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View Tree for William RayWilliam Ray (b. November 04, 1740, d. July 28, 1840)

William Ray was born November 04, 1740 in Belfast, County Down, Ireland, and died July 28, 1840 in Riley, Indiana. He married Ann Brown.

 Includes NotesNotes for William Ray:
*****Taken from "The Ray family history..." author unknown


After very careful investigation, in many libraries, I desire to give some of the facts of the Ray family.

An ancient tradition says that the original Ray was a faithful adherent of William the Lion, King of Scotland, who died in 1214; the original Ray was greatly esteemed by the King because of his swiftness of foot in pursuing deer, and was named Ra, Rae, or Ray, for this characteristic and given an estate, and the tenure was a pepper corn rent with the stipulation that the name William should be perpetuated in the family.

This was followed for several hundred years until the name William gave way to the name of John, and the first great name of the family to bear this name was John Ray who was born 11/29/1628, and died 01/17/1705, who was the father of English natural history; he was the son of a blacksmith of Black Notley, near Braintree, Essex, who wrote his name Wray, thus the Ra, Rae, Ray and Wray originated in Scotland, and afterwards migrated into England and Ireland and became the branches and the history indicates that these two branches have sprung from the line of two brothers and the one in England is prominent in Werwick, Suffolk, Derby, Braintree, Gloucester and Windermere, at this last place is located the Wray Castle (which the writer has seen and is a castle of great beauty) and is the seat of the family known as Castle Wray.

The branch of the family that migrated to Ireland settled at Helfast in County Down and is known as the Winnete Court Wray, Ray.

The Rays came to America very early and settled in New England before the year 1650, of these was a Simon Ray who settled at Braintree, Mass. But died on 09/30/1641; his son Simon Ray settled at New Shoreham, RI. And is the progenitor of the family in that state.

Caleb Ray settled in Boston and died leaving a son, Caleb, who was a member of the second church of Boston. David Ray was baptized at Forfarshire, Scotland, owned the covenant at Charlestown 09/26/1696; his son Samuel Ray, born 08/29/1697, married Mary Fullerton, 10/22/1723, in Boston. Then there was a Daniel Ray, immigrant ancestor of this family, doubtless the brother of Caleb Ray of Boston, and tradition says that he was Scotch and that the family was prominent in Galloway, Caithness and Ayrshire, Scotland and it is believed that he came to America from Suffolkshire, England, for he settled in Plymouth Colony about 1630 and bought land of Anthony Annable, but soon after removed to the Massachusetts Bay Colony settling at Salem, before 02/06/1631 according to a letter from Gov. Bradford to Gov. Winthrop of that date.

The descendents of Daniel Ray in Essex County have followed the spelling of Rea but those who have left that section in most cases have adopted Ray which is nearly universal in the families descended from Caleb and Simon Ray, the other immigrants.

Daniel Ray became a prominent citizen of Salem, was admitted a freeman on May 14, 1634.

The family characteristics are many and varied, and among the descendents in Scotland, England, Ireland and America have been men and women of noble life, high ideals, scholars, merchants, physicians, orators, artists, teachers, farmers, leaders in public affairs. Authors as Joseph Ray, Author of Ray's Arithmetic, John Ray the great English Naturalist; another was Judge John Ray of England, who was a prominent lawyer, man of brilliant mind and charming orator who was appointed to the high office of Counselor to Queen Victoria; some of the family have been great soldiers rising to the rank of Admiral and General.

It is our purpose to trace the family history of the descendents of the Winnette Court of Ray of Belfast, County Down, Ireland.

William Ray of the Winnette Court Ray family was born in Belfast, County Down, Ireland on 11/04/1740 and remained at home until he was grown into manhood; in 1764 the Oakboy insurrection broke out and in 1772, the Steelboys Rebellion (Brit. Vol. 13,269) and William Ray enlisted with the rebels in their fight for certain liberties but the rebel cause was crushed and he with many others left the country.
These are the causes that led William Ray and at least on of his sisters to come to America with Isaac Wayne in Chester County, Penn. and engaged in the fur trade business until after the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 when he volunteered as a soldier in the American Revolutionary Army, and served three years and two months holding the office of Lieutenant under Capt. Mordecae Chapin, and Col. "Mad" Anthony Wayne; he fought in the battles of White Plains, Brandywine, Germantown, Stony Point and Monmouth.

He also served short terms as a private against the Indians after the Revolutionary Was had closed. The government allowed his pension on May 08/1834, and it was paid until his death in Riley, Indiana on 07/28/1840, at the age of 99 years 8 months and 24 days; he is buried in Harkness Cemetery near Riley, Indiana. (See records, in the war dept.-bureau of pensions.) The war dept. shows that there was another William Ray, in the revolutionary Army who served as a second lieutenant in the 10th New Hampshire Militia, commanded by Joseph Badger, Bsq.; it is also shown that he entered the service on 06/29/1780 on roll of Capt. Richard Sinclair's company in Col. Thomas Bartlet's regiment; he was discharged 10/28/1780; this William Ray must have been another member of perhaps the English branch of the family.

After the war, William Ray married Ann Brown of Maryland (she was born in 1756 and died 04/15/1825 and is buried beside her husband in the Harkness Cemetery near Riley, Indiana) After their marriage they settled in Jefferson County, Kentucky where they lived until they moved to Butler County, Ohio in 1810. From this marriage the following children were born, six boys & six girls.

Sons: (Facts and dates copied from old bible of William Ray I)

William II born 03/22/1787, died 03/11/1858 in Riley, Indiana.
John Born in Kentucky, froze to death 03/12/1820 in Riley, Indiana.
Rev. Robert born 07/16/1789, in Kentucky, died 12/16/1838.
Samuel Ray born died
Marin M Ray born died
Gov. James Brown Ray born died

The names of the girls are as follows, dates of birth and death unknown:
Mrs Jane (Ray) Mansfield.
Mrs Rosa (Ray) Ferrel
Mrs (Ray) Morris
Mrs Elizabeth (Ray) Jennings
Mrs Etta Ray date of birth unknown, died 10/3/1841, we are not sure she was one of this family.
Mrs Sarah Ray McKinney 1840

In the year 1810, William Ray I his wife, sons, William II, John, Robert, (perhaps other children, but not having the dates of their births, we do not know) removed from Jefferson County, Kentucky, and settled in Butler County, Ohio. where they lived until they moved to Riley Township, Indiana in 1818, in which year William Ray and his wife Ann Brown, his daughter Elizabeth, his sons, John, Samuel, Martin M. and also William Ray II and his wife Sallie Miller came on horseback to Riley Twp. When it was a wilderness and was inhabitated by the Indians and thus the Rays became the pioneers in this new land and built the first church, schoolhouse; among them was the first deaths in this township; they settled on section 19 where they homesteaded 80 acres of land at once and built a log house for a home.

It was on March 12, 1820 that John Ray and his little son Elais went to a neighbor's to sharpen an ax but on returning home they were overtaken by a snowstorm and were both frozen to death and the Vigo County history says that these were the first deaths in the township.

More About William Ray:
Burial: Unknown, Harkness Cemetery.

Children of William Ray and Ann Brown are:
  1. +William Ray, b. March 22, 1787, Jefferson County, Kentucky, d. March 11, 1858, Riley, Indiana.
  2. +John Ray, b., Kentucky, d. March 12, 1820, Riley, Indiana.
  3. Robert Ray, b. July 16, 1769, Kentucky, d. December 16, 1838.
  4. Samuel Ray, d. date unknown.
  5. Martin Ray, d. date unknown.
  6. James Brown Ray, d. date unknown.
  7. Jane Ray, d. date unknown.
  8. Rosa Ray, d. date unknown.
  9. Elizabeth Ray, d. date unknown.
  10. Sarah Ray, d. February 08, 1840.
  11. Unknown Ray, d. date unknown.
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