David Ray was born in the town of Chatham, Columbia
Co., N. Y., Ninth month 18, 1804, and has always resided there. He is
the son of Francis Ray, who was born on the island of Nantucket, Mass.,
Ninth month 17, 1776. The family were of Scotch descent.
David Ray was married to Lydia M. Anthony, the 5th of
Fifth month, 1831. She was the daughter of Daniel Anthony, of
Saratoga, N. Y., who was born at Dartmouth, Mass., First month 2, 1776.
His family were of English descent.
In early life his educational advantages were very
limited, being such only as were afforded by the low standard of the common
schools of that day. But he possessed a mind eager for knowledge, and
by his own exertions made himself thoroughly conversant with the
progressive, practical, general knowledge of the times so that there were
but few subjects not of an abstruse character which had not received his
careful attention. Later in life he has thought, read, and reflected
much upon the problems which occupy the greatest minds of that age, and few
among his contemporaries are better qualified to pass a critical judgment
upon them. Bred to the occupation of a mechanic, in the same line
which had been pursued by his ancestors for several generations, it was his
intention to follow his trade for a livelihood; but soon after arriving at
manhood he changed this purpose and became a merchant, which pursuit he
followed with a fair share of success for half a century. The latter
portion of his business years he was also interested in agricultural
In his religious convictions he is earnest and
decided. He made choice of his religious faith because of its
adaptability to the needs of man. From early life he became convinced
of the doctrines promulgated by the religious society of Friends, and of the
great and paramount principles taught by Fox, Penn, and their
coadjutors,--obedience to the light of Christ in the soul of man as
sufficient for saving grace; opposition to all wars and fightings; the best
rule of life, "Peace on earth and good-will to men." In all the varied
relations of life,--social, moral, and religious,--it is safe to say that he
has striven to perform his duty among men according to his ability and best
convictions of right and justice. It has been a maxim with him,
"Whoever is willing to labor can always find something to do," and
this he has seen often exemplified in the case of earnest, industrious young
men thrown upon their own resources. They have proven that "where
there is a will there is a way," and have not only found
employment, but in it have risen to stations of responsibility and honor.
This doctrine becomes of especial interest now, when there are so many
tramps excusing themselves for idleness on the ground that they cannot find
employment. While Mr. Ray would be the last to be uncharitable or
unhelpful towards this class of person, he would nevertheless strenuously
inculcate the doctrine that many of them might find employment in some
honest occupation if they were really willing to work.
An ardent devotee of the science of pomology, Mr. Ray
has exerted a large influence in that direction. The public are much
indebted to him for the dissemination of new and choice varieties of fruits
in the neighborhood. Few, if any, in the town have accomplished more
in this respect than he. In the erection of buildings, according to
his temporal ability, he has also done his full share to improve and
beautify the neighborhood. In the economy of time he has been ardently
laborious, and has rarely found leisure from the constant demands made upon
him by the ever-near and varied interest of the age.
His marital relations were blessed by the birth of
four sons,--Daniel A. Ray, born Eighth month 21, 1833; married at White
Plains, Ninth month 30, 1856, Phila R. daughter of John and Jeanette
(Taylor) Sutton, born in Norfolk, Va., Twelfth month 7, 1832. His
residence is Springfield, Ill. His life has been spent chiefly in
connection with the press, and in the public service of the State.
H. Ray, born Fourth month 5, 1835. His life was spent principally as
an educator, and the later portion as a merchant in the city of New York.
He departed this life First month 18, 1862, in the city of New York.
William A. Ray, born Second month 17, 1845; married
Ninth month 8, 1870, Lucy W., daughter of Asa Shepherd, of Saratoga, N. Y.
His occupation is that of agriculture. Lucy, his wife, was born
Seventh month 7, 1831.
This sketch would be incomplete without bearing
testimony to the excellent character and womanly qualities of she who has
been Mr. Ray's companion for nearly half a century, and to whose amiable
disposition, wise counsel, and good judgment he is proud to attribute much
of his happiness and no small share of his success in life.