Chapter Seven of Scattered Seed contains a complete transcription of the one hundred and fifty two page ledger of Laura Pearson Ray. Her husband, Neill W. Ray, Sr. has been given much of the credit for Fayetteville's extrication from financial distress in 1881. Laura, may not have been accustomed to dealing with financial matters, but she truly deserves similar recognition as she appears to have carried on her husbands business affairs long after his death. On November 7th, 1899 she recorded her husband's funeralexpenses as $106.13. In the upper right-hand corner of her ledger she pasted a newspaper clipping showing how to compute interest and began a book which became a most fascinating monthly account of the next thirty years of her life. The activities of many well known Cumberland County folks such as, Ray, McKay, Monroe, Thornton, Broadfoot, Pearson, McRae, Remsburge, Haigh, Lilly, Hale, and many others have been recorded by the careful hand of Laura Ray.
My grandmother was Margaret McLauchlin Ray Baker. Capt Neill W. Ray was her uncle. Her father, Martin Luther Ray was Neill Ray's brother. Both, along with other brothers Lauchlin, Alexander and Archibald, grew up in Cumberland County and attended Longstreet Presbyterian Church. Martin Luther Ray also fought in the Civil War and survived, but was injured. A family story has it that he was at Appomattox when Lee surrendered, but left so quickly to go home that he was almost killed by Union soldiers who didn't know the war was over. Lauchlin (known as Lauch) and Alexander (known as Alex) died in the Civil War. An obelisk in their honor is in the Longstreet church cemetery. Martin Ray was a teacher and farmer and eventually moved to southern Alabama and died in the small town of Florala, AL in 1919 after raising a large family. The Laura Ray ledger is interesting in that it reveals that Laura was very generous to her nephews, sons of Martin Ray. You will note numerous entries regarding loans to W.A. Ray, Luther Ray, and a few to Hal Ray. William Alexander Ray, Luther Gaston Ray and Halbert Clyde Ray were my grandmother's older brothers, sons of Martin Luther Ray and Martha Alef Smith Ray. It is clear from the ledger entries that Laura Ray loaned money to them to help them get into business. The ones to W A Ray (William A Ray, known as Will) was to get him into the hardware store business in Pensacola, FL. He prospered and his hardware store is still there today as "Pensacola Hardware" (its now a block or two from the original location). If you look on the website of Pensacola Hardware, there is some history mentioning W A Ray (http://www.pensacolahardware.com). The loan to Luther Gaston Ray (in Florala, AL on the AL/FL state line) was also to support him into the hardware business, "Florala Hardware". The entry Dec 1, 1916 lists a Ruby Ray. Ruby was Luther Ray's wife. I remember her when I was a child. We called her "Aunt Ruby", but actually she was my father's aunt. Their large house (we called it "Aunt Ruby's house") is still standing in Florala next to the Baptist church, but it's in disrepair. We believe that Hal Ray was also in the hardware business in north AL. The Hal Ray entries are on June 8 and Aug 2, 1900. Donald Fairfax Ray, son of Laura Pearson Ray and Neill Ray, was a cousin to my grandmother, Margaret Baker and grew up in Fayetteville, NC. In her stories we recorded, she said she remembered Donald coming to AL for a visit. Donald's name is on a memorial at Harvard as a Harvard graduate who died during WWI in 1918. (http://www.memorialchurch.harvard.edu/history/ww1.shtml). He studied law at Harvard. But as you point out, he died of an illness, likely pneumonia, in the states, not in combat. I'm sure that when Donald died it hit Laura very hard. He was her only child to survive. In spite of him dying, she carried on helping the Rays and likely others with the money she had. This is clear in her ledger. Attached is a picture of Donald Ray as a young boy. My grandmother had this picture in her possession when she died in 1986. You will also note one entry on June 8, 1927 listing the "Florala Land Company". The Florala Land Company was started and owned in part by William Christopher McLauchlin who married Martin Luther Ray's and Neill W. Ray's sister Margaret. They also lived in Florala, AL in a house overlooking Lake Jackson (It has since been demolished and a Hardee's restaurant now stands in its place). WC McLauchlin was likewise from the Cumberland Co area. One of his brothers was John W. McLauchlin of Raeford, NC, whose home is now the Raeford-Hoke museum. WC McLauchlin was in the land, timber and other businesses such as banking and hardware in Florala. He also was instrumental in starting the Geneva and Florala Presbyterian Churchs. He died in 1919. I'm not sure if the entry regarding the Florala Land Co is a dividend or not. Its possible that Laura owned part of the company at that point, but we have no other information on that.
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