|The past does
not give up its secrets very easily; so the researcher is forced to go
on facts, and draw his/her conclusions from what is learned. The earliest
record of which I can reasonably be sure, and brought up to the present,
is contained below:
5th Series, Volume 1, Page 15:
Thomas Rea, age
19, born: Ireland, enlisted 19 July 1746
age 20, born: Ireland, enlisted 13 July 1746, both under the command of
Samuel Perry 4 august 1746, located Chester County, Pennsylvania, between
Brandywine Creek and Schuykill River.
A Thomas Ray and
a Redmond McMahan both lived in the same area of Virginia and in the same
area of Buncombe (Yancey) County, in July 1794.
Our Yancey County
Thomas Ray, Sr.,
believed to have married Celia or Cillia. Their children were:
I. Thomas L. Ray, Jr. Born: c1770-1775, VA. Believed to have married Ivey
Will probated July 1843, Yancey County, NC.
II. Joseph B. Ray. Born: c1776, VA. Married Saray McMahan. Died: January
Yancey County, NC.
III. John Ray (no proof). Born: c1778, VA. Moved from Yancey County to
IV. Elizabeth Ray (no proof). Born c1780, VA.
V. Hiram Ray. Born: c1782-1784, VA. See separate listing
VI. James Ray. Born: c1786-1787, VA. Married Hannah Agnes Gilespie. Lived
in what is
now Madison County, NC.
VII. Soloman L. Ray (no proof). Born: 20 May 1792, Buncombe Co., NC. Married:
Elizabeth Clarke. Died: 11 Jul 1854, Coles County, Illinois.
are entries in named records which may or may not be identifiable with
our Thomas Ray, Sr.:
VA MILITIA 1777:
In Captain John's
VA PERSONAL PROPERLY LIST:
1788, 1790. Missing from list after 1790. Purchased property from Thomas
Ray, Sr., Buncombe County (now Yancey), NC, (July session of court, 1794.)
VA LAND RECORDS:
Thomas Ray- one
entry included an indian town 1781.
Thomas Ray bought
at least seven pieces of land on or near New River 1771-1782. He apparently
sold all of them before 1782 he owned 400 acres on south side of Great
Kanauha (New River). He sold it to John Marshall.
Thomas Ray sold
400 acres to Thomas Morgan on Little Reed Creek, a branch of New River
Thomas Ray sold
400 acres to William Christian on New River opposite Dunkard's bottom.
Thomas Ray sold 400 acres to George Forbes on Beaver Dam.
and Nicholas Cabell were commissioners of land for Montgomery Co. and Washington
Co., VA in 1782.)
Thomas Ray of
Captain Draper's Company was fined two months pay for non-performance of
duty April 1778.
Thomas Ray, soldier
infantry, pay received by Colonel Nicholas Cabell, 2 Nov 1784.
Thomas Ray, soldier,
three years service. #3659.
Thomas Wray, private,
entitled to land for three years service, with George Rogers, Clark's Illinois
Thomas Ray, private,
Virginia, continental line #L03659. I do certify that Thomas Ray is entitled
to the portion of land allowed a private of the continental line for three
years service. This was signed by P. Henry (Patrick Henry) and Thomas Meriwether.
WAR BOUNTY WARRANTS:
Thomas Ray, soldier,
had a certificate issued by Lt. Col. Samuel J. Cabell (voucher 1784). It
is said Thomas Ray was in the 4th Virginia regiment. Another certificate
for land was signed by Nicholas Cabell.
Moses Ray's will
in Amhurst County, VA, 22 May 1766, probated 5 sep 1768 lists a Thomas
Ray as his son.
of the US for Fairfax, Virginia in 1782 lists Thomas with seven whites
and one black in his household. They were not there for later census.
OF BOTETOURT CO., VA:
Thomas Ray delinquent
on waters from John Craigs to Peek Creek, Mongomery Co., VA
Note: Thomas Ray,
Jr. named his first son James Bean Ray for James Bean, who lived in the
lower district of New River 1771-1772.
Thomas Ray and
James Bean both lived on New River and Sinking Creek in 1772, tithables.
Mr. Herbert's list.
This area falls
in Craig County, VA, at the present time. Thomas Ray does not appear on
the tithable list after 1773 of Botetort County, VA. (Area became Fincastle
in 1772 and Montgomery County in 1777.
James Bean, mentioned
above, made guns as a means of earning a living, and one of the members
of the ray clan brought an ancient James Bean rifle to one of the recent
Thomas Ray, Sr.
did not mention Hiram Ray in his will. He does not appear in census records
for North Carolina prior to 1840. As will be noted below his first two
children could have been born from a first marriage.
thanks must be given to Henrietta Ray Walker, of Bradenton, FL for the
excellent research above.
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
State of North
Carolina, court of pleas and common sessions,
1840, Yancey County.
of writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Hiram Ray, deceased,
was produced in open court and admitted to probate upon the oath of Amos
L. Ray one of the ______ or being witness thereto. The will is in the words
and figurz following (to wit)
In the name
of God amen. I Hiram Rha of the state and county aforesaid being infirm
in body and not knowing the time of my death are but sound of mind and
memory do freely make an appoint this my last will and testament in manner
following. (viz) Item first. I will and bequeath to my daughter Lovey Bailey
and her bodily heirz my two negro girls Fran and Caroline together with
one she has already rec'd named Ginny, likewise one fourth of all my perishable
property and one third of all my cash and notez if any, due respect first
being paid to all just creditorz and debtorz.
I will and bequeath to my son Thomas my two negroz Sook and Robeson together
with one he has already rec'd named Hannah, likewise one fourth of all
my perishable property and one third of all my cash and notez. If any,
I will and bequeath unto my beloved wife Elizabeth my three negros Sal,
James and Gabs, likewise my present dwelling house and all lands and tenements
adjoining with all farming tools and household and kitchen furniture also
one half of all my perishable property and one third of all my cash and
notes, if any, for support and raising and schooling my son James, to remain
her own as above as long as she remains single and lives in said premises
during her natural life due respect being paid that no unnecessary waste
be made or tradez be carried on without the counsel of my executor and
at the death, marriage or removal of my wife I will and bequeath unto my
son James all of the above portion or so much as shall remain together
with all the increase of the same thus left to his mother to him and his
heirz forever due respect being paid at the time to his age by my executor.
Further it is my desire that if any other land or out property belong to
me at my death, that the same be sold and divided in three parts, and one
third be given to my daughter Lovey, one third to my son Thomas, and one
third to my wife as above. Further I do nominate, constitute and appoint
my son Thomas as sole executor of this my last will and testament never
the less he shall do nothing rashly without first counseling with one of
my guardainz chosen by me page second to wit Wesely McElroy and James Ray,
and in witness to this my last will and testament I have hereunto set my
hand and seal this 10th day of April in the year of our Lord 1839.
A. L. Ray
Hiram Ray- seal
S. H. Deweese
test: J. W.
above named was duly sworn according to law and letters testamentary. test:
J. W. Garland, clerk
by Margaret Whittinston King lists the children of Thomas Ray, Sr., as
Thomas Ray, Jr.; Hiram Ray: James "Big Jim" Ray; Elizabeth Ray; John Ray;
Joseph B. Ray, and Solomon Ray. This list has been handed down in the family
of William "Billy" Ray, her ancestor. Due to the date of death of Hiram
Ray, further identified below, I conclude that he is the Hiram Ray listed
above as the brother of Thomas Ray, Sr. Information from Everett Smith,
Box 397, Friendville, Tenn; P. O. Box 1951, Knoxville, TN 37901, gives
a pedigree sheet for Thomas Ray, Sr., as being born in Virginia with children
listed as Thomas Ray, Jr.; Joseph; James; John, who
moved to Haywood County; and Hiram. Hiram is listed as having three children
named Lovey, James, and Thomas W.
from the family bible, which at the time was in the hands of Erwin Ray,
the writer's uncle, indicates that James Marion
Ray was born in 1829 which would have made him a juvenile at the time
Hiram died in 1839. In conducting my research I located several men named
James Marion Ray; however, none of them fit the circumstances of birth
and residence, but the James Marion Ray born in 1829, to Hiram Ray and
Elizabeth Cox. Therefore after exhaustive research the writer has determined
that Hiram's son James Marion Ray, is the writer's great-grandfather.
Hiram named two
other children in his will who were adults. At least one of the children
was married. Their apparent age and the fact that his wife survived Hiram
until at least 1861 indicates the possibility of a previous marriage, from
which the two older children could have been born.
The book of wills
in Yancey County, North Carolina, indicates that a jury met in 1861 to
separate and award the part of Hiram's property which he had designated
for her in the attached will. Apparently she had not remarried prior to
James Marion Ray
was an adult and married in 1861. There is no record that I could locate
which would indicate that he received any of Hiram's estate. The census
records of 1850 identify James Marion Ray and Sarah E. Ray as head of household
with one son, Milton E. Ray, age 1.
Lovey Ray, daughter
of Hiram, married John Bailey, nicknamed "Yellow Jacket John Bailey" due
to his extremely volatile temper. Legend has it that John Bailey donated
the land upon which the city of Burnsville, NC is now located.
Thomas W. Ray,
became a reverend and is believed to have been one of the founders of Mars
Hill College. According to Everett Smith, identified above, Thomas W. was
married to Hannah Carter and they had the following children:
A. Edward W.
B. Augusta, married
to Jeter Pritchard
C. Laura, married
to Leroy Buckner.
D. William C.,
married first to Loretta Anderson, with whom he had children named Carrie
and Gere, and second to Lorena Buckner, with whom he had children named
Lillie; Daisy; Woodson M.; and Ida.
1. Lillie married J. F. Buckner
2. Daisy married Dennis Merrell, with whom she had Ralph Merrell and Thelma
a. Ralph married Dorthea Lee, and had two children named Marjorie and Sharon.
b. Thelma married Horace Bumgarner, and had two children named Mary Louise
3. Woodson M. married Lola Buckner
4. Ida married C. D. Houston and had a child named Richard.
listed above as the son of Thomas Ray, Sr., who moved to Haywood County,
had the following children:
A. Daniel Mack, who eventually moved to Kansas
D. James Moore, who married Dorcas Anderson, and moved to Tennessee.
James and Dorcas had the following children:
2. Vera, married Bennett Ward.
3. Maude, married Charles Mason.
4. Dorcas, married Estus J. Smith. They had the following children:
a. Everette, who married Clara Prater. They had a son named
Michael Smith, who married a lady named Rachel.
b. Melanie Smith.
A record of the
purchase of property in Old Buncombe County, NC, located in the office
of the Register of Deeds, Asheville, NC, reflects that Hiram Ray purchased
land in the Crabtree Creek area of Buncombe County between 1806 and 1815
from Jesse Harris and Thomas Ray, Sr., and other individuals.
This is the earliest
record I have found to date of a Hiram Ray being in Buncombe County. One
should note that as of the above date Buncombe County consisted of what
are now Clay, Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison,
Transylvania, and Swain counties. It is most unusual that a census record
of Hiram Ray in Buncombe County could not be located.
Hiram Ray, being
the son of Thomas Ray, Sr., apparently came from Montgomery Co., VA, near
the Little River, to live in Buncombe. Little doubt exists as to the location
of Crabtree Creek area due to Hiram's will and lands owned by Thomas Ray,
Sr., an extremely wealthy plantation and slave owner.
John Preston Arthur,
in A History of Western NC 1730-1913, recorded on page 179 an interview
of Nancy Anderson Gardner, who was 98 on 15 Jan 1913. She recalled when
interviewed in 1912 about Yancey County that Amos Ray, Thomas Ray, and
Hiram Ray were among the earliest settlers of Yancey County. She recalled
that Hiram Ray had a daughter who married John Bailey and that Bailey donated
the land on which the town of Burnsville is built. She added that Thomas
Ray married an Ivey Hensley and lived in Cane River Valley. Hiram Ray was
described as a wealthy and influential man.
James was born
on 22 Dec 1829 in Yancey Co., North Carolina. He married Sarah "Sally"
Emaline Anderson, who was born on 23 Jan 1826. She preceded him in death
on 16 Aug 1891, and he followed on 13 Feb 1892. James served in the Union
army as a private, Company E, 3d Regiment, NC Mounted Infantry Volunteers,
from 1 Mar 1865 to 8 Aug 1865. He guarded prisoners for one month, and
was company clerk for the rest of his service.
The 1860 US Census
for Madison County, NC, lists one household as follows:
Ray, James M.
Sallie E. 34
Sarah A. 9
Harvey (?) (probably Henry) 5
James W. D. 8 months.
They were married
sometime in 1848 and their first child Milton Wellington Ray was born in
1849. A second child, Sarah, was born in 1853, followed by Hamilton Woodville
(according to some papers) or Henry Hamilton, as shown by his death certificate.
The death certificate also gives his date of birth as 1853, suggesting
the possibility that he was a twin to Sarah; however, the family bible
and his children all state that he was born in 1854, which I am inclined
to believe because I have an 1854 silver dollar with a hole in it which
grandmother says he wore on a thong around his neck. They had another son
named J. W. Ray; however, I have not, as of this time, located his date
of birth. John Parris recently related a story in one of his columns for
the Asheville Citizen-Times, of a Joe Ray who had a shoot-out at Waynesville,
NC, in which both were killed. I often wonder if this was not the son of
James Marion Ray who is listed in the above census as James W. D. Anyway,
he apparently was the father of A. L. Ray who is later identified as having
made a claim on the property of James Marion and Sarah Emaline Ray, identifying
himself as their grandson, from Knox County, Tennessee. If I live long
enough I would like to conduct research in Knox County so I could become
acquainted with this long lost relative. His nieces and nephews, my uncles
and aunts, did not know of his existence.
Roy Metcalf of
Mars Hill, NC, provided the following information on Sarah "Sallie" Emaline
Anderson. She was the daughter of Nathan Mallot Anderson, born 1782 in
New Jersey, died 1856, Ivey, NC, and Sarah Burch, 1785, Surrey County,
NC. Sarah Anderson's paternal grandparents were James Anderson, born 1755,
died 1822, and Martha "Patty" Malet, probably Mallot, born 1775. Date of
death unknown. See The Anderson Clan.
Ray was married to a Nancy N. Ingle. Nancy was born 1847 and died in 1928
at Asheville, NC. She was the daughter of John Jackson Ingle and Matilda
Metcalf Ingle. I am not sure of the date of death of Hamlton Wellington
Ray. I interviewed one of his grandchildren before she died and she believed
that he died in about 1911. The date is much to early, due to property
settlements in which Wellington purchased the property rights to the farm
left without will by James and Sarah, from Sarah, her spouse, Henry and
Julia, and A. L. Ray from Knox County, Tennessee, who identified himself
as a grandson of James M. and Sarah E. Ray. The latter settlement was made
in about 1913. Milton and Nancy's children were:
I. James Jackson Ray, born 1874, died 25 Oct 1918. Married a cousin, Addie
born 1882, died 1917. Their children were as follows:
A. Thomas Leroy Ray, died 1958. Nothing further.
B. Eskie (son), died in 1967 of a heart attack.
C. Carrie, married an Anderson, died in 1967 of a stroke.
D. Kelly Ray, lived in Asheville, NC. I interviewed him several times prior
to his death. He tried his best to help me find Milton W. Ray's family
we were unable
to locate it. Kelly was a bad alcoholic.
E. Ollie Mae Rinehart. How happy I am that I was able to talk with her
prior to her death. She was a gracious lady and provided so much as the
interviewee mentioned above. Her children were Estelle, who married
a Shelton and lived in Michigan; Robert Rinehart, who lived in Black Mountain
at the time of the interview, and Calvin (JC). They were born in 1932,
1929, and 1934 respectively.
F. Melvin Ray, died in 1973 of a heart attack.
G. Willie Ralph "Bill", lived in Asheville at time of the interview.
H. Hubert and Ruford, twins born in 1915. Hubert lived in South Carolina
and Ruford lived in Providence, RI.
II. Ollie Ray,
born 1873, no further information at this time.
III. Ella Ray,
married a Thomas Hensley. Nothing further is known. Their children were
Lynn, Jennings, Clyde, and Herbert.
IV. Matilda Ray,
married Arthur Ray, and they lived in Asheville. Their children were May,
Elizabeth, Helen, Paul, Arthur, jr., and another son who the interviewee
could not recall.
V. Lenoria Ray,
born 1877, died 1955. Married 11 Aug 1895, Madison County, NC to Robert
H. Buckner, born 1864, died 1964, both buried in Ivy Hill Cemetery, Buncombe
Co., NC. Had a son Alec who became a minister, and a daughter whose name
could not be recalled by the interviewee.
VI. Ida Ray, born
1879, died 1963. Married 1 Sep 1901 to Robert Wesley Wilson, born 1870,
son of Nelson and Martha Wilson. Children of Ida and Robert:
A. --------- (?) Wilson, married Carroll Arrington.
B. Kermon Wilson. No further information known. Name was probably Kermit.
C. Mildred Wilson. Nothing further known.
D. Palma Wilson, 10 years old when she drowned.
E. Belle Wilson, nothing further known.
said that she was scared to death of Milton Wellington Ray when she was
young because he would shake his finger at her and scowl like he was angry.
She related that when he died he was laid out between two chairs and she
was scared to go near him even then.
Very little is
known of great aunt Sarah, often called Sallie. Marriage records of Yancey
County, NC, reflect that she married William S. Cagle, who was 29 on 14
Sep 1874. We know that she was born in 1853, and from old letters and family
stories they migrated to Whitman County, Washington, where they established,
according to an old letterhead from one of his letters, the Old Dominion
Fruit Company. We know that she had children, but we do not know their
names. My grandfather Henry Hamilton, who is further
described below, traveled to Washington with his second family to see his
sister, and then after returning east, went back to Washington to see her
again in the early 1900s.
The old family
Bible which I referred to earlier, in the hands of Ervin Ray, also identified
him as Hamilton Woodville Ray. He was born on 19 Dec 1854, and married
a Mira H. Cook, of Mitchell County, NC, on 9 Sep 1876, under, at least
the spelling of his name, as Hambelton H. Ray. He had one son by this marriage,
and named the child James Wesley Ray.
JAMES WESLEY RAY
His nickname was
"Wex Jim". He was born 1878 and died in about 1929, and is buried in an
unmarked grave on Paint Fork, to the northeast of Mars Hill, NC. He married
a Hattie Wilson, 26 Nov 1893, the daughter of Nelson Wilson, and Martha
Wilson, who were also the parents of Robert Wesley Nelson, who married
Ida Ray, mentioned above. Therefore he married his cousin. Hattie later
died in an insane asylum. Their children were:
I. Kenneth Wellington
Ray, born 6 Jun 1903, died 24 May 1977. He married Glenn (Glenda Calloway)
on 13 Apr 1924. Glenn was born on 17 Apr 1909, the daughter of William
Gilbert Calloway, born 27 Mar 1884, died 29 Jul 1975, and Etta Maney, born
12 Dec 1882, died 17 Oct 1955. Their children were:
A. Agnes Etta Ray, born 30 Jul 1926, marriage 1st to Bernice Carter, and
B. Lois Jean Ray, born 29 Jan 1928, married Frank Hicks.
C. Ruth Ray, born 14 Apr 1931, married John G. Gardner.
D. Billy Eugene Ray, born 8 Jun 1933, married Faye Hoder.
E. Charles Carroll Ray, born 16 Jan 1938, married 1st, Mary Lunsford, and
F. Richard Leon Ray, born 13 Aug 1947, married, Wanda McKinney.
G. Herbert Lee Ray, died when he was about 40 years old on 26 May 1956.
Married Bonnie Church. No children were born of the marriage. He had been
in the military service. Reportedly died of Huntington's chorea (similar
to St. Vitus dance).
H. Bertha Ray, died when she was about two years old.
He lived all of
his life in Madison County, NC, working as a sharecropper on the land,
the property of J. W. Anderson. He refused to own property. Glenn Calloway,
the source of the information, said that she was with him when he died,
and being the first dead person she had ever seen, scared her so bad that
she went screaming all the way to a neighbors home for help.
When his father
married for the second time, described below, James Wesley Ray was left
with his grandparents, James Marion and Sarah Anderson Ray. They reared
him to manhood. His grandfather spoke highly of him in letters to
Hamilton Ray, stating that he could read almost anywhere in the bible
and notebook, and could hoe as much corn as his grandfather. There was
also some resentment shown in the letters toward his father who left him
behind. Glenn indicated that he could remember his mother vaguely, but
did not know if she died, there was a divorce, or if Henry Hamilton simply
remarried and left the country rather than face a bigamy charge. She did
say that he loved his father and half brothers and sisters, and loved for
them to visit him. When his father died in 1926, he went to the wake in
Asheville, NC, but she did not think he went to the funeral, due to the
bad roads at the time.
Ray's second marriage was to Julia Whitt on 13 Feb 1881. She was born on
31 Oct 1858, and died on 6 Jan 1943. I will give more information about
Julia in a separate paragraph. Their children were:
I. Ervin Alexander Ray, born 14 Feb 1882, died 7 Nov
1965, married Emaline Phillips, from Andrews. Emaline was born 17
Dec 1883. Died 19 Feb 1976. Their children were:
A. Lewis B. Ray, born 27 Feb 1908, died 9 Dec 1987. He married Lula Arrowood
Causby, born 1 Jan 1924, died 17 Jun 1993. They had one child, Glenda.
B. Garrett Ray, born 5 Nov 1911, married Della Lawing, born 8 Sep 1915,
the daughter of William Morrison Lawing and Lois Jane Vaughn. Their only
child was Wilma Jean Lawing, born 14 Jan 1948. She was married on 22 Jun
1957 to Daniel Roland Ledbetter, born 21 Nov 1937. Their children were:
1. Danya Jean Ledbetter, born 19 Aug 1960, married 27 May 1978 to Marty
Elliott, born 18 May 1958. They have two children:
a. Chasity Dawn Elliott, born 7 Oct 1980.
b. Ethan Chad Elliott, born 3 Jul 1985.
2. Darryl Dean Ledbetter, born 23 May 1965, married Cindy Holland on 27
Jun 1987. Cindy was born 4 Feb 1966. As of September 1993. They have
3. Verna Renee Ledbetter, born 19 Apr 1967, married Terry Woody on 21 Mar
87. Terry was born 19 Jul 1965. They have one child, Casey Franklin Woody,
born 11 May 1991.
B. Jesse Ray married
Eliju Anderson. Jesse had a child named Lloyd Ray. Ervin and Emaline reared
him and left him the family farm after their death. He was very good to
them and took care of them during their later years. Lola Phillips Brendle
Roberts, identified below, told everyone in the family that Lloyd was born
due to a relationship or an affair between Jesse and her uncle, my father,
Edward Smith Ray.
had a daughter named Lola Maude Phillips, prior to her marriage to Ervin
Alexander Ray. Lola married one Lawrence Moody Brendle in 1919 and
divorced him in 1920. She then married on, 5 Oct 1921, James Donald Roberts,
who died on 1 Jan 1979. Lawrence and Lola had one child named Virgil Troy
Brendle, born 28 Jul 1921 in Swain County, NC, who was reared by Ervin
and Emaline. Virgil married Viola Roberts, born 13 Oct 1921, in Asheville,
NC, daughter of Douglas and Ida Stone Roberts. Their children are named
1. George Edward Brendle, born 17 May 1940, Asheville, NC. m. 1st to Barbara
Ann Clewis, Marion, NC., and 2nd to Helen Mosteller Ramsey, Nebo, NC.
2. Joyce Ann Brendle, born 8 Oct 1942, m. William Bobby Duncan, Marion,
3. Jerry Wayne Brendle, born 19 Feb 1945, married Teresa Ann Hyman, Marion,
4. Linda Dianne Brendle, born 10 Apr 1950, married to Roy Lee Mathis
5. Karen Darlene Brendle, born 20 Jun 1956, Nebo, NC, married 1st to Dennis
Keith Foster, Charlotte, NC and 2nd to Robert Sparks, Nebo, NC.
OF VIRGIL AND VIOLA BRENDLE
Children of George
Edward and Barbara Ann Brendle were:
a. Richard Edward Brendle, born 26 Sep 59.
b. Laura Christine Brendle, born 22 Oct 60.
c. Bonita Louellyn Brendle, born 7 Jul 66.
d. David Grayson Brendle, born 25 Nov 67.
CHILDREN OF ROY
LEE AND LINDA DIANNE MATHIS:
a. Gregory Lee Mathis, born l2 Jul 1967.
b. Lisa Annette Mathis, born 30 Aug 1970
CHILDREN OF JERRY
WAYNE AND TERESA ANN BRENDLE:
a. Timothy Allen Brendle, born 11 Dec 1970
b. Robert Jason Brendle, born 29 Nov 1974.
c. Jeffrey Wayne Brendle, born 31 Jul 1978.
II. Louis Hamilton
Ray, born 20 Aug 1886, died 14 Aug 1887.
III. Robert Wellington
Ray, born 7 Jul 1889, died 13 Jun 1965, married Vesta Banks, born 17 Feb
1889, died 3 Nov 1959. Vesta or Vestie Banks was the daughter of Regan
Decatur Banks and Mary Elizabeth Buckner. Their children were as follows:
A. Vance Hedrick Ray, born 22 Apr 1912, died 29 Apr 1977. Married Georgia
Owensby. Vance and Georgia's children were Richard; Carolyn; Gale; Wanda;
Bobby; Douglas; and Ron.
B. Nell Ray, (a twin), born 29 Jun 1920, married John Cogdill. Their children
were Michael and Johnny. Johnny married Cindy Sluder.
C. Ned Ray, (a twin), born 29 Jun 1920, died 29 Jan 1971, buried at Weaverville,
NC, married Ruby Phillips. Their children were Danny, Marsha, and Steve.
D. Carmen Ray, born 31 Aug 1924, married 1st Wilma McFarland, by whom he
had a daughter Darlene, and second to Eula Mae Daniels. He resides in Jacksonville,
IV. James Marion
Ray (Uncle Jim) and Aunt Lizzie had five children. One of them nay have
been adopted. I do not know much of his family. He was in the service and
stationed at Fort Barancas, near Pensacola, Florida. He died there in 1932.
Edward, my father and his brother, arrived at his death bed just before
he died. He was a bad alcoholic. Their children were Juanita, Dioma, Mangum,
Carmen, and Thomas. Thomas was reportedly a chief of police of Fort Walton
Beach, Florida at one time. One of the boys was killed while working as
a security guard.
V. Lake Erie Ray,
born 17 Sep 1895, died 6 Mar 91. She was married first to William Garner
Stewart of Blue Ridge, GA. Uncle Will, as we called him, was born 17 Feb
1893. As of this date I do not know his date of death. She was married
later to Marcus Martin, a renowned fiddle player in western North Carolina;
however she had no children from the second marriage. She and Uncle Will
had children as named below:
A. Lewis Edward Stewart, born 17 May 1914; died 10 Mar 1976, married to
Hazel Weaver on 26 Mar 1940 in Asheville, NC. As of last knowledge Hazel
was residing in High Point, NC. They had two daughters: Patricia who drowned
29 Aug 1954,
and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Asheville, NC, and Debbie,
who married Paul Pitts, and of the last knowledge was residing in Winston-Salem,
NC. We knew him by the name of Ed, and he is buried in Skyview Memorial
Park, Asheville, NC.
B. Robert "Bob" Noah Stewart, born 11 Mar 1916. I cannot presently remember
the date of his death. He married Eva M. Bryant on 8 Jul 1944. They had
four children: Erie Dianne, who married Carlos Bennett of California; Caren,
who married a Bennett; Bobbie who married Peggy Brighton, and Billie, who
was killed in Vietnam in 1968.
C. Clara Verna Stewart. We knew her by the name of Verna, but somehow the
pronunciation in the family was always Vernie. She was born 14 Nov 1917,
and died 11 Sep 1978. She married a Frank Curriden of New Jersey
on 4 Jan 1939. They had no children to my knowledge. I never knew him and
I don't know why they separated. She is buried in Skyview Memorial Park,
D. Thad William Stewart, born 23 Mar 1920, and as of August 1993, was residing
in Swannanoa, NC. He married Gertie Shook on 9 Sep 45 in Greenville, SC.
Thad was born in Forney's Creek, Swain County, NC, and Gertrude "Gertie"
was born on Weems Creek, Weaverville, NC, the daughter of Hosie and Annie
Aiken Shook. Gertie is dead and is buried in Swannanoa, NC, but I
do not have the date of her death.
They had one daughter, Glenda K., born 9 Feb 1947, Asheville, NC, who married
James McDonald of Boston, Mass, on 23 Mar 68. Glenda and James have four
daughters: Christian K., born 14 Jan 69; Julie Elana, born 5 Feb 71; Meridith
Lynn, born 14 Oct 73; and Heather Ann, born 14 Feb 75. Their dates of birth
are as provided by their grandfather, Thad William Stewart.
E. Clifton Dewitt Stewart, who we always called Dewitt, was born on 7 Aug
1922. He married Virginia Barnes on 4 Sep 54, and as of August 1993 was
residing in Asheville, NC. Their children are Clifton Elbert, who married
a Debbie Ball, and Morris Allen Stewart, no further information.
F. Samuel Lee Stewart, born 18 Sep 1925, married Faye Waldrup on 4 Sep
1943 in York, SC. Faye was born 23 Jun 1925 in Ravens Ford, Swain County,
NC. She was the daughter of Robert Waldrup "Wardrup", born 16 Oct 1899,
Madison County, died 25 Sep 64, Swannanoa, NC, and Manila Ansbell Gosnell,
born 16 Jun 1901, Madison County, NC. Sam, as we called him, and Faye had
the following children: Linda Gail, born 3 Aug 48, Asheville, NC, married
Michael Edward Banks of Swannanoa, NC, on 12 Aug 1966. The children, to
my knowledge, were Michael Edward Banks, Jr., born 23 Nov 70; Brian
Christopher Banks, born 30 Oct 1973; Sammie Lee Stewart, born 28 Oct 54,
married to Peggy Lonon of Black Mountain, NC. They had two children, a
who died young, and a daughter named Alyssia; Roger Dail Stewart who died
at birth; and Judy Faye Stewart, born 24 Aug 58. As of Aug 1993 Judy is
married and has children, but I do not know either her married name or
VI. Edward Smith
Ray, born 13 Nov 1893, died 16 May 1962, married Annie Elizabeth Woody
on 26 Feb 1917. Annie was born 25 Apr 1897, Swain County, NC, and died
12 Dec 1965 in Smithfield, NC. Both are buried at McDowell Memorial Park,
Marion, NC. Annie, a daughter, identified below, is buried beside them.
Their children along with their offspring are listed below:
A. James Tilghman Ray, born 30 Nov 1917, Swain County, NC, died 25 Jul
1980, Veterans Hospital, Oteen, NC, and is buried at Bethel Church, Mud
Cut, NC, near arion, NC. He married Lillian Geneva Hogan, on 28 Jul 1939
in Union, SC. Lillian was the daughter of Caleb Pinkney Hogan, born 19
Oct 1890, died 24 Dec 1965, and Ella Lee Ward, born 23 Feb 1890, died 2
Nov 1955. Both are buried at Macedonia Baptist Church. Her grandparents
were Jethro Ward and Julia Radford Ward, both buried at Bethel Baptist
Church. Her other grand- parents were Marion Hogan, buried at Bethel Church
and Jane Arrowood buried at Macedonia Church. James and Lillian's children
1. Patsy Jo Ray, born 18 Mar 1940, married Richard Charles Martin on 5
Their children were:
a. Richard Charles Martin, Jr., born 20 Mar 1961, married Charman Kennedy
b. Robert James Martin, born 20 May 1963, Cheryl Baker. They have a sonnamed
Robbie and a daughter named Sarah.
c. Dana Jo Martin, born 19 Jun 75.
2. Jimmy Edward Ray, born 18 Oct 1941, married Joanne Hollifield on 15
Apr 1960. Joanne was born 20 Apr 1944. Their children were:
a. Teresa Ann Ray, born 16 Aug 62, married Fred Allen Washburn, on
2 Jun 1984. Fred was born 6 Dec 1960. They have a daughter, AshleyDanielle,
born 5 Jun 86, and a son Travis Colby, born 16 Feb 1989.
b. James Stewart Ray, born 11 Apr 65, married Cynthia Dianne Pittman on
5 May 1990. Cynthia was born 3 Oct 1968. James had a son before his marriage
named Jeffrey Wayne Lewis Ray, born 24 Dec 1984. He has a
Cynthia named James Tyler, born 25 Apr 1991.
c. Mark Anthony Ray, married 22 Aug 1986 to Tammy Mitchell, they have a
son named Devan, who was born 19 Aug 1992.
d. Gregory Edward Ray, born 18 Nov 1967, not married as of September
3. Julia Ann Ray, born 11 May 1943, married 20 May 1961 in Baltimore, MD,
to Ernest Walter Keerans. Ernest was born 12 Oct 1942, the son of
Keerans, born 29 May 1920, died 2 Jan 1971, and Catherine Regina
19 Jan 1921, Baltimore, Maryland. His grandparents were
Keerans, born June 1895, died 1 Apr 1974, and Willa O'Dell
10 Oct 1898, died 11 Jul 1975. His paternal great- grandmother was
Williette Hutchens, born 1 Apr 1875, died 2 Jan 1960, Augusta County, Virginia.
His paternal great grandfather was Edward Clifford Demastus, born 12 Sep
1874, died 15 Mar 1934, and the other paternal great grandmother was Nellie
Wilson Humphrey, not further identified. Julia "Judy" and Ernest's
a. Valerie Lynn Keerans, born 6 Nov 1961, Baltimore, MD, married Stephen
Joseph Harris on 15 Jun 1983 in Baltimore, Maryland. They have two
Joseph Harris, Jr., born 14 Aug 1984, Baltimore, MD,
Nicole, born 14 Jun 1989, Baltimore, Maryland.
b. Sandra Lee Keerans, born 5 Mar 1963, married Joseph Lochte. They had
a son Joseph Victor Lochte, Jr. born 13 Sep 1981. She divorced Joseph
and married James Thomas Diventi on 13 Oct 1991. They have a son
named Vincent Ernest Diventi, born 21 Oct 1986 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Apparently Sandra was suffering from cancer, as of Sep 1993.
4. Bobby L. Ray, born 15 Sep 1946, married first to Patricia A. Tula, in
1971, by whom he has a daughter Tricia A. Ray, born 6 Mar 1975. Tricia
has a child named Rebecca Lynn Hammerbacher, born 23 Feb 1992.
His second marriage was to Debra Duncan on Nov 4, 1977, by whom he
has a son named Robert L. Ray, born 23 Jan 1979.
5. Charles Terry Ray, born 5 Jul 1950, married Kathleen Opal Badders on
5 Sep 1970. Kathleen's parents were Joseph Keith Badders, born 19 Sep 1913,
died 3 Apr 1976, and Martha Alice Myers, born 14 Dec 1921, died 28
and Martha were married 29 Jun 1938. Charles and Kathleen's children were:
a. Tracy Lynn, born 2 Mar 71, married on 8 May 1993 to John Thomas Price,
who was born 7 Oct 1970.
b. Keith Michael Ray, born 3 Oct 78.
6. Jerry Thomas Ray, born 22 May 1952, married on 4 Aug 1975 to Patricia
Ann Brennan, who was born 9 Oct 1952. Patricia's parents were Francis and
Pauline Brennan. Jerry and Patricia's children are:
a. Jason Thomas Ray, born 13 Jun 1974.
b. Allison Nicole (Nacole) Ray, born 20 Jul 1978.
7. Mary Katherine Ray, born 2 Nov 1954, married on 16 Mar 1974 to James
H. Valentine, who was born 2 Oct 1952. James' parents were George
Henry and Shirley Jeanne Valentine. Mary and James' children are:
a. Beth Rey, born 8 Dec 1974.
b. Jamie Rena (Reva), born 9 May 1977.
8. Michael Anthony Ray, born 14 Jun 1957, married Donna Malinda McFalls,
on 17 Apr 1979. They were divorced on 9 Nov 1992 in Marion, NC. Their children
a. Celia Jane, born 24 Dec 1979.
b. Heather Nicole, born 5 May 1986.
B. Clyde Hamilton Ray, born 7 Nov 1920, Swain County, NC, died 31 Mar 1968,
married on 30 Nov 1942 to Dorothy Masters. They had one child, Sherry.
Sherry married but her husband was killed in an accident while driving
a truck on Interstate 40 at the Catawba River Bridge, near Old FLort, NC.
To my knowledge she has not remarried. Clyde was a bad alcoholic. He is
buried at Beaverdam Baptist Church, Asheville, NC.
C. Joseph Lloyd Ray, born 26 Sep 1922, Swain County, NC, died 27 Jan 1923,
and is buried in Luada Cemetery, Bryson City, NC.
D. Jack Garland Ray, born 10 Jan 1925, Asheville, NC, married on 9 Sep
46, to Lotta Simpson, born 1 Apr 1917. Lotta is a Registered Nurse.
Jack was in the US Navy from 5 Jan 1945 to 7 Dec 1945, and in the US Army
from 13 Mar 1948 until he retired on 30 Sep 1965. Following almost
two years as chief of police for Smithfield, NC, he returned to work for
the US government as a special agent, military intelligence, and with the
defense investigative service, until his final retirement on 2 Jun 1986.
He is the author of this document. Lotta and Jack have two children.
1. Jack Garland Ray, Jr., born 25 May 1947, is a computer technician and
lives in Newark, Delaware. Jack, better known to his parents as "Gary",
has never married.
2. Larry Edward Ray, born 6 Sep 1948, married Denise Via on 15 Sep 1984.
They have one child, Nathan Elliot, born 18 Oct 87. As of September 1993
they were separated.
E. Edna Estelle Ray, born 27 Apr 1927, Asheville, NC, married on 17 Sep
Gafney, SC to Paul Avery Lawing, born 23 May 1925. Paul's parents were
John William Lawing, born 27 Mar 1898, and Effie May Lewis, born
20 Apr 1906 and died 23 Dec 1989. John and Effie were married 13 Jul 1924.
Paul's paternal grandparents were James Jasper Lawing, born 9 Jun 1872,
died 30 Apr 1934, and Ella Jane Arrowood, born 5 Oct 1876, and died
27 Oct 1941. Edna and Paul's hildren were:
1. Ronald Dale, born 14 Oct 46, married Glenda Lee Turner on 15 Dec 1972,
and divorced her on 6 Jan 1977. They had a son named John Edward,
born 4 Nov 1975.
Ronald, better known to his family as "Ronnie", then
Kay Myers, born 16 Dec 1978. Ronnie and Kay lived in Nebo, NC. As
of September 1993. Ronnie served in the military from 4 Aug 1965
to 23 Aug 1969, and from 4 Oct 70 to 2 Nov 1973.
2. Beverly Dyann, born 22 Jul 1951, married Joseph Dominic Nassarie on
10 Aug 1974. Beverly had a daughter before her marriage named Patrice Ann,born
25 Apr 1969. Patrice Ann married David Allen Beard on 19 Jun 1993.
David has a son
by a previous marriage by the name of Sean Luke. Beverly and Joseph have
a son named Joseph Dominic, Jr., born 17 Oct 1980.
3. Debra Lynn, born 13 Apr 1955, married Howie Baker on 14 Jul 1973, who
she divorced on 15 Nov 1979. Her children by Howie were Dawn Marie, born
31 Jan 1976, and Michael Paul 2 Jan 77. Debra then married Allen Cutright
on 6 Dec 1980 and divorced him on 20 Apr 1987. Her current marriage is
to Edward Patrick Clarke, Jr., born 27 Dec 1955. They were married on 16
Apr 1988, and have a son, Edward Patrick, III, born 22 Oct 1991.
4. Paul Edward, born 24 Jul 1957, married in March 1980 to Mellissa Denise
Larsen, born 30 Jul 1962, whom he divorced in Jan 86. They had a daughter,
Jennifer Lynn, born 6 Dec 1980. Married in February 86 to Joyce Heck Conway,
born 31 Oct 1948. They have a daughter named Amanda Danielle, born
13 Nov 1986. Paul served in the military from 16 Sep 1974 to
16 Mar 1976.
5. Paul and Edna adopted a boy named David Robert who took their last name
as his own. He had two children by a common law wife named Crystal Ann
Police, born 11 Nov 65. The children are Amber Nicole, born 27 May 1983,
and David Christopher, born 6 Jan 88. As of September 1993, they
were living with Edna and Paul who were trying to get custody. Their mother
was killed in an automobile accident on 19 Jan 1993
F. Annie Elizabeth Ray, born 20 Oct 1930, died Nov 1978, Cary, NC. She
had a child named Janet before she married a Stanley Crews of Baltimore,
MD. She also had another child, Elizabeth Ann, who we knew as "Pete" before
her marriage to Stanley. By Stanley she had three children: Eddie, Robert,
and Paula. "Pete" is married to Charles Sackell, and they have three
G. Carter Lee Ray, born 12 Dec 1938, married first to Nancy Riffle, on
28 Feb 1958.
They had one child named Joyce Ann Ray, born 12 Dec 1959. They were
divorced on 4 Apr 1963. Carter then married Annie Virginia Williams, born
27 Dec 1926, the daughter of George May Jones, born 4 Jun 1895, in West
Virginia, died 4 May 1962, and Minnie Lee Shipp, born 31 Oct 1905 in Louisa
County, Virginia, died 14 june 1981. Annie Virginia Jones Williams was
previously married to James K. Williams, born 22 Oct 1922, died 16 Sep
1955. Annie and James had the following children:
1. Sheila Ann Williams, born 22 Sep 1948, Louisa County, Virginia, married
Ronald E. Head, on 21 Nov 1970, in Dundalk, MD. Ronald was born 15 Oct
1947. They have two children: Kimberly Ann Head, born 27 Mar 1977, Baltimore,
MD and Brian Eric Head, born 22 Nov 1982, Baltimore, MD.
2. Esther Mae Williams, born 13 Feb 1951, Gardenville, Virginia, married
Donald E. Head on 21 Nov 1970, Dundalk, MD. Donald was born 15 Oct 1947.
They have two children: Lyra Lynn Head, born 30 Jan 1975, Baltimore,
MD, and Shawnna Marie Head, born 3 Nov 1980, Baltimore, MD.
3. Helen Elaine Williams, born 22 Feb 1952, Leonardstown, MD,
Steve Anderson on 5 Jun 1971. Arthur was born 24 Nov 1949.
have two children, Steven Dwayne Anderson, born 9 May 1973, Baltimore,
MD, and Jayson Daniel Anderson, born 16 Nov 1974.
4. James Edward Williams, born 25 Feb 1955, Leonardtown, MD, married Elveeta
Bonolis Melzer on 2 May 1982. Elveeta was born 10 Nov 1952.
She had a daughter prior to her marriage to James Edward Williams, Charlene
Micole Melzer, born 26 Oct 1980.
Carter Lee Ray
and Annie Virginia Jones Williams Ray, who we always called Jeannie, had
the following children:
1. Troy Lee Ray, born 20 Jan 1962, married Mary Lou Wassel, on 16 Jul 1983.
They are currently divorced.
2. David Heath Ray, born 23 Jul 1967, Baltimore, MD.
H. John Everette Ray, born 13 Jul 1941, married to Brenda Williams. Brenda's
parents were Jack William, born 3 Apr 1916, and Dora Elizabeth Biddix,
born 26 Jun 1919, died 22 Feb 1992, their children are:
1. Dewayne Ray, born 4 Mar 1964. He has not been married but has two children.
The first was by Becky Collins, named Diana Brook Ray, born 17 Sep 1986,
and the second was by Geneva Rhom, named Jeremiah Dillon Ray, born 22 Feb
2. Mellissa Ann Ray, born 27 Jun 1966, married to Jeff Petrillo, by whom
she has a daughter named Katie Brook Petrillo, born 12 Jul 1991. Melissa
was previously married to Donald Carr from 19 Apr 1986 to 24 Mar 1989.
3. Angela Marie Ray, born 8 Dec 1967, married Jack Donald Talley on 24
Jul 1993. Jack was born 7 Dec 1967. Angela was previously married to Jerry
Lee Roland, Jr., from 3 Aug 1986 to 3 Feb 1990.
VII. Julia A.
Stella Ray, born 28 Mar 1899, died 14 Feb 1948. She was better known to
us as "Liesia" and often listed she name as Liester. She married a William
Melvin Clark, born 17 Apr 1890, died 26 Apr 1965, in Baltimore, MD. Melvin's
parents were William Patrick Clark, born 12 Dec 1856, died 7 Mar 1927,
and Louise Patton Clark, who died in 1895. Melvin and Julia are buried
at St. John's Lutheran Church, Sweet Air Road, Sweet Air, MD. Their children
A. Billy Clark, born Sep 1927, died 14 Feb 1928.
B. Helen Lavain Clark, born 29 Mar 1930, Buncombe County, NC, married Raymond
Joseph Klima, born 10 Dec 1922. Their children were:
1. William Joseph Klima, born 6 Aug 1962, Baltimore, MD. William has a
son, Christopher Joseph Klima, born 17 Nov 1985, Baltimore, MD.
2. Ann Klima, born 5 Jun 1966, Baltimore, MD.
C. Faye Evelyn Clark, born 18 Feb 1932, Buncombe County, NC, married Charlie
Edward Hagwood, born 30 Nov 1928, Louisburg, NC. Their children were:
1. Beth Ann Hagwood, born 24 Jul 1963, Baltimore, MD, married Thomas Bond,
born 11 Oct 1961, Baltimore, MD. They have a child, Taylor Charles Bond,
born 10 Jul 1991.
2. Penny Susan Hagwood, born 9 May 1967, Baltimore, MD
D. Frances Evia Clark, born 18 Feb 1932, Buncombe County, NC, married
Stephen Alvin Finnerty, born 29 Dec 1929, Baltimore, MD. Their children
1. Laurie Ann Finnerty, born 23 Dec 1963.
2. Amy Lynn Finnerty, born 3 Jun 1966, Baltimore, MD.
E. Gwylda Evangeline Clark, born 25 Jan 1936, McDowell County, NC, married
John "Jack" Alfred Karmasek, born 13 Feb 1931, Baltimore, MD, died
20 Aug 1971, Ocean City, Maryland. They have a daughter, Denise Diane Karmasek,
who is currently married with the married name "Hards" and is living in