Bank of Lilly & Ingram’s Store, Lilly

Though it now serves as the city hall, Victor McGough notes that The Bank of Lilly operated in the left corner of this building, before the stock market crash of 1929. For many years thereafter the remainder of the structure was the general merchandise store of Clay Ingram. Mr. Ingram’s store could be entered from either Oak St or Railroad St. It wrapped around the bank. The elevated roof is a modern addition.

Lilly was founded by brothers John, Frank, and Robert Lilly in 1902, when the railroad came through the area. It had originally been known as Fuqua in the late 19th century and, briefly, was known as Midway, for its location between Cordele and Montezuma. The commercial block now housing the city hall likely dates to the first few years of the town’s organization, between 1902-1910.

Lilly Historic District, National Register of Historic Places


21 thoughts on “Bank of Lilly & Ingram’s Store, Lilly

  1. Sybil

    Does anyone have any information about the Black people of Lilly Georgia?
    I am the great, great granddaughter of John Graham and Julia Brazington Graham. I think they left Lilly for Detroit, Michigan around 1914 or so.

    1. Leland V McGough

      I spent my summers in Lilly from teh time i was five till I turned fourteen. I only remember three black people from those days. There was a lady whom everyone called Little Annie. She was little too. She lived out from Lilly to teh west. She was employed by my aunt, Nellye Lilly as a cleaner and all around caretaker of her house. A man named Arthur was my Aunt Nellye’s foreman for her farm. A man known as Butley eas a farm hand for some of the other Lillys. I never knew the last names of the people I mentioned. Sorry. Little Annie was a funny lady.

    2. Mechelle Belvin


      I too, am seeking information on African American people in the following areas: Pinehurst, Lilly, Vienna, Cordelle, etc., but especially Pinehurst, GA. I am the great, great granddaughter of Lizzie Tucker. Mary Jane Gilbert is my great grand mother, Carrie Mae Gilbert is my grandmother, and Johnny Lee Daniels was my great uncle.

      Other names I am searching for history on are: Tucker, Gilbert, Belvin, Campbell, Blackshear, and Daughtry.

      I would be ever so appreciative if someone could provide any information on African American people in the above areas like oral & written history, and photos.

      My contact information is

      Thank you.

      Kind regards,

  2. Judy C Michaels

    My mother’s name was Doris Forehand Chaney. Her mother, Caroline Ingram Forehand died when mama was 12 years old. They were all from Dooley County. Mama was taken in and cared for by her Aunt Verna. Mama also talked about her Uncle Clay Ingram, who owned a store in Lilly, Ga. I visited Lilly when I was a little girl and saw Aunt Verna and Aunt Gladys and felt so at home there. if there’s anyone that knew this side of my Mom’s Ingram heritage, would like to know. Just interested.

    1. Victor McGough

      Clay Ingram had two sons, Billy and Henry Clay. Last I knew they were both alive and living in Dooly County. Henry Clay was living in Vienna. Maybe they would have some info for you.

  3. James D. (Jimmy) Ingram, Jr.

    I cannot resist the urge. I’m semi-retired, and will be 66 in December. I guess that officially qualifies me as an old man. I’m off from my part-time work with the CPA firm this week, and have had some time on my hands.

    I am trying to remember all the folks I knew in Lilly. There was a fellow close in age to John Lilly and me everyone called Rastus. He was George Steel’s son, and I don’t know that I ever knew his real name. I think he may have earned a college degree and become a forest ranger or something like that.

    Going back to the Lilly family and the founders of the town. I’m told there were three brothers: Mr. Bob, Mr. Frank and one other. I don’t remember the name of the third or which one was the father Louis, Lawrence & Lyndon.

    There was a Miss Sara Lilly who had a house just north of the Baptist Church on the east side of Hwy. 90. She had a daughter named Marie Hawsey and a grand daughter named Sally Hawsey. Sally was a gifted musician. Rastus, Sally and I would sit up late at night playing parchesi when they were in town. And, we always enjoyed going down to the Methodist camp ground during “Cam Meetin’ Week” for sure. I saw Marie at my grandmother’s funeral, but had little time to visit.

    I also remember a Dr. Lilly who had a house on the east side of Hwy. 90 just north of the one where Ms. Sara Lilly and family stayed when in town. I think Dr. Lilly may have long ago died of cancer of the throat or something like that.

    Henry Clay Ingram, Billy’s older brother, still lives in Vienna, GA as far as I know. Henry Clay and Laverne as well as Billy and Marianna attended the grave side service August 12, 2009 in Cordele where my father (and mother) are buried alongside Herbert Ingram who died in 2007. I mention Henry Clay Ingram because he was very much into geneology as I recall.

    Marianna was the daughter of Dr. Kitchens, the pharmacist in Byromville, GA.

    If you’re interested in Dooly County in general, please know that my Aunt Sara (Herbert’s wife) was a Murphy from outside Byromville, None of Aunt Sara’s siblings are blood related to me, but were always regarded as family. Sam and Marvin were Sara’s two brothers. Ellen (Wilder) and Aunt Sister were her two sisters. Ellen used to come on Saturday afternoons and “do” my grandmother’s hair.

    Mary Alice Roney came by my grandparent’s house THEY DAY BEFORE she gave birth to Eugene. I was naive to a point then, but already had a brother by then, knew what a pregnancy was, and thought poor Mary Alice would “pop” before we could get back from Byromville.

    My great grandfather and grandmother were Ingram/Joiner. My grandmother was a Forehand. My great grandmother’s maiden name, as I recall, was Roberts. Ruby Irene, Jayne, Jewell, Fairy, Dr. D. C. Forehand and one half-brother killed in his twenties were her siblings.

    I’m told some folks who married our courted each other around Lilly, GA were actually cousins. I think my grandparents were distant cousins.

    OK. I’ll shut up and wait. I’m very interested in your comments, corrections and clarifications.

    Jimmy Ingram

    1. Victor McGough

      It is hard to believe that I never ran into you or your brother Phil in Lilly. My time was spent between Lilly, Unadilla (Uncle Bob and Aunt Doris Harman) and Hawkinsville (Grandmother Suzi Hobbs).

      I too love trains. I would watch trains from the back yard of my Aunt Nellie’s house. Never took a train in or out of Lilly. Always left from Cordele.

      The McGoughs – John, my grandfather, Hugh, Oscar, Tom my great uncles. Tom’s wife Jemima, Hugh’s wife Calla and Oscar’s wife Alma. Jemima, Calla and Lois were sisters, maiden name Smith. Lois was married to Walker McGough another of my great uncles. There was a sister, my great aunt Alma. All are deceased now. Oscar, Tom & Walker with their wives are buried in Lilly in the cemetery next to the Baptist Church. My father L.V. and mother Hazel are there too.

      One summer I picked cotton for my Aunt Nellie. I found out that Gnats come in two flavors, kind of like Chinese food, sweet & sour. You could hardly go an hour without biting down on one.

      I met up with John Lilly shortly before his death. The fellow you are thinking of was named Rastus. He was name after his grandfather. He changed to his middle name, George, when he got to be an adult. I believe he lives in Americus and he still owns his folks home in Lilly.

      I believe the father of Louis, Lyndon and Lawrence was John Lilly. He had something to do with the change in the name of the town. Louis was married to my Aunt Nellie. I only have few memories of him as he died young as a result of kidney failure brought on by scarlet fever as a child. He had two daughters, my cousins, Johnnye & Kay. Johnnye was a female named after John Lilly. She passed away in 2005. Kay lives in Ringgold GA.

      I’m not good at typing so I will sign off. Email

      Victor McGough

  4. James D. "Jimmy" Ingram, Jr.

    I am Phil Ingram’s older brother and oldest grandchild of Joiner “Uncle Bud” and Ruby Forehand Ingram. What a pleasure it is to “hear” from some of you. I was the one who was “nuts” about trains and railroads…and still am.

    I well remember Lyndon and Evelyn Lilly, Malcolm and John; and, I knew (after-the-fact) about John’s tragic death.

    Our Uncle Eddie (to us uncle “Cap”) was our grandfather’s YOUNGEST brother. He did NOT retire from the railroad; he retired from Standard Oil of Kentucky where he had worked for years in Atlanta.

    My first train trip to Lilly when I was about eight was on the old daytime train with Uncle Cap. What memories!

    I seem to remember a McGough family. I think the one I remember best was Hugh McGough. Of course, there were the West’s and many others.

    My father David and his brother Herbert decided to donate the LAND on which now sits the volunteer fire station to the City of Lilly, GA. That was a tax consideration. I’m the CPA who recommended it.

    Funny story coming. In the summer of 2007 right in the midst of “Dog Days” when my wife and I were coming back from a weekend of work in Florida, I decided to park in the shade under one of the remaining pecan trees on that property which my grandparents had owned. We got our sandwiches and beverages out. I totally had forgotten one thing. GNATS!!!!

    I relayed that story to Billy Ingram, and he remarked that we’d “enjoyed” a gnat sandwich. After spending all those times during the summers in Lilly, I should have had better sense. Billy was the quiet one, but always to me had a good, dry sense of humor.

    I’ll be interested in hearing from any of you who care to join in. Correct me if I do not have my facts about different families from Lilly.

    Two of Herbert and Sara Ingram’s children still live in Dooly or Crisp County. Mark, the youngest, is a dentist in Vienna, GA. Steve (closest in age to me) is an attorney and magistrate court judge in Cordele, GA. Their daughter, Melinda Ingram Fowlkes, is associate dean of the business school at Longwood University in Virginia.

    Herbert’s wife, Sara, is still living in Cordele and is physically strong. Unfortunately, Sara has Alsheimer’s Disease and has round-the-clock care.

    I’d best finish before I write a book.

    Jimmy Ingram

  5. Phil Ingram, Decatur, GA

    Victor, it’s great to see your message and to find someone who knew my family in Lilly. Unfortunately, I never knew Nellie Lilly or either of your two cousins. But I do believe I remember the house you spoke of. It’s been so many years.

    I only saw the inside of Uncle Clay’s house a couple of times when I was very young. I would always see him at the store, and Aunt Hazel, Billy and Henry Clay out and about when we visited around Lilly on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon. We’d get to Lilly at lunch time, eat and visit, then go out and visit other relatives and go by the store. I never left the store without having had a Coke and getting a little bag of free candy from my granddaddy. I also learned how to weigh myself on that big ole scale they had in the center of the store. Time permitting, my parents, brother and I would run out to the Roney’s house for a short visit. Big Gene and Mary Alice were distant cousins of my family on my grandmother’s side. The kids (including Little Gene) were about my age, so we had a lot of fun on our short visits. Got to ride the tractor a time or two.

    My dad’s brother and his family lived in Cordele, and that’s where we spent Saturday nights. My Uncle Herbert always cooked hamburgers on the grill and us kids played Monopoly and/or Canasta all evening. Sunday morning we went to church, then had lunch at the house, visited a little more, then headed back to Lilly mid Sunday afternoon to visit a little more, then say goodbye and head back to Decatur. When in season, we got all the pecans we could carry since my grandparents had 5 or 6 pecan trees on their lot. OH, what wonderful days. And so much to tell.

    Well, enough for now. Write when you can to .

    With kindest regards,

  6. Marcia L Hawley

    Lindon and Evelyn Lilly were my grandparents, Malcolm Lilly was my father, (passed away 5 years ago) and John was my uncle. I have two sisters, John has two daughters and one son who now has a son to keep this branch of Lilly going (though none live in Lilly now).

    1. L. Victor McGough, San Diego

      I am so glad you replied. I am so glad that the Lilly name will keep going. I must have met you. I know that my cousin, Johnnye Lilly Wilkes, introduced me to a young lady in Cordele as one of Malcolm’s daughters. When Nelleye Lilly passed away there was another young lady that came to her house sometime after teh funeral. Johnnye introduced her as another of Malcolm’s daughters. We sat in the kitchen and talked for awhile. Being an old man I cannot remember either daughters name. The last time I saw or talked to Malcolm was at Nelleye’s funeral. My uncle, Richard (Dick) McGough and MAlcolm were boyhood friends. Dick attended Malcolm’s funeral.

      I am leaving today to visit friends in Florida and on Monday I am driving up to Lilly just to see the place that is near and dear to my heart. I have in my will that upon my death, my ashes are to be scattered in hte pecan grove next to Nelley’s house.

    2. L. Victor McGough, San Diego

      I was just in Lilly last month. It looks mostly the same. I don’t know anyone that lived there any more.

      However, there were several houses that had small children playing outside. Lilly will not go away.

      Victor McGough

      1. Linda H.

        Thanks to everyone for commenting about Lilly. My husband and I just bought a home here on Church St. I would learn the history of the town. It is such a charming place and we hope to be here for many years to come. The residents are so kind.

    1. L. Victor McGough

      I was in Mikes Mini Mart several years ago. Unfortunately he closed. Now there is only one store in Lily across the street from your grandfather’s store. Yes I know about the name Lily. I had an aunt, born Nellye Hobbs, who married a man by the name of Louie Lilly. He passed away in 1951 as a result of poor health after a case of Scarlett Fever as a youth. Nellye passed away in 1999, natural causes. Louie had two brothers, Lawrence and Linden, both deceased. The last male Lily, John son of Linden, died some time ago in a farm accident. The father to Louie, Lawrence & Linden and John’s grandfather was the founding father you mentioned. Nellye had two daughters, my cousins, Kay and Johnnye(Named after her grandfather). Johnnye passed away in 2008. Kay and I keep in touch. She owns her mother’s house in Lily and visits often. I vist there too, reliving my youth.

  7. Victor M

    This use to be the Lilly Bank, before the crash of 1929 and a general store owned by Mr. Clay Ingram whose sons still live in Dooly County.

    1. Phil Ingram, Decatur, GA

      Yes, the general store was owned by Mr. Clay Ingram, and his brother named Madison Joiner Ingram (my granddaddy) worked full time helping run the store. My granddaddy and his wife, Ruby, lived in a little white house where the fire station is now located. I have very clear, vivid memories of the store, and of the house until it burned down from old wiring. Uncle Clay and his wife, Hazel, and their two sons, Henry Clay and Billy Clay lived just a couple of houses up from the Baptist Church. Also, Ezra Ingram lived up just past Clay Ingram in a two story house with my Aunt Eula, and my Aunt Verna also lived there. Go one or two more houses up and across the street and that’s where my Dad and his Brother (James David and Herbert Joiner Ingram) were born in 1923 and 1925, respectively.

      I visited Lilly with my parents (David and Gerry Ingram) and my brother Jimmy to see all the relatives and Dad’s friends often from the 1950’s through the 1980’s. Sometimes Edward Ingram (another brother to Clay and Madison, who lived in Atlanta and worked for the railroad) would ride down there with us. We’d get there on Saturdays in time for a big lunch, compliments of my grandmother, visit awhile, then go down to the store in mid afternoon and have a bottled Coca-Cola out of the Coca-Cola Ice Chest (real ice to keep the drinks cold). In the winter we would sit around an old furnace to keep warm. What wonderful memories of those days. I could go on and on, but won’t. From the pictures I’ve seen on the internet, Lilly has sure changed a whole lot. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it back down there or not due to my health.

      I’ll post my name and email if anyone would like to contact me. I’d like to hear from you. I’d love to hear from a fireman or someone at City Hall since I was a government worker in Decatur, GA., and your fire station now sits on what was my grandparent’s property.

      Best wishes to all.

      1. Victor McGough

        it was great to get your reply. I use to spend my summers in Lilly with my aunt, Nellie Lilly. She lived on in the last house on the west side of the Montezuma Hwy, going north. I had two cousins there also, Kay & Johnnye Louise. Johnnye is deceased and Kay lives in Ringgold GA. I spent many nights at Clay & Hazel’s house watching TV with Billy & Henry Clay. I remember Mr. Joiner & Miss Ruby well. They had a 51 black Chevy. Henry Clay & Billy use to call Mr. Joiner Uncle Bud. I use to get those same sodas along with candy at Mr. Clay’s store.

        I saw Miss Hazel just before she passed away in 1984. I held a memorial service at the Methodist Church for my mother and an aunt in Lilly in 2005. Henry Clay & Billy both attended. The church is now owned by the city of Lilly. All of the members either moved away or are deceased. My grandfather, Will Hobbs, was a minister there some time ago. My mother and two of her sisters met their husbands during his tenure there.

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