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Below is a family biography included in The History of Barry County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Charles Ray, editor of the Cassville Democrat, and treasurer of Barry County, Mo., is a native of the county, born in 1856. He is a son of John and Elizabeth (Means) Ray. Dr. John Ray was of Scotch-Irish descent, and was born near Glasgow, Barren Co., Ky. in 1828. He was mainly self-educated, having attended the district schools only about ten months. He was reared on a farm, and after reaching maturity he entered the teacher’s profession, and taught school for several terms. In the meantime he began the study of medicine, doing most of his reading at night. About 1852 he left the parental roof and removed to Barry County, Mo., where, after a short time, he began practicing his profession. He soon removed to Pineville, and a few years later to Corsicana, continuing his practice, and also doing a flourishing mercantile business. About the time the Civil War broke out, he removed to Cassville, and was in charge of the United States Army Hospital for a time. In June, 1862, he was appointed circuit and county clerk of Barry County, serving until December, 1864. In 1872 he purchased the Cassville Democrat, which he conducted very ably unto the time of his death in January, 1888. During the Rebellion Dr. Ray espoused the cause of the Union, but he was a tried and true Democrat, being one of eighteen men who voted for George B. McClellan for president, in 1864. In 1875 he was chosen by the people of his senatorial district to represent them in the constitutional convention, and after his death E. H. Norton, member of the supreme bench of the State of Missouri, wrote: “I knew him well and was intimately associated with him in the constitutional convention of 1875, and can say that a truer and nobler man never lived........The State has lost one of its best citizens, and society one of its most useful members.” Many other testimonials, equally as good, were written of him by eminent men of the State. Dr. Ray was a man of strong intellectual endowments, who did his own thinking and after giving his subject mature deliberation, acted accordingly. He was charitable in all his acts, having adopted and lived by the motto “With malice toward none and with charity to all.” Being a thorough business man and strictly honest and upright in all his dealings, he held the fullest confidence of his many friends until the day of his death. About 1848 he married Elizabeth Means, a native of Monroe County, Ky., who was born in 1824, and died in 1885. She was the daughter of Capt. James Means, and was the mother of five children, two of whom are living, Charles and Belle. Charles was educated in the common schools, but at the age of thirteen he entered his father’s printing office, in which he was practically educated in the art of printing. About 1876 he became a partner with his father, but sold his interest in 1879, and joined an engineering party in Arkansas, on the “Frisco” Railroad. In 1880 he clerked in a hardware store, but the next year returned to his father’s office, and at the death of the latter he, in connection with his sister, Belle Ray, became proprietor of the paper. In 1884 he was elected treasurer of the county, being re-elected in 1886. On March 23, 1882, he wedded Jennie B. Pharis, a daughter of D. P. Pharis, and a native of Cassville, born in 1868, by whom he is the father of two children, Bessie and Means. In politics Mr. Ray is a Democrat, and he is a member of the Masonic fraternity. He is a substantial citizen, and a useful member of society.

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This family biography is one of 103 biographies included in The History of Barry County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Barry County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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