Ray, Charles Henry

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Charles Henry Ray (1821-1870), physician, abolitionist politician, and journalist, editor and owner of the Chicago Tribune in 1855-1863. His father, Levi Ray (1796-1850), a skilled mechanic and businessman from Norwich, N.Y., was a staunch Jacksonian Democrat and active in the Loco Foco faction of the Democratic party. He attended the Norwich Union Seminary headed by Rev. O.T. Hammond. In 1837-1838, he studied medicine under Thompson Meade of Poolville, N.Y. In 1838, he became a surgeon's mate and in 1840 was commissioned Surgeon of the 105h Regiment of Infantry. Following a scandal caused by an indiscretion that he later regretted, he fled to New York and then ended up in Bedford, Mass. and was hired as the surgeon on the whaling bark Newton bound for South Africa. He returned in August 1843 and went to New York to study medicine. In 1844, he decided to move West. His first sojorn in Iowa proved disappointing and he returned to Norwich. He tried again a year later, having obtained a letter of recommendation to John T. Stuart, a law partner of Abraham Lincoln. He settled in Springfiled where he joined the Washingtonian Temperance Society. Together with Tench S. Fairchild, he tried to start a temperance newspaper and joined the Sons of Temperance. In 1846, he married his Jane Yates Per Lee and moved to Mackinack, Tazewell County, Ill. and set up a medical practice. Soon the family moved to Galena, Ill. where Ray became a proprietor of The Galena Jeffersonian. Known for his stauch abolitionist politics, Ray reported for his own newspaper and for Horace Greeley's New York Tribune on the Kansas-Nebraska Act crisis and became a powerful political force. int he state. In 1855, in parternship with Joseph Medill, Ray bought the Chicago Tribune. Although he was skeptical about Lincoln's committment of anti-slavery causes, he assumed the role of his advisor in 1856. In 1861, his wife died, and three years later he married Julia Annah Clark, daughter of Lincoln Clark (1800-1886). In 1863, he sold his interest in the Tribune to Medill and devoted his time to business investments; one of his schemes involved trading whiskey for cotton in the Southern States. In 1866, he lived in Geneva, Wis. where he tried to start a woolen mill. Having lost the money in this enterprise, he retruned to Chicago and assumed the post of the editor of the Chicago Evening Post. He became as a patron of the arts and founded the Chicago Historical Society. He died in Chicago on September 24, 1870.

From the description of Papers of Charles Henry Ray, 1826-1904 (bulk 1838-1870) (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122369301

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Hay, John, 1838-1905. Correspondence, 1854-1914, "Ray" to "Robinson". Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn Trumbull, Lyman, 1813-1896. Papers of Lyman Trumbull, 1843-1894 (bulk 1855-1872). Library of Congress
referencedIn Washburne, E. B. (Elihu Benjamin), 1816-1887. E. B. Washburne papers, 1829-1889 (bulk 1852-1882). Library of Congress
creatorOf Ray, Charles Henry. Papers of Charles Henry Ray, 1826-1904 (bulk 1838-1870) Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn E. B. Washburne Papers, 1829-1889, (bulk 1852-1882) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872. Horace Greeley collection, 1840-1872. New-York Historical Society Library
referencedIn Lyman Trumbull Correspondence, 1843-1894, (bulk 1855-1872) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Equal Rights Party (N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Fairchild, Tench S. person
associatedWith Fenton, William M. (William Matthew), 1808-1871. person
associatedWith Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872. person
associatedWith Grimes, James W. (James Wilson) person
correspondedWith Grimes, James W. (James Wilson), 1816-1872 person
associatedWith Hammond, O.T., fl. 1838. person
associatedWith Hastings, S. Clinton (Serranus Clinton), 1814-1893. person
associatedWith Hay, John, 1838-1905. person
associatedWith Hempstead, Charles S., 1794-1874. person
associatedWith Hubbard, Harvey, .fl. 1847 person
associatedWith Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 person
correspondedWith Medill, Joseph, 1823-1899 person
associatedWith Newton (Bark) corporateBody
associatedWith Ray, Jane Yates Per Lee, . 1861. person
associatedWith Ray, Julia Annah Clark, 1840-1913. person
associatedWith Ray, Levi, 1796-1850 person
associatedWith Republican Party (U. S. 1854 - ) corporateBody
correspondedWith Smith, H. M. (Henry Martyn), 1828-1894 person
associatedWith Sons of Temperance of North America corporateBody
correspondedWith Trumbull, Lyman, 1813-1896 person
associatedWith United States. corporateBody
correspondedWith Washburne, E. B. (Elihu Benjamin), 1816-1887. person
correspondedWith White, Horace, 1834-1916 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Illinois--Politics and government
Massachusetts--New Bedford
Middle West
Norwich (N.Y.)
United States
Chicago (Ill.)
Slaves--Florida--History--19th century--Sources
Whaling ships
Newspaper editors--Archives


Active 1854

Active 1914


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