Pioneers of Carroll County


John W. Ray and Elizabeth Noble Family

contributed by Ron Ray

The family of John W. Ray (~1777-1821) and Elizabeth Noble/s (~1781- ) became stalwarts in Carroll County. Their beginnings were in Georgia and possibly North Carolina and Virginia. The first five of seven children were born in Georgia. John and Elizabeth migrated to a little place called White Sand near Prentiss, Lawrence Co, Mississippi about 1816. John died five years later sometime before August 27, 1821 leaving Elizabeth with a large family to care for. The oldest son was Jonathan and being 18 years of age, he was a great help to Elizabeth for the next year and a half. Then Jonathan married Elizabeth Askew and along with other members of the family, migrated north to Hinds County before settling in the area just north of where Carrollton now stands. The oldest daughter Anna L. Ray was 16 when her father died and later married Nathan Hooker. Not as much is known about her next younger brother Joseph Ray who would have been 11 when his father died. Joseph and two brothers William Ray and John A. Ray in 1849 were members of the Mason's Carrollton Lodge. At the time of their fathers death William would have been eight, Elizabeth six, John Alexander four and Edward was an infant. Their mother, Elizabeth Noble Ray, married William Goodson on 21 April 1825. For awhile the five youngest children lived with their mother and step father, William Goodson. Then in 1834 William Goodson died and their whole family moved to Carroll County in 1835. Carroll County had just been formed two years earlier and the rolling, fertile hills and rich valley bottoms beckoned for new settlers. Also, in 1835 John Alexander and Edward moved in with their oldest brother's (Jonathan's) family and he became their legal guardian.


Jonathan Ray and Elizabeth Askew Family

A written account of this family was published in the Conservative in 1901 and by people who knew the family so it seems fitting that it be republished as it was written with a few dates added.

Jonathan married Elizabeth ASKEW, daughter of William ASKEW and Louisa ASKEW, on 21 Jan 1823 in , Lawrence, Mississippi. Elizabeth was born 13 Mar 1807 in Georgia. She died 8 Jan 1873 in Carroll Co., Mississippi.

"Another pioneer Jonathan Ray [1803-1845], settled north of where Carrollton now stands in 1832. Like others of the grand men who contributed so much to open and develop the country, Jonathan Ray and family met the duties of life in a new country bravely. His sons and daughters grew up to manhood and womanhood and in their turn made homes among the hills and fertile valleys of North Carroll. The oldest son, William [1825-1909] , before he was grown, longed for a different style and manner of life and went to Williams Landing to clerk for McConnell. Here he learned something of the mercantile business and began to develop those sterling traits of character that enabled him to take a stand among the leading business men of the county. In a few years he sold his business at Greenwood and removed to Carrollton. From that early day to the present (1901) he has conducted this business at Carrollton without interruption--except during the four years of war. In 1862, William Ray enlisted in a company which was assigned to duty in the 30th Mississippi Regiment of Infantry. He was chosen First Lieutenant of the company and soon afterwards, when his captain Irvin Scales was chosen Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment, of Infantry. He was chosen First Lieutenant of the company and soon afterwards, when his Captain Irvin Scales was chosen Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment, he became Captain. He took part in some of the seven battles in which General Bragg's army was engaged and was captured and confined on Johnson's Island until the close of the war. Of his brothers, Joseph [1830-1919], John [1824-1864], Wilson [1837- ], Jesse [1834- ], Henry [1832-1872] and Robert [1839-1885] grew to manhood and all except Robert married and had interesting families. All took part in the war except John who was a miller and as such was exempt from service. In a private difficulty he killed a Captain Campbell and in turn was killed by a brother of Campbell's in 1864.

The Rays young and old have been esteemed highly in the state wherever they went. They were true friends, loyal citizens, honest business men and conscientious Christians. They met every duty as became the true and brave. Captain William Ray was married three times, his wives being sisters, daughters of Henry B. Latham who lived in the eastern part of the county. Henry Ray studied for the ministry and did most of his pastoral work in Kentucky. Joseph married a daughter [Sarah Catherine] of Samuel Stanford and has spent his young manhood and middle life in the county and now he and his good wife are living quietly, enjoying the evening time of a well spent honorable life. Wilson removed to Sunflower after the war and after opening up a good tract of land, making a comfortable home for his family, died there. Jesse died near Carrollton in young manhood, leaving two children who removed from the county in 1887 or 1888. Robert gave four years of faithful service to his country and although wounded a time or two, returned after the surrender and began life anew in Carrollton. He was a great sufferer for several years before he died with rheumatism. Amid all the trials and sufferings he was patient, humble, hoping for final relief, which hadn't came until death claimed him. The two sisters of the family married and lived in the county. The elder [Louiza] married Green Carpenter and they lived east of Carrollton, respected by all who knew them. The younger sister, Julia married C.[A.] B. Wadlington and they too lived east of Carrollton."

It is important to note a couple of discrepancies in the above article. >From court probate records we know that when Jonathan died in 1845, John was the oldest son and James Madison was also a son of Jonathan's.

Because most of the children stayed in the Carrollton area they are listed as follows:

John Ray [1824-1864], married Mrs. Amanda Dillion, Mary Carpenter and Mary Koonce.

William Ray [1825-1909], married Sarah E. Latham, Mary Ann Latham and Evaline B. Latham.

James Madison Ray [1827~1865], married Ann E. Holman.

Louiza Ray [1828-1896], married Green Carpenter.

Joseph Ray [1830-1919], married Sarah Catherine Stanford.

Henry Ray [1832-1872]

Jesse Ray [1834- ], married Sophronia Holman.

Wilson Ray [1837- ], married Ann Pettigrew.

Robert Ray [1839-1885]

Julia Ann Ray [1840-1933], married A. B. Wadlington.

Elizabeth Ray [1843- ]

Nathan Hooker and Anna L. Ray Family

Anna L. RAY was born 11 Aug 1805 in Georgia. She died about 1861 in Hinds Co., Mississippi and was buried in Clinton, Hinds Co., Mississippi. Anna married Nathan Hooker, son of Nathan Hooker and Ann Lackey, on 22 Jan 1823 in Lawrence Co., Mississippi. Nathan was born 9 Aug 1797 in Georgia. He died 9 May 1856 in Clinton, Mississippi.

Her name was listed as Anna in a court case that went on for years between her husband Nathan and Anna's half sister Martha Dorman Goodson, whom Nathan was appointed guardian over when Martha's father, William Goodson died. William Goodson left most of his estate to his beloved daughter, Martha. She was the daughter of Anna's mother Elizabeth Noble Ray Goodson and William Goodson of Carroll Co., Mississippi. Martha married Nathan's nephew, a lawyer, who was named Nathan Berry Hooker. Soon after Nathan B. married Martha he took his uncle to court and sued for more of his estate. The court case was known as Hooker vs. Hooker. Nathan B. & Martha won at first but then Nathan Sr. (the uncle) appealed and during the appeal process Nathan Sr. died and soon after his death, the court overturned the lower court's decision and Nathan Sr. (Anna's husband) won. Shortly thereafter Nathan B. died, and the 1860 census showed that Martha D. was in a lunatic asylum. It is stated she had epilepsy. Martha was in the mental hospital in Jackson.

Joseph Ray Family

Joseph Ray was born in 1810 in Georgia to John W. Ray and Elizabeth Noble. The Carroll Co. marriage records point During the years 1848-1850 he was a member of the Free Masons of the Carrollton Lodge. All of Joseph's children were born in Carroll Co. Joseph's first marriage was to Eleanor Goodson on 23 Feb 1832 in Hinds Co. She died in 1844. They had two children in Carrollton, Martha Jane (Jennie) Ray and James M. Ray. Martha later married first Joseph T. Hurt and later Samuel L. Jefferson. We know, from Carrollton Baptist Church Records, that by 1844 Eleanor had passed away.

Oddly, Joseph's second and third marriage was to Nancy Amanda Bradley who was from Virginia. It was interesting to see that the marriage records of Carroll Co, Mississippi shows that Nancy (or Amanda as she was called) was first married to Joseph Ray 22 October 1846 and again on 25 June 1847 (8 months later) to the same person. Amanda's mother was also named Nancy and lived with them. This may be the reason that she choose to go by the name of Amanda. They also had two children born in Carrollton, Joseph Ray and Ann Ray.


John Alexander Ray Family

John Alexander RAY was born 1 Sep 1817 in White Sand, Lawrence Co., Mississippi. In 1837 John married his first wife, Mary Turner Bryan in North Carrollton. She died three years later leaving him with an infant daughter. He married again to Mary Wingo Young in December of 1840 and began to raise a family in Carrollton. In the late 1840s a stirring within the nation prompted John to move his family to a safer political climate in the west. England was urging the Southern States to break away from the Northern States and form a Nation of their own. The die was cast. Civil war was about to break out. Thus the Ray family drove many head of cattle as well as several well equipped covered wagons with horses, on to Texas. After living a few years in Walker County, Texas, John moved his family to Utah.

Historians wrote of them "John A. Ray was an educated, Southern gentleman . . .The children were well educated and married into some of the most prominent families in Utah." John A. Ray was a farmer, teacher, member of the State Legislature and government Indian agent. He was known for "his cheery smile, his ready wit, his ever readiness to assist with every worthwhile project, and most of all his excellent judgment."

Carroll County


I am John Hansen, volunteer County Coordinator for Carroll County, Mississippi.  I have family lines from here and hence my interest in establishing as much information as possible on early Carroll County History.

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