Biography of Marvin Whitman Ray

MARVIN WHITMAN RAY, a member of the Durkee & Ray Corporation, of which he was one of the founders and is also the treasurer, holds a prominent position in the mercantile life of his community. He is also actively interested in all movements for the progress and general welfare of the section, and his service in civic, fraternal and other organizations has earned for him the esteem of all who come in touch with him. He is a member of an old American family, being the representative in the sixth generation in direct lineal descent of the original pioneer who came to this country and settled here. The name itself is a very ancient one, as a personal name, coming from Ra or Rae, and perhaps derived originally from rae, the Scotch form of roe, a deer. In Anglo-Saxon times, Ra, or Rae, and Ray were used as baptismal or Christian names, and the Gaelic form Mac Rae, McRae, and so forth, came into use, and the family became very numerous. Ray is the most common spelling, but Rae and Rea are still found in use. The estate of Gill, in the parish of Bromfield, County Cumberland, belonged to the family of Reay or Ray from the time of William the Lion, King of Scotland, who died in 1214. Tradition says that the original Ray was a faithful adherent of the Scottish monarch, by whom he was greatly esteemed for his extraordinary swiftness of foot in pursuing the deer, which, like that of the Homeric Hero, exceeded that of most horsemen and dogs, and so gave him the estate. The tenure was a peppercorn rent, with the stipulation that the name William should be perpetuated in the family. This was strictly observed from generation to generation until the latter half of the eighteenth century, when the William Reay or Ray in possession gave to the “hope of the house” the name John. From these Reays haven sprung most if not all the Rays and Wreys of England, and also the Rays, Wrays, Reas and Raes, it is believed in the United States. There were several Le Rays in the Hundred Rolls, and in England the family of Ray is prominent in Berwick, Lincoln, Suffolk, Derby and Gloucester. There are a number of coats-of-arms that have been borne by the various branches of the family.

In 1650, several pioneers of the name came to New England. Simon Ray settled at Braintree, where he died September 30, 1641. His son Simon Ray, settled at New Shoreham, Rhode Island, and is the progenitor of a numerous family of Block Island and vicinity. Caleb Ray settled in Boston, and died there, leaving a son, Caleb Ray, who was a member of the Second Church of Boston. A David Ray, baptized at Forfarshire, Scotland, signed the covenant at Charlestown, September 26, 1696. His son, Samuel Ray, born August 29, 1697, married, October 24, 1723, in Boston, Margaret Fullerton.

(I) John Ray left the English service and came to America and settled at what is known as Rays Point, Washington County, Maine. He married a lady by the name of Strout, and they were the parents of the following children:

  1. John, of whom further
  2. James
  3. William
  4. Joseph
  5. Dolly
  6. Betsy

(II) John Ray, son of John and (Strout) Ray, married Jerusha Lord, and their children were:

  1. Charles W., of whom further.
  2. Judson.
  3. David.
  4. John.
  5. Ruby, married Henry Strout.
  6. Betsy, married Warren Nash.
  7. Nancy, married John, Yeaton.
  8. Mary Ann, married Elbridge Sawyer.

(III) Charles W. Ray, son of John and Jerusha (Lord) Ray, was born at Harrington, Maine, February 28, 1810, and died December 17, 1893. He married Mary Collins, born December 22, 1808, died November 17, 1891. Their children were:

  1. Susannah, born July to, 1834, died April 4, 1915.
  2. Henry, born January 20, 1836, died April 19, 1913.
  3. Lorenzo, born November 16, 1837, died February 12, 1875.
  4. Marvin L., of whom further.

(IV) Marvin Lord Ray, son of Charles W. and Mary (Collins) Ray, was born at Harrington, Maine, May 17, 1840, and died June 22, 1923. He became a ship’s carpenter and a cabinet maker, and worked in Boston for a number of years, subsequently farming in Harrington. He married Alice Curtis, born in Harrington, July 7, 1844, died July 12, 1913. They were the parents of three children:

  1. Walter Scott, of whom further.
  2. Annie L.
  3. Florence.

(V) Walter Scott Ray, son of Marvin Lord and Alice (Curtis) Ray, was born August 9, 1864, at Harrington, Maine. He was educated in the public schools of his native town, and then attended the Bryant and Stratton Business College in Boston. On the completion of his studies he became bookkeeper for the North Packing Company, where he remained but a short period; he then worked for the Adamant Cement Company; this was followed by his connection with the J. B. King Company and the Windsor Cement Company of Boston, where he held the office of secretary, and also worked in the capacity of traveling salesman. He is today the New England manager of this latter concern, and has represented them on the road for a period of thirty-five years, being still actively engaged in the furtherance of their interests. He is also associated with the U. S. Gypsum Company, and has a contracting interest in the business.

He is active in the civic and club life of the community, as well as in the Masonic fraternity, being a member in the latter organization of Winthrop Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Royal Arch Masons; and De Molay Commandery, Knights Templar. He is a member of the Boston City Club; and his church connection is with the Baptist Church, in which he is very active, and was president of the Young Men’s Baptist Social Union.

Walter Scott Ray married, June 27, 1887, Mary Addie Alexander, born in Norwood, February 11, 1865, daughter of William and Nancy (Butterfield) Alexander, and they are the parents of three children:

  1. Allen Marco, deceased.
  2. Verna, deceased.
  3. Marvin W., of whom further.

(VI) Marvin Whitman Ray, son of Walter Scott and Mary Addie (Alexander) Ray, was born February 22, 1897, at Winthrop, and attended school in his native town, in Andover, and the Brookline High School He then entered Brown University, from which he was graduated in 1918. On the completion of his college courses, he went with the Converse Rubber Company to learn the rubber business from the bottom up. From there he went with the Alfred Hall Rubber Company, and subsequently with the Firestone Apsley Rubber Company of Hudson, Massachusetts, as assistant foreman. In 1922 Mr. Ray came to Greenfield, and in association with Mr. Durkee, established the Durkee & Ray Corporation, Mr. Ray being treasurer of the organization, which is one of the best equipped furniture and house furnishing establishments in Western Massachusetts. This firm has been very successful, and deservedly so, for Mr. Ray’s past experience has developed in him all the latent executive powers that were his, besides his keen business judgment He is a man of initiative, with a clear farseeing vision, and he has the courage of his convictions, which is one of the greatest assets in modem business. The firm has moved forwards to substantial success, and besides his whole-hearted interest in his business affairs, Mr. Ray has found time to be active in public affairs, doing his civic duty, lending his services and support to all measures that are for the benefit of the community. He is also active in fraternal and club affairs, and holds membership in his college fraternity Beta Theta Phi; he is also a member of Beth Horan Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Brookline; of Republican Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Greenfield; Franklin Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Darns Strong Council. Royal and Select Masters; and Connecticut Valley Commandery, Knights Templar. He is a member of Pocomtuck Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; of the Kiwanis Club; Greenfield Club; Chamber of Commerce; and the Republican Town Committee.

Marvin Whitman Ray married, December 31, 1919, Gladys Gordon, of Brookline, daughter of Frederick Curtis and May (Morrell) Gordon, and they are the parents of three children:

  1. Walter Gordon, born August 30, 1920.
  2. Janet, born July 14, 1922.
  3. Marvin Whitman, Jr., born May 30, 1924.


Lockwood, John H. (John Hoyt); Bagg, Ernest Newton; Carson, Walter S. (Walter Scott); Riley, Herbert E. (Herbert Elihu); Boltwood, Edward; Clark, Will L. (Will Leach); Western Massachusetts A History 1636-1925; New York and Chicago: Lewis historical publishing company, inc., 1926

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