Leon Bradford, Ray City Barber

Leon Bradford (1905-1962)

Leon Bradford and W. B. Parrish, February, 1951, at the diner in Nashville, GA. Leon Bradford owned a barbershop in Ray City.

Leon Bradford and W. B. Parrish, February, 1951, at the diner in Nashville, GA. Leon Bradford owned a barbershop in Ray City. Photograph by Jamie Connell. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

Leon Bradford was born December 5,1905 and raised at Ray City, GA. He was a son of Mack Talley Bradford and Margaret R. “Maggie” Gaskins.  His parents owned a farm on the Nashville & Valdosta Road, in the Connell’s Mill District near Ray City.

Leon and his brothers all attended school when they were of age. When Leon was about 13 years old, his father fell off a ladder. Although Mack Bradford’s injuries from the fall seemed minor, in just a short time he was dead.

For a time, Leon’s mother continued to farm the family place near Ray City. Leon’s older brother, Albert Bradford, worked as a farm laborer.

It appears that after the 8th grade, Leon Bradford had to give up school.  By 1930, Leon’s brother, Albert was married and had a place of his own. Leon’s mother moved with his two younger brothers to a farm at Cat Creek, GA, about ten miles southwest of Ray City. Leon moved into town at Ray City and took up the trade of barbering.  In 1930, he was boarding with Pleamon and Minnie Sirmons in their Ray City home.

About 1934, Leon married and in 1935  Leon and Dora Bradford became the parents of Patricia Bradford. The Bradford home was on Main Street in Ray City. They were neighbors of Hun and Gladys Knight, and the Knight’s boarders Hazel Tabor and Dorothy Chisholm who were both school teachers. Other neighbors of the Bradfords included George and Cynthia Swindle, Raymond and Jeanette Philipps, Marvin and Arlie Purvis, and Garth and Jessie Mae Webb. Patricia Bradford attended the Ray City School.

Leon Bradford had his own barbershop, located on the south side of Main Street just east of the tracks of the Georgia & Florida Railroad.  Just across the street was the Victory Soda Shop  and next door was the grocery store owned by Marvin and Arlie Purvis. A few doors down was another barber shop owned by Lyman Franklin Giddens.  On Saturdays, Wayne Putnal worked at Bradford’s barbershop cutting hair and giving shaves. Leon Bradford spent his career grooming the citizens of Ray City, GA.

It appears the Bradfords were Methodists. Patricia Bradford attended the Methodist retreats at Epworth on St. Simon’s Island, GA. Like his father before him, Leon Bradford was an active member of the Masons.

Leon Bradford died May 27, 1962 in Berrien County, GA. He was buried with others of the Bradford and Gaskins family connections at Fisher Gaskins Cemetery, located on Bradford Road six miles southwest of Ray City, GA.

Grave of Leon Bradford, Barber of Ray City, GA. Image source: Robert Strickland

Grave of Leon Bradford, Barber of Ray City, GA. Image source: Robert Strickland

 

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Glen Putnal

Glen Hilton Putnal was born July 24, 1936, a son of Wayne Putnal and Ellen Gaskins.  Glen was the youngest of the Putnal children.  He grew up on the Putnal farm on Park Street extension, Ray City, GA. The Putnal farm was about a half mile down the dirt road south from Effie Guthrie Knight’s place and Glen would come up to play with Effie’s neices and nephews.

He attended the Ray City School where he excelled in academics.

Glenn Putnal, 1953 junior at Ray City High School.

Glenn Putnal, 1953 junior at Ray City High School.

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Glen Putnal, 1954 senior photo, Ray City School, Ray City, GA

Glen Putnal, 1954 senior photo, Ray City School, Ray City, GA

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 Glen Putnal was voted the cutest boy of the Ray City High School Class of 1954. Elinor Grissett was cutest girl.

Glen Putnal was voted the cutest boy of the Ray City High School Class of 1954. Elinor Grissett was cutest girl.

 

Glen Putnal went to Valdosta State College, graduating in 1958 with a degree in Biology.  He became a dentist and worked at the Georgia State Prison at Reidsville, GA

Georgia State Prison, Reidsville, GA

Georgia State Prison, Reidsville, GA

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Glen Putnal, 1955, freshman at Valdosta State College

Glen Putnal, 1955, freshman at Valdosta State College

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Glen Putnal, 1958, senior at Valdosta State College

Glen Putnal, 1958, senior at Valdosta State College

Glen Putnal later returned to the area and practiced dentistry in Hahira, GA.  He was active in civics. In 1967 he was president of the Lion’s Club of Hahira, GA. He was a contributor to the Valdosta State College Foundation.

Glen H. Putnal died November 4, 1990 in Lowndes County, GA. He was buried at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens, Adel, GA.

The Ray City – Willacoochee Connection

There were several south Georgia families that shared a Ray City – Willacoochee connection.

After 1908, the route of the Georgia & Florida Railroad was from Jacksonville, GA to Madison, FL  and provided convenient transportation between Willacoochee and Ray City by way of Nashville, GA, a run of about 34 miles.

In 1934 Ray City was ‘Noted Section’ of Berrien County

Ray City began 1934 on an optimistic note.  A “booster” story from the Nashville Herald praised the farming, education, churches, municipal government, roads and businesses of Ray City.

The Nashville Herald, 
January 25, 1934, Pg 1

RAY CITY IS NOTED SECTION

Excellent Community of Berrien County and South Georgia – Fine Farming Section

In writing about different communities of Berrien County it is next to impossible to neglect the city of Ray City and the large farming territory surrounding it.  The Ray City section constitutes the southern portion of Berrien County, where extensive farm operations are carried on during every month of the year in all lines of endeavor.

The trading point is the city of Ray City, just ten miles south of Nashville, the county seat.  It has a population of around 500 people, all of whom are industrious and hospitable, with fine schools, churches and live wire merchants.  There is no better place in south Georgia to live than Ray City.

The farming population surrounding Ray City constitute an industrious and progressive people.  To a certain measure they are prosperous, because everything to be raised on a farm can be grown on their fertile lands, and each year their products find ready markets, returning to them cash in abundance.  The section is noted for its fine tobacco and cotton lands and is a hog and cattle raising territory of excellent possibilities.

The city of Ray City affords every convenience and comfort for the citizens of the community.  There is a fine school system, which is under the capable and efficient supervision of Prof. P. M. Shultz.  Prof. Ulmer Crosby is principal, and the other teachers are:  Mrs. P. M. Shultz, Miss Jessie Aycock, Mrs. A.B. Baskins, Miss Lillian Ford and Mrs. Eulalie Dickson.

The school has nine grades, with an enrollment of a few over the two hundred mark.  A number of fine students complete the school each year, advancing to higher institutions of learning.  The school system in Ray City is really a big asset, (illegible) a higher type of citizenry.

The school board is composed of the following gentlemen who handle their duties in a most admirable manner and of benefit to patrons and students combined.  H.A. Swindle, chairman, M.A. Studstill, sec.-treasl., C.H. Vickers, J.M. Studstill and W.M. Creech, members.

Ray City is not short either along the spiritual line, having four active churches as follows:  Baptist, Rev. Walter Branch, pastor; Methodist, Rev. F.A. Ratcliffe, pastor; Primitive Baptist, Elder C.H. Vickers, pastor; Christian, supply pastor.  The Baptist and Methodist churches conduct Sunday Schools, and young people’s organizations.

The affairs of the city of Ray City are in the hands of men who apparently have the united support of the people, as the entire body was recently re-elected to office.  J. H. Swindle is mayor, and the councilmen are:  G.V. Hardie, Y.F. Carter, H.P. Clements and W.M. Creech.

The standing committees for the year 1934 are:  Water and lights, G.V. Hardie and Y.F. Carter; Street, W.M. Creech and H.P. Clements; Sanitary, entire city council.

In questioning the mayor, Mr. J. H. Swindle, he stated that the city enjoyed a very good administration the past year, and that 1934 was begun with the city in much better financial condition than a year ago.

Ray City is soon to enjoy one of the best highway outlets of any small city in south Georgia.  It is located on Route No. 11, the short route into Florida from Atlanta.  This highway has been recently graded for paving and at some future date this work will be a reality.  Other good roads lead out in all directions as well.  It is located on the Georgia and Florida railroad, and is one of the railroad’s most important shipping points.  Mr. T.W. Thompson is the G. & F. Agent, having served in that capacity for a long number of years.

The postmistress is Mrs. J. F. Fountain, and the rural mail carriers are James Grissett and L.A. McDonald.

There are also several industries which add to the progressiveness of the town and community.

The Ray City Ice & Storage Company, of which Mr. D.T. Sharpe is manager, serves a wide territory.  At present this concern has on storage over 100,000 pounds of meat being cured for farmers.

The Y.F. Carter Naval Stores concern is the largest firm in the community, where approximately fifty men are given employment.  This firm operates over ten crops of boxes, the leases affording additional revenue for landowners.  It has been in operation for about eighteen years.

The J.H. Swindle Gins and Warehouse is another concern of benefit to the entire section.  Plants are located at Ray City and Barrett, being among the most up to date in south Georgia.  Mr. Swindle buys cotton and cotton seed, corn, peanuts, hay and other country produce.  Besides gin and warehouse activities he operates a twelve horse farm.

The Peoples Banking Company, a private institution, is owned by Mr. J. H. Swindle, with Mr. E. J. Patten as cashier.  This bank was organized several years ago by Mr. Swindle when Ray City lost its regular bank, so as to carry on the business operations locally and without interruptions.

Mrs. R.N. Warr is owner of old Ray Pond, famous for its fishing for the past hundred years.  Mrs. Warr acquired the pond about two years ago, and since has created a good income out of the sale of minnows, pond plants, frogs, and tadpoles.  The pond covers an area of approximately 4,000 acres.

Among Ray City’s most enterprising merchants are:  Swindle & Clements, B. Ridgell Jones Drug Store, Purvis Grocery Store, Weeks Grocery Store, Hardie Filling Station, South Georgia Oil Company, Bradford Barber Shop, Putnell Barber Shop, Swain Garage, Woodward Blacksmith Shop, Griner Corn Mill and others.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

Related posts:

James Henry Swindle ~ Businessman and Public Servant

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.

Putnal Family ~ Town and Country

Putnal Family of Ray City, GA

The  farm place of Wayne and Ellen Gaskins Putnal was located on the south side of Ray City, on Park Street.  Wayne Putnal worked the farm during the week and on Saturdays he could be found in town at Leon Bradford’s barbershop.  The barbershop was located on the south side of Main Street just opposite the Victory Soda Shop.  Mr. Putnal worked many years there, cutting hair and giving shaves. In his later years he had a noticeable tremble, but his customers could always be confident that he would apply scissors to locks or straight razor to whiskers with the steadiest hand.

There were seven children in the Putnal household, and they attended the Ray City School. They would walk up the dirt road that was Park Street to Johnson Street, then east to the school, joining the other farm children who lived along the way.

Children of Ellen Gaskins and Wayne Putnal:

  1. Leston L. Putnal
  2. Grace Marguerite Putnal
  3. Clifford Earl Putnal
  4. Cary W. Putnal
  5. Nelda E. Putnal
  6. Dorthy E Putnal
  7. Glen H Putnal

Leston Putnal married Louise Cooper after graduating from Ray City High School. During WWII, he joined the Air Force, and it became a 30 year career. While he was away during the war his wife and son rented an apartment in Effie Guthrie Knight ‘s house on Park Street. The large old house had once served as a hotel for tourists visiting the Mayhaw Lake Amusement Park. Later, Leston Putnal and his family lived in Adel, GA.

After high school, the sisters Grace and Nelda Putnal went to Jacksonville, Florida. Nelda  got a job as an operator for the Standard Oil Company and in 1947 she married Charles J. Vance.  Grace Putnal  found work as a bookkeeper.  She married Bobby Earnest  in Duval County, Fl in 1953.

Cary W. Putnal moved to Macon, GA.

Earl Putnal   was known to other Ray City students by the nickname, “Guinea.”  Like his older brother, Earl fought in WWII. He served in the Navy and was wounded in action.  After the war,  he returned to Ray City and married Helen Marie Lee. She was the daughter of   Letha Brantley and Loren Lafayette Lee.   Earl and Helen moved to Jacksonville,  where Earl took a job as a clerk with Spencer Electric company. Later, they moved to Galveston, TX where Helen’s parents had already relocated.

Dorothy Putnal married Payne Webb, a successful merchant of Ray City.  He owned a liquor store located on the south side of Main Street, opposite the present day location of the Dollar General store. The couple spent their honeymoon in Atlanta, and returned to Ray City to make their home. After marriage, Dorothy went on to attend Georgia State Womans College at Valdosta, GA (now Valdosta State University.)   After Payne died of cancer she relocated to Atlanta and remarried.

Glen Putnal became a dentist.

When Wayne and Ellen Putnal were ‘senior citizens,’ they moved from their home on Park Street to a place in town.  Annie Mae Clements sold the Putnals a lot on the west side of her house, the Clements house being located on the southwest corner of  Jones and Ward streets.  Using  the same building plans from which their farm home had been constructed, the Putnals had a house built on the town lot.  In their new home the Putnals were known as “nice people and good neighbors.”

The Putnal house on Park Street is long gone, but the town home still stands on Jones Street in Ray City, GA.

Obituary of Leston L. Putnal

Leston L. Putnal, son of Ellen Gaskins and Wayne Putnal, grew up in Ray City, GA. He  died December 11, 2006 at Adel, GA..

Valdosta Daily Times
Obituaries for Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006

— ADEL
Leston L. Putnal
Leston L. Putnal, 86 of Adel passed away Dec. 11, 2006, at Memorial Convalescent Center.
He was born on July 23, 1920, in Willacoochee to the late Wayne and Ellen Gaskins Putnal. He grew up in Ray City and lived in Adel for the past 20 years. He was retired after 30 years in the Air Force as master sergeant and also retired from Southern Chemicals in Macon.
He is survived by his wife, Louise Cooper Putnal of Adel; one son, Gene Putnal of Adel; one grandson, Eric Putnal, Port St. John, Fla.; one brother, C.W. Putnal, Macon; two sisters, Nelda Vance, Jacksonville, Fla., Dorothy Davis, Atlanta; one sister-in-law, Laverne Putnal, Adel; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by one sister, Grace Ernest; and two brothers, Earl and Glen H. Putnal.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2006, at First Baptist Church with the Rev. Ben Smith officiating. Burial will be held in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens.  Boone-Lipsey Funeral Home, Adel.

Wayne Putnal ~ Farmer/Barber of Ray City

Wayne Putnal & family were long time residents of Ray City, GA.

Wayne Putnal and Lawson Fountain at the Ray City, GA Post Office shortly after it opened.

Wayne Putnal and Lawson Fountain at the Ray City, GA Post Office shortly after it opened.

According to U.S. Census records, Wayne Putnal was born and raised in Florida. He was born November 22, 1889 in Jasper, FL, a son of  Eliza and Hayden Putnal.

Some time after 1910 Wayne Putnal moved to Georgia, where in 1916 he married Ellen Gaskins in Berrien County, GA.  Wayne was a man of 26 years, of medium height and slender build, with blue eyes and dark hair. Ellen was the 16 year-old daughter of Mary E. Strickland and Levi J. Gaskins of Rays Mill, GA;  their youngest daughter, born August 4, 1899.  Ellen Gaskins and Wayne Putnal were married on March 18, 1916. by  J.W. Moore, Justice of the Peace.

Wayne Putnal and Ellen Gaskins, 1916 Marriage License, Berrien County, GA

Wayne Putnal and Ellen Gaskins, 1916 Marriage License, Berrien County, GA

Shortly after marriage, the couple moved to West Green, Coffee County, GA where Wayne Putnal went to work as a barber, self-employed.  Wayne’s father had passed in 1913, and his widowed mother came to live with the young couple.  They were living in West Green when Wayne Putnal registered for the WWI draft on June 5, 1917. He was not called to serve in that conflict.

Wayne Putnall, WWI Draft Registration

Wayne Putnall, WWI Draft Registration

By the Census of 1920, the couple had relocated to Willacoochee, GA where Wayne took a wage position in a local barbershop. Wayne’s mother, Eliza Putnal, died in 1929, and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.  In 1930, the Putnals, now with six young children,  were living in Georgia Militia District 1329 near Ray City, GA. In the census that year, Wayne gave his occupation as farming on his own account.

Children of Ellen Gaskins and Wayne Putnal:

  1. Leston Putnal
  2. Grace Putnal
  3. Clifford Earl Putnal
  4. Nelda Putnal
  5. Carry W Putnal
  6. Dorthy E Putnal
  7. Glen H Putnal

By the 1940s, the Putnals had a big farm out on Park Street extension on the south side of Ray City.  Wayne Putnal was known as a very industrious man.  During the week he worked his farm, and on Saturdays  he worked as a barber, cutting hair at a barbershop in Ray City. ( Other Ray City barbers have included Lyman F. Giddens, Leon Bradford, Marion Guy Parrish, Remer Martin, Hayne A. Bowden and his employee Matthew A. Hendley.  In 1976, the town’s present barber was Carson Boyd.)

In their later years, the Putnals moved from their farm place to a house in town. They spent the rest of their lives in Ray City.

Wayne Putnal died June 9, 1980 and Ellen died December 2, 1992. They are buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Wayne and Ellen Putnal, gravemarker, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Wayne and Ellen Putnal, gravemarker, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.Eliza Putnal, gravemarker, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Eliza Putnal, gravemarker, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Eliza Putnal, gravemarker, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Eliza Putnal, gravemarker, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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