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The Plymale Family In America

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The following is a copy of a newspaper clipping from a newspaper in Jackson County, Oregon - February 1900.


Francis Marion Plymale, a pioneer of the valley and a prominent citizen of Medford, ( Oregon ) died at the family residence Friday night, February 16, 1900, at 11 o'clock, after a long and painful illness. Mr. Plymale was born in Virginia, March 17, 1833. He was, therefore, at the time of his death, a little less than sixty-seven years of age. His parents (Gabriel Plymale and Mary (Polly) Hatfield) moved from Virginia to Illinois in 1835, and crossed the plains from Illinois to Rogue River Valley in 1852. His father and next older brother (Anderville) died in Jacksonville, Oregon in December, 1852, of typhoid fever, leaving Francis, then a young man of nineteen, as the practical head of the household. The family removed from Jacksonville to the valley in 1854, where Francis and his mother took up donation land claims. The claim located by Mr. Plymale at that time is now part of the estate left to his family. Mr. Plymale engaged in farming and stock raising and continued in the business until the Southern Pacific Railroad was completed through the valley and the town of Medford located, when he leased his farm, removing to the new town, and became a partner in the mercantile firm of Angel and Plymale. The firm continued in business until about two years age, (1898) when the partnership sold out, dissolved partnership and retired from merchandising. Through the exercise of economy, good judgement and correct business habits, Mr. Plymale was enabled to acquire a handsome competence. He was moderate, conservative and tolerant on all questions, honest and conscientious in his dealings with his fellow man, had the courage of his convictions, and was singularly pure and unimpeachable in personal character. He was large hearted, liberal, public spirited, and the growth and prosperity of Medford are in some measure due to his wife counsel and abiding faith in its future. He was united In marriage, to Jane E. Nichols in 1865, by whom he had six children, two sons and four daughters. Mrs. Nora Johnson, the second daughter, died some years ago. Those living are Mrs. J.W. Curry, Mrs. H. G. Nicholson, Meda Plymale, F. G. Plymale and J. E. Plymale. Mr. Plymale was a member of the I. 0. 0. F. lodge of Medford, of the Jacksonville camp of that order, and of the A. 0. U. W.Francis Plymale, so far as known, did not have an enemy, and few men had as many friends. He was truly what the world would call "a good man." He was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery Sunday at 2 o'clock, under the auspices of Medford Lodge, I. 0. 0. F. The preliminary ceremonies at the family residence were deeply solemn and impressive, and the tribute of County Judge Crowell, who was a special personal friend of deceased was tender, touching, pathetic and full of heartfelt sorrow.Mr. Plymale leaves, besides his family and relatives, a host of friends throughout the country who will be pained to hear of his death.

Note: The above newspaper clipping was sent to 0-1-3-11-1-4 John Fred Plymale, by Mr. Francis M. Plymale's granddaughter, 0-1-8-3-1-1 Gladys Curry Stanley of Medford, Oregon.   Mrs. Stanley states that the old homestead still remains standing, and the farm that at one time was about three miles from town, is now either inside the city limits or adjoining it, and the assessed value is no doubt in the millions.



This is a picture of Alfred Doten and an article he wrote in the year 1851.
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The article is thought to refer
to 0-1-7 James Plymale

It appeared in the April 27th, 1959
edition of LIFE Magazine.  

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0-2-12-6-1 Riley Plymale II
The following is a copy of a newspaper clipping from the Macon Telegraph - Wed. May 25th, 1966.

Plymales to End Century of Service To

Georgia Institutions and Students

On June 6, the day following commencement exercises at Mercer University, Riley and Helen Plymale will have ended a combined century of service to Georgia education. It is then that they will give up the classroom for the quieter life of retirement and in their own way find the excitement of new endeavor.  Both are quick however to point out that they have taught a combined total of only 99 years. But it could have been a full century had not Mrs. Plymale been on leave the year their son, Weston' was born.

Mr. Plymale earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Mercer and began his career as a teacher of mathematics in 1913 at the old Cyrene Institute near Bainbridge. He served for a time in the U. S. Army in 1914, and the following year joined the faculty of Locust Grove Institute.

Helen Bruner was then a student at Tift College in Forsyth. She received a degree in 1918 and a few months later joined the faculty of Locust Grove Institute as a teacher of English. There, where she met Riley Plymale, both were associated with faculty members who later moved on to Mercer, including Dr. Paul M. Cousins and Dr. W. T. Smalley.

In the early '20's Riley Plymale and Helen Bruner spent their summers at Columbia University working on graduate degrees. In the fall of 1923, Helen Bruner returned to Tift College, which was her Alma Mater, as a teacher of English. Riley Plymale continued teaching at Locust Grove until 1925 when be joined the Mercer faculty.



The distance between Macon and Forsyth proved not too great, even in those days, and Miss Bruner and Mr. Plymale were married in 1927. The following year Mr. Plymale left Mercer to join Mrs. Plymale on the faculty at Tift College where she was a teacher of English and later served as Dean of Women. Mr. Plymale served as chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Dean of the college. Both taught at Tift until 1942 when they joined the faculty of Mercer. During the ensuing 24 years they had many offers to teach elsewhere but chose to remain at Mercer.

'We were both trained in Baptist Colleges, and this seemed the best way to return the gift," Mrs. Plymale said.

For their work, appreciation has been shown in many ways. A colleague wrote recently: "Their unfailing loyalty to their students, to their colleagues, to their professional standards and to the University has been a constant inspiration."

In 1959 the senior class dedicated the yearbook, "The Cauldron", to the Plymales as teachers "who have graced the Mercer lecterns and endeared themselves to the ever-changing student body." And they were described as "truly a part of the Mercer community."

Mr. Plymale the dedication said: "Mathematics is Mr. Plymale's academic specialty and his courses are spiced with generous servings of homespun humor. With an unconsciousness that matches his variety of pipes, he wears his tie over either a white or Plaid shirt. Some students believe that his mood for the day can be judged by the type of pipe-corncob denotes an easy day of recitation, knurled bowl will probably be a pop quiz, and metallic stem may get you a free cut."

And of Mrs. Plymale, the dedication said: "Helen Plymale is the paradoxical blend of simple dark dresses. a bun of white hair, and brick gait of a school girl. She teaches modern literature forms and supplements her knowledge with the latest reviews."

Last month when their retirement was announced at a meeting of the Board of Trustees, one of their former students said, "I know they not only taught their courses well, but that they imparted to their students much more than merely the content of their subject matter."

Dr. Rufus Carrollton Harris, president of Mercer, recently wrote them a letter conveying appreciation for their long years of unique service at Mercer. He said:

"At this point in your long and fruitful careers, I feel sure you feel great satisfaction as you look back on many years of influencing and instructing generation after generation of Mercer men and women. You have served Mercer effectively, and you hold the admiration and respect of all who have known you and worked with you."

Riley and Helen Plymale can feel such satisfaction.  Young in heart and spirit, they have managed to generate enthusiasm in several generations of students.

0-1-6-6-10-3 John Franklin Plymale Family (1968)
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Updated On May 04, 2004 08:46 PM