bullard and Samuel Augustus Calhoun family, circa 1907. The 1910 census records show the Calhouns living at Ray City, Berrien County, GA during this time. The original photo was discovered in the attic of James Dewey Calhoun, Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Brogdon. About 1996, Irvin Mitchell Calhoun, great grandson of Samuel Augustus Calhoun had the photo professionally restored.

Rachel Bullard Calhoun died in 1935 and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.  Shortly thereafter, Gus Calhoun retired from active farming and for a while lived with his grandson, Philip Burkhalter, at Ray City. They were neighbors of Effie Knight and Lucy Guthrie. Later Gus moved  to the property of his son, Joseph Burton Calhoun, near Ray City.

The family photo above  brings family memories to Irvin Mitchell Calhoun, great grandson of Samuel Augustus Calhoun:

My grandfather (Joseph Burton Calhoun, Sr.) is the teenage boy standing up the center of the photo. .. I remember Grandpa Gus living with my grandparents (Joseph Burton Calhoun, Sr. & Lue Annie Boyett) on their farm on Boyett Road in the latter years of his life.  I was born in 1941 so this must have been in the early to mid 1940s.

They built a small one room shack out back of the house and he lived out there.  We boys use to visit him often out there.   He was always doing things with us.

Samuel Augustus “Gus” Calhoun died January 5, 1957.  The funeral services were held at Ray City Baptist Church and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery.

Obituary of Samuel Augustus Calhoun (1868-1957) of Berrien County, GA. Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

Obituary of Samuel Augustus Calhoun (1868-1957) of Berrien County, GA. Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

Lakeland, Lanier County, GA
Jan 9, 1957
S.A. Calhoun Dies at 89 in Lakeland

    S.A. (Gus) Calhoun, 89, died Sunday afternoon at the home of his grandson, J.S. Gaskins, in the Allenville community of Berrien County after being in declining health for several weeks. 
    He was a native of North Carolina, but came to South Georgia as a boy and lived here all of his life.  Until his retirement some 20 years ago, he farmed in this area. He was a member at the Ray City Baptist Church.
    Survivors include three daughters, Mrs. Lizzie Brantley of Nashville, Mrs. Gussie Clark of Eloise, Fla. and Mrs. Lula Gaskins of Nashville; six sons C. B. Calhoun of Jacksonville, Fla. J. B. Calhoun of Lakeland, J. D. Calhoun and Mack Calhoun, both of Nashville, M. N. Calhoun of Winterhaven, Fla., and R. L. Calhoun of Jacksonville; 32 grand children; 50 great-grandchildren; and a number of nieces and nephews.
    Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 at the Ray City Baptist Church with Rev. G. C. Tuten officiating.

Special thanks to I. Mitch Calhoun for his research on Calhoun Family history , and for contributing images and content to this post.

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Wilmont Pierce and the Valdosta Baptist Association

Wilmont Pierce (1922-2009) An old newspaper clipping tells of the service of  Wilmont Pierce, of Ray City, as clerk of the Valdosta Baptist Association during the 1950s. Pierce was a graduate of Lanier County Schools, and in 1938 was a member of the 8th District high school championship basketball team.  He joined the First Baptist Church, Ray City, Ga., in the early 1940s and served as a deacon, teacher and in various other capacities. In 1943 he married  Helen D. Baskin, daughter of Armstrong B. “Bee” Baskin.    Pierce served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was stationed in France and Germany, as well as Fort Dix, N.J.  Following the War he enlisted in the regular Army for service in the Panama Canal Department. After discharge from the service Wilmont Pierce farmed at Ray City with his father-in-law. In the late 1960s, the Pierces moved to Valdosta, GA and later moved to Axson, in Coffee County, GA.

Wilmont Pierce, of Ray City, GA, Clerk of the Valdosta Baptist Association, 1953

Wilmont Pierce, of Ray City, GA, Clerk of the Valdosta Baptist Association, 1953

Clinch County News
November 6, 1953

Rev. Marvin Stedham, Lakeland, retiring moderator of the Valdosta Baptist Association, congratulates the newly elected moderator, Rev. Edgar Davis (center), Homerville pastor, who was named to the association’s highest office at sessions of the annual meeting in Valdosta Thursday.  Wilmont Pierce, Ray City layman (right), was re-elected as clerk of the organization for his third term.  Rev. Omer Graves, Nashville, who was named vice moderator was unable to attend.

Obituary of Wilmont Pierce

Wilmont Pierce, of Axon, Ga., passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009, at his home following an extended illness. Mr. Pierce was born on Jan. 17, 1922, in the Mud Creek/Crisp area of Lanier County, the son of the late Joseph Candler Pierce and Nancy Richardson Pierce. Preceding him in death were his wife of 61 years, Helen D. Baskin Pierce, Axson, Ga., and his brothers and sister, Billy Pierce, Dilmus Pierce and Beatrice Pierce Everett, all of Lakeland, Ga. He was a graduate of Lanier County Schools. Mr. Pierce has served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was stationed in France and Germany, as well as Fort Dix, N.J. After his discharge he farmed with his father-in-law, the late A. B. Baskin of Lanier County. He was instrumental in re-organizing the Lanier County Farm Bureau and became the first insurance agent for the Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance Company in that county. He also opened the first Farm Bureau supply store that became a pilot project for Farm Bureau stores state-wide. He retired in the late 1990’s while residing in Valdosta, Ga. After moving there in the late 1960’s, he worked with the Grant’s retail stores, later managing hospitality properties for Jolly Inn. The King of the Road, Club House Inn and the Elks Club. He also managed properties in Thomasville, Ga. and Jacksonville Beach, Fla.  In his early years, Mr. Pierce had been a member of Unity United Methodist Church in Lanier County. He became a member of First Baptist Church, Ray City, Ga., in the early 1940’s where he served as a deacon, teacher and in various other capacities. After moving to Valdosta he was a member of First Baptist Church there. He and his wife moved to Coffee County in 2000, and was a member of Stokesville Baptist Church where he served as a teacher of senior adults until a few months ago. He is survived by his sons, Michael J. Pierce (Lou), Axson, Ga., W. Candler Pierce (Mary Ann), Wyoming, R.I., Bobby L. Pierce (Kay), Axson, Ga.; his grandchildren, M. Andrew Pierce (Robin), Olathe, Kan., Holly Smith, Axson, Ga., Wade C. Pierce (Jennifer), Keith H. Pierce, Clearwater, Fla., Jessica and Andrea Pierce, Boston, Mass., Justin Pierce, Wyoming, R.I., K. Lynn Eslinger (Jason), Cleveland, Tenn., Kimberly L. Hunter (Tim), Valdosta, Krista L. Pierce, Valdosta; as well as seven great-grandchildren. Surviving in his extended family are J.C. and Evelyn Pierce, Crawfordville, Ga., Howard and Dorothy Faye Pierce Ray, Ray City, Ga., Jessie Pierce Hudson, Valdosta, McDonald (Jabo) and Betty Pierce and Burma Pierce, Lakeland Ga., Vanelle Baskin, Valdosta, Gloria Baskin, Groves, Texas, Hagan and Shirley Baskin, Atlanta; and 16 nieces and nephews.

Memorial services for Mr. Pierce were held at First Baptist Church, Ray City, Ga., on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009, at 2:30 p.m. with the Rev. John Patten and the Rev. Bob Pierce officiating. Interment, with the Rev. Edgar Musgrove officiating followed in the Unity United Methodist Church cemetery near Lakeland, Ga., with military honors.

Thomas Jackson Crum

Thomas Jackson Crum, image detail courtesy of Berrien County Historical Foundation

Thomas Jackson Crum

A recently encountered newspaper clipping from the Clinch County News gives the obituary of  Thomas Jackson “Jack” Crum.

Jack Crum was a prominent farmer, banker, cotton merchant, and community leader.  He lived near Ray City, Georgia in that part of Berrien County that was cut into Lanier county in the 1920s.

Jack Crum was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery in Ray City.

Clinch County News
December 24, 1943

Mr. Thomas J. Crum, prominent Lanier county citizen, died at his home near Lakeland, on the 9th inst. after suffering a heart attack about twelve hours earlier. He had been about his usual business the day before dying next morning about 7 o’clock.  He was a native of Tift county and was 73 years old and a member of the county board of Education and had served as a deacon in the Ray City Baptist Church a number of years. His wife and three children survive.

Grave marker of Annie Boyette and Thomas Jackson Crum, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Annie Boyette and Thomas Jackson Crum, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Thomas Jackson Crum was  born  September 4, 1870  a  son of Amanda Melviney Willis (1850-1922) and  Benjamin Harmon Crum (1842 – 1924).  His father was a confederate veteran who volunteered with Company I, Georgia 50th Infantry Regiment. Benjamin H. Crum was captured along with Jesse Bostick (subject of previous posts (see Jesse Bostick and the Battle of Cedar Creek) and other men of the 50th Regiment  at the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia in 1864 and imprisoned at Point Lookout, MD. Benjamin Harmon Crum survived the war and returned to his family in Tift County.

Thomas Crum and his sister Leonia Crum married two siblings in the Boyette family.  In 1895 Thomas Crum married Annie Boyette (1873-1950), and in 1899 Leonia Crum married Jesse Thomas Boyette.  The Boyettes were children of Jemima Taylor (1842 – 1926) and William Hill Boyett (1834 – 1897) of Ray City.  Their father also was a confederate veteran who  volunteered with  Company I, Georgia 50th Infantry Regiment and was detailed as a shoemaker during the Civil war.

Left to Right: John C. Crum, Thomas Jackson Crum, Annie Boyette Crum, Lillie Crum, Benjamin Hill Crum, Nancy Della Knight Crum, Mae Crum, Mary Crum, Delilah Boyette Gaskins, and Lester Gaskins.

Thomas Jackson Crum Family at the old home place.  Left to Right: John C. Crum, Thomas Jackson Crum, Annie Boyette Crum, Lillie Crum, Benjamin Hill Crum, Nancy Della Knight Crum, Mae Crum, Mary Crum, Delilah Boyette Gaskins, and Lester Gaskins. Image courtesy of Berrien County Historical Foundation

Ben Hill Crum, Jr., grandson of Thomas Jackson Crum, has prepared a sketch of his grandfather’s life which appeared in the family history Crum Family of The South.  This sketch is excerpted below; those interested in further Crum family history may view the complete text at Family History Archive.

Crum Family of the South

Crum Family of the South

Thomas Jackson Crum, the son of Amanda Willis and Benjamin Crum (CSA) of Tift County, was one of the pioneer citizens of Lanier County moving here from Tift County in the early 1890s.  At that time he was a part time tombstone salesman and farm hand.
    He married Annie Boyett, daughter of the Honorable William Hill Boyett in 1895.  They had five children, the late Ben Hill Crum, Mrs Mary Robinson of Lakeland, the late Annie Mae Giddens, the late John C. Crum and Mrs Lillie Grissett of Ray City.  There were seventeen grandchildren.
    In 1906, Mr. Crum purchased land from Thomas Murphy and in 1909 purchased adjacent land from Hill Boyett making up what became the Crum Farm. This size farming operation was referred to as a “seven horse” farm.  Mr. Crum raised livestock, grew tobacco, corn and other farm products. He cured meat and bottled syrup which he sold along with other varieties of farm products.  In a 1936 edition of Lanier County News, he was quoted as follows, “I have not purchased a pound of meat since the second year I was married and I do not consider a mana good farmer who cannot raise plenty of meat and food for his family and have some to sell.”
    Mr. Crum was one of the seven original stockholders of the Bank of Milltown. He was very prosperous as a cotton speculator, buying cotton when the price was low, storing it and selling it at a later date at a considerable profit.
    Mr. Crum was community minded and interested in the education and guidance of young people.  He served on the Lanier County Board of Education for twenty years and was Chairman of the Board when he died.  Mr. and Mrs. Crum were active members and supporters of the Beaver Dam Baptist Church in Ray City.  He served as a deacon for many years.  Mr. and Mrs. Crum are buried at Beaver Dam Church.
    The Crum family resided in a peg and groove house which was constructed in the 1830s for a time while their farm home was being built.  The family occupied the new home about 1913.  The residence was constructed from timber grown on the farm. The old house which served as a pack house after the new residence was constructed had been donated to the Agrirama at Abraham Baldwin College  where it is now preserved an represents a part of the history of the time.  The Crum family residence was destroyed by fire in April 1974.  The farm located some 3 1/2 miles west of Lakeland off the Ray City Road, is presently owned by G. L. Gaskins.
    Jackson Crum, “Jack”, as his “Annie” called him, will be remembered for many things by his family and the friends who knew him well.  “He was a quiet man most of the time, but when he spoke, we listened. He had the clearest blue eyes, was tall and thin, and had a strength you could see and feel.  A strength of character with a strong sense of right and wrong was always apparent.  You always paid your debts, went to church, told the truth, loved your family, were honest in business, worked hard, played little, wasted nothing, and believed in God. Always.”

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James Madison Baskin Settled at Beaver Dam Creek.

James Madison Baskin, first of the Baskin family to settle in the Ray City area, came to Berrien county about the time it was created in 1856.  He was the grandfather of Armstrong B. Baskin, and great grandfather of Mary Frances Baskin. James M. Baskin was born 6 April 1829 in Houston County, GA, one of thirteen children born to Sarah Goode and James G. Baskin.  His father was born 1792 in Abbeville District, SC.  and came to Georgia as a child.

When grown to adulthood, James M. Baskin left his family home with two slaves given to him by his father.  These slaves were experienced in construction, and James went into business as a building contractor.

While on a stay in Atlanta, James M. Baskin resided at the Bell House, a boarding house said to be the first hotel in Atlanta. There, he met the proprietor’s daughter, Frances Bell Knox.  She was  a widow with a three-year-old son, Alton Knox.  (The 1850 Dekalb County census  records show that by the age of 17 she was married to Joseph Knox, age 28, and that the couple had a one year old son named Alton.)

About 1852, Frances Bell Knox and James Madison Baskin were married  in Houston County.  In 1853, Frances gave James a daughter,  Fannie E. Baskin.  Another daughter, Sarah “Sallie” E., followed in 1856.

James M. Baskin’s father died in 1856.  About that time he decided to move his family from their home in Houston County.  His adopted son was now seven years old, his daughter three. His wife was probably either pregnant or was caring for their second infant daughter Sarah “Sallie” E., who was born that same year.   Who knows his reasons for uprooting his young family?  The Indian wars were over – south Georgia was secure. The Coffee Road provided a migration route and there was a steady southward flow of settlers.  Perhaps the disposition of his father’s estate incited him to move.  Perhaps he foresaw the coming war and wanted his family farther from north Georgia military objectives, or perhaps he saw more opportunities in the new counties being opened in southern Georgia.

It was in 1856 that Berrien County was cut out of Lowndes County; Levi J. Knight and others were setting boundaries and surveying the new county. James M. Baskin brought his family to the area of Beaverdam Creek in the southernmost part of the new county.  He settled about a mile outside of present day Ray City, GA  on land Lots 470 and 471 in the 10th land district. Tax records from the 1870s show James M. Baskin owned 1080 acres pf land in Berrien county,  relatively valuable land appraised at $1.85 per acre.

1869 Berrien County Map detail showing location of land lots #470 and 471.

1869 Berrien County Map detail showing location of land lots #470 and 471.

Over the next five years three more daughters were added to the Baskin family: Georgia Ann (1857), Martha J. (1859), and Mary J. (1861)

The Civil War came along and James M. Baskin joined the Confederate army, enlisting as a private in the 54th Georgia Infantry. He fought throughout the war and was wounded in the Battle of Atlanta.

After the war, James Baskin returned to farm life.  Over the next ten years he and Frances had five more children.  In all,  James M. Baskin and Frances Bell had 11 children. James and Frances Baskin, and some of their children, were active in the formation of Beaver Dam Baptist church, now known as Ray City Baptist Church.

Children of James Madison Baskin and  Frances Bell:

  1. Baskin, Fannie E. (1853 – 1892) m. William A. K. Giddens
  2. Baskin, Sarah “Sallie” E. (1856 – ) m. Thomas M. Ray, Jr.
  3. Baskin, Georgia Ann (1857 – 1934) m. Leonard L. Roberts
  4. Baskin, Martha J. (1859 – 1950) m. David C. Clements, Dec. 22, 1881
  5. Baskin, Mary J. (1861 – 1902) m. Ulysses A. Knight
  6. Baskin, James B. (1864 – 1943) m. Fannie Ellen Hagan, dau. of John W. Hagan, Dec. 15, 1887
  7. Baskin, Callie D. (1866 – 1890)  m. John T. Smith
  8. Baskin, William H. (1869 – ) m. Mamie Harrell, dau. of John W.
  9. Baskin, Emma (1872 – ) m. George T. Patten
  10. Baskin, Maggie May (1874 – 1898) m. Robert L. Patten
  11. Baskin, Ollie (1876 – ) m. L. H. Dasher

Frances Bell Knox Baskin died on June 3, 1885 at Rays Mill (now Ray City), Berrien County, Georgia.

James Baskin was a widower, 56 years old, the youngest of his 11 children just 9 years old. He decided to re-marry. Just six months later, on Dec 30 1885 he wed Mary Ann Harrell. She was a native of Lowndes County, born in  Nov. 29, 1859. At 27, she was a prominent citizen experienced in public service, and a former Ordinary (probate judge) of Lowndes county.

Children of James Madison Baskin and Mary Ann Harrell, – m. 30 DEC 1885 in Lowndes County, Georgia

  1. Baskin, Alonzo L. (1886 – ) b.   Nov. 17, 1886, m. Corine Rodriguez
  2. Baskin, Verdie (1888 – ) b.   Dec. 17, 1888, m. James W. Lovejoy
  3. Baskin, Infant (1891 – 1891)
  4. Baskin, Ruby (1893 – ) b.   May 16, 1893, m. Walter M. Shaw
  5. Baskin, Ruth (1894 – 1922) b.   Dec. 15, 1894, died single, age 22 years
  6. Baskin, John Holmes (1897 – ) b.   Oct. 8, 1897, m. Mrs. Laura Hall Sweat of Waycross

James Madison Baskin lived on his land near Ray City with his second wife until his death on July 7, 1913. Mary Ann Harrell Baskin  died April 29, 1917.

He and both of his wives are buried in the Ray City Cemetery.

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Engagement of Mary Frances Baskin

Mary Frances Baskin was born about 1918 and raised at Ray City, Berrien County, GA.  Her parents  were long time residents of Ray City.  At the time of her birth her parents had a house in Ray City on Pauline Street, just north of Johnson Street, near the present day location of the Ray City Community Library.  The Baskins also maintained a residence out at the old Baskin home place located in present day Lanier County.

Mary Frances’ father, Armstrong  B. Baskin, was known as “B” Baskin.  He was one of the more affluent members of the Ray City Baptist Church and was very active in the church.  Later, he served on the Lanier County Board of Education.  Mary Frances’ mother, Minnie Lee Hancock Baskin, was a school teacher in Lanier County for 21 years. In 1958, Minnie Lee received national attention when she lost her job after allowing a white child to ride with African-American children on a segregated school bus (Education: The Crime of Minnie Lee).

Mary Frances Baskin grew up to become a school teacher, herself, and taught  at the Ray City School in the late 1930s.  Later, she taught in the Atlanta School System.   In 1943, the Atlanta newspapers announced her engagement to William Lester Brady, Jr.

Atlanta Constitution
May 23, 1943

Miss Mary Frances Baskin To Wed William L. Brady Jr.

    RAY CITY, Ga.,  May 22. – Wide social interest centers in an announcement made today by Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong B. Baskin, of Ray City, of the engagement of their daughter, Miss Mary Frances Baskin, of Atlanta, to William Lester Brady Jr., of Atlanta, the marriage to be a fashionable event taking place at the Druid Hills Baptist church in the late summer, the exact date and wedding plans to be announced later.
    The beautiful bride-elect is the sister of Miss Helen Baskin,  of Macon, and her brothers are Quartermaster Sergeant John W. Baskin, Parris Island, S.C., Curtis Baskin, and Louis Baskin, both of Ray City.
    Miss Baskin’s mother is the former Miss Minnie Lee Hancock, of Nashville, daughter of E.L. Hancock and the late Mrs. Hancock, who was before her marriage Miss Mary Brown, daughter of John Brown and Jane Paulk Brown, John Brown being a casualty of the War Between the States.  Her paternal grandparents are the late James Baskin and Mrs. Baskin of Ray City.
    Miss Baskin received an A.B. degree from Bessie Tift College in the class of ’37. She was a member of the Sigma Delta Chi sorority. In 1938 she did post graduate work in library science at the University of Georgia. She is a teacher in the Atlanta public schools and is a talented pianist.  In Atlanta she resides with her uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Baskin.
    Like his bride-to-be, Mr. Brady is a descendant of prominent families.  He is the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. William Lester Brady, of Atlanta. His mother, before her marriage was Miss Bertha Vileeta Hayes, of Toccoa. His maternal grandparents were the late Mr. and Mrs. William Jasper Hayes, of Toccoa. His paternal grandparents were the late Mr. and Mrs. George Thomas Brady, of Harrisburg, Pa.  A brother, Joseph Vickery Brady, is completing training at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Great Neck, N.Y. Another brother, Luther Hayes Brady, was reported missing in action by the Navy last September.
     The groom-elect is a graduate of Atlanta Boys’ High school. He attended Emory University where he majored in public affairs. While at Emory he was a manager of the Emory Glee Club, editor of the Emory Wheel, member of D.V.S. senior honor society, a Rhodes Scholarship nominee, and was listed in “Who’s who in American College and Universities.” He is a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and is director of the Young People’s Training Union of the Druid Hills Baptist church.  He is now advertising director of the Rialto theater.

The Baskin-Brady wedding took place in Atlanta.

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