James Edward Mathis was born February 20, 1893, in Clinch County. He was in business in Clinch county prior to moving to Valdosta in 1931. Upon coming to Valdosta, he entered into the crosstie and lumber business. He was builder, owner and operator of Ashley Oaks Motel and owned additional valuable downtown business property. Also, he had extensive property holdings elsewhere in South Georgia and North Florida. He served on Valdosta City Council and served in the General Assembly from Lowndes County. He was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, a Mason, Shriner and member of Lee Street Baptist Church. Mathis auditorium was named in his honor. He married Ethel Johnson of Stockton, Georgia. Mr. Mathis died in Valdosta on October 7, 1956. His children are Julian Mathis, Mrs. Robert T. Hall (Sara) and Mrs. James Beck (Betty).