Arson and Evangelism in Rays Mill, GA

Continuing with this weeks theme of fire in the Wiregrass, a  hundred year old tale of arson and evangelism in Rays Mill, GA.

Valdosta Times, Dec 1, 1909, Vol 4, No.41, Pg 8

Miscreant Did Dirty Piece of Work at Rays Mill
    News of the burning of a gospel tent in which a woman evangelist has been preaching at
Ray’s Mill was received here yesterday afternoon.
    Mrs. Rebecca J. Fox, who has traveled extensively over the United States doing rescue  and evangelistic work for a number of years, went to Ray’s Mill about ten days ago and began a series of services. Good crowds attended the meeting, but apparently certain parties in that section who are unknown, were opposed to the meetings and began to harass the woman preacher. First the ropes to the tent were cut to pieces, but repairs were made and the services continued. Between midnight Sunday night and daylight on Monday the tent was set on fire, presumably by the same parties who had cut the ropes before. The tent, seats, and an organ used in the services were all burned.
    The people there are said to be greatly incensed over the affair, and we understand a reward of $200 has been offered for the detection of the guilty parties, with evidence sufficient to convict.
    A letter which The Times has received from the evangelist states that land has been donated on which to build a church or assembly hall. Mrs. Fox is undaunted by the burning of the tent and proposes to continue the  meetings. She writes that a shack of some kind will be built at once and that she will continue to preach.
    It is understood that Mrs. Fox is a member of the Holliness [sic] or “Unknown tongue” faith.

While the gospel tent of Rebecca J. Fox was burned in Ray City, GA, there also was her passion kindled. Before the year was out she married Ray City resident Manassah W. Henderson. (See 1910 Valdosta Train Wreck for more on Henderson)