Uncle Billy Royal Monument, Mystic

william jackson uncle billy royal memorial mystic ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2010

The inscription reads: William Jackson Royal “Uncle Billy” Apr. 16, 1850 – May 24, 1931 – Founder and First President of the Royal Singing Convention – Stalwart in heart, mind and body, gentle, kind, and considerate: his lilting gospel songs thrilled and admonished, lifted and inspired. He loved as he was beloved by the thousands who joined with him here and throughout his native section to sing joyously hymns of praise and petition. Leader, gentleman, and nobleman of God, his spirit and influence will live throughout the ages.


Filed under --IRWIN COUNTY GA--, Mystic GA

22 responses to “Uncle Billy Royal Monument, Mystic

  1. Chelsea Crawford

    Oh my goodness, this is so neat! Out of curiosity, I’ve started researching my family history and right now I’m just getting all of the names of all my family members that I can. I was just asking my grandpa, John D. Sims, Sr., my mom’s father, about his side of the family. His paternal grandmother was Lillie Royal Sims of the Royal Singing Group and her father was Billy! He told me all about the Royals and their famous singing conventions in Mystic, GA so I Googled them and, lo and behold, I found them here!

    Funny story about this monument (true story):
    When my grandpa was a young man visiting the monument, he backed up his new 1950 Plymouth straight into it and got a dent in his car! No matter, he just filled the dent in with Bondo and spray painted it with royal blue spray paint. And Grandma Lillie said it was the prettiest job she’d seen him do! XD

  2. sherrir walker

    hi my name is sherri walker.my grandmother was Edna Mae royal walker…i remember as a child we would go to the royal sing convention/family reunion.the best times of my life were in south ga i visited the site 1/16/12

  3. I can’t tell y’all how excited I was to find this sight. I’m Lynda Granddaughter of Edna Royal Walker and Charlie Walker. My father Charles Wallace Walker was their only child who married my Mother Joyce ann Smith and together they had six children. Vicky, Lynda, Timmy, Greg, Sherri and Keith.
    Every summer we would pile into my Grandmothers car loaded with food and head to the Royal Singing Convention. It was a memory that will live with me forever. So many stories so little time tonight but had to reach out and so hello to all the people who are related or just friends of family. We had some amazing times I’d love to share. I also would like to contribute to the memorial on behalf of our family. Please if anyone can contact me as to where to go from here it would be most appreciated .
    All the best,
    Lynda Erkiletian

    • Derrick

      It’s great to see you on here! When I found this site, I instantly thought of Grandma Walker. She gave me an old Bible about a year before she passed and I put it up so I wouldnt lose it. About 2 years later, I started reading it and found that she had put these old black and white pictures in the pages. They are pics of her and the Royal Singing Convention from a LONG time ago. I will share them with you next time I see you and maybe make some copies for the family.

  4. Derrick Walker

    My Great Grandmother, who raised me, was a Royal. Edna Mae Royal. She married a Walker and lived in Tifton for the majority of her adult life. When I was little, she used to tell me about this singing convention that attracted hundreds of people. I can’t remember the name of her parents but she had 2 siblings. Brantley and Francis. Would anyone know these people by any chance? I would like to know more about this side of the family. If anyone can help me please reply.


    Derrick Walker

    • Derrick Walker

      I was also told that I was some how related to “Billy” but I dont know how. Trying to attempt a genealogy.

      • Gregory walker

        my as well add myself in this lol im gregory walker. son of greg walker! edna mae royal is my grandmother

  5. Connie Bozeman

    I took photos of each monument posted around the edges of Uncle Billy Royal. Email me directly if you would like me to email them to you to add to this site.

  6. Karen Luke Jackson

    Marjorie, I’m Kerri’s mom and published an article about the Royal Singing Convention in the Georgia Historical Quarterly in the 1970’s. It was a paper I had written in college. We are kin through the Whitleys. My mother’s mother – Ella Trixie Royal was a Whitley. Where do you live now?

    • Karen, would you happen to have a photocopy of this article, or know where it might be found online? Thanks.

    • Hi Karen, Not sure if I got back with you on this but I live in the Atlanta area. I would love to learn more about Uncle Billy. My dad used to talk about the conventions but I didn’t know what they were about. hope to hear from you and any of my other cousins out there 🙂

  7. Kerri Jackson Pelz

    Thanks so much for your beautiful pictures. William Jackson Royal was my great-grandfather (ELoise Royal Luke was my grandmother) and I was at the dedication for the Royal Singing Convention when I was a teenager. I found your site while looking up pictures of “Uncle Billy’s” bust to show my young daughters.

  8. Helen Spacek

    Thanks for the pictures of the memorial at Mystic. I am a great grand daughter of Uncle Billy. I worked on the memorial project. I have pictures
    back to the first sings held in a tent.

    • Hi Helen, Nice to meet a relative. It sounds like we are cousins. I’m related on the Whitley side obviously. Where do you come in? I would love to see the photos that you have if that is possible…..

      • Helen Spacek

        William Jackson Uncle Billy is my g/grand father, Charles
        A Royal was my grand father, I served on the committee for the memorial. Do you know anyone who has a picture on Mary Shinholser?
        I will post the pictures I have in a few days,

    • Hi Helen, do you have those photos posted somewhere? I would love to see them!

    • kathryn

      Hi Helen…My name is Kathryn … I descend from William Jackson’s brother; John Llewellyn Royal…I just stumbled on to this site and read where you have pictures of the first sings held in tents? I would love to have a copy of those if you would be willing to share them? I remember as a child packing up the car and going to sings at different places and I loved it! I just recently got into family history, but the fact that one of my relatives founded the singing convention just makes me proud!! I would love to hear from you….

  9. Thanks so much for you interest, Marjorie. I know members of the Royal family myself, and think very highly of them. Best of luck with your musical endeavors, too.

  10. Marjorie Whitley

    Thank you for posting this article. This is my 4th Great Grandfather. I am doing research on my family history and I just discovered this site. It is especially important to me because I am a contemporary christian artist. If there are other cousins or family out there I would love to meet you…again, Thanks so much for posting this!

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