Saturday, August 27, 2011

Update: George Thomas Ray

The original post for George Thomas Ray was made in Feb 2011. I have had very little success in finding any information about him.  I was pointed to a website that had the following information.  I am not sure if it is the same George Thomas Ray but I think it might be.

The following excerpt is from by Barbara Inman Beall.

Threats at Bryant Home

Mr. [John A. (Alfred) ] Bryant's daughter, Lucy, in a Press interview, Sept. 7, 1922, then Mrs. Lucy Blakely, told of her father's escape but only mentioned two men coming to the house.

"One day in January," she said, "there rode up to the home of my father, John A. Bryant, two men from down on Shoal creek. One was Joe Thompson and the other was Tom Rae. Rae was wearing a Union solder's overcoat and carried a rifle while Thompson was dressed in ordinary civilian garb and was armed with a double-barrelled shotgun.

My father had been sick in bed and was sitting up in a chair that day for the first time. Our visitors wanted him to go outdoors with them but he refused, stating that he was not able. They talked for quite a while, urging on my father the advantages of declaring himself for the south and tried on various pretexts to get him to come outside. Finally Thompson rose in a rage.

"Well, if you will not go outside I will kill you anyway right here," he said with an oath, cocking his shotgun and aiming it at my father's breast.

"We children set up a scream and my mother sprang in front of my father. I remember yet exactly how the caps on Thompson's gun looked as he stood there with the weapon leveled. It was Rae who saved us.

"Come out of here, Joe," he said, "or you will scare these children to death." And Thompson sullenly lowered his gun and complied.

Murder of Brice Martin

"From our house they went a quarter of a mile south to the home of Brice Martin, mother's brother, and called him out to the fence. They talked awhile and Mrs. Martin, coming to the door, saw her husband turn away and start back to the house. As he did so, one of the men fired with the double-barrelled shotgun, the charge of buckshot striking my uncle in the back and killing him instantly. My aunt always said that the man in the blue overcoat fired the shot but my mother and father had known Tom Rae all their lives and could never believe that he would so murder Brice Martin with whom he was well acquainted.

"My aunt ran down to our house to tell what had happened…Eliza Parnell spread the word of the murder and my mother went up and watched by the body which lay until 9 o'clock in the yard where it had fallen. We had many good neighbors, some of them northern sympathy, most of them southern but not a man on either side dared to go after the body until 9 o'clock for fear of being murdered. Then two southern sympathizers, George Hammer and John Rafedy, and a Union man, James Landers, slipped up to the Martin's home under cover of darkness, picked up the body and brought it to our house where it was left that night.

Southern Home Guard Aids

"There was something of a panic among the people of the neighborhood following the killing, especially those known to favor the cause of the north. My father did not dare stay home that night and he and Marsh Parnell went over to the home of Mrs. Sally Keith over close to the Carthage road, and laid there concealed in the attic all night. The Parnells were almost all southern people, but Marsh was known as a Union man and his life was in as much danger as anyone's despite his southern kindred.

"Everyone in the neighborhood was at first afraid to have anything to do with the Martin funeral, but finally James Bunch, captain of a southern home guard company, said he would have the grave dug and would furnish protection to those coming to the burial. He and his men dug the grave in the cemetery of the old Freedom Baptist church near Moss Springs and a man in Fidelity made a coffin. My uncle was buried the next day, there being a considerable number of women present, a few men, including my father and Marsh Parnell, and a number of Captain Bunch's home guard company.

"Immediately after the funeral the Union men took to the timber and prepared to leave the country that night. There were in the party besides my father and Marsh Parnell, Dr. D. F. Moss, Riley Moss, William Spencer and several others, perhaps as many as a dozen all told. They made their way safely to Kansas and we stayed alone until two months later when they came back with a detachment of Union soldiers and took us to Fort Scott." [29]

John A. Bryant (Alfred Bryant) was the brother of Adeline Elizabeth Bryant Spence, wife of Lazarus Spence. The John Bryants fled to Fort Scott, Kansas and never returned to Jasper Co., Missouri. They spent the rest of their lives in Kansas. John Bryant's wife was Nancy Martin, who was the sister of Brice Martin, the man who was murdered. The Prigmores and Martins had intermarried. And, of course, Nimrod Porter Bunch's wife was a Prigmore.

The newspaper account did not identify the man from Fidelity who made the coffin, but I have an idea it was Nimrod Bunch. Brother Jim and his men dig the grave in Moss Springs, and had a man in Fidelity make the coffin. Given the Bunch ancestry of carpenters and cabinet makers, Nimrod would have been an excellent candidate for the job. That may have been the reason why the Nimrod Bunch family left the area during the remainder of the war. They went to Johnson Co., Missouri (near Warrensburg), where their child, Leander, was born and where a number of Prigmores were living. They did not return to Jasper County until after the war had ended.

Brice Martin was only 17 years of age when he was killed.

One discovery generally leads to another question. In this case, the question had a double segment: who were Tom Rae and Joe Thompson and what happened to them?

George Thomas Ray was born in Kentucky in 1833 to John Ray (1805-1860) and Sarah A. Spears (1805-1892). The Rays lived in Neosho, Newton Co., Missouri. Tom's wife's name was Emeline (b. 1833). Their children were:

Jennette Ray 1852 -
Laurette Ray 1855 -
Frances Ray 1857 -
Etta Ray 1862 -
George T Ray 1863 - [30]

On March 14, 1862, a little over two months after the Brice Martin murder and according to the inscription on his tombstone, Tom Ray was murdered on the Neosho courthouse square. He was 29 years of age when he was killed. [Perhaps he was going to turn in someone for the murder of Brice Martin??!!]

1 comment:

  1. He's the same man. His father was John H. Ray, mother was Sarah A. Ray, nee Spears. He's the father-in-law of the 1st cousin of the wife of my 3rd great grand uncle. :)