The Ray Family

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April 2006

Randy has generously shared these for publication with the Christian County Mogen Web site.No data may be reproduced or published without permission of the author. Please note that web host to delete names and data of the living altered the manuscript.  


Historical records for the Ray lineage that leads to Christian Co., MO date from March 16, 1742 when James Ray -- a probable Scots-Irish emigrant -- bought 150 acres on the west side of the Susquehanna River, then in Tyrone Township, Lancaster Co., PA.

James Ray had two nearby siblings or other close relatives, William Ray and Grizzell (Grace) Ray Allison McAllister, both of whom joined him in emigrating from PA to NC in the 1740s.

By June 12, 1747, James Ray had relocated to then-Granville Co., NC, traveling down the Great Wagon Road, and bought 350 acres on the south side of Little River in the area that became Orange Co. Although James appears on the Oct. 8, 1754 muster roll of Granville Co., he is listed as a white poll on the 1755 Orange Co. tax or tithable list.

James claimed hundreds of acres in his new home and is cited in numerous jury records for Orange Co. through 1760 -- suggesting that he lived near the county seat, Corbintown, which later became Hillsborough, NC.

James and his unidentified wife had at least five sons, including John (1740, Lancaster Co., PA-January 1829, Orange Co.), who first married Sarah Miller (1747-1800), daughter of George Miller, a weaver in Orange Co. Sarah's sister Lydia married John's brother Joseph, who died in the Revolutionary War.

George Miller (July 19, 1723, Chester Co., PA-c. 1795, Orange Co.), whose name was passed down in the families of all his children, was the son of Gayen Miller (1674-1742) and Margaret Henderson (d. January 1744), who came to America by 1704 from Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. The Millers, however, were Anglo-Irish Quakers, with roots in Yorkshire, England. Although he was the youngest son of 13 children, George inherited their entire plantation in Kennett Township, Chester Co., south of Philadelphia. George Miller married Susannah Bird, the daughter of Thomas Bird and Sarah Empson of New Castle, DE, in 1744 at the Anglican Old Swede's Church in Delaware, and he was cast out of the Quakers for marrying outside the faith.

Son John Ray entered the Orange Co. records when he bought 379 acres on Little River from his father on Feb. 14, 1770. John became a political leader in Orange Co. and headed the county court there in the 1780s. He and Sarah had 11 known children, including James who began the westward movement of the Rays to Missouri.

After Sarah Miller's death, about 1800, John remarried to his cousin, Sarah "Sally" Clark, daughter of William Clark and Hannah Bowles. Sarah's great-great-grandmother had been Grizzell Ray, who married William Allison; their daughter Mary married William Clark Sr. Sally Clark Ray lived until after 1831 in Orange Co.


James Ray Sr. and Jane Robinson

The next confirmed progenitor of the Ray line is James Ray Sr. -- son of John Ray and Sarah Miller --  who moved from Orange Co., NC to Williamson Co., TN and finally to Bedford Co., TN by 1817.

James (before 1769-Aug. 5, 1835) married a cousin in Orange Co. c. 1790 - Jane or Jennett Robinson (Jan. 22, 1772-December 1852), daughter of Michael Robinson Sr. and wife Mary Ray. Mary Ray (Aug. 4, 1732-just before 1800) was the daughter of William and Catherine Ray from Lancaster Co., PA who also had resettled in Orange Co. William was the presumed brother of the original James Ray.

At least four of John Ray's children married children of Michael and Mary Ray Robinson.

Michael Robinson Sr. (Jan. 22, 1732, Ireland or PA-November 1807) migrated to Williamson Co., TN just before he died, and he was joined in Williamson and adjoining Bedford by many of his 11 children. They had married extensively into the Moores and Rountrees of Orange Co. besides the Ray cousins; these Rountrees moved to Maury Co., TN and then Greene Co., MO where they gave their name to Rountree School near Battlefield and Rountree Cemetery on the edge of Springfield.

In 1810, James Ray granted power of attorney to John Williams of Orange Co. to sell his extensive land holdings on the Little and Eno rivers, as he prepared to move to Tennessee. James originally located in Williamson Co., just south of Nashville, where on Aug. 22, 1812, he bought 636 acres in Bedford Co. from Mary Doherty, an absentee landowner who also had moved from Orange Co. to Williamson. Doherty's husband George, a Revolutionary Army officer, had received large land grants in Bedford Co. for his service, including much of its southwest corner near the modern village of Richmond.

James registered the deed at the Bedford Co. Courthouse in Shelbyville on Sept. 14, 1813, which may mark his relocation to the area, but Bedford records suggest he did not move to the county until four years later.

By 1820, James and Jane had a Bedford Co. household with four young males and three females, probably including a married couple, along with a slave girl. Shortly thereafter, James began essentially giving away land to his sons nearby.

In August 1835, James died on his farm near Richmond, Bedford Co. James' will shows that he and wife/cousin Jane or Jennett had seven known children: Alexander, John, Mary, James M., George M., Jenny (m. William Roberson) and an unnamed daughter who married William Trice.

Jane Robinson Ray died in December 1852, at age 80, and made her last home in Bedford County with her daughter, Mary, the widow and second wife of Asa Fonville. Jane is buried in Richmond Cemetery in Bedford Co.


Alexander Ray and Isabella Scott

Alexander Ray (July 13, 1793-July 30, 1857), the grandfather of Mary Bell Ray McConnell and the son of James and Jane Robinson Ray, was named for his uncle Alexander Robinson (Nov. 3, 1755-September 1791), who was the first of these families to venture west and died young in Sumner Co., TN, just before Ray was born.

Around 1813, Alexander Ray was crippled by "white swelling," which was the term used for tuberculosis of the knee.

Alexander and his wife, Isabella Scott, settled in Bedford Co. by the time their first known child, James M., was born in 1822. Isabella (c. 1800-1835), the daughter of John and Sarah Scott, married Alexander in 1816, probably in Williamson Co., and they likely had two or more children who died young.

Another of John Scott's daughters, Mary, married Archibald Yell (1797-1847), who became governor of Arkansas and lent his name to Yell Co. and Yellville. The Scotts owned a plantation along the Duck River in central Bedford Co., north of where the Rays lived.

On Oct. 27, 1822, Alexander obtained land from his father's land grant in Bedford Co. as did his brother John. For $1 and "love and affection," James Sr. deeded John 115 acres on Sinking Creek north of Richmond.[1] Again for $1, Alexander was deeded 82 acres out of his father's original 640-acre farm.[2]

By 1830 Alexander had settled on that acreage near parents James and Jane, who still had three children at home, as well as his brother John nearby (b. 1790s). Their closest neighbor, Uncle Henry Moore (who married the sister of grandmother Jane Robinson Ray), was settled on land purchased from James Sr. in 1830.

Despite Alexander's handicap, a son's published biography indicates he became a well-to-do farmer who eventually owned and cultivated a 240-acre tract, and he owned and operated a mill north of Richmond in southwest Bedford Co. His misfortune driving several dozen hogs to Alabama is documented in a Bedford Co. court case in the 1840s.

During the final decade of his life, Alexander served as the school commissioner for southwest Bedford Co.

Among the children of Alexander and Isabella:

James M. (1822-before 1889, Christian Co., MO) married Margaret J. Mayes  (1823) in Bedford Co., where virtually all the early records were destroyed. Margaret was the daughter of James Mayes and Mary Sparks who came from Georgia, probably Franklin Co., to Bedford Co. Margaret's sister Elizabeth became the mother of Mary Ann Craig, the wife of James's brother, George Miller Ray.

After Alexander died, this couple and his brother William migrated to Independence Co., AR in 1858.

James and Margaret had at least five children by 1870 when they were living in Linden Township, Christian Co., MO:  Mary Elizabeth, Joseph (Oct. 2, 1852-Oct. 23, 1916), Thomas, Margaret and James Hays. They eventually settled in Porter Township.

Mary Elizabeth Ray (1848-1918) married John Bardell Stiffler Jr. (1851-1919) of Galloway Township in August 1871, but eventually moved to Pottawatomie Co., OK. Joseph Ray married and divorced Clara Belle Harding and is buried at McConnell Cemetery. Thomas G. Ray (June 1856-1929) married Matilda C. Haslip (1862-1931); they farmed in Wilson Township, Greene Co., but are buried at Payne Cemetery. Margaret M. Ray (October 1858-1919) married John Lafayette Bolin (Feb. 14, 1852, Webster Co.-July 26, 1934), the son of Granville Bolin and Martha Cassinda Ruyle of Nixa, and they are buried at McConnell Cemetery. James Hays Ray (1860-July 1891, Nevada, MO) married Laura Adeline Beverage, daughter of Thomas Edison Beverage and Sarah M. Bledsoe, and died at the Nevada State Hospital; they are buried at McConnell Cemetery.

Sarah (1825), who was still living with her father in 1850 in Bedford County. She is buried at Richmond Cemetery, but the death date is illegible.

George Miller (Oct. 8, 1826-Aug. 14, 1881, Ozark), who married Mary Ann Craig in 1846 in Bedford Co.

William M. (1828-after 1889), who married Nancy Jane Holland (1833), daughter of William Holland of Bedford Co., in 1850. They established a heavily cultivated, 360-acre cotton and corn farm in Independence Co., AR where they spent their lives. William became a Confederate soldier, and they joined the Christian Church.

Joseph (1830-1852), who was still living in Bedford County with his father in 1850. After his death, apparently single, he was buried in Richmond Cemetery.

• One son unknown.

Alexander Ray died in Bedford Co., TN on July 30, 1857, according to the family Bible, and he is interred beside his mother and likely Isabella, who has no stone, at Richmond Cemetery.  His passing, however, seems to have given George and his siblings the signal and means to disperse substantial family holdings and search for greener pastures. The three surviving brothers -- James M., William M. and George M. -- began heading for Batesville, Independence Co., AR in 1858, although county records indicate George lagged behind to sell their considerable property, which included their father's mill.


George Miller Ray and Mary Ann Craig

On Aug. 16, 1846, according to the family Bible, George Miller Ray married Mary Ann Craig (July 1, 1829-July 29, 1876) in Marshall Co. She was the daughter of Robert Taylor Craig (1806, Montgomery Co., KY-after 1880, Marshall Co., TN), who had moved from Bedford to adjacent Marshall Co., TN, and Elizabeth Mayes (1811, GA-before 1880), who was the daughter of James and Polly Sparks Mayes.

Mary Ann's other grandparents were William Craig (1760, Orange Co., VA-March 1834, Bedford Co.), who came from a family of leading Baptist ministers whose Traveling Church brought that denomination into Kentucky from Virginia, and Mary Taylor (1777, Orange Co.-1855, Marshall Co.), a cousin of Presidents Zachary Taylor and James Madison whose family largely settled in Clarke Co., KY. Residents of southwest Bedford Co. voted at Mary Taylor Craig's home after her husband died.

In Bedford Co., Mary Ann and George Ray began their family. The first child, Robert (Sept. 21, 1847-March 2, 1848), named for Mary Ann's father, was followed by a daughter, Sarah Elisabeth (June 25, 1850-Oct. 25, 1865), named for her mother.

Harriet G. Ray, born in 1855 and the namesake of Mary Ann's eldest sister, was the first of the Ray children to survive until adulthood; she moved with the family to Christian Co. after the Civil War.  Harriet was followed in the family by William B. Ray on Oct. 30, 1859; censuses disagree on whether William B. was born in Bedford, TN as the family was leaving or Arkansas.

These dates are verified by the family Bible, which shows that Mary Ann had lovely, flowing handwriting.


The Arkansas Years and the Civil War

In late 1859 or early 1860, the George M. Ray family left Tennessee and moved to Independence Co. in north-central Arkansas, near the town of Batesville and the White River.  Federal land records show George M. Ray patented 38 acres of land at the Batesville land office on May 1, 1860 in neighboring Izard Co. near the stake his brother James claimed in 1859; brother William claimed land in Izard on the same day as George.

A sleepy town today, Batesville was a jumping-off point in the early 1800s for settlers coming in from Ste. Genevieve, MO on one of the few roads or up the White River from the Mississippi to settle the entire interior of Arkansas. "That old road carried civilization to a large degree into Arkansas," says a 1908 history of the state. "For more than 20 years, Batesville was the leading town in Arkansas, excelling every other in population, wealth, cultivation, schools and regard for law."

Soon the Civil War began, Arkansas seceded and George moved his family north to a Dutchtown farm nine miles southwest of Cape Girardeau, MO before enlisting in the Union Army. The Rays were among the families torn asunder by the Civil War because his brother William enlisted with the Confederates in 1862.

George M. served as a sergeant in Co. C of the Second Arkansas Cavalry from Jan. 21, 1863 to Oct. 14, 1865, according to the veterans census. The Arkansas Historical Commission's original records show that George M. Ray enlisted as a sergeant at West Plains, MO on Jan. 30, 1863 for three years or until the hostilities ended. Josiah Joel Phillips, his future son-in-law, enlisted Jan. 31 in West Plains and was mustered in on April 20 in Pilot Knob.

The 2nd Arkansas had a rocky start. In July 1862, Col. W. James Morgan of Missouri had been authorized to organize the Arkansas Rangers at Helena, on the Mississippi River, and he began recruiting in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. But his efforts were plagued by an unhealthy location, the old age of the volunteers and, finally, his dismissal.

By May 1863, the commander of the 2nd Arkansas had been ordered to turn over all government property and bring his entire command to St. Louis, where Co. C was disbanded and reassigned to Co. A.

By August 1863, the unit's prospects were brighter, and independent reports glowed with praise for the troops' performance. The 2nd Arkansas, in which Sgt. Ray served under Col. and Congressman John E. Phelps of Springfield, was given largely free rein to patrol the border area, where no Union forts were located and bushwhackers and guerillas were rife. The unit's only defeat came at Richland Creek, AR on May 4, 1864, although the Confederate troops were dislodged and fled.

Through September 1864, the troops were lodged at Cassville, where they were in charge of the prison complex. There, attorney William S. McConnell was held under house arrest; he owned the hotel that had been converted to an army hospital. William S. was the son of Walter, brother of John W. and uncle of William Alexander McConnell of Christian Co. During this time, the Union troops launched numerous forays against rebels in Batesville, Independence, Big Blue, Ozark (MO), Fayetteville and Ft. Smith.

They conducted operations against Gen. Sterling Price from September to December 1864, including the Battle of Jefferson City (Moreau Creek), Russellville, California and Boonville. On October 28 came the Battle of Newtonia followed by the pursuit of 800 rebels from Buck Prairie to Upshaw's Farm, Barry County, MO that resulted in the death of more than 60 Confederates and the capture of 37.

In January 1865, as the end of the war neared, the 2nd Arkansas moved into Memphis, TN through northern Arkansas. The unit captured 300 prisoners during expeditions from encampments at Germantown, Lafayette and Lagrange, TN, and Senatobia, MS. The unit was mustered out Aug. 20, 1865 in Lagrange after the surrender of Confederate Gen. Richard Taylor — Mary Taylor Craig's cousin and son of Zachary Taylor.

Before the regiment disbanded, the members voted that their banner should have the names of the battles of Independence, Big Blue and Osage embroidered on it and then presented to the military governor of Arkansas; they also requested that the battles of Richland, Limestone Valley, Pine Mountains, Jefferson City, Boonville, Dover, Newtonia and Upshaw's Farm be added.

The flag now rests in the Arkansas State Archives.

Under General Order 101, George M. Ray was allowed to take a Sharpe carbine and a revolver, at a cost of $16, home with him in August 1865.

George returned home nine miles southwest of Cape Girardeau, MO, according to an affidavit that Harriet Ray Phillips wrote for the Civil War veteran widow's pension application of her stepmother in 1891. The area described now lies around Dutchtown, MO and probably offered safer conditions for a Union Army officer's family than did Batesville during the war.


The post-war years

The Rays lived near Cape Girardeau until November 1865 before they moved back "to our old house in Independence County," AR, Harriett wrote. They relocated permanently to Christian Co. in June 1867, probably with the families of Abner Johnson Jr. and his daughter Eliza Barnett.

The next year, son Thaddeus B. (April 20, 1868-March 16, 1894) was born.  Naming this last son for fire-breathing Congressman Thaddeus B. Stevens from Massachusetts provided further evidence of George's Radical Republican leanings, which would serve him well in Christian County. He was elected county assessor in 1874 and served until 1878.

The family set up housekeeping in Galloway Township, just southeast of Nixa, by mid-1870, in the middle of the Stiffler, Nokes, Bolin and Isaac Ruyle families. In the 1870 census, the name is improperly recorded as the James M. Wray household; the names and ages indicate it was the George M. Ray family. The agriculture census shows George was a prosperous farmer, owning or renting a 160-acre stake at the time, probably the one he owned until his death.

Family Bible records show Mary Elizabeth Bell Ray McConnell's birth followed on Nov. 10, 1870, and Mary Ann Craig Ray died on July 29, 1876, or while her husband was county assessor. Mary Ann's gravesite is not listed in detailed surveys of Christian County cemeteries, even though her husband remarried, died not long thereafter and rests in Ozark Cemetery, alone. John T. Nokes, William Alexander McConnell's maternal uncle, and brother George W. Nokes testified that they were Ray neighbors at the time of Mary Ann's death in federal pension filings.


George M. Ray, Sarah Jane Hartley and their children

A second marriage by George M. Ray brought the Hartleys, Paynes and Rosemans into the broader family.

His days as county assessor brought George into contact with the courthouse gang and, with Mary Ann's passing, he entered a politically oriented match. On Aug. 30, 1877, about a year after Mary Ann's death, George married Sarah Jane Hartley (Aug. 29, 1843-Sept. 5, 1924).

Sarah, known familiarly as Jane or "Jenny," was the daughter of Tennesseans Jacob Hartley (July 24, 1814-Nov. 24, 1854) and Belinda Patterson (June 9, 1813-Feb. 11, 1882), early Ozarks settlers who owned land in northern Christian and southern Greene counties. The Pattersons — for whom Patterson spring and cemetery were named — were among the first white families to live in southwest Missouri. The Hartleys also had intermarried with the Paynes, Youngs and McCroskeys.

Jane came from good "stock," but appears to have been an old maid at 34. She had never married. Her pension filing shows that she couldn't write, so additions to the family Bible after Mary Ann's death were entered by others, probably children and grandchildren.

The couple lived in Ozark by 1880, but George and Sarah owned 160 acres of bottom land on the James River near the Delaware Town turnoff on Highway 14 west of Nixa; pension filings describe this land as his "home farm."

George died on Aug. 14, 1881 and was buried in Ozark Cemetery, where he lies with neither wife (unless they are in unmarked graves).

George's probate file -- like most at the time -- likely underestimated his worth. Christian County records show his estate otherwise was worth less than $400, so detailed accounts weren't required because widow Sarah was entitled to the proceeds. She shared the inheritance of the farm with George's six surviving children.

By 1890, Jane's landholdings included two tracts totaling 40 acres near Guin as well as one-seventh interest in 80 acres jointly owned with George's heirs. The Rev. R.H. Williams and Josiah Joel Philips, in a separate pension filing, said that 20 acres had been rented out, and the income barely covered taxes and essential improvements. "It is badly worn (soil), having been in cultivation a long time," they wrote.

The second 20-acre farm, where Jane lived, was heavily wooded with a small house and garden for improvements, and the two smaller farms together were worth no more than $1,000.

The larger, 160-acre tract had been the original "home farm" of George M. Ray, and its market value was placed at $1,400. The filing makes no reference to whether the land was under cultivation or by whom.

"The personal property of the (pension) claimant consists of one cow and calf, one sow and pigs, a few chickens and household and kitchen goods worth, in all, about $50," Williams and Phillips said of Jane Hartley Ray. "The only income of claimant is derived from the above sources together with what she can make by her labor in weaving and such other labor as she can perform, being obliged to labor incessantly, and has for several years to support her children.

"The balance of her living is obtained by the assistance of her relatives and friends, by going to (the) mill for her and by chopping wood for her and by assistance in divers(e) other ways."

Jane's dire straits may have been overdrawn to impress the pension board, which was implementing a new law on widow's benefits; otherwise her poverty seems unusual, considering the Hartleys and the Rays had been in quite comfortable circumstances, by local standards. She had the means, for example, to hire hands to work her farms.

By 1920, Sarah had handed over management of her farms to son George H. and lived with his family near Guin. Her gravesite has not been found; she may have been buried near her parents in Patterson Cemetery, but without a stone.

To George and Sarah were born two children:

-- Izabeler Ray (July 11, 1878-Sept. 27, 1907) married William F. Payne (Oct. 15, 1874-July 7, 1904), the son of James Payne and Sophia Jane Berry of Stone Co. and grandson of John Payne and Elizabeth Hartley, on Nov. 29, 1896. Through the Hartley connection, the two were cousins. Neighborhood legend branded the young Payne couple as "crazy," literally insane, but no specifics are provided other than her purported threat to cook her children alive. Several forms of her first name, such as Isabella, have been suggested, but she is shown in federal documents in 1890 as "Izabeler." She certainly was named for her grandmother, Isabella Scott Ray.

The Paynes are buried at Payne Cemetery.

The Paynes had three sons: James Herbert (1898-Nov. 4, 1951), George Elmer (1900-Dec. 12, 1959) and Clarence Edgar (1902-1950), none of whom married, according to the family Bible. Elmer died in a Seattle, WA sanatorium (a tubercular hospital, not one for the mentally ill) while James Herbert migrated to Indian lands in Oklahoma where he lived with Ray family relatives.

With the parents both dying while the Payne boys were still minors, Sarah became their guardian and raised them on her 40-acre farm and at least three Payne farms they inherited, totaling 80 acres on Guin Prairie.

Sarah also was receiving George's Civil War pension to help support the family; the benefits reached $30 a month by her death, a tidy sum in a cash-poor economy. She hired Robert Frank Barnett, soon the husband of Hester McConnell, to help run the farm; his parents, John Lucius and Melissa Hunt Barnett, owned a 20-acre home place across from one of the Payne farms.

-- George Henry (Oct. 6, 1881-July 4, 1942) was born almost two months after his father died.

George H. married a McConnell neighbor and cousin, Annie Ginger (Jan. 13, 1887-June 11, 1963), daughter of Jerome B. Ginger and Mary Alice Gibson, on Oct. 17, 1907. George, Annie and Lillard Ray lie in McConnell Cemetery.


The children of George M. Ray

And Mary Ann Craig

Josiah Joel Phillips and Harriet G. Ray

When Harriett G. Ray (Dec. 19, 1855, Bedford Co.-Oct. 30, 1930, Ottawa Co., OK) married Josiah Joel Phillips (June 15, 1938, Bedford Co., TN-March 1900, Porter Township), she added another cousin marriage to the long list of such matches in 19th-century Christian Co.

George M. Ray's maternal grandfather had been John Scott who was born in Mecklenburg Co., NC and eventually settled on the Duck River in Bedford Co. John's younger sister, Elizabeth Scott, had been born in Nashville and married John Phillips on Jan. 28, 1806 in Wilson Co., TN. John was the son of Josiah and grandson of Joseph Phillips, both of whom had been born in Wales and came to the Philadelphia area.

John and Elizabeth Scott Phillips settled in southwest Bedford Co. near the Rays. Their son Miles Phillips married Mary Harper, and they became the parents of Josiah Joel Phillips. Joel's first wife, though, added further complications to the relationships: Joel married and divorced Martha Craig Russell, the daughter of William Madison Russell and Rosella Craig.  Rosella was the aunt of Harriett Ray's mother Mary Ann Craig.

The best available documentation shows that Joel and the Russells moved first from Bedford Co. to Batesville, AR by 1861 when his brother-in-law Benjamin Franklin Russell staked his claim to a nearby 40-acre farm. But the Russell family may have settled in both Arkansas and Iron Co., MO., where they all moved after the war.

Despite slight variations in dates, George Ray and Joel went to West Plains around Jan. 31, 1863 to enlist. Joel, then 24, mustered in for service at Pilot Knob, MO, near Ironton, Iron Co., MO on April 20.  Joel's brothers-in-law, Benjamin Franklin and Christopher Columbus Russell, also enlisted in the 2nd Arkansas.

That October Joel was assigned to escort duty, but the regimental records fail to show his destination or what needed a bodyguard.

By May 1864, Joel was herding horses for the Military Department, and then his records become vague. On June 6, 1864, he was wounded severely in the arm during an encounter with guerillas at Swan Creek, MO, near Forsyth in Taney Co., a longstanding rebel stronghold. Dr. Frank A. Rushey's description of the wound — and more than six months of hospitalization in Springfield — suggest that he never regained full use of his right arm; bones were severely displaced, and the muscles atrophied. Joel was collecting a pension for the wound to his right arm in 1883 while living at Nixa.

Arkansas Historical Commission records show that Phillips was charged with murder and court-martialed, but he was apparently acquitted because he remained eligible for a pension and was drawing benefits in 1883 and for the 1890 federal Civil War veterans census.

The National Archives records make no mention of murder or a court martial, but the provost marshal "captured" him on Aug. 8, 1864 in Springfield and charged him with "disobedience of orders," a broad offense. Unless he had committed some misdeed in the army hospital, the charge must have related to the Swan Creek incident. The 2nd Arkansas Cavalry had a long history of indiscriminately firing on military-age men who crossed its path, much to the chagrin of the victims and their families who were apt to complain to the provost marshal about the arbitrary deaths and injuries.

(The men of the 2nd Arkansas also complained about bushwhackers who fired first and asked questions later. One casualty from the 2nd Arkansas was John H. Murray, the great-grandfather of Don Murray, husband of Sharon McConnell Murray of Republic, a relation of Joel Phillips and the Rays. John H. was murdered in April 1864 near Buffalo Creek, Carroll Co., AR, apparently when he came to visit his wife and daughter at the home of his parents, Jeremiah and Mary Murray, near Berryville, AR while on leave.)

Capt. William F. Orr hinted at an intense intra-army tussle over the Phillips case in lengthy remarks on his disability discharge certificate Dec. 7, 1864. Wrote Orr: "Said soldier received a wound in action with guerillas on the 6th day of June 1864 at Swan Creek, MO when under orders (emphasis added by Orr) and in the lawful discharge of his imperative duty."

When Phillips was finally discharged on Dec. 22, he gave his address as Batesville. The Russells were then all firmly settled in Iron and Wayne Cos., MO; Benjamin Franklin became a county judge in Iron immediately after the war. Joel is not shown on the registered vote list for 1864 to 1868.

After the war, with his marriage in ruins, he headed for Porter Township, Christian Co. to rebuild his life near his cousin and fellow veteran George Ray. Joel's sons eventually moved to Texas and had no apparent contact with their father in later years; Joel's first wife remarried in 1882.

By 1874 Phillips had settled in Guin in Porter Township and owned a 40-acre farm near Mary D. (Mrs. Alexander) McConnell, Thomas Edison Beverage and McConnell Cemetery. He married Harriet Ray on May 31, 1877 in Porter Township before JP John Tillman Nokes.

Some of Joel's family joined in the move to Missouri after 1880. His brother Wesley Payton Phillips (1858-1939) and wife Carrie Moore and sister Matilda Josephine (1847-1914) and her husband, David Joseph Reavis, moved to Stone Co. with their mother, Mary Harper Phillips. She died in Crane in 1898, but her body was taken back to Richmond, TN for burial.

Joel Phillips died in early March 1900, and he is buried in Payne Cemetery near Nixa.

Wife Harriett Ray Phillips gave birth to a daughter, Mella Alice (July 24, 1879-Sept. 30, 1958, Miami, OK), according to the family Bible and census records. Alice was living with her widowed mother in Porter Township by mid-1900 after Joel died. The family then vanished, including from the Ray family Bible.

After Joel's death, Harriet and Alice joined the influx of settlers to the southwest Missouri-Oklahoma border area, and Harriet remarried in 1903 to Thomas B. Dilliner (May 19, 1840-Jan. 4, 1921). Although the Dilliners were apparently not Indian, they intermarried with the tribes, and the Seneca-Cayuga tribe of the Iroquois Nation is headed by a Dilliner today and headquartered in Miami, OK.

Alice married to Steven Back, a Kentuckian who died in Oklahoma, and to Zach Fugate, by whom she had a son, Zachary Taylor Fugate Jr., in 1904. She eventually married to a Hutchens, and she, her mother and stepfather are buried in the Ottawa Indian Cemetery in Miami, OK. Most of the Fugates have moved to Las Vegas.


William Burl Ray and Edna Stockstill

The name "Burl" entered the McConnell family through the Rays and the Craigs of Bedford and Marshall Cos., TN -- and then was handed down through Mary Bell Ray's son Henry Burl McConnell and grandson Burl Russell McConnell.

The brother of Mary Ann Craig -- the wife of George Miller Ray -- was Burlington Bowling Green Craig (Nov. 21, 1831, Bedford Co.-Aug. 7, 1885, Marshall Co.), who married Martha Jane Coffey (1835-1925) of Bedford Co.

Mary Ann borrowed the name for her son William Burl Ray (Oct. 30, 1859.-1918, Collin Co., TX), who married Edna Evaline Stockstill (1863, Christian Co.-1925, Collin Co.) on Nov. 24, 1881, or just after his father had died in Ozark. Edna was the daughter of George Stockstill and Nancy Emelie Duncan of Porter Township, but most of her family lived in Taney Co. She was the granddaughter of Austin Stockstill (1790, Rowan Co., NC-after 1870, Taney Co.) and Sarah Davis.

Personal property tax records indicate William Burl Ray remained in Christian Co. until at least 1891 -- about the time many families participated in the land rush in Oklahoma. However, William B. is not found again until he died during World War I in Collin Co., TX where many Porter Township families had settled in the late 1800s.

He and Edna are buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery, Collin Co. near the old settlement of Rhea's Mill.

The couple had at least eight children, but the only three who have been located all moved to the Ottawa Nation lands in Ottawa Co., OK and resettled with their aunt Harriett Ray Phillips and her second husband, Thomas Dilliner:

-- Nancy Ann Ray (Dec. 29, 1887, Christian Co.-May 23, 1973) married Fred S. King (April 24, 1883-April 16, 1965), and they are buried in Ottawa Indian Cemetery in Miami, OK. Fred was the son of Chief Joseph B. "Ko-twa-wun" King, who was born in Ohio, but was part of the original Indian settlement of Oklahoma. His original tribe, however, has not been identified.

--  Lena May Ray (Feb. 13, 1897, MO or OK-Aug. 18, 1971, Miami, OK) who married Fred's brother Charles F. King (July 26, 1891-Aug. 1, 1946, Miami, OK) , who was known by the Indian name of "Ma-che-taun." She is buried in Ottawa Nation Cemetery.

-- Elmer Thomas Ray (1895-Jan. 10, 1977) who married Lena LNU, but possibly a King. He, too, is buried in the Ottawa cemetery.

Also interred there are their cousin James Herbert Payne -  the son of Izabeler Ray and William F. Payne -  aunt Harriet Ray Phillips Dilliner and cousin Alice Phillips Fugate Hutchens, all originally of Christian Co.


Mary Bell Elizabeth Ray and William Alexander McConnell

(separate section)


[1] Bedford Deek Book O, p. 222. Witnessed by James D. Anderson and B.W.H. Meadaris. Registered with the county April 2, 1822.

[2] Bedford Deed Book O, p. 304. Witnessed by James D. Anderson and Benjamin W.H. Meadaris. Registered June 27, 1822.

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