A Guide to the David M. Ray Papers, 1859-1879
Born in Kentucky, David M. Ray (1840-1907) was the second of eight children to Zachariah Ray and Elizabeth A. Miller, daughter of prominent Baptist minister Reverend David Miller. When Ray was twelve, his family moved to Grayson County, Texas. At twenty, he decided to study medicine under Dr. William P. Head of Kentucky Town.
Before Ray completed his studies, the Civil War broke out, and he joined the Confederate Army as a private in the 16th Texas Cavalry (Dismounted). Appointed hospital steward, he passed the examination to become an assistant surgeon within a year. He also received a teaching certificate that enabled him to teach various subjects, including English grammar, arithmetic, and geography.
After the end of the Civil War, Ray resumed his medical studies. He graduated with high honors from the medical department of the University of Louisville, Kentucky in 1867. He returned to Grayson County, Texas to open a medical practice and was highly regarded in his field. In 1873, Ray married Sarah E. Beall, a fellow native of Kentucky. They had three children: Edna; Bright, who passed away at a young age; and Inez. Ray continued to practice medicine in Grayson County until his death on May 7, 1907.
The David M. Ray Papers, 1859-1879, mainly comprise handwritten letters from Ray to his mother and sister Martha, discussing his activities as a soldier in the Confederate Army. Additionally, the collection includes several official documents, such as Ray’s certificate for teaching (1859), his appointment as hospital steward (1862), several tax receipts, and his license to practice medicine in Grayson County, Texas (1873). Also present is an undated handwritten biographical sketch of Ray.
This collection is open for research use.
David M. Ray Papers, 1859-1879, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers