William Lonnie Royal and the Turkey Heist

William Lonnie Royal  (1897 – 1981)

Lonnie Royal, 1973.

Lonnie Royal, 1973.

William Lonnie Royal was born June 13, 1897, at  Homerville, Clinch County, GA.  He was a son of Gabriel Marion Royal and Vercy Lee Fender. Some time after 1910 his father rented a farm at Ray City, GA and this is where Lonnie grew to be a man.

On June 21, 1917  William  Lonnie Royal married Utha Gertrude Mixon in Berrien, Georgia.  The ceremony was performed by Lyman Franklin Giddens, who was Justice of the Peace at Ray City.  Utha Mixon was a daughter of Mary Elizabeth Clance and William Henry Mixon, of Ray City.

Marriage Certificate of William Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Berrien County, GA

Marriage Certificate of William Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Berrien County, GA

When the 1918  WWI draft registration occurred, Lonnie Royal was 21 years old and living and working at Ray City. He was of medium height and build, with blue eyes and dark brown hair. He was working for Daniel Jackson “Jack” Gaskins, a farmer in the Lois District just west of town. He listed Frank Royal, of Ray City, as his next of kin.

In the spring of 1919 Lonnie and Utha, now with an infant son, were trying to make a home. It’s unclear just how Lonnie came to such a desperate state, but  he was charged in a number of thefts in the Ray City vicinity. The first case involved the heist of a turkey, said fowl being the property of a Mr. Connell. A second case involved the burglary of the residence of Lonnie’s employer, Jack Gaskins.  Mr. Connell may have been Clinton D. Connell, who was a neighbor of Jack Gaskins. The disposition of these cases was reported in the Nashville Herald:

April 4, 1919 - Lonnie Royal was convicted of a misdemeanor theft.

April 4, 1919 – Lonnie Royal was convicted of a misdemeanor theft.

“Nashville Herald:  Two of the cases against Lonnie Royals, a young white man living near the Berrien-Lowndes line, were tried.  He was acquitted of stealing Mr. Connell’s turkey, but was convicted of burglarizing the home of Mr. Jack Gaskins.  The jury recommended that he be punished as for a misdemeanor.”

Lonnie was acquitted in the case of the turkey heist, and apparently the jury took pity on him in the burglary case as they recommended sentencing for a misdemeanor crime.

Lonnie and Utha made their home in the Ray City area for many years.

Children of William Lonnie Royal and Utha Gertrude Mixon:

  1. Samuel Clarence Royal, b.  Jul 26 1918, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; married Mary Sue Smith; died  March 4, 2008 Louis Smith Hospital, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia
  2. Clara Mae Royal, b.  Jan 21 1920, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; died  Dec 25 1923, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia
  3. William Clyde Royal, b.  May 14 1921, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia; married Dora Brown; d.  Feb 27 1997, Columbus, Muscogee, Georgia
  4. Velma Louise Royal, b.  Dec 26 1922, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; died  Dec 12 1923, New Bethel Cemetery, Berrien, Georgia
  5. Alva Inez ‘Mickie’ Royal, b.  May 03 1924 Ray City, Lanier, Georgia; married 1) Woodard Bailey, 2) Horace L. Grayson; died  Jan 09 2010, Beaumont, Texas
  6. Gola Wylene Royal
  7. Agnes Kathleen Royal, b.  Jul 22 1929, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; m. Dale Wilson; died  Dec 04 1972, Phoenix, Arizona
  8. Jewel Christine Royal, b.  Aug 23 1930, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; died  May 28 1944, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia
  9. Gladys Helen Royal, b.  Aug 18 1933, Ray City, Lanier, Georgia; m. Ralph Henderson ; died  July 23, 2006, Bryon, Olmsted, Minnesota

William Lonnie Royal died March 2, 1981 in Berrien County, GA.  He was buried at Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Graves of Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Graves of Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

 

Images and information on Mixon family history contributed in part by http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

Mary Elizabeth Clance and William Henry Mixon

Mary Elizabeth Clance and William Henry Mixon came to Ray City, GA some time around 1901 and made it their home for the remainder of their lives.

William Henry Mixon and Mary I. Clance

William Henry Mixon and Mary I. Clance. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

William Henry Mixon was born November 27, 1854 in Marion County, GA. He was a son of Drucilla Balcom and James  Michael Mixon. His grandfather was Michael Mixon (1794-1838), believed to have been killed in  Lowndes County, GA while fighting in the Indian Wars in 1838. William’s father,  James Michael Mixon (1830-1911),  was a Confederate veteran who was wounded during the Civil War.

William’s parents separated after the Civil War, and William moved with his father to Twiggs County, GA to the home of his great-grandmother, Sena Mixon.   When William’s father moved on to Pulaski County, William stayed behind in Twiggs County. It appears that around 1874, William’s father  moved with his second wife, Amanda Smith, and their minor children from Pulaski County, GA to Lowndes County.  In the census of 1900,  James M. Mixon was enumerated in the Rays Mill district of Berrien County, Georgia Militia District 1144.

According to census records William Henry Mixon married Mary I. Clance about 1880 in Twiggs County, GA. His occupation in 1880 was working as a miller at a grist mill.  Mary Clance was a daughter of Mary L. Blaylock and Wiley Clance. Her father once served as Justice of the Peace for Twiggs County, GA, and was also a wounded Confederate veteran.

About 1901 William and Mary followed William’s father south to Berrien County, GA.  The census of 1910 shows them in the Rays Mill district of Berrien County, GA where William was farming on his own account.  William Henry Mixon died on Christmas day, 1915 and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Children of William and Mary Clance Mixon were:

  1. Annie Bell Mixon: born  Jun 1882 in Wilkinson County, Georgia; married William Carl Griner on 17 Jan 1904;  died 1917 in Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.
  2. Hattie Leona Mixon: born  June 1886 in Wilkinson County GA; married Lee Knox (son of Alton Knox) on 14 Dec 1904 in Berrien County, GA; died 29 Oct 1963 in Colquitt, Georgia.
  3. Mary Lee “Mamie” Mixon: born  1 Jan 1890 in Wilkinson County, GA; married Joseph John “Joe” Spells on 15 Jul 1917 in Berrien County, Georgia; died  29 Jul  1926 in Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Georgia.
  4. Ida Mae Mixon: born 12 Feb 1893 in Wilkinson County, GA; married Joseph Browning about 1921 in Clinch County, GA; died 18 Jun 1980 in Lanier County, GA; buried at Fender Cemetery, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia.
  5. Ethel “Effie” Pearl Mixon; born in Wilkinson County, Georgia on 11 Sep 1899; married Joseph “Leroy” Brown on 25 Aug 1927; died 28 Nov 1984 in Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia; and buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia.
  6. Alva Lorine Mixon: born 25 Mar 1895 in Wilkinson County, GA; married Thomas Henry Kirk about 1910, died 23 Jan 1977 in Lake Worth, Florida.
  7. Samuel E. “Sammie” Mixon;  born 7 Jun 1898 in Wilkinson County, Georgia; died of pneumonia 19 Oct 1918 while serving in France during WWI; buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia.
  8. Utha Gertrude Mixon: born 27 May 1902 in Nashville, Berrien , Georgia; married William  Lonnie Royal 21 Jun 1917 in Berrien, Georgia –
    divorced; died 10 Aug 1991 in Columbus, GA; buried at Fender Cemetery, Lakeland, Lanier County, Georgia.
  9. Bessie Mixon: born 9 Jun 1906 at Nashville, Georgia; died 11 Jul 1908; buried between her parents at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Georgia.
Mary I. Clance, circa 1948. Married 1) William H. Mixon, 2) H.T. Cearsey. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

Mary I. Clance, circa 1948. Married 1) William H. Mixon, 2) H.T. Cearsey. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

Grave marker of William Henry Mixon, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of William Henry Mixon, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

After the death of William Henry Mixon, his widow, Mary Clance Mixon, married Henry Thomas Cersey. When she died in 1948, she was buried near her first husband at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Nashville Herald
August 26, 1948
Mrs. Mary Cersey, 83, Died last Saturday; Final Rites Monday     Mrs. Mary Cersey, lifetime resident of Berrien County, died in a Hahira Hospital Saturday afternoon after a long illness. A resident of Ray City, she was 83 years of age, having been born in Wilkerson County on May 26, 1863.
     Mrs. Cersey is survived by five daughters, Mrs. Lee Macks, Moultrie; Mrs. Joseph Browning, Ray City; Mrs. Oliver L. Kirk, Lakewood, Fla; Mrs. Effie Brown, Ray City; and Mrs. Lonnie Royals, Stockton; two sisters, Mrs. J. E. Kitchens and Mrs. J. W. Coleman, Wintergreen, Fla; 20 grandchildern, and 36 great-grandchildren.
     Funeral services were conducted Monday afternoon at 3 o’clock at Beaver Dam Primitive Baptist church by Elder C. H. Vickers and Elder M. E. Peavy.  Interment was in the church cemetery at Ray City. Active pallbearers were D. J. Skinner, J. T. Richardson, G. B. McLendon, B. J. Akridge, O. V. Conner, and M. W. McLendon, Honorary pallbearers were G. G. Mikell, O. W. Mikell, B. F. Skinner and J. J. Spell.  A selected choir sang Primitive hymns.

NOTE: Beaver Dam church (now known as Ray City Baptist Church) was not Primitive Baptist.  The Primitive Baptist church in Ray City was New Ramah Church.  Charlie Vickers and Marcus Peavey were pastors at New Ramah.

Grave marker of Mary I. Mixon Cersey, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Mary I. Mixon Cersey, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Images and information on Mixon family history contributed in part by http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/