Dr. Pierce Hubert (1854 – 1933)

Dr. Pierce Hubert (1854 – 1933)

Special thanks to Bryan Shaw for sharing contributions to this post.

Dr. Pierce Hubert was among the medical men of Ray City, Georgia in the 1920’s. Dr. Hubert was a philanthropist, civic activist, Mason, checker champion, and public administrator.

It appears that  Dr. Hubert and his wife moved from Louisville, GA 190 miles south to Ray City, Georgia sometime after 1920. An account statement from his medical practice shows that he was treating patients here in 1923, one being Francis Marion Shaw.  A bill for the doctor’s treatment of Shaw’s “last illness” was found in the death papers of the deceased. Dr. Hubert was still using office stationary imprinted with his old place of business in Louisville, GA, carefully crossed out, and overwritten with his new location, in Ray City.

Dr. Pierce Hubert billed the estate of Francis Marion Shaw $5 for two visits to the deceased during his last illness leading up to his death. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw.

Dr. Pierce Hubert billed the estate of Francis Marion Shaw $5 for two visits to the deceased during his last illness leading up to his death. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw.

Ray City, GA., March 1st, 1923

Mr. F. M. Shaw

In account with
Dr. Pierce Hubert

1922
Sept 20 Visit &c self 2.00
” ” Night Visit self    3.00
                                   $5.00
Georgia, Berrien County
Personally came before me Dr. Pierce Hubert, who being sworn says the above account of Five dollars is for professional services rendered the said F. M. Shaw, during his last illness and that the same is due, just and true and unpaid.

Sworn to & subscribed
before me Mch 2nd 1923 Pierce Hubert M.D.

 

Dr. Hubert was also among the men present at the start-up of the Ray City Power Plant in 1923.  The operation of the first electric lights was a big event in the small town.

Dr. Pierce Hubert grew up with his family in Warrenton, Warren County, Georgia. He was born in 1854 in Georgia, a son of Dr. Robert Wallace Hubert and Ann B. “Nancy” Turner.  He attended medical school and graduated  in 1876  from the Medical Department of Georgia University (now known as University of Georgia), as a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.).  After achieving his degree, he returned to his parent’s house in Warrenton, GA and began practicing medicine.

In 1877 Dr. Hubert married Stella Hill Cody in Warren County, GA.  Her father, James Cody, was a retired drygoods clerk.  The 1880 census shows the young couple living in his parents household at Warrenton, GA.

In 1880 Dr. Hubert  was a member of a small, private charity group of four prominent Warrenton citizens, which contributed to the Hood Orphan Memorial fund.  The fund was to provide for the 10 orphan children of Confederate General John Bell Hood. 

Orphan children of Confederate General John Bell Hood.

Orphan children of Confederate General John Bell Hood.

After the Civil War, General John Bell Hood moved to Louisiana and became a cotton broker and worked as a President of the Life Association of America, an insurance business. In 1868, he married New Orleans native Anna Marie Hennen, with whom he fathered 11 children over 10 years, including three pairs of twins. He also served the community in numerous philanthropic endeavors, assisting in fund raising for orphans, widows, and wounded soldiers. For awhile he flourished. But his insurance business was ruined by a yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans during 1878–79 and he succumbed to the disease himself [on August 30, 1879], dying just days after his wife and oldest child, leaving 10 destitute orphans. 

Personal mentions in the Atlanta newspapers noted in November, 1880 Dr. Hubert visiting in Sparta, GA, about 24 miles southwest of Warrenton.  His wife, Stella Hill Cody Hubert, died about September 15, 1882 and was buried at Warrenton Cemetery.

It appears that by 1884, Dr. Pierce had established his household at Sparta.  He joined the American Legion of Honor, a Fraternal Beneficiary Society,  which was active in the late 19th century and early 20th century.   On July 17, 1884 at the Savannah meeting of the Georgia Grand Council of the American Legion of Honor, Dr. Hubert was elected Grand Secretary of the state organization. In 1888, he was again elected Grand Secretary; at that time he had returned to reside in Warrenton, GA. He attended the annual meeting of July 16, 1891 in Griffin, GA  and was returned to the post of grand secretary; he had moved to Louisville, GA by that time.

In its heyday, the American Legion of Honor was one of the best known benefit societies. Membership was open to white men and women eighteen to fifty years of age. Originally the upper age limit was sixty four, but this was reduced in 1885. There were initiation ceremonies but, if the candidate objected, these could be dispensed with and a formal obligation could be taken at any time and place. Like Woodmen of the World and other fraternal benefits organizations, the American Legion of Honor provided life insurance to its members.  The Legion reached its membership high point at the end of 1889 with 62,457. Like many fraternal organizations, the Legion ran into financial difficulties in 1895 and 1896. These were caused by a number of factors, including the Panic of 1896, an increased death rate, increased expenses and debts, “unusually high” assessments in 1896 and a lack of new members.  The order went into receivership in August 1904.

About 1886 Dr. Hubert married Carrie De Beaugrine. She died in 1889 and is said to be buried in Sallie Hill Cemetery, Warrenton, GA.

By 1891, Pierce Hubert had moved to Louisville, Jefferson County, Georgia, where he was elected to serve on the county Board of Education in 1896.

In 1896, Dr. Pierce Hubert married a third time, to Hunter V. Fay. By the census of 1900 he appears with his wife and family in Louisville, Jefferson County, Georgia.10 He remained a resident and practiced medicine in Louisville for the next twenty years. In addition to his practice, he continued to serve on the Jefferson County School Board, his name appears in the Georgia Department of Education Records for 1897, and in 1904 serving a term through 1908.

When the American Anti-Tuberculosis League met in Atlanta, April 17-19, 1905, Dr. Pierce Hubert was a delegate from the 10th congressional district of Georgia.  There were representatives appointed by the governors of every state in the union and from many foreign countries – No representatives were named from south Georgia. Governor J. M. Terrell tendered the Hall of the House of Representatives to the Georgia State Capitol for the use of the League during the meeting, and he delivered an address to the League at the opening session. [ It should be noted that at the time, nearly 80 percent of all tuberculosis deaths were African-Americans, but the medical response to the disease was as segregated as every other aspect of American life in the early 20th century.  It was not until 1909 that a Colored Anti-Tuberculosis League was formed in Georgia, and among its stated purposes were shifting the burden of cost for care to African-Americans and reducing transmission of the disease from blacks to whites.]

In 1908 a Pierce Hubert appears in the Official proceedings Grand Lodge, Free Accepted Masons, State of Georgia, as a member of Stonewall Lodge No. 470.

Dr. Hubert, a serious devotee to the game of checkers, was regarded as one of the best players in the state of Georgia. He played in the first championship match of the Southern Checker Association in Atlanta in 1908.

Checker Match. The first championship of the Southern Checker Association was played in Atlanta in 1908. Dr. Hubert Pierce, who later practiced medicine at Ray City, GA was among the finalists.

A Classic Checker Match. The first championship of the Southern Checker Association was played in Atlanta in 1908. Dr. Hubert Pierce, who later practiced medicine at Ray City, GA was among the finalists.

The tournament was played in the firehouse at the corner of Washington and East Hunter streets, directly opposite the state capitol.

The Canadian Checker Player, a monthly magazine devoted to the game of draughts, reported the results of the 1908 Southern Checker Association tournament. Dr. Pierce Hubert ranked 13th in the region.

The Canadian Checker Player, a monthly magazine devoted to the game of draughts, reported the results of the 1908 Southern Checker Association tournament. Dr. Pierce Hubert ranked 13th in the region.

 

In 1910, the Huberts were in Augusta, GA.  The Atlanta Constitution, November 27, 1910 reported,
Dr. and Mrs. Pierce Hubert and General John W. Clark, accompanied by his wife and a few friends, went down to Savannah for the unveiling of the Oglethorpe monument.  John W. Clark, a Confederate veteran, successful businessman, and one of the most prominent citizens of Augusta, was among the foremost promoters of reunions and monuments to honor Confederate soldiers.

Dedication of the monument to General James Edward Oglethorpe, unveiled Savannah, GA, November 23, 1910

Dedication of the monument to General James Edward Oglethorpe, unveiled Savannah, GA, November 23, 1910

Dr. Hubert was a founding member of the Jefferson County Medical Association, organized February 7, 1911, and was the group’s delegate to the state association.

In 1917, Dr. Pierce Hubert was one of four men appointed by Governor Nat E. Harris to the WWI Draft Registration Board for Jefferson County, GA.  In Berrien County, the men appointed were Sheriff Joe Varn Nix, Clerk of the Superior Court James Henry Gaskins,  Ordinary Joel Ira Norwood, and Dr. Lafayette A. Carter.

Sometime before 1930 Dr. Hubert retired from his medical practice. He and Mrs. Hubert moved on to Valdosta, GA. He died at the age of 78 on March 15, 1933 in Bibb County, Georgia. He was buried at Warrenton Cemetery, Warren County, GA.

John Gaskins, Pioneer of Old Berrien

John Gaskins (1802 – 1865)

Grave marker of John Gaskins (1802-1865), Riverside Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

Grave marker of John Gaskins (1802-1865), Riverside Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

 John Gaskins was one of the early pioneers of Berrien County, settling along with his father, Fisher Gaskins,  and brothers near present day Bannockburn, GA.  They made their homes on the west side of the Alapaha River about 16 miles distant from today’s Ray City, GA location, settling there about the same time the Knights and Clements were homesteading in the area around Beaverdam Creek.

John Gaskins was born June 29, 1802 in Warren County, GA. He was the eldest child of Fisher Gaskins and Rhoda Rowe, and a grandson of Thomas Gaskins, Revolutionary Soldier.  When John was around four or five years old, his parents  and grandparents  moved  the family back to Beaufort District, South Carolina, from whence they had originated.  The family appears there in Beaufort District in the Census of 1810. By the time of the 1810 enumeration, John Gaskins’ parents had given him four siblings – two brothers and two sisters.

But immediately following the birth of her fifth child, John’s mother died.  He was eight years old at the time.  His widowed father packed up the five young children and moved the family back to Warren County, GA.  There, on January 17, 1811 his father married Mary Lacy. Her father, Archibald Lacy, was also a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and her brother was the Reverend John B. Lacy, who would later become a prominent  Primitive Baptist Minister.  Around this time John’s father was expanding his livestock business and began looking for good grazing land for his growing herds of cattle.

By 1812, John Gaskins’ father moved the family to Telfair County, GA where he acquired good grazing land for his cattle. His father and his uncle, David Gaskins, were very successful in the cattle business and soon had large herds, not only in Telfair County where they were enumerated in 1820, but also in Walton and other surrounding counties where good natural pasturage could be had.

Around 1821, the Gaskins again moved their families and cattle herds to the south, crossing the Ocmulgee River at Mobley’s Bluff and pushing into the new frontier of Appling County,GA.  John, now a young man of 17 or 18 years old, made the move with his family.  His uncle, David Gaskins, halted in an area of Appling County known as “The Roundabout”, situated in present day Atkinson County, where he found good range land for his cattle. John’s father took his herd across the Alapaha River into then Irwin County at a location that for many years was known as the John Ford.

The Fisher Gaskins clan, John’s father and his brothers, settled west of the Alapaha River a little south of present day Bannockburn, GA near the site of Riverside Church. On April 14, 1825  John Gaskins married Mary Pollie Barrow in Irwin County, GA.      This was about 15 miles north of the area where the Knights and Clements were settling their families above Grand Bay, near present day Ray City, GA.  John and Mary Gaskins established their homestead just to the north of his father’s place. By the end of 1825, the Georgia Legislature divided Irwin County and from the southern portion formed the new county of Lowndes.

On August 11, 1826 Mary Gaskins delivered to John his first son, Gideon Gaskins. A second son arrived on February 16, 1828, whom they named Fisher Jackson Gaskins; Fisher – after his paternal grandfather, and Jackson perhaps after Andrew Jackson, the Hero of New Orleans who would be elected President that year.

John Gaskins appeared as a head of household in Lowndes County in the Census of 1830, as did his father, Fisher Gaskins.  About 1829 or 1830, John’s father moved his cattle across the county and settled on Lot 91 of the 9th Land District, which was subsequently known as the Chambliss place, and later became the home of George D. Griffin.

About 1831 a contagious disease struck Fisher Gaskins’ herd, killing off several hundred head of cattle and inciting the elder Gaskins to seek new pastures yet again. With the help of hired hands, among them a young John G. Taylor, he drove his remaining cattle into North Florida to settle in the area of Alachua County, FL.   John and Mary stayed behind in Lowndes County (now Berrien), as well as John’s brothers,  William and Harmon.

“When he moved to Florida, he [Fisher Gaskins] left much of his herds behind in Georgia to be looked after by his sons, John, William, and Harmon who by that time were grown.  These herds multiplied and in turn, other herds were formed and placed about at various points in what is now Clinch, Echols and Lowndes counties and over in Florida, under the management of herdsmen, who for their services were paid at the end of the year a percentage of the proceeds of the cattle sold that year.  The beef cattle were driven to Savannah and other distant places each year and sold. This arrangement with the herds and herdsmen continued with the elder Gaskins making periodic visits of inspection until his death, after which the three sons in Georgia received the Georgia herds in a division of the estate.”

Cattlemen like John Gaskins sold their Berrien County livestock at points like Savannah, GA or  Centerville on the St. Mary’s River, or Jacksonville, Florida.

John Gaskins fought in the Indian War 1836-1838, serving in Levi J. Knight’s Militia Company.   Georgia historian Folks Huxford wrote,  “His home was visited  by the savages on one occasion while the family was absent, and a good deal of vandalism and theft was committed.”   John Gaskins and his brother William were among those who took part in the Battle of Brushy Creek, one of the last real engagements with the Creek Indians in this region.

At age 38, John Gaskins and family were enumerated in the Census of 1840, still living in the northeast area of old Lowndes county now known as Berrien County. His brother, William, was living next door, and nearby were the homesteads of David Clements and William Clements, and other early settlers.

In 1850 the Gaskins remained in  Lowndes County.  Enumerated nearby the Gaskins home place were the residences of General Levi J. Knight, William Patten, Hardeman Sirmans, David Clements, Moses C. Lee, and other early settlers. John Gaskins was a farmer, with $600 in real estate.

Around 1855 the Gaskins were involved in some sort of public disturbance in Lowndes county.  Hardeman Sirmons, Benjamin S. Garrett, Drewry Garrett, Will Garrett, John Gaskins, William Gaskins, Gideon Gaskins, and Lemuel Gaskins were all brought before the Lowndes Superior Court for their involvement in a riot.  In 1856, however, the Gaskins and their neighbors were cut out of Lowndes county and placed in the new county of Berrien. The defendants were able to have their case  transferred to Berrien County in June of 1856, and apparently escaped serious consequences.

In the Census of 1860 John Gaskins appeared on the enumeration sheets listed next to Thomas M. Ray, who would begin construction of Ray’s Millpond just a few years later.

From 1858 to 1861, John Gaskins served as a Justice of the Peace in Berrien County.

During the Civil War five of his sons joined Georgia Volunteer Infantry regiments: Fisher J. Gaskins, William Gaskins, Lemuel Gaskins, Joseph Gaskins, and Harris Gaskins, .

Children of John Gaskins and Mary Pollie Barrow:

  1. Gideon Gaskins, born 1826, Berrien County, GA; married Sarah Knight (July 17, 1831 – February 03, 1902); buried Riverside Baptist Church, Berrien County, GA.
  2. Fisher J. Gaskins, Sr., born February 16, 1828, Berrien County, GA; married Elizabeth Sirmans, daughter of Abner Sirmans; served in Company I, 50th GA Regiment; died November 14, 1908, Berrien County, GA; Buried at Riverside Baptist Church.
  3. John Gaskins, Jr., born January 16, 1830, Berrien County, GA; married Catherine Calder; died May 6, 1886.
  4. Emily Gaskins, born 1832, Berrien County, GA; married Joseph Newbern.
  5. William Gaskins, born March 5, 1833; married Elizabeth Clements, daughter of David G. Clements; served in Company I, 54th GA Regiment; died August 27, 1910; buried Empire Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA.
  6. Lemuel Elam Gaskins, born 1836, Berrien County, GA; married Sarah Ann Sirmans, daughter of Abner Sirmans; served in Company I, 50th GA Regiment;  died October 26, 1862, Richmond, VA; buried Richmond VA, memorial marker at Riverside Baptist Church.
  7. Joseph Gaskins, born April 28, 1840, Berrien County, GA; married Harriet Sirmans, daughter of James Sirmans; served in Company I, 50th GA Regiment; died February 4, 1911; Buried at Riverside Baptist Church.
  8. Harmon Gaskins, born 1842, Berrien County, GA; died young.
  9. Harrison  “Harris” Gaskins, born April 5, 1842, Berrien County, GA.; married Roxanna “Roxie” Sirmans, daughter of James Sirmans, on April 17, 1862; served in Company K, 29th GA Regiment; died January 7, 1926; Buried at Riverside Baptist Church
  10. Bryant Gaskins, born 1846, Berrien County, GA

Clinch County News
April 23, 1937

John Gaskins – 1802-1865

Oldest son of Fisher Gaskins by his first wife. Came to Berrien while a youth, grew to manhood here. His wife was a daughter of Joseph Barrow… Immediately after their marriage John Gaskins and his wife settled on the Alapaha River a short distance north of the old home of his father and near where Bannockburn now is, and there they spent their entire married life together.   The death of John Gaskins occurred at this home July 18, 1865; and 23 years later, January 6, 1888 his widow joined her husband in the spirit-land, at the age of 83.  Both are buried at Riverside Cemetery and their graves are substantially marked. They were the parents of a large family of sons and daughters and their living descendants in this county to-day are very numerous.

John Gaskins was a man who spent his life at home and gave his time and attention to his avocation.  The farm was made self-sustaining; work was the rule and grim want never came to stare the inmates of this farm-home in the face.  Food for family and stock was well and abundantly supplied and the excellence of the range went a long way in helping him to provide meat for family and lay up money from the sales of beef-cattle.  Deer and turkeys were plentiful and could be taken at any time. Fish abounded in the river and with all of these good things around life on the frontier was not so bad after all.  Hogs grew almost wild in the hammocks and only required a few weeks’ finishing off with corn or field crops to be ready for slaughter. Cattle were let to go at large all the time except they were penned regularly for about six weeks during the months of April and May so that they may be marked and branded and kept under control; and the annual sale of these beef-cattle brought the gold in their homes against the rainy-day and old age.

John Gaskins took part in driving the last of the wandering bands of Indians from Georgia soil, and one of the last engagements with the redskins fought on Berrien county soil took place near the home of this old pioneer.  His home suffered from Indian predations to the extent that the feather beds were taken out, the ticks ripped open, the feathers emptied and scattered and the ticks carried away with some other articles of the household.  Some of these articles were recovered, among which was a beautiful pitcher which had been treasured as an heirloom for many years.  The place where the pitcher was recovered after it had been cast aside by the Indians in their flight across the Alapaha River, is known to this day among the local inhabitants as “Pitcher Slough.”

Following the death of John Gaskins in 1865 his sons Fisher J. and John, Jr. served as the administrators of his estate.

Milledgeville Federal Union
August 21, 1866 — page 4

Georgia, Berrien County.
Two months after date application will be made to the Court of Ordinary of said county for leave to sell the lands belonging to the estate of John Gaskins, Sen., deceased, for the benefit of the heirs and creditors of said deceased.
F. J. Gaskins,
John Gaskins, Jr.   Adm’r’s.
July 2d, 1866.        WEC       50 9c

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