Luckie Stop at Ray City

Luckie Lumber Company

In the early 1900s there were  at least 86 lumber mills situated on the line of the Georgia & Florida Railroad running from Augusta, GA to Madison, FL, some 250 odd miles.   A big sawmill was situated on the railroad just  above Ray City, at a stop known as Luckie.  First operated under the name Luckie Lumber Company, it was owned by William F. Luckie.  About 1911, W.F. Luckie sold out to Levi J. Clements and his sons.  It appears that the Clements may have continued to operate under the name Luckie Lumber Company for several years, for the business was still listed under this name in the March 15, 1915 edition of the Lumber Trade Journal.  (see also Clements Lumber Company and the Company Town;  November 6, 1923 ~ Big Fire Loss at the Ray City Sawmill)

William Floyd Luckie, 1858-1937, operated the Luckie Lumber Company at Ray City, GA

William Floyd Luckie, 1858-1937, operated the Luckie Lumber Company at Ray City, GA

William Floyd Luckie

William Floyd Luckie, Jr.  was born on October 15, 1858 in  Greene County, Georgia. He was a son of William F. Luckie and Delaney Sayers, but was orphaned at an early age.  His father was killed in 1859.

“In 1859, a runaway slave of William Luckey’s was captured. While attempting to punish him, the slave grabbed a knife and stabbed Luckey to death.”  http://www.inheritage.org/almanack/c_greene_03.html

In 1861, his mother followed in death.

Afterward, William Floyd Luckie and his sisters, Falby and Mary were raised by their grandfather, James Martin Sayers, on his farm near Penfield, GA.  William Floyd Luckie was enumerated there in 1870 as William Sayers. At the time, he was assisting his grandfather with farm labor.

On March 20, 1887 William Floyd Luckie married Anita Inez Parks in Dodge County, GA. She was born in 1863 in Georgia.

Anita Inez Parks, first wife of William Floyd Luckie.

Anita Inez Parks, first wife of William Floyd Luckie.

By the census of 1900 the couple had seven children and made their home in Hortense, GA  in Wayne County, GA (now Brantley Co.) William was working as a merchant. Hortense is situated on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, which ran the fast mail train through the town, from New York to Jacksonville. But the town generated such little traffic that it wasn’t even a flag stop for the railroad.

Children of Anita “Nida” Inez Parks and William Floyd Luckie:

  1. Fulton Woodard Luckie (1880-)
  2. Annie Mae Luckie (1891-1971)
  3. Nebbie I or J Luckie (1892-1977)
  4. Willis Heard Luckie (1894- abt 1984)
  5. Fannie C Luckie (1895- )
  6. Rosa Kate Luckie (1897- )
  7. Candler C Luckie (1899)
  8. William M Luckie (1902-1931)
  9. John Parks Luckie (November 14, 1903 –  October 23, 1996)

It appears that the Luckies moved about 85 miles from Hortense to McRae, GA  sometime before 1903.  Anita Inez Parks died May 5, 1906 and was buried there at Oak Grove Cemetery. William was left a widower with eight minor children to raise.

About 1907 William F. Luckie married a second time.  In 1908 a son was born to this union, James Luckie (1908-1974). Elizabeth Susan and William Floyd Luckie were enumerated in McRae, GA with their children in 1910. William was working as a sawmill superintendent; Elizabeth was keeping house.  In McRae, the Luckies owned a home on Huckabee Street,  named in honor of William Allen Huckabee. Huckabee was first president of  South Georgia College, a  school which had been founded at McRae about 1885.

Shortly after the 1910 census William F. Luckie came to the newly incorporated town of Ray City, GA.  Mr. Luckie founded the Luckie Lumber Company, a business that within a decade would grow to be one of the largest employers in the area. The big sawmill was located on the tracks of the Georgia and Florida about a mile north of town.

Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Luckie were among the first members of the Ray City Methodist Church, along with Will Terry, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Turner, Mrs. Julia Dudley, Annie Lee Dudley, and Marie Dudley. The Church was organized by brother F.D. Ratcliff on October 29, 1910. The Rev. W.E. Hightower of Remerton, Georgia served as the first pastor. Originally the services were held in a tent on the north side of town near the homestead of Mr. and Mrs. Will Clements.

The business and social activities of the newcomers were newsworthy. The Valdosta Times, Saturday, November 26, 1910,  noted:

Mrs. B.W. Boyd and Mrs. W.F. Luckie, of Ray’s Mill came down yesterday and spent the day in this city on a shopping trip.

and in  January 19, 1911 The Valdosta Times reported from Rays Mill:

Mr. W. F. Luckie made a business trip to McRae last Saturday returning Monday.

In time, the Luckie children were on the social scene in Berrien county.   The Atlanta Constitution noted Willis Heard Luckie among the Ray City young people at the Nashville, GA carnival in 1914.

Atlanta Constitution, Feb 8, 1914, pg 8 M

Nashville (news items)

Rays Mill was well represented at the carnival last week. Misses Annie Mae Carter, Margie Dasher, Pearl Hardie Knight, Mr. and Mrs. G. V. Harvie, W. H. Luckie, George Norton, J. J. and J. S. Clements and C.B . Shaw were among the visitors.

Some time between 1914 and 1920, William F. Luckie had moved his family to Spence, GA in Grady County where he was operating a sawmill at the time of the 1920 census. But by 1921, the Luckies moved to Cairo, GA.

By the time of the 1930 census, William and Elizabeth Luckie had returned to Ray City.  They lived in town in a rented house; William Luckie engaged in truck farming.

William Floyd Luckie died on 16 Aug 1937 in Quitman, Brooks, Georgia. He was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, Georgia.

William Floid Luckie (1858-1937), Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, GA.

William Floid Luckie (1858-1937), Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, GA.

After his death,  Elizabeth S. Luckie went to live in the home of her daughter Nebbie and son-in-law William H. Terry, on South Broad Street in Quitman, GA. She died on May 1, 1953 and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, GA.

Elizabeth Susan Luckie, (1876-1953), Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, GA.

Elizabeth Susan Luckie, (1876-1953), Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, GA.

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W.H.E Terry’s Store at Rays Mill, GA

Ray City History
William H. Edward Terry

About 1910, William Henry Edward Terry came to Ray City, GA from Florida and built the first brick building in the new town. Mr. B. W. Boyd, of Valdosta, was given the contract to construct the new building on  the south side of Jones Street near the corner of Paralleled Street, in Ray City.

 The Valdosta Times
September 10, 1910

Mr B. W. Boyd of this city has been given the contract to put a second story on Mr. Gregory’s building at Adel, the upper story to contain offices.  He also has been given the contract to build a two-story brick building for Mr. W. H. E. Terry, at Rays Mill.

The construction proceeded quickly, and the January 19, 1911 edition of the Valdosta Times reported,  “Mr. W. H. E. Terry has moved into his new brick building.”

But even earlier, Terry was advertising his new store in The Valdosta Times.

Advertisement for W. H. E. Terry, Rays Mill, GA appeared in the Valdosta Times, Dec. 24, 1910.

Advertisement for W. H. E. Terry, Rays Mill, GA appeared in the Valdosta Times, Dec. 24, 1910.

In a  January 14, 1911 two line ad, W.H.E. Terry featured “Coffins and Carpets.”

Jan 14, 1911 ad for W. H. E. Terry's store appeared in The Valdosta Times

Jan 14, 1911 ad for W. H. E. Terry’s store appeared in The Valdosta Times

An early photo of the town features a department store offering “coffins and caskets.

Early photo of Rays Mill (Ray City), GA. Note storefront signage for caskets and coffins. Was this the building constructed by W. H. E. Terry?

Early photo of Rays Mill (Ray City), GA. Note storefront signage for caskets and coffins. Was this the building constructed by W. H. E. Terry?

The old building was torn down in the early 1950’s.

W. H. E. Terry Comes to Ray City

William Henry Edward Terry was born August 26, 1890 in Madison County, Florida. His father, Zachary Taylor Terry, was from Alabama, and his mother, Mary Virginia Pert, was a Florida girl.

In 1900, at age nine, little Willie Terry was living with his family in Macedonia, Madison County, FL. Willie’s father was a farmer. Willie had attended school for two months that year, he could not yet read or write.

About 1910 W. H. E. Terry  came from Florida to live in the new town of Ray City, GA.  At the age of twenty-something, he was tall and slender young man, with blue eyes and black hair. An entrepreneur, W.H.E. Terry became one of the young businessmen of Ray City, building one of the first brick buildings in the community (W.H.E Terry’s Store at Rays Mill, GA). His brother, Charles Oscar Terry, became the town pharmacist, and their cousin Harvey Terry, became the editor of the Ray City  newspaper.

In Ray City, William Henry Terry met Nebbie Luckie. She was the daughter of William F. Luckie, a successful businessman and a big sawmill operator of Ray City, GA (see William F. Luckie ~ Luckie Lumber Mill). On August 23, 1913 William H. E. Terry and Nebbie J. Luckie were joined in holy matrimony. W.C. McGill, Minister of God, performed the ceremony.

Marriage certificate of W. H. Terry and Nebbie Luckie, August 28, 1913.

Marriage certificate of W. H. Terry and Nebbie Luckie, August 28, 1913.

On March 8, 1916 Nebbie gave birth to their first son, whom they named after his father.  A second son followed, Charles Herman Terry, born October 24, 1917.  With a young family to support,  William Henry Terry went into the drug store business with his brothers.

In the meantime, the United States had entered World War I, declaring war on Germany on April 6, 1917.  William  Henry Terry  and cousin Harvey Terry, registered for the draft on June 5, 1917.

1918 Draft registration of W. H. E. Terry.

1918 Draft registration of W. H. E. Terry.

In 1920, William H. Terry lived in a home on Main Street, Ray City, GA. Just a few doors down the street was the home of C. Oscar Terry, proprietor of a drug store.  William H. Terry was working as a retail drug salesman. Effie Guthrie Knight, subject of previous posts, became one of his employees in 1923, hired as a saleswoman at a salary of $150.00.

By 1930 W. H. E. Terry had moved to Quitman, GA where he continued in the retail drug trade. His brother, C. O. Terry, had acquired the drugstore in Quitman (see Ray City Soda Jerk).

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Smith and Jones Open Bank at Ray’s Mill

In 1911, B. P. Jones, President of the Valdosta Bank and Trust, and Clarence L. Smith, Vice President, came to Rays Mill, GA on business. Jones’ wife was a daughter of Jonathan Knight, and a granddaughter of Reverend William A. Knight.

Valdosta Times, May 23, 1911 news item,

Valdosta Times, May 23, 1911 news item, “Organized bank at Rays Mill”

The Valdosta Times
May 23, 1911

Organized Bank at Rays Mill

Messrs B. P. Jones and C. L. Smith went up to Rays Mill this morning for the purpose of organizing a Bank at that place to be known as the Bank of Rays Mill.  It will have a capital stock of $25,000.

The Ray City investors received a State Bank Charter and opened for business on August 14, 1911.  The other investors were: J.S. Swindle, J.H. Swindle, M.T. Bradford, W.H.E. Terry, Riley M. Green, and J. F. Sutton, all of Berrien county; and Charles Lee Jones and  J.B. Griffin, of Lowndes county. The Bank of Ray’s Mill  would later be known as the Citizens Bank of Ray City.

The principal banker, Benjamin Perry Jones, was a former resident of Berrien County, and had operated mercantile at Milltown. In 1913, a biographical sketch was included in A history of Savannah and south Georgia:

Harden, William,. A history of Savannah and south Georgia. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1913.

p. 747-749

   BENJAMIN P. JONES, the president of the Valdosta Bank and Trust Company has had a long career in business, has won prosperity and influence much above that of the average man, and yet began with little or nothing and for a number of years had a hard struggle with the obstacles of business life. Mr. Jones is one of the prominent citizens of south Georgia, and has been identified with Valdosta from the time it was a small village.

   Mr. Benjamin P. Jones was born, June 25, 1837, in that part of Camden now Charlton county, Georgia. His grandfather was James Jones, thought to have been a native of Georgia, who was a Camden county planter, having a number of slaves, and died there at the age of seventy-five, his remains now reposing in the Buffalo churchyard. He married a Miss Davis, who was upwards of eighty when she died, and they reared a large family of children. They were Primitive Baptists in religion.

   Burrell Jones, father of the Valdosta banker, was born in Wayne county, Georgia, April 29, 1803. About the time of his marriage he bought land near Folkston, living there a few years, and about 1840 returned to Wayne county and located on a farm near the present site of Lulaton, where he made his home until his death in 1877. He married Mary Margaret (known as Peggy) Mizell, who was born in Bulloch county, August 9, 1809. Her father, Jesse Mizell, of English stock and a native of North Carolina, was a soldier of the Revolution under Jasper at Savannah and with Marion during that leader’s valorous excursions against the British. He was with the command when it crossed the Peedee river, first lay blankets on the bridge to deaden the sound of the horses’ hoofs, and in this way surprised the enemy. Some years after the Revolution Jesse Mizell came to Georgia, living two years in Camden county, and then moved into the interior, settling near the present site of Folkston in Charlton county, where he bought land and was engaged in farming and stock raising until his death at the age of about sixty. He married a Miss Stallings, a native of North Carolina and of Dutch ancestry. Mary M. Mizell, the mother of Mr. Jones, spent her early life on the Georgia frontier, and for the lack of educational advantages she compensated by her great natural ability and force of character. Her husband was for many years an invalid, and the care of the children devolved entirely upon her. She reared them to habits of industry and honor, and they paid her all filial reverence. Her death occurred in 1885. Her nine children were named as follows: Harley, Joseph, Benjamin P., Margaret, James B., Nancy C., Harriet, Jasper N. and Newton J.   Harley and Joseph were Confederate soldiers and died during their service for the southern cause.

   Though in his youth he had little opportunity to obtain an education, Benjamin P. Jones managed to obtain an education largely through his own efforts at self-improvement and an ingrained habit of close observation. When he was seventeen he became a teacher, and while he did good service while in this occupation it may be remembered that qualifications for teaching were not very high at that period. Anyone could teach who could find others who knew less than himself, and there was no formality of examination. Intellectual curiosity was a passion with him from an early age, and the time most children give to play with their comrades he devoted to association in company with his elders, thus learning by listening. When he was twelve years old he once attended a court session, listening attentively to the evidence and the charge to the jury. At recess the judge asked why he was so absorbed in the proceedings. The boy replied that it was because he wanted to learn, and then asked the judge why he charged the jury as he did. That was equity, responded the judge, and after explaining the meaning of that word told the boy that if he ever had occasion to make out papers to make them out in accordance with equity and justice and he would sanction them if brought before his court. Chopping cotton at twenty-five cents a day and board was the means by which Mr. Jones earned his first money. A little later he became clerk in a general store at Lulaton, and after a time engaged in business for himself at Stockton, Georgia. Hardly had his trade started when a panic paralyzed all business, and he found himself in debt fifteen hundred dollars, which took him some time to pay off.

   Early in 1861 Mr. Jones enlisted in Company D of the Twenty-sixth Georgia Infantry, and was with that command in the coast defense until the regiment was ordered to Virginia, when he secured a substitute. Confederate money was then plentiful but away below par, and he bought a farm for three thousand dollars, at war-time prices, going in debt for the greater part of this amount. He was busily engaged in farming until 1864, when he enlisted with the Georgia Reserves, being commissioned first lieutenant and being in actual command of his company. The Reserves went to the defense of Atlanta, but from Griffin his company was sent back to recruit and apprehend deserters, and he was on detached duty until the close of the war. After making three crops on his farm he sold the land for four hundred dollars, and with that money and what he had realized from his crops engaged in the mercantile business at Milltown in Berrien county. Nine days after opening his store an epidemic of smallpox broke out, he was quarantined fifty-two days, and at the end of that time offered to sell his entire stock for three hundred dollars but could not find a buyer. Owing to this circumstance he went on with his business, at the same time buying cotton and dealing in live stock, and in four years had so reversed the current of his previous fortunes that he had cleared up fourteen thousand dollars. Then selling out at Milltown he went to southern Florida, where he opened two stores and established a grist and saw mill, and was engaged in business there until 1874, when ill health compelled him to make a change. He sacrificed eight thousand dollars by the move, and then came to Valdosta, which was then a village. Here he bought an established general store and a home for three thousand dollars, and was prosperously identified with the mercantile enterprise of this city for twenty years. In 1894 Mr. Jones organized the Valdosta Guano Company, and in 1906 the Valdosta Bank & Trust Company, of which he has since been president, with his son C. L. as cashier.

   On June 25, 1862, Mr. Jones married Miss Elizabeth Knight, who was born in Clinch county, October 18, 1843, representing an old family of southern Georgia. Her grandfather, Rev. William Knight, was a pioneer preacher in this part of the state. He married a Miss Cone. Jonathan Knight, the father of Mrs. Jones, was born in that part of Lowndes now Berrien county, and spent his life as a farmer in Clinch and Berrien counties. Mr. and Mrs. Jones reared thirteen children, named as follows: Jonathan H., Charles Lee, Frances M. McKenzie; Lillie Roberts, Samuel W., Elizabeth Fry, Benjamin U., Jimmie Staten Green, Eulah Norris, Pearl Mashburn, Lloyd E., Lotta and Audrey Terry.

   Mr. Jones has been identified with the Masonic order since he was twenty-seven years old. He is a member of the Economic League of Boston, Massachusetts, a society for the betterment of mankind. He has been one of the influential men in political life for many years. His first presidential vote was cast for John C. Breckenridge in 1860. He was opposed to secession, in a speech in which he said that if the sixteen southern states would all go out in a body, taking the constitution in one hand and the flag in the other, he would favor the movement with his vote, but not otherwise. In subsequent years he has served as delegate to many county and state conventions, was a delegate to the national conventions that nominated General Hancock and Grover Cleveland, and was also one of the sound-money Democratic delegates of 1896 who nominated Palmer and Buckner. Since 1898 he has not been allied with any party, and as a free lance has supported the individual who best represents his ideas of government.

More on Andrew Washington Turner and Phoebe Isabelle Sirmans

Andrew W. Turner was married to Phoebe Isabelle Sirmans on March 27, 1892

Andrew W. Turner was married to Phoebe Isabelle Sirmans on March 27, 1892

Andrew Washington Turner, a subject of previous posts  (Andrew Washington Turner and Phoebe Isabelle Sirmans, Ray City News, Jan 3, 1929 ~ M.G. Melton Buys A. Turner Brick Bldgs. ), was born January 1, 1867 in Dublin, GA.  He was the son of Adeline Rebecca Black Reddick and Jesse Turner.  His  mother had been previously married to Captain Daniel Reddick, who was a sea captain engaged in trade along coastal Georgia.  Andrew had two half-siblings who were fathered by Captain Reddick; Susan Reddick and William D. Reddick.

At age 4, Andrew appeared with his family in the 1870 census of Militia District 344, Laurens, Georgia.  His father was a farmer there with $500 in real estate and personal estate valued at $450.  Andrew’s half-brother, enumerated as William D. R. Turner, worked as a farm laborer.   Also in the household was Andrew’s older sister, Henrietta (age 6).

Andrew’s father, Jesse Turner, died some time prior to 1880.  The 1880 US Census shows Andrew Turner,  living with his twice-widowed mother, half-sister Susan (Henrietta ?), and sister Mary Reddick.  They were then living in Berrien County, GA Militia District 1144, in the vicinity of Rays Mill.  Andrew, then age 14, “works on the farm,” the census noted.

It was in  Berrien County, GA that Andrew W. Turner was married to Phoebe Isabelle Sirmans on March 27, 1892.   She was born June 1, 1867, a daughter of Frances Sutton and  Abner Sirmans.  On February 24, 1893, Andrew Turner and his wife bought land from her father, Abner Sirmans. On this land, situated in the Rays Mill community (later Ray City, Georgia), the newlyweds made their home.

In 1900,  the census shows Rebecca Turner living with her son Andrew W. Turner and family in Rays Mill, Berrien, GA and notes that Rebecca was blind.

Andrew and Phoebe Isabella Turner were among the first members of the Ray City Methodist Church, which was organized on October 29, 1910.  Other organizing members were Mr. and Mrs. Will Clements,  Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Luckie, Will Terry, Mrs. Julia Dudley, Annie Lee Dudley, and Marie Dudley.

In 1910  Andrew Turner was working on his own account as a farmer.  Mrs. Turner’s widower father, Abner Sirmans, was living with the Turner family in Ray City,  but had his own income.

Andrew and Phoebe Isabelle raised their family in Ray City, GA.  Between 1892 and 1911, they had nine children:

  1. Lona Belle Turner (3/30/1893 – 5/10/1926) married Edward Holmes Sumner 10/28/1909 in Berrien County, GA, buried at Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Polk County, Florida.
  2. Rosa B. Turner (9/22/1894-9/23/1985) married Aubrey B. Shaw on 9/13/1914 ceremony performed by Lyman Franklin Giddens, Justice of the Peace, Ray City, GA. Rosa Turner is buried at Sunset Hill Cemetery, Valdosta, GA.
  3. Minnie Turner (7/5/1896 – 12/2/1987) married George I. Sumner on 12/22/1915, buried at Friendship Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA.
  4. Maggie Turner (12/25/1898 – 9/20/1980) married Burie Webster Clements on 5/5/1920, buried at Lakeland Memorial Gardens, Polk County, FL.
  5. Jesse Abner Turner (7/14/1900 – 10/3/1969) married Maude D. Yarbrough on 1/3/1920, buried at Friendship Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA.
  6. John S. Turner (8/25/1903 – 7/23/ 1984) married Florrie Olena Reynolds on 5/1/1927, buried at Riverside Cemetery, Macon, GA.
  7. Mittie Mae Turner (1/5/1907 – 10/23/1968) married F.H. “Mac” McColm, buried at Southern Memorial Park, Dade County, FL.
  8. Essie Turner (9/12/1909 – 2/11/1990) married 1) James Nathaniel Hall, 2) Tasca Luther Cole. Buried at Sunset Hill Cemetery, Valdosta, GA.
  9. William Theodore Turner (3/3/1911 – 9/10/1952) Never married. Buried at Sunset Hill Cemetery, Valdosta, GA.

The Turners made Ray City, GA their home through the 1920s.  The Census of 1920 gives Andrew’s occupation as “Cotton buyer” working on his own account.  His son, Jesse Turner, was working as a drayman, for public work. The family residence was located on North Street in Ray City, next to the homes of Levi J. Clements and Lucius J. Clements, operators of the Clements Sawmill.  Andrew Turner was also engaged in the in naval stores and the mercantile business.

In 1922, Andrew W. Turner dabbled in local politics:

Atlanta Constitution
Jan 11, 1922, pg 6

Ray City Officials

Milltown, Ga.,  January 10. – (Special.) – At the election for the town officers at Ray City.  Tuesday, the following were elected: Mayor, L.F. Giddens: councilmen. J.T. Phillips, A.W. TurnerJ.S. Clements, Jr., and J.A. Griffin.  They were installed immediately.

During the town’s boom period he constructed ”two large brick buildings known as the Andrew Turner Buildings.  One of the buildings is two stories high.”  In 1929, the Ray City News reported that this building was sold to M. G. Melton.

Sometime between 1922 and 1929 Andrew Turner purchased a farm situated between Hahira and Valdosta, GA and the family made this their home.  Around this same time period, he suffered a stroke which resulted in paralysis of his left side and impaired his speech.  He recovered use of his left leg sufficiently that he could walk with a cane, but his left arm remained paralyzed.  Andrew’s son, Jesse,  had married by this time but made his home near his father’s and ran the family farm.

Census records show that by 1930 the Turner family had relocated to Valdosta, GA to a home on Valley Street.   Andrew Turner rented the house for $20 a month:  Jesse Turner and his family apparently had an apartment in the same residence.  Andrew’s daughter,  Mittie, was working in a department store;  Jesse was working as an automobile mechanic.

Andrew Washington Turner died 1936.

Mr. Turner Dies After A Stroke
Valdosta Times
Monday, July 27, 1936.

      Funeral services for A. W. Turner, 69, well known resident of this county, who died at a local hospital last night as the result of a stroke of paralysis, will be held this afternoon at 6 oclock at Sunset Hill.
     The body was taken this morning from Sineath’s to the home of Mrs. A.B. Shaw, a daughter who resides at 305 West Gordon Street.
     Rev. L.H. Griffis, pastor of the Church of God, and Rev. C.M. Meeks, pastor of the First Methodist Church, will conduct the services. 
    Survivors are his wife and the following children: Mrs. A.B. Shaw and Miss Essie Turner, of this city; Mrs. G.I. Sumner, J.A. Turner and Theo Turner, of Hahira; J.S. Turner, of Porterdale; Miss Mittie Turner, of Miami; and Mrs. B.W. Clements, of Ft. Pierce.  A sister, Mrs. Mary Johnson, of Macon, also survives.
     Mr. Turner was for a number of years a merchant and cotton buyer in Ray City, but he had made his home in Hahira for a number of years before his death.  For the past two years he had been in ill health.
     His death is the occasion of much genuine sorrow throughout this section.

The Personal Mentions in the same edition of the newspaper noted:

Mr. and Mrs. P.N. Sirmans, Mr. and Mrs. Burns Sirmans, of Ray City, Mr. and Mrs. Terrel Sirmans,  and Mrs. Levi Sirmans of Nashville, were here yesterday to attend the funeral of Mr. A.W. Turner.

Phoebe Isabelle Sirmans Turner  died in 1948.

Mrs. A. W. Turner, 81, Passes Away;  Funeral Today
Valdosta Times
August 30, 1948

     Mrs. A.W. Turner, 81, passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. A.B. Shaw, 401, N. Troupe Street, early Sunday morning after a declining illness of several months. She had made her home in Valdosta for about five years, moving here from Ray City.
     Mrs. Turner was born and reared in Berrien County.  She was a member of the Lee Street Church of God.
     Survivors include five daughters, Mrs. A.B. Shaw and Mrs. J.N. Hall, Valdosta; Mrs. B.W. Clements, Mulberry, Fla.;  Mrs. G.I. Sumner, Hahira, and Mrs. F.H. McCullum, Miami, Fla.; three sons John Turner, Columbus, Ga.; J.A. and Theo Turner, Hahira; two sisters, Mrs. Leona Douglas, Ocala, Fla.; and Mrs. Kitty Turner, of Ray City, Ga.  Also surviving are a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
     Funeral services were to be held this afternoon at 3 o’clock, at the Carson McLane Funeral Home.
     Interment was to follow in the family plot in Sunset Hill beside her husband, who passed away several years ago.

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Ray City Girls run R-C Motor Lines

In the 1930s,  four Ray City girls, Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal and Carolyn Swindle attended the Ray City School.

Ray City Girls, (L-R) Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, Carolyn Swindle.

Ray City Girls, (L-R) Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, Carolyn Swindle.

Louise Paulk and Helen Swindle were the older girls. They were team mates on the 1934 Ray City School girls basketball team. Grace Putnal and Carolyn Swindle were about five years younger.  Louise,  Helen, and Carolyn all lived within a few doors of each other on west Main Street in Ray City.  Grace lived down Park Street just outside of town.

Louise Paulk, daughter of  Gladys Daniel  and James M. Paulk, was born about 1920 in Irwin County, GA.  Her father died August 23, 1922 leaving Louise, her infant brother and mother on their own.  In 1927, her mother married  E.M. “Hun” Knight, a farmer and sometimes entrepreneur of Ray City, GA.  Hun Knight was a widower with children of his own.  The blended family made their home in Ray City, and Louise attended the Ray City School.  She graduated with the class of 1938.

Helen  Margaret Swindle was born and raised in Ray City, GA.  She was the daughter of George Perry Swindle and Cynthia E. Pafford. Her father was a prominent businessman and employer, operating a general mercantile store.  The Swindle home was on Main Street, and  when Helen was growing up the Swindle family had neighbors like Dr. Lawson S. Rentz, pharmacist C.O. Terry, businessmen W.H.E Terry and Arthur Miller, and Mayor J. Lacy Moore, among others .

Grace Putnal’s parents were Ellen Gaskins and Wayne Putnal. Her father was a farmer and part-time barber of Ray City. Grace and her family have been discussed in this week’s posts (Wayne Putnal ~ Farmer/Barber of Ray City,   Putnal Family ~ Town and Country, Obituary of Leston L. Putnal)

Carolyn S. Swindle was a daughter of Ora Cathleen and Henry Alexander Swindle. Her father was also a successful merchant of Ray City, and her grandfather, Redding Swindle, served as the town’s first mayor.

In the 1940s, the four young women made their way to Jacksonville, Florida. They appear enumerated together in the Florida census of 1945, living in Apartment #1 at 2926 Cook Street, ,  Jacksonville, FL.  All of the girls were working, either clerking or bookkeeping.

Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, and Carolyn Swindle, all raised in Ray City, GA, were enumerated in Jacksonville. FL in the 1945 state census.

Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, and Carolyn Swindle, all raised in Ray City, GA, were enumerated in Jacksonville. FL in the 1945 state census.

At least three of the girls,  Carolyn, Helen, and Grace were working for R C Motor Lines.  R-C Motor lines was a large interstate trucking company based in Jacksonville. ( You can see additional images of R-C Motor Lines trucks at http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/gruin_r.htm) .  Grace and Carolyn found work there as a bookkeeper,  and Helen was a clerk.  Louise was clerking for another firm.

1950s tractor-trailer rig of R-C Motor Lines, a large interstate trucking company based in Jacksonville.

1950s tractor-trailer rig of R-C Motor Lines, a large interstate trucking company based in Jacksonville.

Effie Knight and the 1926 Ford Coupe Installment Plan

Effie Guthrie Knight

 

Effie Guthrie Knight. Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Effie Guthrie Knight. Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

 

After Ralph Knight was killed in the sinking of the Otranto during   World War I, Effie Guthrie Knight had purchased a 51 acre farm located on Park Street  just outside of Ray City, GA. In 1926, this property was valued at $3500.00 and provided Effie with an income of $1500.00.

About 1923, Effie Knight went to work for Ray City merchant W.H.E. Terry as a saleswoman. She earned a salary of $150.00.

In 1926 Effie Knight decided to purchase a new Ford Coupe from Gaskins Motor Company in Nashville, GA. The car sold for $696.00, including finance charges.  She put $208.00 down with  the balance due over 12 months on an installment plan through the Standard Motors Finance Co., Inc, of New Orleans, LA. Effie gave her employer, W.H.E Terry, as a reference on the loan application.  Effie paid off the loan on time and received a “favorable” letter of appreciation from the finance company.

Standard Motor Company correspondence to Mrs. Effie Knight, June 11, 1927. Letter of debt satisfaction. Papers of Effie Guthrie Knight.

Standard Motor Company correspondence to Mrs. Effie Knight, June 11, 1927. Letter of debt satisfaction. Papers of Effie Guthrie Knight.

Perhaps it was the “Improved Ford,” introduced in 1926, that enticed Effie to become a car owner.  For the first time, Ford cars were available in colors other than black and new accessories were introduced including optional front and rear bumpers, and windshield wipers.

A 1926 Ford Advertisement suggestively featured a woman driver with a male passenger, and ran with the tag line “Easier to handle ~ safer to drive.”

The driving control of the Ford car is exceedingly simple, yet always dependable. It effectively reduces the possibilities of accidents – particularly in crowded city traffic. Foot pedal gear changing, powerful brakes, short wheelbase and full visibility, afforded by the all-steel body construction with narrower pillars and large plate-glass windows, are important reasons why Ford owners enjoy such security.  Let the nearest Authorized Ford Dealer explain the many features of Ford cars and demonstrate their easy handling. Get full particulars about convenient time payment plans.

1926 Ford Coupe Advertisement

1926 Ford Coupe Advertisement

The Anneberg telecourse and video series A Biography of America  sums up the rural appeal of the automobile:

 The Model T liberated millions of people who had never traveled more than 12 miles from their homes. That’s the distance a horse could go in a single day. Farm women could now jump into the family Ford and head off to town, anytime they liked. More farmers had cars than bathtubs. When asked why, one farm wife said, “You can’t drive to town in a bathtub.” Ford may have thought of the Model T as everyman’s car, but it was every woman’s car too. Women took to the wheel in droves.

Automobiles were the single most significant consumer product of the 1920s…As Thrift for Women (1930) demonstrates through stories told by individual farm women, the increased mobility of the population even contributed to greater prosperity in rural areas, as motorists stopped to purchase farm products from roadside stands and eat in farm houses where the farmer’s wife brought in extra income by selling produce to or cooking meals for strangers…Automobiles brought the consumer society to the country in other ways too. Would-be rural consumers were able to get to centers of consumption, as chain stores relocated to suburban areas outside of cities and movie theatres took up residence in farm country. A beguiling advertisement for Paramount Pictures in the February 1926 edition of Country Gentleman encapsulates the situation: “Today nobody with young ideas stays home when a few miles by the speedometer takes you to the motion picture theatre. . . . The farmer of years gone by might have been content to wear himself and his family out with all work and no play, but 1926 is a different story. . . . The motor car is a chapter in that story, and good roads leading to better theatres showing Paramount Pictures are another. . . . There all the members of the family may sit together under the same spell of enchantment, refreshed by the wholesome flood of make-believe. . . .” (p. 1) The ad’s emphasis on the family-togetherness of the event reinforces that this is a “wholesome” use of leisure time.

A 1926 advertisement for Paramount Pictures appealed to rural farm women like Effie Guthrie Knight, for whom the automobile was a part of "modern" independence. With a car, it was just a short drive for Ray City residents to shopping or leisure activities like movies, in Nashville or Valdosta, GA.

A 1926 advertisement for Paramount Pictures appealed to rural farm women like Effie Guthrie Knight, for whom the automobile was a part of “modern” independence. With a car, it was just a short drive for Ray City residents to shopping or leisure activities like movies, in Nashville or Valdosta, GA.

Also, 1926 was the year President Calvin Coolidge made off-hand remarks to the Federal Reserve Board that appeared to endorse installment plan buying. Organizations like the Y.M.C.A condemned the practice, while businessmen and finance companies sought the direct endorsement of the President.  The installment loan papers of Effie Knight  show that she clearly embraced consumer loans.

Bank of Ray City, GA through Optimism and Depression

The Citizens Bank of Ray City was among the first businesses to advertise in the town’s newspaper, The Ray City News, when it began circulation in 1929.

The Citizens Bank, Ray City, GA – 1929 newspaper advertisement from the Ray City News

In a newspaper clipping from the Jan 3, 1929 issue of the Ray City News the stockholders of the Citizens Bank of Ray City were pleased with the financial reports.

In a newspaper clipping from the Jan 3, 1929 issue of the Ray City News the stockholders of the Citizens Bank of Ray City were pleased with the financial reports.

Ray City News
Ray City, GA
January 3, 1929

 Bank Stockholders Hold Annual Meet

    The stockholders of the Citizens Bank of Ray City held their annual meeting on December 18th – illegible text –
    Examination of the – illegible text – well pleased at the report.
    The same officers and directors were elected for the new year.

In 1929, the Citizens Bank of Ray City, was optimistically advertising for new depositors.

When the stock market crashed, the bank managed to remain in business.  In fact, in July of 1930, the Atlanta Constitution reported that the banks of Berrien County, including the Ray City bank were financially sound.  But by the end of December 1930 the Citizens Bank of Ray City had failed.

 MORE BANKS CLOSED IN SOUTHERN STATES
New York Times.  Dec 21, 1930.

ATLANTA, Ga., Dec. 20 (AP) – A. B. Mobley, State Superintendent of Banks, announced today his department had been asked to take over the affairs of the Union Banking Company of Douglas, operating branches at Braxton and Nichols, the Toombs County Bank at Lyons and the Citizens Bank of Ray City. Cause of the closings was not stated.

“After that bank failed other banks were opened but they all  suffered from the nation’s economic troubles and none were successful. Until, in 1949, H.P. Clements opened a private bank and named it the Bank of Ray City.  It was a state chartered bank operated by Mr. Clements and his son-in-law,  Lawson Fountain. In later years Mr. Clements was forced to retire due to ill health. ”

Bank of Ray City

Bank of Ray City

The Bank of Ray City in 1972. In 1973 the bank was acquired by the Citizens Bank of Nashville. Georgia, and is now the Ray City office of that bank. The old bank building pictured above has since been demolished.

Related Posts

Ray City Officers Take Seat on January 14, 1929

Ray City News articles from 1929 give insight into the town’s social, business, and political leadership of the time:

Ray City News, January 3, 1929

Ray City News, Jan 3, 1929
City Officers Take Seat on January 14

The followning city officers were elected in the election held in the early part of December, L. S. Giddens, mayor, J. D. Luke, J. A. Purvis, Y. F. Carter, W. H. E. Terry, councilmen.
J. M. Studstill opposed Giddens for mayor.  W. G. Altman, J. S. Clements and W. W. Woods were on the opposite ticket for councilmen.
The new officers will  be sworn in Monday night –text illegible– L. F.  Giddens over Edmond Griner.

Lyman Giddens

Mr. Lyman F. Giddens – better known as “Judge” – served the town as mayor, city clerk and justice-of-the-peace. As mayor he was involve in the effort to bring a power plant and electric lights to Ray City, GA.

1929 Merchants Support Ray City News

Many Ray City, GA residents felt that a home town newspaper was an essential element in the growth of the town. When the Ray City News began printing the local news, the local businessmen and merchants placed a full page advertisement showing their support.

The Ray City News, Ray City, Georgia

TO THE PUBLIC

    The undersigned merchants and business men of Ray City herewith announces the establishment of The Ray City News in the town of Ray City;
    And believing that a paper here means a great deal to the commercial life and development of our town, we are taking this method of be-speaking, for the paper, the support of the public and in asking that you subscribe to and read the Ray City News:

Citzens Bank of Ray City
M. G. Melton
C. O. Terry
Swindle & Clements
W.H.E. Terry
J. H.P. Johnson
J. L. Moore
Dr. G. H. Folsom
Charlie Shaw
Norton Service Station
A. Levin
L. F. Giddens
H. W. Woodard
J. A. Purvis
Studstill and Clements
G. M. Purvis    General Merchandise
Ray City Motor Co
Ray City Ice and Cold Storage Co.

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