Austin Asbury Ray
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History of the Ray Family
William Thomas ‘Lige Miller (April 19 1885 - ) was the son of John Wesley Miller (December 1828 - ) and Mary Catherine Ray (1798 - ) was the grandson of James Miller (1810 – November 23, 1873) Elizabeth Miller (1810 - ), who came to what is now Choctaw County in the early 1800’s and the great-grandson of James Ray (1790 - ) and Elizabeth Ray (1798 - ). The Ray’s came to Choctaw County in the early 1820’s and settled in what is now Chester Community. They were the first settlers there. They established and operated a cotton gin and a brick kiln until both were destroyed during the Civil War by invading Yankee soldiers. The Ray’s had a large government grant. The Miller’s, the second family to settle in Chester, also had a government grant. (Choctaw County Biographies, Wash Ray by Birthelene Miller.)
James and Elizabeth Ray had 10 children. William Henry Ray, James Ray’s oldest son and Mary Catherine Miller’s brother, married Mary A. M. Miller, William Thomas Miller’s sister. William and Mary had eleven children. One of the sons, Elisha Asbury Ray, William Wash Ray’s brother, married Margaret Taunie Sanders and they had sixteen children and raised twelve.
Austin Asbury Ray married Addie Lela Melton, Thomas Jefferson Melton and Sarah Victoria Burgess’s daughter. Sarah was a full blooded Choctaw Indian and this is where we get our Choctaw heritage
Austin Ray and Lela Melton had ten children and raised nine. They came to the Delta in the early 1920’s with their three oldest children, Garland, Effie and Myrtle, in a wagon train by way of Greenwood, Mississippi, where they spent the night in a cemetery. When they arrived in Merigold, Mississippi, they stayed with Dan Ray, Austin’s brother and Lizzie Melton, Lela’s sister, until they could get a house built.
AUSTIN A. RAY IS BURIED HERE Services for Austin Asberry Ray, 78, a retired nightwatchman, were held last week in the Davis Chapel Nazarene Church with the Rev. Lewis Rodgers of Calhoun City ane the Rev K. B. Bloodworth officiating. Burial followed in the Drew Cemetery with Thweatt Funeral Home in charge. Mr. Ray died Monday, April 2, 9 a.m. in the East Bolivar County Hospital following an illness of two months. Born in Choctaw County Miss., he came to Cleveland in 1917 where he engaged in farming work for others until 1939. He worked as a nightwatchman for various firms until his retirement in 1950. He was an active member of the Church of Gof of in Cleveland. He leaves his wife, Mrs. Addie Lela Melton Ray of Cleveland; three sons Garland Ray of Cleveland, B. S. Ray and George Ray of Albuquerque, N, Mex.; six daughters, Mrs. M. D. Henson of Cleveland, Mrs. S. H. Peyton of Vicksburg, Mrs. Ruby Switzer of Greenwood, Mrs. J. D. Moore of Birmingham, Ala. Mrs. C. F. Watts of Houston, Tex., and Mrs Tommy Thornell of Tampa, Fla.; three brothers , Buford Ray of Clarksdale, CiceroRay and Leonard Ray of Greenville; two sisters, Mrs. S. E. Black of Osceola, Ark. and Mrs. Clarence Holly of Hollandale; 21 grandchildren and a number of great-great children. Pallbearers were Lawrence Ray Henson, Benny Ray George Branch, Raymond Waycaster, David Peyton, and Earl Shannon. The Bolivar Commercial April 16 1962