Berrien County Cadets and Coeds at Georgia’s “West Point”

Cadets on parade in front of North Georgia Agricultural College, 1891. Jonathan Perry Knight, of Rays Mill, GA attended the college around the late 1880s.

Cadets on parade in front of North Georgia Agricultural College, 1891. Jonathan Perry Knight, of Rays Mill, GA attended the college around the late 1880s.

For over 125 years  “Georgia’s ‘West Point’” has been a college destination of choice for students of Berrien County, GA.

North Georgia Agricultural College (now known as the University of North Georgia), at Dahlonega, GA was founded in 1873 as a military academy  where military duty was obligatory for all male students over the age of 15. Cadets at the college drilled daily in artillery, infantry and other exercises.

1893-north-georgia-college-ad_tifton-gazette

1893 Tifton Gazette advertisement for North Georgia Agricultural College.

The school’s 1938 Undergraduate Bulletin noted:

North Georgia College was originally organized and administered on a military basis which system has prevailed from the date of its founding. The college has been classified by the United States Government as an “essentially military college,” being one of eight colleges in the United States so designated. It is the only one in Georgia, and, since “essentially military colleges” endeavor to emulate the traditions of West Point, North Georgia College has well been called “Georgia’s ‘West Point.’” General Robert Lee Bullard, formerly Commandant of Cadets and Professor of Military Science and Tactics, referred to the college as one of the two finest military schools in the country.

1910 Valdosta Times advertisement for North Georgia Agricultural College.

1910 Valdosta Times advertisement for North Georgia Agricultural College.

Among those from Ray City who served in the Corps of Cadets at North Georgia  were Jonathan Perry Knight (1872-1953), Alexander Stephens Knight (1883-1966); William “Harry” Luke (1923-2000); James Arthur Grissett (1932-2010), and Joe Donald Clements (1931-2014).

Other cadets and coeds from Nashville, Berrien County, GA were:

  • W. M. Giddens, who pursued a business degree at North Georgia in 1898;
  • Alexander Stephens Knight (1883-1966), brother of E. M. “Hun” Knight, was a sub-freshman in 1898; became a pharmacist in Nashville, GA; later moved to Atlanta, then Palm Beach, FL.
  • Alvah William Gaskins, (1885-1934) merchant of Nashville, GA, graduated from North Georgia Agricultural College in 1907; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Archie Wardlaw Starling,  1922 sophomore cadet at NGC. Later served as editor of the Nashville Herald; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • William Lawton Clyatt, (1902-1987), of Nashville, was in the preparatory program in 1923; buried Old Providence Cemetery, Union County, FL
  • Robert Felton Bullard, (1908-1969) an NGC freshman in 1925 pursuing a B.S. in Communications; later served as Director of the Southeast Region for the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Junius Vanvechton Talley, (1907-1963) an NGC freshman in 1925 pursuing a B.S. in Communications; later elected mayor of Nashville, GA; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  •  John Parrish Knight; sophomore in 1925 was seeking a B.S. in Mine Engineering;
  • Charles Verne Parham and William Lamar Parham (1907-1932) were brothers  attending North Georgia College in 1925, Verne as a senior cadet and Lamar as a freshman. Lamar was killed in a plane crash at Randolph Field, TX in 1932.
  • Wilmot Earle Bulloch, graduated in 1928 with a B.S. in Mine Engineering;
  • Marion June Akins, 1929 NGC freshman cadet, was seeking his bachelors degree;
  • Shelby Jackson Morris was a freshman cadet and tackle on the 1930 North Georgia football team;
  • Wilson Connell entered North Georgia as College as a freshman cadet in 1937 and served in the military during WWII;
  • Marie Sirmans, a 1938 freshman coed at North Georgia College;
  • John Franklin Miller, (1921-1999),  a freshman cadet in 1939; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Donald Rowan, (1920-2006)  1939 sophomore at NGC, was a grandson of Lucius Galveston Outlaw and Della Sutton Outlaw ; joined the Army Air Corps  and was assigned duty in the Hawaiian Islands for the duration of WWII;
  • Walter W. “Buddy” Dickson, (1920-1997) in the NGC Corps of Cadets in 1939 and served in the Army Air Corps during WWII; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Donald Willis, (1921-1981) was a resident of Nashville, GA when he entered the Corp of Cadets  at NGC in 1940; served in the Army during WWII; buried Oak Ridge Cemetery, Tifton, GA.
  • Jamie Connell, (1920-1973) graduated  from NGC and enlisted in the Army in 1943, becoming a navigator-bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII;
  • John David Luke, (1921-2004) 1940 sophomore cadet, North Georgia College;  In WWII served in the U.S. Army Air Corp, P-40 Pilot Instructor, Luke Field, Arizona; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • William Henry Mathis, (1922-1993) of Nashville, GA. 1940 Freshman, Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Edison “Eddie” Brodgon, (1918-1984), of Alapaha, GA was an NGC  sophomore cadet in 1940 – Enlisted in the Army, July 18, 1941; buried Riverside Missionary Baptist Church, Berrien County, GA
  • George W. Chism, of Nashville, GA. 1940 freshman cadet at North Georgia College.
  • Donald Keefe,  of Nashville, GA; son of turpentine operator Roland E. Keefe; 1941 sophomore cadet at North Georgia College; joined the Army Air Corps and served in Europe; died in France during WWII.
  • Jacob Jackson “Jack” Rutherford, (1924-2004), a 1942 NGC freshman Cadet. Served in the Army in WWII; buried at Douglas City Cemetery, Douglas, GA.
  • William “Harry” Luke (1923-2000),  born  in Ray City, GA; moved to Nashville, GA as a boy; 1942 Freshman cadet at North Georgia College; flew with the 390th bomber squadron during WWII; flew in the Berlin airlift, 1949; career Air Force officer; ret. 1973; buried Alabama Heritage Cemetery, Montgomery, AL.
  • William D. Alexander,   of Nashville, GA. 1942, Freshman cadet at North Georgia College.
  • Bill Roquemore (1923-1997),  of Nashville, GA. 1942, sophomore cadet at North Georgia College. Enlisted in the Army in 1943; Served in WWII as a Martin B-26 bomber pilot; married Nell Patten; operated Patten Seed company in Lakeland, GA. Later mayor of Lakeland; buried City Cemetery, Lakeland, GA.
  • James A. Grissett (1932-2010); born and raised in Ray City, GA; 1951  Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College; later received a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech.
  • Joe D. Clements (1931-2014), of Ray City, GA; North Georgia College cadet 1949-1953; joined the Army after graduation; later moved to Rome, GA.
Jonathan Perry Knight, 1902.

Jonathan Perry Knight grew up in Rays Mill (now Ray City), GA and attended North Georgia College in the 1880s (photographed 1902).

 

James A. Grissett, 1951, Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College

James A. Grissett, 1951, Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College

 

Joe Donald Clements, 1931-2014

Joe Donald Clements (1931-2014), of Ray City, GA. 1953 Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College.

Jamie Connell, of Nashville, GA. 1940 sophomore at North Georgia College

Jamie Connell, of Nashville, GA. 1940 sophomore at North Georgia College.

 

 

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William Lamar Parham ~ Scholar, Athlete, Soldier

Some interesting stories are coming to light as the Berrien County Historical Foundation prepares for an exhibit on  Hometown Teams, A Smithsonian Exhibit, to open in 2016. One local sports standout was William Lamar Parham – a scholar, athlete and soldier of Berrien County.

William Lamar Parham, of Berrien County, GA. West Point Class of 1931.

William Lamar Parham, of Berrien County, GA. West Point Class of 1931.

William Lamar Parham (1907-1932) was a son of Charlie S. Parham and Lola Lee Giddens. His father came to live at Rays Mill (now Ray City), GA in 1898 where he met Lola, a daughter of  Fannie Baskins and  William Knight Giddens.  After marriage, his parents made their home in Nashville, GA.

A previous post on the Ray City history blog gave a sketch of  Lamar’s father, Charlie S. Parham, written in 1937, but  Bryan Shaw, of the Berrien Historical Foundation, noted the conspicuous absence of Lamar in that biography:

“The 1937 biography of Charlie S. Parham  indicates he had two children in 1936. Actually he had two children surviving at that time [Verne Parham, b. 1905; Lola Marie Parham, b. abt 1911]. Charlie and Lola actually had four children. One of their first children died in infancy, no name known. However they had another child, William Lamar Parham who was born in 1907.

Like his father, Lamar was an aggressive learner. He completed his high schooling in Nashville at the age of 16, and entered college … that same year. He earned a B.A. degree in three years, graduating in 1927, age 19.

At North Georgia Agricultural College (now the University of North Georgia), William Lamar Parham played football, basketball, and baseball. He was a member of the literary society and the Sigma Nu Fraternity.

At North Georgia Agricultural College (now the University of North Georgia), William Lamar Parham played football, basketball, and baseball. He was a member of the literary society, the Sigma Nu Fraternity, and the college band.

Lamar went to college  at North Georgia Agricultural College (now known as the University of North Georgia), at Dahlonega, GA.  North Georgia was founded as a military college, sometimes known as “Georgia’s ‘West Point’,” and Lamar enrolled as a military cadet.   Among others  from Berrien County who were in the Corps of Cadets at North Georgia  were Jonathan Perry Knight (1872-1953), Jamie Connell (1920-1973), James Arthur Grissett (1932-2010), and Joe Donald Clements (1931-2014).

Lamar completed his Bachelors degree at North Georgia and graduated in 1927.

He then was accepted at Army’s West Point Academy, where he spent 4 years, earning his commission. While at West Point he was on the varsity football, baseball, and wrestling teams, lettering in all sports. He was the starting tackle for two years on the football team, catcher and one of the best hitters on the baseball team, and had a winning record in the heavy weight class on the wrestling team.

William Lamar Parham. 1929 letterman, Army football team, West Point

William Lamar Parham. 1929 letterman, Army football team, West Point

At West Point,  Lamar joined another former North Georgia College football player, Charles Ingram “Polly” Humber, who became captain of the Army team. Lamar played football on the same West Point teams with Humber, Robert L. Carver, and Red Cagle, who were nationally known college football stars. After graduating from West Point Parham, Humber and Carver all went on to Army Flight School at Randolph Field, Texas.   Red Cagle, who was an All American college player,  left West Point to become a professional football player with the New York Giants and co-owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers football team. Cagle died at age 37, after falling down a stairwell in a Manhattan subway station. Polly Humber served in WWII as a Lt. Colonel and was captured by the Japanese in the invasion of the Philippines in 1942.  Humber died  at age 39, while being held as a prisoner of war on the infamous “Cruise of Death” aboard the Japanese transport ship Oryoku Maru.  Robert L. Carver, who quarterbacked the 1931 and 1932 West Point teams, died in 1935, age 28, when his plane crashed into a Florida swamp.  Lamar Parham would be the youngest of the four to be taken.

William Lamar Parham Nashville, Georgia Eleventh District, Georgia From sunny Georgia's peach orchards and cotton fields to West Point's grey walls and soggy dress coats is a step which few men could endure with the equanimity that has marked Blondy's four-year sojourn midst these hallowed halls. But then his nature is such that he regards classes and drills with their attendant miseries as mere trivialities, and that is essential to equanimity in this institution. Besides what is there in any textbook to bother a man already holding a university degree, who possesses at the same time a decided penchant for sleeping? Apparently none, and yet somehow Blondy has always been close to the top academically. Personality he called it, but others laid it to his natural ability to spout bigger words faster than anyone else. Argument was his best bet. Ask him why all light haired men aren't Swedes. Despite his violent dislike for physical exertion he found time to play football and baseball with wrestling as a mid-winter diversion. Football (4-3-2-1); Wrestling (4-2-1); Baseball (4-3-2-1); Gun Club; Camp Illumination Committee; Rifle Sharpshooter; Pistol Marksman; Color Line; Major "A"; Minor "A"; Corporal (2); Lieutenant (1)

1931 West Point Yearbook
William Lamar Parham
Nashville, Georgia
Eleventh District, Georgia
From sunny Georgia’s peach orchards and cotton fields to West Point’s grey walls and soggy dress coats is a step which few men could endure with the equanimity that has marked Blondy’s four-year sojourn midst these hallowed halls. But then his nature is such that he regards classes and drills with their attendant miseries as mere trivialities, and that is essential to equanimity in this institution.
Besides what is there in any textbook to bother a man already holding a university degree, who possesses at the same time a decided penchant for sleeping? Apparently none, and yet somehow Blondy has always been close to the top academically. Personality he called it, but others laid it to his natural ability to spout bigger words faster than anyone else. Argument was his best bet. Ask him why all light haired men aren’t Swedes.
Despite his violent dislike for physical exertion he found time to play football and baseball with wrestling as a mid-winter diversion.
Football (4-3-2-1); Wrestling (4-2-1); Baseball (4-3-2-1); Gun Club; Camp Illumination Committee; Rifle Sharpshooter; Pistol Marksman; Color Line; Major “A”; Minor “A”; Corporal (2); Lieutenant (1)

After graduating in 1931 from the West Point Academy, Parham entered Army flight school, first at Kelly Field then at Randolph Field, TX.

Douglas BT2B biplane at Randolph Field, TX. William Lamar Parham, of Berrien County, GA was on a solo training flight in a Douglas BT2B Basic Trainer, when his plane suddenly dived into the ground. Parham was the first airman killed at Randolph Field.

Douglas BT2B biplane at Randolph Field, TX, 1931
William Lamar Parham, of Berrien County, GA was on a solo training flight in a Douglas BT2B Basic Trainer, when his plane suddenly dived into the ground. Parham was the first airman killed at Randolph Field. Image source: The Portal to Texas History.

Parham was training solo at Randolph Field, Texas when his plane crashed and he was burned to death in 1932. He was just 24.

The Texas newspapers first reported the story:

William Lamar Parham, Berrien County, GA

William Lamar Parham, Berrien County, GA Dies at Randolph Field, TX, Corsicana Daily Sun, March 21, 1932

Corsicana Daily Sun
March 21, 1932

Student Officer
Randolph Field
Dies in Crash

      San Antonio, March 21. Second Lieut. William Lamar Parham, 23, of Nashville, Ga., student officer at Randolph Field, near San Antonio, was killed today when the plane he was flying crashed near Marion, a mile west of the huge airdrome.
      The crash was the first fatal accident for a Randolph Field flier since the field was opened last November.
      Lieutenant Parham was practicing maneuvers outlined by his instructor for basic training when the accident occurred. He was flying alone when the plane suddenly fell and burst into flames. The pilots’ body was badly charred.

——————†——————

1932-mar-22-abilene-reporter-william-lamar-parham-killed

Abilene Reporter
March 22, 1932

Randolph Field Student is Killed

San Antonio, March 21. – Funeral arrangements for Second Lieutenant William Lamar Parham, 24, student officer at Randolph Field, who was killed when his plan crashed and burned near Marion this morning were delayed tonight pending word from his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Parham of Nashville, Ga.
Services will be held at the field with full military honors Tuesday or Wednesday. A board of three officers, consisting of Major D. N. Grant, medical corps, Captain George W. Polk, Jr., engineering officer, and Lieut. Albert F. Glenn, operations officer, has been appointed to investigate the accident.
Lieut. Parham had just completed a dual flight with a instructor and was practicing various maneuvers solo at the time of the crash.

—————•–♦–•—————

william-lamar-parham-military-funeral

San Antonio Express, March 23, 1932

 

San Antonio Express
March 23, 1932

Air Victim Given Military Funeral

Classmate Will Escort Body To Home in Georgia

Full military honors were accorded Second Lieut. William L. Parham, who was killed Monday when in a plane crash near Marion, Tuesday afternonn, in the Zizik-Kearns Undertaking Company chapel, Chaplain W. B. Hill officiating. All student officers in the basic class at the field, classmates of Lieut. Parham at West Point attended the services.
Lieut. Boyden E. Beebo Jr., a classmate, will escort the body to Nashville, Ga., Wednesday, for burial.
The officer died when his plane dove into the ground from an altitude of about 300 feet. It burst into flames as it crashed, burning the pilot beyond recognition.
He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Parham. He was 24 years old.

—————«♦»—————

William Lamar Parham killed in plane crash. Atlanta Constitution, March 22, 1932

William Lamar Parham killed in plane crash. Atlanta Constitution, March 22, 1932

Atlanta Constitution
March 22, 1932

GEORGIA BOY DIES IN ARMY AIR CRASH

Second Lieutenant William Lamar Parham, 23, of Nashville, Ga., one of the most promising students of the army aviation school at Randolph field, San Antonio, Texas, was instantly killed during maneuvers there Monday, when the plane he was piloting crashed.

Lieutenant Parham had been regarded as the topmost aviation student during his courses at Kelly field, before he was assigned to Randolph field. He was graduated from the Kelly field class in September of last year as honor student flier, and had been assigned to Randolph field since that time.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Parham, prominent Berrien county citizens, Lieutenant Parham was graduated from the Nashville High School in 1923, after which he attended North Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical College, Dahlonega from which he graduated in 1927.

Following his graduation from North Georgia College Parham was nominated to West Point, and was graduated from that institution in 1931 with rank of second lieutenant. During his West Point career he was one of the leading athletes of the institution, being a member of the varsity wrestling, football and baseball teams. He was a close friend of “Red” Cagle and “Polly” Humber, playing tackle on the same teams as those two famous grid stars.

Advices Monday from San Antonio stated that Lieutenant Parham’s plane dived suddenly during manoeuvers, and burst into flames the moment it crashed about a mile west of the huge aerodrome at Randolph field. The young officer’s body was charred.

In addition to his parents, Parham is survived by one brother, Charles V. Parham, of Atlanta, and a sister, Miss Marie Parham, of Nashville. Funeral arrangements will be announced following the arrival at Nashville of the body.

—————==≡≡≡≡≡≡≡==—————

1932-mar-23-atl-const--william-lamar-parham-funeral

Atlanta Constitution
March 23, 1932

Funeral Rites Held for Lt. W. L. Parham

San Antonio, Texas. March 22. Military funeral services for Second Lieutenant William L. Parham, who was killed Monday when his plane crashed and burnd near Marion, were held here this afternoon with Chaplain W. B. Hall officiating. All student officers in the basic class at Randolph field, who were classmates of Lieutenant Parham at West Point, attended the services.

The body will be taken to Nashville, Ga. tomorrow for burial, with Lieutenant Boyden E Boebe Jr., also a member of the basic class, as escort. The accident occurred when Lieutenant Parham’s plane was circling to the ground and suddenly dived earthward from an altitude of about 300 feet.

He is survived by his parents Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Parham, of Nashville, Ga.

——————†——————

Bryan Shaw concludes, “His body was returned to Nashville and was buried at the Old City Cemetery across from the Methodist Church. His death was the first to occur at the Randolph Field. The Lt. W. L. Parham Youth Center at Randolph Field is named in his honor.”

Grave of William Lamar Parham (1907-1932), Nashville, GA

Grave of William Lamar Parham (1907-1932), Nashville, GA

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