Bill Griner

Grave of Bill Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Image source: Robert Strickland

Grave of Bill Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Image source: Robert Strickland

William E. “Bill” Griner (1902-1984), son of Sarah and D. Edwin Griner,  was the custodian at the Ray City School. He came to school very early every day and built a fire in the pot-bellied stove in every room. There were four classrooms and the soup kitchen in the old wooden building. In the brick building there were six classrooms, the principal’s office and the laboratory, each with their own stove.  At Christmas, every student brought Bill a gift.

Bill Griner had a home on Main Street in Ray City.  This home was an unpainted, low, wooden bungalow on the north side of Main Street on the block of land between Ward Street and Samuel Street. His neighbors to the west were the family of Caulie and Marietta Smith.

It appears that after the death of Robert L. Griner, Tessie Vining Griner and her daughter Sadie moved in with William E. “Bill” Griner.  Sadie had a son nicknamed Peanut, and although Bill himself had only two years of formal schooling, he worked hard to make sure that Peanut made it through high school. Peanut later became a policeman at Remerton, GA.

 

Children of Edwin and Sallie Griner

Children of Edwin and Sallie Griner

In the 1930’s D. Edwin Griner  was a miller working at a grist mill in Ray City, GA.  He and his wife grew up in Berrien County, GA and lived for many years in and around Ray City.

As a boy D. Edwin Griner suffered tragic loss, watching his siblings die of measles in the spring of 1889 – four dead in a  week – and in the winter of that same year his mother, Sarah Gaskins Griner, was taken.

In adulthood, Edwin Griner married Sarah “Sallie” Rouse, daughter of Robert and Kizzia Rouse. The couple made their home in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill District where the census of 1900 shows they owned a farm near Sallie’s parents and others of the family connection.

But tragedy was not over for Edwin; he and Sallie would have to endure the painful loss of four of their own precious children, and the loss their daughter-in-law.

The four lost children of  Sarah Rouse Griner and D. Edwin Griner rest at Empire Cemetery. Their son, Bill, the only child who survived to adulthood, was buried next to his parents at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

 

Grave of Carl Griner, born September 11, 1894; died November 5, 1900; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Grave of Carl Griner, born September 11, 1894; died November 5, 1900; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

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Grave of Eugene Griner, born May 26, 1896; died November 3, 1900, buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Grave of Eugene Griner, born May 26, 1896; died November 3, 1900, buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

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Grave of Lona Belle Griner, born April 15, 1899; died November 11, 1909; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Grave of Lona Belle Griner, born April 15, 1899; died November 11, 1909; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

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Grave of Willie "Bill" Edwin Griner, born December 5, 1902; died April 21, 1984, buried New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Image source: Robert Strickland

Grave of Willie “Bill” Edwin Griner, born December 5, 1902; died April 21, 1984, buried New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Image source: Robert Strickland

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Grave of Sarah V Griner, born 1905; died some time before 1930; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Grave of Sarah V Griner, born 1905; died some time before 1930; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

 

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Almost Gone ~ Graves of D. Edwin Griner and Sarah Rouse at New Ramah Cemetery

Grave marker of D. Edwin Griner (June 21, 1870 - March 12, 1942), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Grave marker of D. Edwin Griner (June 21, 1870 – March 12, 1942), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

In the 1930’s D. Edwin Griner  was a miller working at a grist mill in Ray City, GA.  He and his wife, Sarah “Sallie” Rouse grew up in Berrien County, GA and lived for many years in and around Ray City.   They are buried at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA, although their grave markers have become almost illegible.

The cemetery at New Ramah is well tended these days, although the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church was torn down last year. The concrete markers of Edwin and Sallie Griner have not suffered from neglect, just from the wear of time. Concrete is less durable than granite: Memory less durable than concrete.

Here, then, is a brief tribute to the memory of  Edwin and Sallie Griner:

D. Edwin Griner was born June 21, 1870 in Berrien County, GA, a scion of the earliest pioneer families of Georgia and of Berrien County. He was the eldest son of Sallie Gaskins and Samuel Griner.

His father was Samuel Jackson Griner (1848-1909). He was descended from the Greiner family who came to Georgia with the Salzberger immigration. Edwin’s Great Grandfather, Captain John Griner fought in the Revolutionary War.

His mother, Sarah C. “Sallie” Gaskins, was the daughter of Harmon and Malissa Gaskins, early settlers of Berrien County.  Her father fought in the Battle of Brushy Creek, the last real engagement with the Indians in this region.

Although the grave marker of D. Edwin Griner bears the birthdate of June 21, 1870, he is not recorded in his parents household in the Census of 1870, since the census that year only enumerated “the name of each Person whose place of abode, on 1st day of June, 1870, was in this family.” At the time of his birth, Edwin’s parents were living in the 1148th Georgia Militia District, and posting their mail in Nashville, GA.

Edwin’s father, Samuel J. Griner, worked as a farmer, although at 21 years of age he did not yet have any land of his own – he had $284 in his personal estate. Perhaps he was working the land owned by one of his  many Gaskins in-laws who lived nearby.

Through 1880, Edwin’s father continued to farm in the 1148th Georgia Militia District. Ten-year-old Edwin attended school, as did his younger siblings who were old enough. Although his mother was occupied “keeping house,” she had evidently suffered a disability of some type, for the 1880 census record shows that she was, “Maimed, Crippled, Bedridden, or otherwise disabled.”

On October 22, 1894 D. Edwin Griner married Sarah “Sallie” Rouse in Berrien County, GA.  She was the daughter of Robert and Kizzia Rouse. The couple made their home in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill District where the census of 1900 shows they owned a farm near Sallie’s parents and others of the family connection.

D. Edwin Griner and Sallie Rouse were married October 22, 1894 in Berrien County, GA.

D. Edwin Griner and Sallie Rouse were married October 22, 1894 in Berrien County, GA.

In 1910, Edwin  and Sarah Griner were enumerated by census taker Redding D. Swindle there in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill District, along with son William, and daughter Sarah V.  The Griners owned a farm, free and clear of mortgage, where Edwin was farming on his own account. Sarah’s family was farming in the same neighborhood. Her brother, Joseph Rouse, was working the farm next door, and also in Joseph’s household was her widowed mother, Kizzie N. Rouse. Nearby, was the farm of another brother, Alfred Rouse.

Some time prior to 1920 D. Edwin Griner moved his family to Clinch County, GA where he owned a farm on the Stockton Road in the Mud Creek District.  Edwin and  son, Willie, did the farming while his Sarah and daughter, Sarah V., kept house.

By 1930, the Griners had moved back to Ray City, Berrien County, GA.  They had a house in town valued at $700.  The household included Edwin, Sarah, and their son,  William, who had lost his wife.    Thelma Sirmans and her boys were renting the place next door, and the blacksmith, Henry Woodard, was another neighbor.  Edwin worked as a miller, a wage employee at a local grist mill.  His gravemarker shows that he was also a Mason, perhaps a member of the Ray City lodge No. 553, or one of the other local lodges.

D. Edwin Griner died March 12, 1942. He was buried at New Ramah Cemetery on Park Street, Ray City, GA.  At his side rests Sarah “Sallie” Rouse Griner.  No date of death is discernible on the concrete headstone marking her grave, but her obituary gives her date of death as January 29, 1951.

Sarah "Sallie" Rouse Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Sarah “Sallie” Rouse Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Griner graves at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA. Left: Sarah "Sallie" Rouse Griner. Middle: D. E. Griner. Right: Willie "Bill" Edwin Griner.

Griner graves at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA. Left: Sarah “Sallie” Rouse Griner. Middle: D. E. Griner. Right: Willie “Bill” Edwin Griner.

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Tessica Vining (1888-1969), Ray City, GA

Tessica Vining of Ray City, Berrien County, GA
Tessica Vining of Ray City, Berrien County, GA

Tessica “Tessie” Vining, was born on was born March 28, 1888 in Ray’s Mill (nka Ray City), Georgia.  Her Father was Bani J. “Bench” Vining, her mother Martha Crosby Vining.

Tessica Vining married three times.

On September 14, 1902, she married Lucious Randal Miley  in Echols County, Georgia, son of Jane Monzingo and Randall Miley. He was born December 1875 in Lowndes County, Georgia, and died 1910 in Berrien County, Georgia.  Burial: Salem Methodist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, Georgia

Children of TESSIE VINING and LUCIUS MILEY:

  1. ETHEL CELESTIAL MILEY, b. November 07, 1905,  Ray’s Mill (nka Ray City), Berrien County, Georgia; d. May 17, 1972, San Diego, California.
  2. CHARLES JONES MILEY, b. 1911, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia; d. January 05, 1965, Springfield, Clark County, Ohio.

She married John M. Booth on November 26, 1911 in Berrien County, Georgia, son of  William Booth and Henrietta Broxton.  He was born 1849 in Marlboro, Ware County, Georgia, and died 1914 in Berrien County, Georgia.

Children of TESSIE VINING and JOHN BOOTH is:

  1. HENRY CHARLES BOOTH, b. November 22, 1912, Berrien County, Georgia; d. April 29, 1991, Putnam County, Florida.

Her third husband was Robert Lee Griner. They were married  October 20, 1915 in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia. He was the son of John Griner and Emily Taylor. He was born February 07, 1869 in Nashville, Berrien County, Georgia, and died February 2, 1940 in Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Robert and Tessie made their home on east Main Street in Ray City   Their house was an unpainted low bungalow on the north side of the street in the block of land between Ward Street and the Teeterville Road.  They were neighbors of T. J. 

Robert Lee Griner already had eight children by his first wife, Fannie Lewis.  The children of Robert Lee Griner and Fannie Lewis were: Ora, Lula, Ruth, Robert James, Annie, Bartow, Leon L., and Elsie.  

Together, Tessica Vining and Robert Lee Griner had five more children.

Children of TESSIE VINING and ROBERT GRINER are:

  1. CLARENCE LEE GRINER, b. May 1915, Berrien County, Georgia; d. March 1946, Berrien County, Georgia. Burial: Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia
  2. ALICE LUDELL GRINER, b. November 07, 1917, Berrien County, Georgia; d. November 08, 1918, Berrien County, Georgia. Burial: Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia
  3. WILLIAM E. GRINER, b. May 16, 1919, Berrien County, Georgia; d. March 10, 1977, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida. Burial: Fitzgerald Cemetery, Medulla, FL
  4. ARTHUR HARON GRINER, b. April 16, 1922, Berrien County, Georgia; d. September 20, 1981, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida. Burial: Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia
  5. SADIE IRENE GRINER, b. October 1, 1927, Berrien County, Georgia; d. January 09, 2005, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida.

Robert Lee Griner died February 2, 1940. He was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

It appears that after the death of  Robert Lee Griner,  Tessie and her daughter Sadie moved in with Griner kinfolk in Ray City.  They went to live with  William E. “Bill” Griner (1905-1884) who had a home on Main Street in Ray City and who worked at the Ray City School.  This home was an unpainted, low, wooden bungalow on the north side of Main Street on the block of land between Ward Street and Samuel Street. Their neighbors to the west were the family of Caulie and Marietta Smith.

Tessie Vining Griner died October 19, 1961 in Echols County, GA, and was buried Beaver Dam Cemetery,  Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

 TIMES – UNION JACKSONVILLE FLORIDA

October 28, 1961 page 7- B

MRS. TESSIE R. GRINER, 73 of 525 E. 60th St. died Thursday evening at a local hospital. Mrs Griner was born in Ray City, Ga, and had lived in Jacksonville a year. She was a Baptist. Survivors include four sons, Henry Booth, Jacksonville, A. Herring Griner, Jacksonville, Charlie Miley, Springfield, Ohio, William Griner, Highland City. Two daughters, Mrs. W.D. Gilleland, Los Angeles, Cal. and Mrs. Sadie Beauchamp, Tampa. Four step-daughters and 3 step-sons. Several grandchildren. Funeral will be at 4P.M. Sat. in the Beaver Dam Baptist Church, Ray City, Ga. Internment will be in Beaver Dam Cemetery, the body was taken to Ray City, Ga. Friday evening. Gidden Funeral Home is in Charge. 

Robert Lee Griner (1869-1940) and Tessie Vining (1888-1961), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.
Robert Lee Griner (1869-1940) and Tessie Vining (1888-1961), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

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