Home‎ > ‎Biographies‎ > ‎

Ray, Colonel John W.


Was born at Madison, Indiana, on the 15th of August, 1828.  His father, Rev. Edwin Ray, died when John was but three years old. The most of his primary education he received in the common schools of Jeffersonville.  In September, 1845, he entered Asbury University, at Greencastle, as a student, remaining there until July, 1848, at which time he graduated.  In April, 1849, he commenced the study of law with the late Richard H. Rousseau at Bloomfield, Indiana, and remained until he completed the study of his profession.  During his collegiate course he formed the acquaintance of Miss Catherine N. Phipps, daughter of Isaac N. Phipps, who was one of the early friends of his father; the friendship between him and Miss Phipps ripened into a matrimonial engagement, which was consummated in February, 1851.  By this wife he had two daughters, one of whom is the wife of Edward Porter, the other is the wife of H. C. Newcomb, Jun.  Mr. Ray’s wife died in October, 1865.  On the 6th of December, 1866, he was married to Eleanor L. McDonald, daughter of the late Judge David McDonald of the United States Court.

In 1860 he was chosen Republican elector for the Second Congressional District, and cast the vote of the district for Abraham Lincoln, sometimes canvassing on foot.  He was colonel of the 49th regiment of Indiana volunteers, from October, 1861, to October, 1862.  It was at the organization of this regiment that Colonel Ray manifested his great dislike to anything being done under false pretenses, or for empty show.  He had purchased for himself a sword; some of the officers of the regiment wished to have a formal presentation of it to him, which was very common at that time.  This empty honor he declined, inasmuch as he had purchased the sword himself; all the honor he claimed was its use in behalf of his country.

He was pension agent for the Indianapolis district from January, 1865, to December, 1866. He was appointed register in bankruptcy for the Indianapolis district in June, 1867, which office he yet holds.

In November, 1871, he aided in organizing the Indianapolis Savings Bank, and was elected treasurer and secretary of the institution.  He has also been treasurer of the Asbury University since July, 1867.  Colonel Ray is a man of untiring industry and activity, and whatsoever his hand findeth to do he does with all his might, whether it be in the cause of morality, religion or temperance, in all of which he is an earnest worker.  He is above medium size, rather inclined to be fleshy without corpulency, dark chestnut hair, round, full and smooth features, plain and frank in manner though courteous.

Nowland, John H. B., “Sketches of Prominent Citizens of 1876, With a Few of the Pioneers of the city and County Who have Passed Away,” 1877, p. 175-176  [THIS CITATION IS INCORRECT.  I NEED TO LOCATE THE CORRECT CITATION.]