Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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RAY, John, lawyer, born in Washington county, No., 14 October, 1816 : died in New Orleans, Louisiana, 4 March, 1888. His grandfather, John Ray, emigrated to Missouri, and was associated with Daniel Boone. He was a member of the 1st Constitutional convention there, and Ray county was named for him. The grandson was educated at Augusta college and Transylvania university, where he was graduated in 1835. He removed to Monroe, Louisiana, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1839, and took high rank in his profession. He was elected in 1844 to the state house of representatives, and in 1850 to the state senate. In 1854 and again in 1859 he was nominated by the Whigs for lieutenant-governor, but was defeated. In 1860 he was an elector on the Bell-and-Everett presidential ticket, and canvassed northern Louisiana for those candidates, against the growing feeling in favor of secession. Throughout the civil war Mr. Ray was a consistent Unionist, and at its close he favored the plan of reconstruction that was advocated by the Republican party. In 1865 he was elected to congress, but, with all other representatives from the seceded states, he was refused a seat in that body. In 1868-'72 he was again state senator. During the former year he was appointed to revise the civil code, the code of procedure, and the statutes of the state of Louisiana, and his revisions were adopted by the legislature of 1870. In 1872 he removed to New Orleans, where he resided until his death, and where he served as registrar of the state land-office from 1873 till 1877. In 1873 he was elected to the United States senate by the " Kellogg" legislature; but his election was contested by William L. McMillen, who had been chosen by the "McEnery" legislature. Neither contestant was given the seat. In 1878 Mr. Ray was appointed by John Sherman, then secretary of the treasury, special attorney for the United States to prosecute the " whiskey cases." He was also one of the attorneys of Mrs. Myra Gaines (q. v.), and at the time of his death was engaged in the prosecution of an important suit by which Louisiana is endeavoring to establish her title to certain swamp lands given to her by the general government. His services had also been secured by the great majority of the French citizens of New Orleans to prosecute their claims under the international commission of 1880 to adjust the claims of French subjects against this government growing out of the operations of the National forces in Louisiana during the civil war. He published " Ray's Digest of the Laws of Louisiana" (2 vols., New Orleans, 1870).
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