Smiths of Ray City

Thomas Jefferson Smith (1864-1946)

Ray City home of Thomas Jefferson Smith and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Sirmans Smith, formerly located on the southeast corner of Main Street and Swindle Street, Ray City, GA

Ray City home of Thomas Jefferson Smith and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Sirmans Smith, formerly located on the southeast corner of Main Street and Swindle Street, Ray City, GA

 

Ray City Home of Tom and Lizzie Smith, front elevation faced Swindle Street. This home was demolished about 2010 to make way for the construction of the Ray City Church of God, and Swindle Street has since been abandoned.

Ray City Home of Tom and Lizzie Smith, front elevation faced Swindle Street. This home was demolished about 2010 to make way for the construction of the Ray City Church of God, and Swindle Street has since been abandoned.

Thomas Jefferson Smith and his second wife, Elizabeth Mahaley “Lizzie” Smith lived in this house in Ray City, GA in the 1940s. Before its demolition in 2010, this house was sometimes called the “Murder House” by local residents. It was the home of an elderly woman who was murdered in a home invasion. She was killed with a cast iron skillet. No one was ever convicted of the crime.

 

Thomas Jefferson Smith grew up in the 1157 Georgia Militia District of Berrien County, GA. He was a son of George and Amanda Smith. He married Jennette P. Shaw on August 17, 1884 in a ceremony performed by Lott W. Sirmans, Notary Public. She was born in 1869, a daughter of Elizabeth Parker and Richard James Shaw, and sister of Rachel J. Shaw. The Smiths lived for a while in the Connell’s Mill District west of Ray City, on the Cecil & Milltown Road where they were neighbors of Botie Peters, Caulie Augustus DeVane, Arren Fountain, and Remer Albritton.

  1. Caulie Columbus Smith, 1885–1968, married Marietta Bass, daughter of Joe Bass
  2. James Mansfield Smith, born September 19, 1887; attended Kings Chapel School; married Zonie L. Wooten, December 1, 1911; died October 18, 1957; burial Pleasant Cemetery near Ray City, GA
  3. Verdie Belle Smith, born October 13, 1889; married Alvin Lee Ray, January 25, 1908; died October 29, 1981; buried New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA
  4. Viola Anne Smith, born 1892; married William U. Davis, January 10, 1915.
  5. Lonnie William Smith, born 1895; WWI Service in SC; married Sudie Green about 1920; relocated to South Carolina; died September 25, 1949; buried Pleasant Cemetery near Ray City, GA
  6. Leila Smith, born about 1897; married Charlie Lamar Ray; died 1924; buried Pleasant Cemetery near Ray City, GA
  7. Georgia Edna Smith, born December 28, 1898;  first wife of Rossie Futch, married December 22, 1918;  died December 17, 1942; buried Pleasant Cemetery near Ray City, GA
  8. Charlie Thomas Smith, born January 7, 1901; married Thelma ?; died October 21, 1945; buried Pleasant Cemetery near Ray City, GA
  9. Owen Newton Smith, born October 16, 1904; died July 29, 1975
  10.  Pauline Smith, born about 1908
  11. Margaret Myrtle Smith, born about 1911

The Smith children attended King’s Chapel School.  Some time before 1920 the family moved to the Cat Creek District, to a farm on the “Ray City & Valdosta Road by Cat Creek.”

Jeanette P. Shaw died July 8, 1922 at the age of 53. She was buried at Pleasant Cemetery, west of Ray City, GA.

On May 3, 1924 Tom Smith married Elizabeth Mahaley “Lizzie” Sirmans in a ceremony performed by Lyman Franklin Giddens.  She was the 32 year-old daughter of Shabatha Fender and Frank John Sirmans,

In 1930, Lizzie and Tom Smith lived in a house on Pauline Street across from Beaver Dam cemetery. This house was the residence of William Creech and family in the 1940s. By the time of the 1940 census the Smiths had moved up the block to a small house on the corner of Swindle and Main Street.

Ray City, GA map detail showing location of 1930-1940s residences of Thomas and Lizzie Smith.

Ray City, GA map detail showing location of 1930-1940s residences of Thomas and Lizzie Smith.

 

Thomas J. Smith died in 1946. He was buried at Pleasant Cemetery next to his first wife.

Graves of Jeanette P. Shaw and Thomas J. Smith, Pleasant Cemetery, near Ray City, GA

Graves of Jeanette P. Shaw and Thomas J. Smith, Pleasant Cemetery, near Ray City, GA. Image source: Searcher

Elizabeth S. “Lizzie” Smith died December 30, 1967. She was buried at Fender Cemetery, near Lakeland, GA.

Grave of Elizabeth S. Smith. Fender Cemetery, near Lakeland, GA

Grave of Elizabeth S. Smith. Fender Cemetery, near Lakeland, GA. Image source: Hether Pearson Pillman Belusky

 

Related Posts:

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Charles Otis Ray Freed From Nazi POW Camp

Mayor Lyman F. Giddens Brings Electric Plant to Ray City ~ 1922

King’s Chapel School

King’s Chapel Football, 1905

 

Rachel Shaw Moore Dies of Typhoid Fever

Rachel J. Shaw was born July 21, 1855 in Berrien County, GA. She was the daughter of Civil War veteran  Richard James Shaw (1830 – 1869) and  Rachel Elizabeth Parker (1834 – ?). Some time after 1870, Rachel Shaw married James Burton Moore, a Berrien County farmer. Making their home near Rays Mill (nka Ray City)  in the 1157th Georgia Militia District,  the couple set about the next twenty something years raising crops and children.

In the summer of 1899, Rachel Shaw Moore came down with an illness that was serious enough to prompt  medical attention. In the sweltering dog days of August, Rachel drove her horse-drawn buggy the ten miles of dirt road from Ray’s Mill to the county seat at Nashville, GA.  There she saw Dr. Carter who gave the diagnosis of typhoid and undertook her treatment.

According to the National Library of Medicine, “Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection characterized by diarrhea, systemic disease, and a rash — most commonly caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi (S. typhi). The bacteria that causes typhoid fever — S. typhi — spreads through contaminated food, drink, or water. If you eat or drink something that is contaminated, the bacteria enters your body, and goes into your intestines, and then into your bloodstream, where it can travel to your lymph nodes, gallbladder, liver, spleen, and other parts of the body. Early symptoms include fever, general ill-feeling, and abdominal pain. A high (over 103 degrees) fever and severe diarrhea occur as the disease gets worse. Some people with typhoid fever develop a rash called “rose spots,” which are small red spots on the belly and chest.

Since 1880, the bacterial cause of typhoid fever had been known. The disease was spread by poor sanitation practices.

Typhoid fever exemplified the effectiveness of sanitation practices based on both the old filth theory of disease and at the same time incorporating the new tenets of bacteriology. When the salmonella typhi bacillus was identified (1880) and traced to contaminated water supplies, it underscored the necessity of providing clean water… 

Bacteriologists had perfected water filtering methods by the 1890s  which led to the development of water treatment systems for safe drinking water in the cities. At least in the urban centers, these water filtration systems effectively reduced the illness and death caused  by typhoid. “Yet typhoid did not disappear. In 1900, over 35,000 deaths in the United States were attributed to typhoid.” It would still be some years before scientists understood that apparently healthy individuals could harbor and transmit typhoid.  Mary Mellon of New York, “Typhoid Mary” was the most notorious case.

In the case of Rachel Moore, her condition continued to decline “despite medical treatment.’  It would be another 60 years before doctors understood the critical need for hydration in the treatment of typhoid.

Rachel Shaw Moore died on  a Monday – August 14, 1899 at Ray City, GA. She was buried at the cemetery at Cat Creek Primitive Baptist Church, a few miles southwest of Ray City.   She was survived by her husband, James Burton Moore, and six children:

 Lilly Moore 23
Minnie Moore 21
J Lacy Moore 20
Mamie Moore 13
Ora Moore 11
Janie Moore 9
Ounie Moore 6
Aulie Moore 2

Valdosta Times
Saturday, August 19, 1899
Mrs. Burton Moore Dead.
    Mrs. Burton Moore, an estimable lady of the Ray’s Mill settlement, died Tuesday evening after an illness of ten days with typhoid fever.  Her funeral was conducted at Cat Creek on Wednesday and was largely attended.  She leaves a husband and several children to mourn her death. Three of her daughters are about grown, though the other children are small.  She was about forty years old and an estimable woman. She leaves a large circle of friends to sympathize with the bereaved ones.

 Valdosta Times
Tuesday, August 22, 1899
Death of Mrs. J.B. Moore.
    We regret to chronicle the death of Mrs. J.B. Moore near Ray’s Mill on the 14th inst. This intelligence will cause widespread grief as the deceased was an exceedingly popular lady and leaves a large circle of friends and relatives to mourn her untimely death.
    About two weeks ago, she came  to Nashville in her buggy to consult Dr. Carter.  She had fever at that time, and doubtless the ride in the hot sun was bad for her.
    In spite of all that medical skill and loving hands could do, she sank steadily until death came on the night of the 14th.
    Mrs. Moore died from a complication of diseases.
    Our sympathies are tendered the bereaved ones.  – Nashville South Georgian.