I descend from Joseph M. RAY and Mary PHOUTS as follows:
Milbrey Otto6 BURGETT [Vivian Ona5 SMITH, Cynthia Ann Medford4 POUNDS, Eliza Jane3 WYATT, Anna2 RAY, Joseph Henry1 RAY].
SOURCE: McCarley, Marvin Basil. 'The Rays Look Back,' 1972.
Joseph M. RAY was born in North Carolina [his obituary below indicates Virginia] and reared in South Carolina. His father is believed to have been Samuel RAY, a Scotch-Irishman. The family migrated to Kentucky, where he met and married Mary PHOUTS in 1793. She was born in Pennsylvania of Pennsylvania Dutch parentage. Joseph and Mary lived successively in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama before moving on to Texas in 1844. To them were born eight sons and three daughters. The family moved from Tennessee to Alabama about 1820. The tenth child, Benjamin F. was born in Warren County, Tennesse, 8 July 1818; and the yougest child, Elijah, was born in Jefferson County, Alabama, 18 January 1821. All of the children either went with their parents to Alabama or moved there about the same time, except David L., a tanner, who married a Tennesse girl, and remained there until 1844.
Subsequently the following family members left Alabama for Texas: the parents, Joseph and Mary RAY; Leonard Phouts; David L. [from Tennessee]; William H.; Elijah; and Phoebe. Manning and Stephen Bird remained in Alabama, while Moses eventually went to Arkansas [according to a report written by James Lemuel RAY, the youngest son of David L. RAY].
Referring to a letter written by Stephen Bird RAY in 1894 to relatives in Texas, ‘All the children had married and had large families.’ The marriage records, places of death, and other information about the daughters of Joseph and Mary RAY are unknown, except Phoebe, who is presumed to have made the journey to Texas with one of her brothers. She died 8 October 1870 in Upshur County and was buried in Enon Cemetery.”
In his last personal letter from Barbour Co., AL to his son, Moses Patrick RAY, in Arkansas, Joseph RAY wrote about his siblings and their families. The letter was addressed to Mr. M. P. Ray, Esqr., Dubuque, Marion Co., Arkansas.
'As you requested me to send you a letter in my own hand I am trying so to do but fearing you cannot read it and requested me to send you some acount of my back relationship it is hard to do. First my brother had fore sons by his first wife [Hettiam or Hethiam] John, George Thomas, Hiram, next Joseph William. I left all in Tennessee. My brother Thomas had no sons. Two uncles Benjamin Ray I left [in] Kentucky and uncle Thomas Ray in Tennessee he had a good many sons and where they are I no not. My acquaintance with them has been many many years sence and you requested the childrens ages and here I send it [to] you: Phebe was born March 26, 1795; Leonard September 24, 1796; David June 13, 1800; Wm October 9, 1802; Rachel June 21, 1805; Anna June 14, 1808; Manning September 10, 1810; Stephen April 17, 1813; Moses December 22, 1815; Dock July 8, 1818; Elijah January 18, 1821.
SOURCE: J&M RAY REUNIONS NEWSLETTER, Spring 1995
'Our Joseph Ray was born on March 1, 1770 in North Carolina. He spent a part of his growing-up years in South Carolina. We do not know his father's name [an educagted guess is that it was Joseph or William], but we do know that his father had two brothers named Benjamen [sic] and Thomas. Just as a point of reference, they were probably born 1740ish.
We know that Joseph had two brothers and at least one sister. His older brother, William, was born about 1768, and his younger brother, Thomas, was born about 1773. His sister, Mary, was probably born about 1780. Both of the brothers would grow up to be Baptist preachers. This is certain to be an all-inclusive list of the Ray males in those two generations. And these are the family members that Joseph grew up around.
Sometime in the 1780's , or very early 1790's, the extended Ray family moved up through Tennessee toward the Ohio Valley of Kentucky. Joseph's Uncle Thomas and his many sons remained in Tennessee. Then his Uncle Benjamen's family accompanied them to Kentucky.
The next time the records reflect or family, a Baptist historical sketch states that Joseph's brother, William, was one of the first preachers raised up in the Old South Kentucky Association where he began to preach as early as 1792. There were Rays with the right given names in Washington and Nelson Counties, Kentucky that early. By 1794, we know that Joseph and his brothers were in Greene County, Kentucky. Tough Joseph and Mary Phouts were married in Mercer County, Greene County continued to be their place of residence for a little longer. Phoebe, their first child, was born there in 1795.
Then Joseph went a little further west, to Logan County, to join his father-in-law. Leonard Phouts Ray was born there in 1796. Then Leonard Phouts and his son-in-law, Joseph Ray, moved back east a bit--to Muhlenberg County. It was there that David L. was born in 1800. In 1802, another son, William H. was born. Then, by the time Rachael and Anna were born in 1805 and 1808, Joseph had rejoined his brothers, moving back to Marrowbone Creek in Cumberland County which had broken off of Greene County. Manning would be the last child born in Kentucky, his borth year being 1810.
About 1812, Joseph and his family left Kentucky for Warren County, Tennessee. His brother William was down in that area preaching, though he would return to Monroe County, Kentucky eventually. Joseph left his brother Thomas in Kentucky. [Thomas and Rachael had no children, but raised children of their sister Mary after she died about 1808. Later, Thomas went to Madison County, Illinois, where he married after Rachael died and had two daughters.]
While in Tennessee, Stephen Bird Ray was born in 1813, and Moses Patrick [Patric] was born in 1815. Phoebe Ray married Allen McDonald in the area, and in 1818, Leonard Phouts Ray married his wife Mary. Depending on when the family picked up to move south once more to Alabama, Benjamen F. Ray was born in 1818 in either Tennessee or Alabama.
As the Rays and McDonalds moved down, David L. Ray was left in Tennessee as a tanner's apprentice. He married in Tennessee and stayed there until the mid-1840's.
The Rays were in Shelby County, Alabama by the 1820 census. The baby, Elijah, was born there in 1821. More grew up, married, bought land or moved. In 1820, Leonard Phouts Ray was in Dallas County, Alabama. Others stayed a while in Shelby County and then moved to Talladega or St. Clair County. Then in 1834, Joseph and some of his children moved to Cosa County. During the rest of that decade, the family was beginning to scatter. Moses Patrick even left for far northwestern Arkansas.
In the 1840's, David L. and his family moved from Tennessee to East Texas. Probably following his lead and bidding, Joseph and Mary and William H. and his family, along with several grown grandchildren and their families went to Smith County, Texas. Joseph and Mary wefre only 77 and 68 years old, respectively, as they set their faces west for that long journey.
About 1852, having been ill from some epidemic sweeping Texas, Jospeh and Mary returned to Barbour County, Alabama to live out their lives with their son Elijah and his family. Joseph died on September 3, 1857, and Mary died on October 7, 1866. They are buried in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery very near Elijah's farm
By the time Joseph died, his descendants were scattered from Georgia to Alabama to Arkansas and Texas. All of his children lived to be grown and wefre alive at his death, having children of their own.'
SOURCE: The 3 Sep 1857 obituary of Joseph RAY reads:
'Departed this life, the 3rd day of September last, after an illness of a few hours, JOSEPH RAY, aged 87 years and 6 months. The subject of this notice was born in the State of Virginia, about the year 1770. This old pilgram and soldier of the Cross of Christ has passed through many changes, war and peace in their turn. While he was a small boy, his father moved to North Carolina, and after a few years went to the State of Kentucky, where he made professions of Christianity and united with the Baptist Church. Soon afterwards, he moved to the State of Tennessee, and after a few years residence in Warren County, he moved to the State of Alabama and settled in Shelby County, and there united with the church by letter at Hebron. He remained there 6 years and moved into the Coosa Valley and there united with the church at Big Springs. He remained there until the settling of the Creek Indian country. He was an early settler in Talladega County. Lived there until about 1834, when he moved to Coosa County and lived there until 1848 or 1849. After his youngest child of twelve had married, he and his wife emigrated to Texas and settled in Smith County near Tyler, and after a residence of five years, they moved to Barbour County, Alabama. He was a zealous and untiring advocate of his Heavely Master. Many to whom this notice will come will remember the thrilling exhortation of this old time-worn soldier of the cross. He was fully ripe unto harvest and for years before his death, his prayers was ‘Lettest thou thy servant depart in peace” “for me to die is gain.” A short time before his death, he dreamed that he was near a large congregation and heard the voice of one singing the following lines ‘When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praises, Than when we first began.’ He awoke rejoicing in the love of God. This dream was a source of rejoicing with him until the hour of his departure and often remarked that after his death, he should be permitted to sing that song. He was buried in the grave yard of Mt. Pleasant Church, where his membership was at the time of his death. The deceased has left an aged and afflicted widow and eleven children, and many kind friends to mourn his loss, and for the satisfaction of his children and friends whose sympathies may be touched by this notice, we say that his dying testimony is sufficient to warrant the declaration that our losss is his eternal gain.'
Anna RAY and William Hodges WYATT:
William Hodges WYATT and Anna [RAY] WYATT came from Alabama with the four youngest of their ten children--Cynthia, Eliza, William David, and Asa--and settled near the small town of Brownsboro, Henderson Co., TX in 1859 when William David was 12 years of age. These same family members were listed in the 1860 census of Henderson County, and Anna supposedly gave the information to the census-taker. But we lose track of Anna here. So far, we do not know when she died or where she is buried. Aunt Grace [WYATT] BALLINGER has left written information that Anna is buried in Alabama. It is quite possible that she returned to Alabama when her mother became ill and passed away about the year 1865.”
SOURCE: Ballenger, Jerry. 'Confederate Soldiers Descended From Joseph Ray' 'I have concerned myself with 22 members of the Ray clan who were known or alleged to have served in the Confederate Army. Of these, some kind of official record exists that documents at least some part of their service for 17 of these men. 20 of the 22 were direct descendants of Joseph Ray, the other 2 being married into the clan. Included are 2 sons, 17 grandsons, 1 great grandson, and 2 in-laws of the clan. The list is not presumed to be complete. One or more of these men took part in just about every major engagement fought during the war. The only exceptions that come readily to mind are First Manassas and Chancellorsville in the east, and there were no members of the clan inside Vicksburg when it surrendered; but many of them were involved in the battles surrounding the attempt to relieve Vicksburg. They knew the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. In the face of over-whelming odds, they endured every kind of privation, disease, hunger, cold, fatigue, wounds, capture and death and surrendered only when there was no other choice left. They marched and counter-marched all over a good part of the South; and when they got home, they found their social system turned up-side down, their economy a waste, and themselves disfranchised and reduced to something of a second-class citizen facing a hostile government. But they persevered.
The score card [documented and alleged]: Dead or otherwise forever missing: 5 [Bryant, Felix, "Jim", and Thomas Ray. Flemmon Wyatt] Wounded: 4 [J. M. D. Pounds, Rayborn Wyatt, and James H. and Stephen Bird Ray] Prisoners of War: [Bryant and Joseph Ray, Flemmon and Rayborn Wyatt]
Today, these men--all of them--answer roll call in the Confederate "Valhalla." '
More About Joseph Henry Ray and Mary Jane Phouts: Marriage: 1794, Mercer Co., KY.
Children of Joseph Henry Ray and Mary Jane Phouts are:
+Anna Ray, b. 14 June 1808, Cumberland Co., KY, d. Abt. 1868, Probably Henderson Co., TX.