News and Updates

Samuel Harrell Family Endows Scholarship at SGSC to Continue Education Legacy

Posted on Jul 12, 2017

By Walda Kight, Vice President for External Affairs

Descendants of the Samuel M. Harrell family gathered in the Alumni House of South Georgia State College’s Douglas Campus recently to launch a new scholarship in their patriarch’s name.

Mr. Samuel J. Harrell was a strong supporter of education. This scholarship is an opportunity to continue focusing and providing support for the Harrell family to pursue their educational goals for years to come.

Ms. Walda Kight, SGSC Vice President for External Affairs, states, “There are many students who will benefit from this scholarship support. SGSC is proud to have friends like the Harrell family, and we look forward to the benefits this gift will bring to the recipients.”

For more information on the Samuel J. Harrell family scholarship criteria or to apply, please contact the SGSC Office of External Affairs at 912-260-4274.

History of the Samuel Harrell Family Scholarship Fund

By Members of the Harrell Family

The family of Samuel Harrell proudly presents a scholarship endowment honoring our beloved ancestor, Samuel Harrell.

Paying tribute to our ancestors, whether it is a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin, is a Harrell, Crider, Aughinbaugh trait. It is a cherished trait, just ask any of the many family members.

To say that the ancestors of Samuel M. Harrell have deep roots in the Wiregrass area of South Georgia is an understatement. In consideration of time and space, I will just try to give a short synopsis of Samuel Harrell’s life.

Samuel M. Harrell was born 01/18/1858 to John Lovett Harrell and Nancy Carver Harrell. John Lovett Harrell’s parents were William “Red Neck Bill” Harrell and his wife, Elvy Ann.

Nancy Carver Harrell’s parents were Samuel Carver and Penny Peterson Carver. Samuel Carver was a son of Sampson and Rhoda Edmondson Carver. Samuel Carver passed away in 1860. His will consisted of farm animals, household and kitchen furniture, and two lots of land, #216 and #245 consisting of 490 acres.

Other names with close family ties to Samuel Harrell and his descendants will be Ricketson, Sears, Vickers, Paulk, Smith, Crider, Gillis, Lott, Tanner and so many more. Our ancestors arrived on the eastern shores of America and slowly made their way to Virginia, then North Carolina, and then down to the uncharted wilderness area of South Carolina and Georgia.

Their lives were endless examples of hard work, thrift, courage, independence and faith in God.

Samuel Harrell’s mother died when he was just two years old and his father’s sister, Aunt Jane, just 16, was to become his favored caregiver in his early childhood and would remain a mainstay for ‘Sammy’ throughout her life.

In the 1880 census, Samuel is listed as a worker on the Hiram and Harriett Ricketson Sear’s farm. Samuel married Mary Jane Vickers on March 25, 1881 at Mt. Zion Church in now Atkinson County.

Mary Jane Vickers was a favored granddaughter of Hiram Sears and it is believed that she met Samuel while visiting her grandparents. Mary Jane’s parents were Henry “Red Eye” Vickers and Elllender Sears Vickers.

Samuel’s youngest daughter, Emma Lou Crider Aughinbaugh, states that her daddy told her that he and Mary Jane lived on a small tract of land near where the home place is now. (Seven miles south of Douglas on Rebecca Waldron Rd). That would be on land lot #245 and this lot is still owned by Samuel and Janie Smith Harrell Musgrove’s daughters, the late Myrtle Harrell Gillis and Emma Lou Harrell Crider Aughinbaugh.

Children of Samuel and Mary Jane Vickers Harrell are Laura Harrell Gillis, Ellen Harrell Tidwell, William Harrell d. age 17, Henry Harrell d. age 2, Amanda Harrell d. age 16, Mollie Harrell Lott Hodges, James Lovett Harrell, Clifford Lanier Harrell, Randall Herbert Harrell, Annie Mae Harrell Gillis, Winnie Lee Harrell Tanner York, and Samuel Alvin Harrell.

Mary Jane Vickers Harrell died September 3, 1904 when the youngest child, Alvin, was not quite 2 years old.

Samuel then met and married Janie Smith, daughter of Seaborn Smith on October 24, 1906 when “Miss Janie” (as I was taught to call her) was just 22 years old. A ready-made family was waiting for her when they returned home. Janie Smith Harrell would often describe her first sight of the Samuel Harrell children, all sitting on the steps of the front porch, waiting for their daddy and his new wife to come home from their wedding. The children still at home then were Mollie, Winnie Lee, Annie Mae, Jim, Clifford, Herbert and Alvin.

Janie Smith Harrell’s parents were Seaborn G. Smith, a Freewill Baptist minister, and Mollie (Ray) Smith of Jeff Davis County. Education and church always played a big part in the lives of Samuel and Janie so it was fitting that they met at Gaskins Springs Camp Meeting just outside of Douglas at the springs adjacent to Seventeen Mile River. The Samuel Harrell Reunion is now held each April on the Crider Farm called Upper Seventeen located on the Seventeen Mile River.
The first child of Samuel and Janie Smith Harrell was Myrtle Lee Harrell, born Dec. 31, 1908 when Samuel was 50. His last child, Emma Lou Harrell, was born on August 26, 1919. Emma Lou is pictured above with her nephew, Dr. Lanier Harrell.

The two daughters born to Samuel and Janie Harrell were Myrtle Lee Harrell Gillis and Emma Lou Harrell Crider Aughinbaugh.
To be a descendant of these hardy and persistent God-fearing men and women is an honor. To share in their hope of a rich, full and free Christian life is a privilege that they passed to us, their descendants.

A passage from “Emma Lou of Coffee County”, a book written in 2015 about Emma Lou, youngest daughter of Sammy Harrell states, “You didn’t start school until you were seven. I started school over at Sears School, where my brother taught at the time. It was a two-room community school. It was about three miles from my house through the woods. If we went around by the road, it was six or eight miles. We walked, of course. That’s how most children got to school.”

Emma Lou walked to school with the neighbor children. Back then, mid 1920’s, children would often drop out of school due to being needed for the farm work at home. When that happened, her daddy walked her to school or took her in the buggy.

Before Emma Lou was born, her older brothers and sisters attended early grades at Downing School, later they attended Sears School. Besides attending Douglas High School or Georgia Normal and Business College, some then went on to the Eleventh District Agricultural and Mechanical School that began operation in 1907 and was to become South Georgia College.

Samuel M. Harrell believed in education and wanted all his children educated, the girls as well as the boys. The Harrell Family Scholarship will be a token of that dedication to improving his ancestors’ future. We hope his ancestors will take advantage of this opportunity.

Crider family

Mr. Max Harrell, SGSC President Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers, SGSC Foundation President Mr. Shane Shook, Ms. Beth Bridges, Mr. Billy Crider, Jr., Mrs. Emma Lou Aughinbaugh, Mrs. Lounell Gillis Morgan, and SGSC Foundation Vice President Mr. Chris Tuten


Mr. Samuel J Harrell’s youngest daughter, Mrs. Emma Lou Crider Aughinbaugh, is shown here with her son, Mr. Billy Crider, Jr.


Mrs. Emma Lou Harrell Crider Aughinbaugh and nephew Dr. Lanier Harrell of Jesup, Ga.