Contributed by Darryl Black   May 04, 2005

Nevin Ray Letters - A Historical Sketch, 1819-1872 {transcribed by Darryl Black and edited by Nolan Moran for personal use and genealogy research purposes only} Moore County, NC- 30 pieces curated at Perkins Library Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Archives, Duke University, {not to be reproduced or incorporated into the holdings of another repository without permission}

This collection of family letters does not center around any particular individual, but in so far as they reveal, Nevin Ray was the head of the family. He was a surveyor whose post office was Carthage in Moore County, N.C. Some of the earlier letters give his activities as a surveyor, and some are from relatives who had moved to Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.

Nevin Ray had at least four children: Hugh, Malcolm, Flora and Christian. Both Hugh and Malcolm served in the Confederate army. At the beginning of the war, Hugh Ray was stationed at Carolina City, three miles west of Morehead City, N.C. For a time, Malcolm Ray was encamped at Wake County, N.C. Evidently Hugh Ray belonged to the 26th N.C. Regiment in Company H. During the Civil War, these MSS. consist of the correspondence of these four children and their cousins. The war letters are rather good, though they are confined to the first two years of the war.

1802  Land drawn by a scale of 20 feet per inch
State North Carolina Cumberland County  Surveyed Movem
the 29th - 1802 for Malcolm Rea apignee of Philimon 
Hodges one hundred acres of land in the ? County joining 
Hugh Rea's line.  Entered May the 22nd - 1788 No 670
Beginning at a fine Morrison's corner - then east thirty chains
to a stake - then north five chains and fifty links to this
own line - then north seventy five west west six chains sixty 
links - then north fifteen east three chains seventy-five
links - then north seventy-three west forty chains - then
south twelve west forty six chains - then east twenty-
two chains - then north twenty-five chains, to the beginning.
James McNeill,Junior
Sent to the attention of:
Mr. John Ray
Moore County 
North Carolina

1819  Oct 02

Jones County
October 2nd, 1819 
Most Dear Father,
This the is the third time I write to you and I hope you will return me an answer after receiving this, 
for twice before this have I written to you and received no answer as yet.  I am in hopes you have not 
forsaken me.  So much as to not write to me to inform me how you are; for there is nothing in this world 
at present would give me more pleasure to hear from you and family and that you are doing well.  I am in 
good health at present thanks be to God for his mercies bestowed on his natures from time to time in this 
lower world.  We all receive more of that goodness bestowed on us from that benevolent friend and benefactor 
of all the human race than we are deserving; though we are far distant apart and cannot meet each other 
when we please to communicate to each other our love and friendship that we have abelong in us for each other.  
The time is drawing near when we shall meet to part no more in the heavens to receive with God and his angels 
and praise his most glorious and precious name through and ever ending eternity.  Father I would be well 
pleased to receive a letter from you.  It has been a long time since I heard from you and it would be the 
greatest pleasure in the world to me to receive a letter from you.  I have it in contemplation to pay you 
a visit sometime in the course of next year if I should live.  I have nothing more of a particular nature 
to write to you at present.  So I conclude and subscribe myself you most obedient humble servant and son.  
Farewell until I hear from you again. 
W D  Ray
Jones County

1829 Jan 30

Cumberland Superior Ct Office
January 30, 1829
The Coroner of Moore,
Will deliver to David McNeill, Enq Sheriff of Moore all the Sci Fas (latin) has against him returnable 
to Spring Term 1829 of this court in the hands of the said Coroner.
E. Winslow C of C (clerk of court)
W. Winslow A.C ?

1829 Jul 04

Letter sent to:
Ms. Margaret Black
North Carolina Moore County
Cartage Post Office
Dear Mother,
I shall be happy to see you once more but I am afraid I will not have the opportunity as we are placed 
so great a distance and I have been severely afflicted with the numteet(numatect) panes for several years 
past that I dare not expose myself traveling.  But though we are absent in person, I always feel present 
in mind.  I sometimes regret that we are placed at so great a distance apart, but when I reflect on it, 
it that it is only by the all wise God that rules and super rules all things for the best.  I feel highly 
gratified that we have the glorious privilege of communicating our sentiments to each other by letter.  
I don't recollect whether you ever heard of my youngest child or not?  I named him William.  He is a reeney 
harty promissin(g)boy.  He will be nine years old next August.  He can do as much with the hoe as any of us.  
My family is all nearly grown now.  They all joines with me and Christian in sending this best love and 
respects to you and all inquiring friends.
I will inform you that I am well pleased with my neighbors and the citizens in general.  We have various 
denominations of professors of religion, but the most numerous are the Methodists and Cumberland Presbyterians.
I have understood Brother Kenneth has moved to South Carolina and I wish you all to write to me every 
opportunity and I will do the same and in your next letter describe to me where Kenneth lives as I wish 
to write to him.  So I have no more at present.  But that I still remain your affectionate.
Hugh Black
{enclosed in the same letter}

State of Tennessee Haywood County July the 4th 1829
Dear Mother and Sister:
These lines are to inform you that myself and family are all well at present thanks be to almighty God 
for the same and I flatter myself when these lines find you enjoying a similar blessing.  I will inform 
you that I received your letter dated February 15th, 1829 which gave me greater satisfaction the hear 
from you all once more and to hear that you are all well.  I will further inform you that I find in your 
letter a small favor request which I feel to gratify as it may probably be the last that ever may lay in 
my power to bestow on either of you and as such.  I wish mother to gratify his own desires you requested 
me to send you a deed of gift for him.  It has not been convenient as yet for me to do so and I do not 
know that it is necessary for me to do so as it is my wish as well as the rest that you should have Sara 
and I do not think that any of my family will interupt you about him and if convent I can send you a deed 
of gift.  I will leave the subject and inform you that I am well pleased with the country I am living in.  
I traveled a great deal since I left that country and never a place that pleased me til I come home.  We 
have good land, good range and reasonable health.  Our country is cituated with all most every convenience 
that is necessary for life except springs but water  very easy convert .I have at this time the best corn 
that I ever saw.  I understood that brother John was coming out to see this country next fall and I wish 
him to him to do so for I think he will like and I think a fresh country will suit him best.  I have at 
this time upwards of fifty head of cattle and I have never fed any of them since I have lived here.  I would 
feel very happy if you were all in this country and settled but I shall not undertake to give you a full 
description of it in this letter.  I wrote several letters to you all when I first moved here describing 
the country and when you would direct

1831 Feb 19

South Carolina
Chesterfield District February the 19th 1831
Mr. Nevin Ray (Svyer),
_ after my respects due to you and family.  I have written this epistle to let you know that I want you 
to tell John McKennel that I intend to make him pay one dollar per day for every day he stays on the land 
for trspassing or damages until he pays legal rent to you as an agent transacting my business for he has 
been legally forbid.  I also wish you as an agent to do it a second time, I have nothing more concerning 
this.  The circumstances of my family is very bad.
Remains yours affectionately,
Duncan Ray

1833 Jun 09

Moore County June 9th 1833
Mr. N. Ray,
I have entered a piece of land and there is a man at work on it at turpentine.  since I entered it and 
the warrant will be out now in or about the 16th of June and I wish you would come and run it out as some 
as the warrant comes out.  I have the courses and all ready and it will not take more than two hours to 
run it.  I insist upon you to come or send someone if you possibly can.
Yours respectively,
John McDuffie
uper Little River  Moore County N.C.
June the 6th, 1851
Nevin Ray
Dear Sir,
We the undersigned far as refugees in a controversy between James Morris and Gideon Edwards with regard to 
a piece of land now us as not have failed agree we have agreed to call on you for the third man and we wish 
you if you can respond to our request to come with your surveying implements and write to us what day you 
can attend and give us time to notify the parties.  
The parties are good for your charges as soon as possible if you please.
Yours with respects,
John H. Dalrymple
James Loett
P.S.  Direct your leter to Robins' store.
Hugh Martin Ray (?)

1837 May 17 
This indenture made the 17th day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty 
seven.  Between Daniel Ray of the County of Cumberland and the State of North Carolina of the one part 
and Malcom Ray of the State and County aforesaid of the other part.  Witnesseth that the said Daniel Ray 
for and in consideration of the sum of fifty dollars to him in hand paid before the sealing and delivery 
of these presents the right whereof is hereby acknowledged and himself to be therewith fully satisfied, 
contented and paid.  Hath by these presents given granted bargained. Soto aligned, conveyed, confirmed 
and forever set over unto the said Malcom Ray his heir, executor, administrator and afsign of certain 
tract or parcel of land situated, lying and being in the county aforesaid on both sides of the Upper 
Little River.  Being a part of three different surveys.  I Part of a tract of fifty acres granted to 
Hugh Ray beginning at a hickory on the river bank in Malcom Ray's own line.  Thence north sixty two 
west 13 chains to a stake with birch and boxwood pointers.  Thence south 51½ degrees, west 4 chains 
and 50 links to a stake and black jack pointers the 4th corner of the old hundred acres survey.  Thence 
south 7 east 12 chains 50 links to a stake and pointers in a branch.  Thence south 33 west 14 chains 64 
links to a stake and pointer on the line of 100 acre tract.  Thence as said line, north 78 west 2 chains 
75 links to a small pine and pointer.  Thence south 15 west 13 chains to a stake and gum pointer.  Thence 
south 12 west 7 chains to the oporite or south line of the above mentioned 100 acre tract.  Thence with 
said line, south 78 east to the second corner of the said tract.  Thence north 12 east 20 chains to the 
third corner of said tract of 100 acres. Thence south 62 east as the third line of the fifty acre tract 
to a black jack the forth corner of Malcom Ray's own corner of a 50 acre tract.  Thence north 28 east 27 
chains 77 links to the beginning.
III. Part of a tract  granted to John Clark and Hugh Ray on the north side of Upper Little River beginning 
at an ash in the bank of the river and runs north 14 east 20 chains to a pine his own corner.  Thence west 
6 chains 50 links to a stake and pointer.  Thence south 15 west to a stake on the on the river bank.  
Thence West 6 chains 50 links to a stake on the river bank.  Thence to the beginning containing in all 
48 acres which said tracts or parcels of land together with all and singular their members privelages, 
appectionors ???? and advantages the said Daniel Ray for himself his hiers .  Executors, administrators 
and assigns doth hereby covenant promise and agree to and with the said Malcom Ray his heirs that they 
should and will forever warrant and refund the before mentioned bargained and granted lands and premises 
from and against him and his heirs or any other person claiming by from or under them.
In witnessed whereof ??? said Daniel Ray have ??? my and affixed my seal the day and year above written.
Signed sealed and delivered in the in the presence of
Malcom lark
Daniel Ray
John Ray X
Ban Ray (seal)

1852 Jun 06

Miss Christian Ray
Carthage Po Office
Moore County NC
Miss Christian Lewis
Desoto Parish
Manfield PO Office

Louisiana Desoto
June 6th 1852
My respected cousins.  I avail this opportunity of writing you lines to inform you, I am yet in the land 
of the living and yourself and family is enjoying good health. I hope these few lines will find you all 
enjoying good health.  Cousin John, I received very kind letter dated March the 13th.  It gave me much 
satisfaction to hear from you all one more time.  The health of our neighborhood is good except for one 
family that had the measles.  We have had a favorable spring for parnoning (?).  We have a fine prospect 
for a crop. We are done laying by corn(?).  I have a fine garden.  Cabbage, beans, beets and Irish potatoes.  
I expect we will move to Texas this fall. We have sold our land on conditions for twelve hundred dollars, 
if the man that bought our land can make the first payment for our land by the first of next October, we 
will move. If he fails, the land is ours, Mr. Lewis expects.  Start to look as in a few days to get us a 
home there.  The names of our children are:  Mary Amritta and James Alexander.  They are the beauties of 
all the connection. Brother John was here on a visit about a month ago they were all well . Then Brother 
John is reading. Meiline talks of going to Lexington, Kentucky, next winter.   Father, uncle James, and 
Brother Neill is farming and working in the blacksmith shop.  Mother sickness was liver complaint and 
palpitation of the heart.  She was able to site up and dress herself the day of her death.  Mother had 
many friends.  People went far and near to see her.  Mother is now where she can smile at toil and pain.  
She is in heaven, praising her savior and wondering at her costly garments and the laurels in her hands.  
Tell Uncle Niven and Uncle Kenneth they would do welll to move to Texas.  When I think of them old countries.  
I don't know how people can make  a support there.
Cousin John, I think you are doing wrong to decline coming to the west.  You all think we are out of the 
world.  Here the people are going from here to California and the Rio Grand.  Tell Aunt Nancy, howdy for 
me.  Tell her to write to me.  Say to Aunt Effee, I am sorry to hear of her sickness.  Say to Uncle Keneth 
and Aunt Margaret, they have forgotten me. I have not seen the scrape of a pen from them since I left Moore.  
Cousin John, you and Cousin Christian and Jane must write to me.  Tell Malcom, I have not forgotten him.  
Tell all the children "howdy" for me.  Write to me without any delay.  Tell me all about connection and 
all you know about Edward Pattersons' family.  I will close our.  Best respects to you, to all the Connection 
and in general to all inquiring friends.  Yours truly and respectively.
Christian Lewis
John and Christian Ray
Christian Lewis

1853 Feb 11

Georgia Baldwin County 
February 11th, 1853
Dear Cousin,
I take my pen in hand to inform you that myself and the rest of our family are in tolerable health at 
present and I hope these few lines may find you and your father's family in good health.  I also received 
a letter from you on the 27th of December last which was dated November 27th 1852 which informed me that 
yourself and uncle's family were in reasonable health at that time, which was gratifying for me to learn.  
I have nothing of much importance to write you only that we have had a few pleasant days since February 
come in.  I wrote to you sometime in October or November last, telling you of my trip to Tallapoosa County 
in Alabama which was in August last, the latter part of the month and a wet time it were, the water courses 
were raised so that it was impossible to ferry any the river for several days.  I was told that more corn 
never was known to be made as were this last crop in the counties I traveled through, as almost every farmer 
was obliged to plant more corn than usual on account of the short crop in 1851.  My trip to Alabama was to 
look at a piece of land I purchased in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, where I expect to move next fall unless 
I decline the idea before fall.  I also stated to you that we has some slight attacks of the fever in our 
family.  You stated in your last that you receive no letter from me since I wrote to you in June 1852. 
You informed me the people in North Carolina were going into the turpentine business.  That's what some 
of the people in the country I speak of going to, have been doing, and say they think it profitable business,
but nearly all the rage amongst the people of old Georgia is railroads which was a great advantage to the 
people of Georgia last year to bring corn and bacon to their doors when they could not get it otherwise, 
though they had to pay a high price for it.  Though provisions demand a good price in Georgia at this time, 
corn sells at 50 cents per bushel, bacon from 12 to 14 cents per lb, country flour $6.00 per barrel, wheat 
sells for $1.00 per bushel and our staple cotton sells from 8 to 9½ cents per lb.  So we not grumble at what we get for cotton if bacon 
is a high price.  So I will conclude by asking you to write to me as soon as you receive this.  Give my 
best respects to Uncle Nevin and family and also to the rest of my cousins in North Carolina and accept 
the same to yourself.  Please excuse this unimportant epistle.  
I am with esteem and respect your affectionate.
Cousin Alcibiades (Archibald)? Ray
P.S.  Write to me soon as you receive this.

1853 Jul 27

North Carolina Moore County 
July 27th, 1853
Dear Cousin
 I take pleasure in writing you these lines hoping they will find you and the rest of your family in 
good health. Myself and the rest of father's family are reasonably well at present.  I have nothing of 
importance to write to you  crops in this section of country look tolerably well at this time although 
we have had a long drought in this section of country.  We have not had rain since two weeks. ( letter 
never finished and included much scribbling including the following names):   J John Ray
 Malcolm Ray. John Ray, Flora Jane Ray, Christian Ray, Hugh M. Ray and M.J. Blue.  It also has the 
following paragraph… Six months after date I promise to pay Malcolm Ray the sum of five dollars for 
value received of him as witnessed my hand and seal.

1853 Sep 11  
From Mrs. Christian Lewis of Desoto Parrish, Louisiana to John and Christian Ray of Moore County, North 
Carolina. Moore County one day after date, I promise to pay Christian Lewis (?) ten cents for value 
received as witnessed.
My hand and seal Sept 11, 1853.  Nevin Ray (Seal) Sept 11th, 1853

1853 Oct 07 

Jacksonville Oct 7, 1853
Cherokee County Texas
Dear Uncle:
It seems that we have permitted all correspondence between us to cease.  It is with feelings of the 
most powerful character that I am at this moment induced to address you.
I am now under the painful necessity of informing you of death of father and your brother.  He died on 
the 13th of Sept last. after an illness of nine days.  He died of inflammation of the stomach.  It was 
my misfortune not to be with him in his last afflictions but it is a source of great consolation to me 
to know that he had every attention that kind friends and medical aid could render.  After mother's 
death which took place three years and three days previous, he continued to live on the same premises 
till last March at which time he moved over to Christian's in Desoto Parish La and there his body must 
remain till Christ shall call it forth again.  vanly do we hope when distantly situated of a going be 
holding each other faces and hearing the voice that was so familiar during childhood but also frequently 
in the mist of this  fond expectations the source of death is his is the first sound that falls on our 
ears.  His health had been delicate for several years but the exception of a few hard spells was to be 
Uncle James is still at the place when father resided previous to his going over to La. Neill is also 
there.  Neill is in good health met only in tolerable health .Father intended returning in this month.  
But W.Lewis is proposing to move to Texas this fall .Will dear Uncle John fulfilled the most important 
object of this letter.  So I will bring it to a close hoping you will answer it as soon as it comes to 
hand.  Give my respects to Aunt Effie, Nancy and Margaret, uncle Kenneth and all my cousins and except 
the same to yourself.  Neill is present and sends you all his respects.
I am located at this village engaged in the practice of medicine.  We have had a remarkable year, in my 
next  I will perhaps less embarrassed and probably more satisfactory. Say to Uncle Kenneth that I will 
write to him soon.  I would like to see letters from all the children. 
Your affectionate duty,
John Ray

1853 Nov 23

Carthage Wednesday morning 
Nov. 23rd 1853
Ray Esqr.
I would be very much obliged to you if you would meet me in this place on Friday.  I have some business 
with you for Mr. M. G. Waddell of Pittsborough about some land that he entered and that you had to run 
out for him.  If you can possible do it, I wish you to meet me in this place with the drawings and plots 
of the land.  And if you cannot come will you be good enough to send all the papers up to your son, and 
I can get things of him.  Send your bill for your services and I will settle up with your son.
Very Respectively Yours,
S.L. Riddle 
P.S. If you have not finished all the land you can send the plots and necessary papers of those you have 
finished.  S.L.R.

1856 Apr 07 

 Secretary's Office
 April 7th, 1856
Neven Ray Eqr?
Dear Sir
I regret the necessity of having to return these papers again.  They have been here before and were returned 
with instructions how the patented land contained in them was to be excepted (sic) or left altogether.  But 
it appears that I have not been understood.  You will please make the surveys so as not to include any land 
which has been granted heretofore.  I cannot issue grants on them until that is done.
 Very respectively,
 W. Hill
 Secry of State
 x Rufus H. Page

1861 Dec 14

Mr. John Ray
North Carolina
Moore County
Carthage Post Office
attention:  Mrs. Mary A. Ray
Carolina City, NC
December 14th 1861
26 Regt NC Vol Co. H
Dear Cousin,
I take my pen in hand this evening to communicate to you a few lines to inform you that I and Hugh is well 
at present and hope this will find you and all the family enjoying good health.  When it comes to hand, this 
company is all in tolerable good health with the exception of two or three (?)- R.P. Willicox has gotten 
the fever, J.L. Caddell and N. Thompson is both rather feeble but not serious.
I have nothing of much importance to write to you at this time, only we have got out of Bogue Island.  We 
are in camp now between Morehead and Carolina cities ¾ of a mile from the latter place.  This is a very 
nice and pleasant situation.  We are busy building our winter houses.  I think we will have them completed 
in a short time if nothing happens to hinder our work.
Mr. P.M. Campbell arrive here last night from Moore County with a number of barrels and boxes that our 
Moore County friends sent to this company consisting of provisions and clothing.  I believe I have nothing 
more that would interest you at this time and therefore I will conclude by saying another word.  
I have wrote to Cousin Jane to know whether the shells that I sent to Aunt Nancy got home or not, but I 
have not received as answer as yet.  Tell Uncle Niven that I would like to hear from him and all the rest 
of you as often as I can.  I suppose that times is very dull up there at present that salt is very scarce 
and dear it is dear down here it is $4.00 per bu. (or box).  There are many of the citizens about here 
a making salt but they are not in for making much yet but I respect that often a while that some of them 
will get to making a good sale.  The water here is only part salt in Bogue Sound.
The McKimmon boys, Deaton and Whittack are all well.
I send my best wishes and respects to you all.  Give my respects to all the neighbors.  Please write soon 
as you can for I would like to hear from you anytime.  I am your affectionate cousin.
N.A. Ray

1862 Jan 17
Raleigh, N.C.
January 17th, 1862
Ms Christian Ray:
Dear Cousin.  At the request of Cousin Archibald I drop you a few lines in regard to the health of Cousin 
Malcom.  I think he is improving slowly.  I cannot say that he is any stronger, but think he is getting 
clear of the disease.  He rested better last night than usual and should he take no backset, he will be 
up as soon as soon as could be expected.  The doctor says he is on the mend.  Cousin Archibald is well 
and is staying at the same house I am staying at.  I cannot tell when I shall leave here but shall do so 
as soon as I can get tho business transacted for which I stayed.  I shall then go to Newbern.
We have very little news about here. The Militia is ordered out in thirty counties. I cannot tell whether 
this will include Moore or not- but I hardly think it will.  There is some prospect about getting into a 
fight about Newbern as a Yankee fleet has sailed in that direction.  I should like to see some sport in 
that way.  I think it will all turn out. Stuff? Such things generally do so.  
Cousin Christian, I believe I have nothing more to write that would interest you.  I think I shall be at 
home in two or three weeks if should I ,shall give all my adventures since I left home.  Nothing more.
Yours truly,
W.M. Black  (Capt .William Martin Black,CSA--editor's note)

1862 Apr 12

Golds Bar NC
April the 12th, 1863
Ms. Sarah Ray
Dear Cousin,
I take the present opportunity of writing to you once more to let you know that I am well and hope that 
when this will come to know it will find you all well.  I have no news to write at this time.  There 
are various reports today.  I don't know whether it is correct or not.  They say general Hill has taken 
Washington.  I don't know whether it is so or not but I hope will soon be so they have been fighting at 
Charleston.  I do not know the result.  I hope we will hear tomorrow and if we whip them at Charleston 
and at Vicksburg. I think the war will soon close.  I think there will be a hard fight down on black 
water before  many days.  Nothing more at present only ?????.  Your cousin til death  N A Ray    Write 
soon as you get this for I want to hear from home very much.

1862 Aug 26
Petersburg, VA
August 26, 1862
Dear Cousin,
I take the pleasant opportunity of writing you a letter and it has been some time since I have written 
to you or heard from you.  I have no news to write of any importance .  I am at work at my traid(trade).  
I think that I will get Cousin William(Ray) to strike for me as soon as I can.  He is very anxious to get 
out of the regiment.  I am very well contented now if I can remain so.  The brigaid has left .Hear they 
are on James river a bout ten miles above druries bluff.I don't think they will stay there longer.  I do 
hope that this wretched war will soon close for I think everybody is tired of it.  
I must close my letter by asking you to write soon.
Remember me ever as yours truly.
A. A. Ray
Direct your letters to Petersburg, Va  in the care of Major Simmons,Quartermaster of gineral brigaid

1862 Nov 16
Camp near Petersburg, VA
C0 H 26 Regiment N.C.?
Nov 16th 1862
Dear Friend,
I take the pleasant opportunity to drop you a few lines.  It has been some months since I received a 
letter from you and not knowing that you received my last, I proceed to write a second time.  I have 
seen much hard service since I wrote to you last.  We left this place about four weeks ago for N.C. 
and after twenty days of marching and exposure to all the weather without shelter even in times of the 
snow. We reached our old camp here last Friday for the purpose of resting for a short time, but we 
expect we will soon be out on an another expedition to hunt Yankees.  Five companies of our regiment 
were stationed at Oldford Mills, Beaufort County, NC, six miles from Washington, N.C., one Co. and was 
there and was on picket at the time the Yankees advanced  on us but no loss on our side at that place 
only one man of company was wounded.  The enemy had a long fence and we had to fall back to Rawls Mills 
Martyn County where we joined the rest of our regiment.  We got there ½ hour before the enemy and as we 
got a very good position, our regiment without any artillery, held in check and drove back the 3 regiments 
of infantry and two batteries of artillery.  The fight lasted 1½ or 2 hours.  The enemies losses was 
about 100 killed while our was 4 killed and some 10 or 12 wounded.  Our men had a position in the swamp 
at a pond and the ? and the enemies shot and skill passed over without march efforts.  We would wait till 
they got in 20 steps then rise and fire on them and cut them down so fast that but few of them even reached 
this side the swamp after the fight ceased, we were reinforced by the 17th regiment and a battery of 
artillery and two pieces were brought into position and give the enemy several rounds of shot and shell 
but they seemed satisfied for the night and would not return a single shot.  We learned that they were 
sending a large force to Williamston to cut us off and we had to resume our march so as to pass Williamston 
that night which we did by the time their boats arrived.  Next day we marched about twenty miles towards Tarboro where we met reinforcements. To cope with the enemy we turned upon him and often 
a little skirmish in which the Yankees lost five and not a man of ours hurt.  We pursued them to their 
gunboats.  Governor Z.B. Vance was with us in the winding up.
I must close this badly written letter.  Please write soon for it gives me much pleasure to hear form you 
at any time.
Your friend truly,
Noah Deaton

1862 Dec 19

December 19th, 1862
Ms. Mary A. Ray,
Dear sister.  I none seat any self to write you and all the rest at home that I am well at this time 
and came out of the fight un hurt we may be better thankful we came out as well as we did.  There was 
two of the company wounded ..Anderson Smith,Maj ac H Cox ? was wounded by shells.   We were marching 
in line of battle when Smith was wounded  there was three or four works down cox was wounded on the head.  
The shell busted about fifty yards from us.  There fell another shell in about fifteen steps of our company 
and threw the dirt over us.  It did not hurt anybody.  I do not have time to write much.  I commenced 
writing yesterday and had to fall in for marching.  It turnt out to be a false alarm. We are still at 
the old camp and have to cary wood a long ways.  It is rite cold today.  I was tired and sleepy.  After 
the fight some of the boxes came and I got a mess of potatoes which helps us very much.  They have Sandy 
John's son under guard about leaving the company in time of the fight.  My time is getting and I must close 
by asking you to write as soon as you can.  I have written a letter of two.  I got no answer for yet.  I 
received a letter from Brother JB Ray and have not answered it yet.   I will write as soon as I can.  I 
cannot tell whether we will have any winter quarters or not.  They appear to carry the war on through the
winter as well summer.  I still remain your affectionate brother til death. 
W.A Ray 
The company is genuinely well- except cold.

1864 Jul 29

July the 29th, 1864
Mr. John B. Ray,
Sir, I seat myself this morning to drop you few lines to let you know that I am well at this time and 
hoping these few lines   may find you and your family in good health. The health of the company is just 
tolerable well at this time.  D J Shields ,James Mcdonald,D  Moris, A J Keath not well but they are not 
doing now. Their is about 20 mi. for duty in the company .We hear
a very good officer  in command of the company. He is onslo ? John . there has been a grate deal of work 
done here sins lif? old Boagard can come as near going under as any general.  I think the Yankees are 
as near Petersburg as they will ever get I think.  And I think it impossible for us to move them from 
here.  Only they have a mind to go. Our men opened on them one evening to try their strength and they 
shot five times to our once there is a continual sharpshooting ? up from our brest works at each other. 
we have to have trenches to cut to go after water.  ?C and they do too.  thair a continual shelling up 
nearly all the time with mortars but it is only once and a while they can drop them our Bresworks and 
we drop ours in their Bres works two ar mg.  Just tuck a box that neither side has not much advantage   
John I suppose you would like to no how the election ran on our C company for shiriff worthy 16, McNeill 2,  
governor vance 42, for holden 8,davis 8 ,riter A Harrington 2 . Thair was a good many voted for Hoalden.  
Just to freat te officers and  ???? sessioniest .  John, we have a great deal of work to do once as much 
as I know now when I was at home.  John I ??? have been there yet if we want so ? to their enemy their ? 
more destructive than ever was but the men hate to run away in the face of them.  John, Honor  is a great 
thing, but I am afraid we have had many dear for all we will get.  John, there is not a man in the company 
that asked if they was at home.  they would stay we have to lie in our trenches day and night.  Rain or 
shine ,hot or coald. there is some killed or wounded more or less everyday by mortar shells or sharp 
shooters. the men have become so careless they don't care much for anything,  John, I don't want to give 
anybody bad advice, but if was at home I would stay there until times get better. we get plenty to eat 
of corn and bacon, shugar? and coffee and peas XC the Yankees shells the tore???
Love.  Take care.
[Incomplete.  Signature missing]

circa 1870s

loose letter no heading apparent
circa 1870s]
but I have not heard from him since I am almost sorry I came here.  I believe Mason is doing his best 
consequently I do not let on to him that I am particularly not pushed for funds but the time is at hand 
when I must give him a plain statement of facts and receive his &#quot;ultimatum.&#quot;  I may have to go to work? 
something here in Baltimore to get money sufficient to pay my passage from here.  If my tuition was paid 
up I would not care, but I have a capital in reserve yet that has never failed to pay up when I made a 
draft on it.  I( have excellent health.  I am tolerably strong and if I can command a willing mind I will 
come out all right the winding up.  I learned from one of the students here who is from Savannah and knows 
the man that is to send me the money as directed by Mason that he is very unreliable and bad pay.  So I 
would not very much disappointed if I lost that amount.  In fact I have made up my mind to that effect.  
I wrote to Mason about him immediately after learning the facts from the students.  You need no let mother 
know anything about this- it would make her uncomfortable to no purpose.  I wish you to write to me 
immediately on receipt of this and give me all the news, good, bad and indifferent.  You need not be afraid 
of giving me any pain or uneasiness and I have learned long since to take everything with a quiet stoicism.  
The school will end in about 4 weeks and I will have decided by that time what I will do or what I will have 
to do.  I believe I will have to stop as I am about out of soap.  Give my respects to Mr. McD and family 
all friends besides.  My love to Ma, Pa and the balance.
Yours til death,
G W Ray
Direct as before 
I you will save all my letters I would be able to know when anything got out here it come from and if 
necessary to do so could trace it up, but I will  number my letters after this, so you can tell whether 
you get all or not and notify me of the fact.
Tell Dic(e)? that I am getting out of patience waiting for an answer from her.  
Sunday Night 9 o'clock
I am just in from the Methodist Church (North) + Rad of course)  I went not to hear the preaching as the 
preacher is a sanctimonony long face, puntanical Philadelphian, but to hear Miss Shaw, a celebrated singer.  
She is one of the choir and sings a solo at each performance for the benefit of the congregation and to 
gratify her own vanity.  She sang a chant tonight.  She has a splendid voice and has complete control of it.  
There is a woman in Cumberland or Harnett, I do not know which, named Fanny Monroe, who with a little training 
could knock her in the shade as far as that she never would get out again.  I thought of her when I heard 
this woman tonight.  She is not pretty, but she has considerable sing ability about her ???? and she knows 
it.  The church is generally crowded but ¾ of them go there to hear her sing.  There is a very small quantity 
of religion in it.  They sometimes take up collections for the benefit of the poor nigger down south.  I 
rather wanted them to take up one tonight.  if they had come to me  I would slightly have taken them off 
about 3 inches above the knees.  Nothing else new today and I will stop and seal this up and put it in the 
lamp post mailbox so it will get off early in the morning.  Pleasant dreams.  God bless you.  Farewell.

1870 May 31

Cherkee County, Texas
May the 31st, 1870
Mr. Neill Ray. 
Dear Uncle,
I take my pen this evening to read your kind letter I received a few days ago.  I was glad to hear that 
you were well.  I have no news of interest to write only we are all well.  I hope when this comes to hand 
it will find you enjoying the same blessing.
Pa has had a very good crop. The spring was so cold and dry.  Crops are quite late.  Times are pretty 
hard in Texas this year on the account of bad crops last year. corn and bacon is dear & money scarce. 
Pa expects to start west in June to look at the country.
Uncle we will soon be done our crop then.  I wish were here to hunt deer with us.  It is raining and Pa 
is making him a blowing horne that is enough of that.  Uncle, I wish we could talk instead of write.  I 
think say more than I can write.  I must come to a close.  Please write soon.  Give my love to all the 
family and receive a portion yourself.  The family joins in sending their love to you all.
Your nephew,
James H  Lewis

1872 Dec 15

Wadesboro N.C.
Dec the 15th, 1872
Miss Christian Ray
Dear Cousin,
I was the happy recipient of your thrice welcome letter which came to ahnd a week since and found all 
in as good health as usual, except mother.  Her health has been very bad this fall and winter, but she
is highly hope up since I received your letter, for she is in hopes she will hear something from her 
relations now she thinks the attention you spoke of coming from Neill McAlister is from Neill or Cousin 
Neill and the one that he was inquiring about was Uncle Jimmie McAllister.  Cousin Neill Ray's mother's 
brother ????? mother says will you please get the letter and send it Do please get the letter if you can 
and send it as soon as possible and you will confer a lasting favor on one ??? wishes so much to know 
what has become of her relations.
We were glad to hear that you were all well when you wrote and truly hope this will find you all well 
and doing well.  Brother Johnnie is at home.  Now him and Pa have a grocery and confectionary and are 
doing very good business now.  Sister's children are all well the oldest is most grown , keep house for 
her Pa and tends to her little brother.  Lillie, the next to the oldest! - sis gave to me.  She stays 
with us all the time.  She is a very smart little girl and kept her ever since she was a year old and 
she is now 6 year sold.  Sister Mollie and her babe is well and she sends much love to you.  The farmers 
made very good crops this year. 
Well Christmas is most here and I hope you will have a good time.  I wish I could spend it with you if 
I have never seen you, I don't think you would feel like a stranger to me, but I have no way of going 
to see you and I think very strange of Cousin Neills saying that we have as good chance to go as he has 
to come for he (k)nows that we have no chance at all for there is no one with Ma when I am gone and it 
is the same way with me when she is gone but it is no use notice what he says for he is married now.  
Well I will bring my badly written letter to a close hoping you will excuse all mistakes and write as 
soon as you get this for I want to hear from you as often as you can find time to write all.  Join me 
in sending love to you all.  I would be so glad if you would come over and stay a while with your cousin.
Laura, Patrick

Dear brother, I received your letter and was very much pleased to hear from you.  I have nothing new 
to write to you.  We are getting along here the best we can and that is not very well.  I hope when 
these few lines will reach you, it will find you all well and doing well.  I have nothing new to write 
to you.  There is 4 of our men in the hospital in Raleigh.  James McDonald, Davidson R Wales and J Dowdy 
are very sick.  D L McDonald has been very sick.  I thought he would die the night he was taken, but he 
is nearly well now.  He was out of his senses about two our that night.  He would get up and say he would 
die he said he wouldn't mend doing only his People wod hate it so bad.  Cousin W Bellouroe is getting 
some better. He can't speak out a whisper yet, but he keeps up and about all the time.  I must close by 
sending my last respects to you all.  I shall remain your affectionate bother.
Malcom Ray
Excuse bad writing and mistakes.  Write soon and tell me the news.

1887 Jan 28

Know all men by these presents that we Thomas J. Hunt and wife, Delia A. Hunt, are held and firmly bound 
unto Darrel Ray all parties being of the County of Harnett in the State of North Carolina in the sum of 
two hundred and fifty dollars to be paid to th4e said Daniel Ray, his Executor Administrator or assigns 
for which payment well and truly to be made.  We bind ourselves our heirs Executors and Administrators 
and each of them firmly by these presents sealed with our seals dated the 28th day of Janurary, one 
thousand eight hundred and eighty seven.  Now the condition of the above bounden obligor shall on or 
before the first day of January 1888 make execute and deliver unto the said Daniel Ray, shall on or 
before that day have paid to the said obligor the sum of one hundred and twenty five dollars and interest 
thereon the price by said Daniel Ray agreed to be paid there for a good and sufficient conveyance in fee 
simple with the usual covenants of all that piece or parcel of Land lying and being in the County of 
Harnett State of North Carolina on the south side of the Upper Little River beginning at a hickory on 
the bank of said river and particularly described in a deed made to Thomas J. Hunt by Niven Ray and wife 
dated January the first day 1887 then this obligation to be void otherwise to remain in full force and 
T. J.Hunt (seal)
Delila A.K. Hunt (seal)
State of North Carolina
Harnett County
I J.C. F Shaw, a Justice of the Peace for said county do hereby certify that Thomas J. Hunt and 
Delia R. Hunt, his wife personally appeared before me this day and acknowledged the due execution 
of this foregoing bond and the said Delila A. Hunt being by me privately examine separate and apart 
from her said husband touching her voluntary execution of the same doth state she signed the same 
freely and voluntarily without fear or compulsion of her said husband or any other person and that 
she doth still voluntarly assent thereto.
Witness my hand and seal
This the 28 day of January 1887
J.C.F.  Shaw (seal)

1889 Feb 12
Common School District No. 36th
The following is a correct statement of the names of the children who attended school and the number of 
days each scholar attended school.  School commenced August the 16th 1852.
Number of days taught- 20
Malcom McLean- 15
Dougald McPhail- 19
Malcom McPhail- 19
Vincent McPhail- 20
John L. McPhail- 19
Hugh McPhail- 20
Archibald A. McPhail- 14
Neill Ray- 20
John A. Se?- 12
John A. Oquin- 9
Archibald McNeill- 18
Martin Morison- 18
Reily Holder- 13
Neill Darroch- 2
Neill A. Patterson- 13
Joseph M. Bishop- 12
Alex Oquin- 1

February 12th 1889
Whole No= 33
Names of females
Nancy Ray- 20
Margaret Ray- 20
Sarah J. Smith- 20
Catherine McLean- 17
Tempy ? Medlin- 20
Jennet Darroch- 14
Martha Oquin- 11
Mary A. Oquin- 7
Sarah J. McPhail- 8
Eliza McPhail- 9
Elizabeth Ray- 5
Margaret McLean- 6
Ollef Oquin- 2
Amanda J. Patterson- 9
Martha A. McDougald- 9
Sophonia Harvel 4
Catharine Darroch- 3
Mary A. Holder- 1
Louisa Holder- 1

1861 May 17

Hugh M Ray
Hugh Martin Reg
May 17/(18)61
Dear Cousin:
It was with much pleasure that I received you most welcome.  Better of the 8th which came to hand this 
evening. It found us all quite well .  I was very much gratified to hear that you were well.  Cousin I 
will have to begin to make excuses for this letter for I do not feel like I can write any at all this 
evening but I thought I would make until ? if I failed in writing it.  I am so very sleepy this evening.
Cousin we have heard from Brother Joseph several times since he left some say that he has a bin very 
sick, but
his sis has received a letter from him this week and he sayed that he had not bin sick but he had a cold. 
He spoke of coming home next week . Capt Hall and seven (7) of the company arrived here last Saturday  
& they will return next Monday &and some of the rest will come home if they do not start to Virginia. 
I do hope they will not have to start for some time yet or not at all.  Cousin there was two (2) letters 
came to you since you last one.  One of them was from cousin Christian Lewis.  I will send it in this 
letter to you if I don't forget it.  We have so much trou ble with the P.O. that sometimes I don't know 
what I am doing ,Papa has quit  the US postage stamps and he has ten (10 c) for every letter sent and 
received, he will not make any thing at all keeping the Office now.  Cousin I haven't got any thing more 
to tell you at this time.  You can't imagine how lonesome I get sometimes up here.  I want you to write 
me often where ever you go & if it is to the end of the world for I do love to get a letter from you or 
any body else. the Familie all join me in much love to you.  I will come to a close by begging you to 
please write to me very often & I will mss never? ___ get from you.  Do excuse my bad writing and spelling 
write soon soon soon soon.
Your Cousin, Mary J.

1861 Jul 30

Moore County NC  July 30, 1861
Dear Brother,
I seat myself this morning to drop a few lines to let you know that we are all well and hope this will 
find you cousin Neill and all the company in perfect health.  You requested me to write soon that you 
would hear from us.  I would have written last week if I had known where to direct my letter.  You can 
not imagine how much satisfaction it was for us to hear from you and that you were ? and that were well 
satisfied and had comfortable tents to sleep in, not exposed to the damp ground.  I hardly know what to 
write that would be of satisfaction to you. At your distant stations, you must write son and tell me how 
time pass with you all . Malcolm says to tell you, he would write if he had time.  He has volunteered 
cousin William(M) Black in making  a company and I have not heard how many he has on his list.  Cousin 
William B. Monroe ,Archibald Blue, Daniel B, and the two babies is all that has their names on  yet except 
Malcolm in this neighborhood. Tell Mr. Whitloc that his mother is well and I have not heard of any of the 
company's friend being sick since you left here.  Mr. John McLean had the misfortune of getting his arm 
broke and put out of joint last Thursday evening on his way home from court, his horse sprang and when he 
found that he could not recover, he bent over I and lit on his left hand his arm broke.  Just above the 
joint put the wrist out of joint.  He is getting allong as well as he could expect with a broken bone.  
Hugh, you must write soon and I can get more satisfaction.  I am anxious to hear from Mr. Tyson say that 
Cousin Neill had a chill and that he was up and about the next day.  Tell Cousin Neill that I saw his gal 
last Sunday.  She was up here at church and she looks as well as ever.  I was not there though she was.  
Her and I am in hopes that it will not be long til you will all be at home again.  I must close.  You 
must write as often as you can.  Your letters will be welcome at any time or any place.
Sarah says you must give that apple to the one she told you to. Give my love to all and receive a portion 
yourself.  Aunt Nancy and all the family sends their love to you all.  I remain Your affectionate sister,
Christian Ray
Hugh M. Ray
I have said nothing about Uncle Kenneth.  His family is well.

1861 Oct 07  
Carolina City N.C.
Miss Christian Ray
Dear friend
I resume my seat this morning to answer your very kind and most welcome letter that came to hand last 
Friday and was much pleased to hear form you and all the rest.
 Neill is well and I think well satisfied.  My health is very good at present and the company in tolerable 
good health there only two in the hospital now.
 We are surrounded by water on all sides two miles to the nearest point of main land.
 but from What I can learn we will not be apt to stay here long where we mg go I have  no idea we are  
under the command of Gen. Hill and he don't let it be known weeks early what he intends to do.  We are 
hemed up here in this place so that if the enemy comes we will have to fight be taken on take water the 
general has ordered as I hear for lumber to make a gang way across the sound and and I guess that we will 
be moved across the sound shortly if not sent to some other place.
 I hear some of the private saying this morning that will get orders today to cook three days rations and 
if so we will be sent to some other point but I doubt the truth as it very much for the hundred tongued 
deceivers is a doing such an active business now a days that truth so rarely tells her tale that we cannot 
believe it when we hear it with out proof that it is so.  I hear various reports about the war movements 
but nothing late that is reliable or interesting.
 There was three war ships in sight of us yesterday and one of them was near enough for us to see them 
drilling on their deck but they are they are gone today and if they know what is the best for themselves 
they will stay away from here or at least keep out of reach of us.
 You cannot think how much pleasure it would give me could I get back to moore? county again there to 
remain in peace where I could enjoy the company of friends as before I left there and see the ladies 
smile and hear their voices which seem so charming.
 There are is a great many young fellows that have no cares to keep them from going out in defense of 
their country but are such cowards that they would suffer subjugation rather than fight and I trust the 
ladies will not countenance such fellows.  I hope therefore remark will be no offense but if it does  ? 
any one let them take best remedy to get rid of it.  That's to take up arms to defend their homes and 
not wait for others to do what they should do.  I must close.  Please write to me soon as you can.  I 
remain your affectionate friend.  
Noah Deaton

1861 Oct, 13

Carolina City N.C.
Oct, 13th 1861
Cousin Christian:
 I take this opportunity to drop you a few lines to inform you that I am well and hope this will find 
you and all the rest likewise.  The company is in very good health.  There is only two cases in the 
hospital from our company.
 We are going to move tomorrow about two miles nearer to Ft. Macon where we will be in 1½ mile of the 
fort and it will be in beautiful cedar grave- where if we stay it will be a good place for winter quarters.  
One of our companies will go to Shackleford which is about two miles north of Fort Macon. There were forty 
traitors taken the other day at Shackleford who were passing as fisherman and are secured in the fort to 
await their destiny which I believe will be death for they have in their possession weapons and handcuffs 
that were given to them by the Yankees.  They have also been selling fish to the enemy.
 The enemy is lurking about here every day.  There were four vessels some four or five miles of ? on 
Friday and fired about a dozen cannon.  It is thought they were only shooting off their guns to unload(?) 
them-  There is only one in view of us today.  There has been a fight expected here even since we come 
here and it is probable that there will be but I don't think it will be apt to come up soon.  There is 
nothing new to write to you at present that will interest you.  Tell cousin Hugh to come as soon as he 
can.  Please write soon.  Direct your letter to Carolina City N.C. 26th regiment, NC vol in care Captain 
W.P  . Martin.  Accept the best wishes of a friend.  Give my respects to all.  I remain yours most 
N.A. Ray

1861 Oct 28

Camp Fayetteville  last week October 28th, 1861(under written is &#quot;a bushel and half of salte at nine 
dollars &#quot; ?)
Camp Burgwyn Bogue Island 
Dear Sister,
 I now take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well at this time and 
have been ever since I left home.
 I reached Carolina City on Friday night after I left home and met with John R. Keith who was waiting.  
Neil Thompson and N.L. Fry at the hospital.
 On Saturday morning I came over to the camp where I found the company all in very good health except 
John L. Caddell and B Kimbrel.  Lieutenant R.W. Goldston was also sick and on Thursday night he died 
at Carolina City.
 Two of Lincoln's vessels have been in sight ever since I came here until last Friday.  We have not 
seen them since then.  We heard on Wednesday night that a large fleet was on the way to make an attack 
on Fort Macon but we have not seen it yet nor I don't think we will soon.  If they will attempt to land 
here, they will find that there is trouble before them.  Capt. Penders artillery is about a mile up from 
our camp and this morning we moved two cannons from Pender's camp down about a mile below here.  There is 
but two companies in this encampment.  Captain Martins' and Captain Caraways' company from Anson County.  
The balance of the regiment is two miles nearer the fort and the Seventh Regiment is at Carolina City.  
We expect to move to the other encampments tomorrow.  As I have no news to write, I must come to a close.
 Please write soon.  Mr. Whitlock sends his respects to you all.  Give my respects to all my friends and 
accept a portion to yourself.  No more at present only remaining your affectionate brother until death.
Hugh M. Ray

1861 Nov

Bogue Island- November 1861
Dear Father,
 I now embrace the opportunity of writing you a few lines which will inform you that I received your 
kind letter of 10th inst by the hand of Mayor H.C. McLean on yesterday which gave me much satisfaction 
to hear that you were all well.  I also received at the same time a blanket and a pair of shoes from 
you Mr. McLean Dr Turner Duncan Keith and Isaac Sewell is all down here at this time.  I have been here 
about one month now and have well ever since I left home.
 Neal Whitlock, Deaton, and the McKinnons are all well.  The company is in very good health this time 
except Dr. Shaw, Neal Thompson.   Thompson has been in the hospital ever since I came here.  Dr. Shaw 
has been in the hospital about two weeks very sick but he is getting some better.
 We have moved up nearer the fort.  We are in about a mile and a half of the fort now.  The Yankees have 
paid us a visit down here two weeks since we went about fifteen miles down the beach where the steamer                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Union was wrecked and there a week moving the machinery from the wreck.  Lincoln's vessels passing us everyday.  Some of the men came out one day with a flag of truce and talked with the Major and Captain Martin.  Then left us.  On the next week, they fired about twenty times at the men at work there one day but hurt no one.  I think we will save about sixty thousand dollars worth of machinery and other property.
 When Mr. Lewis Lawhorn left here two weeks ago, I sent twenty dollars by him for you and at the same 
time I also sent a barrel of fish which he was to haul from Jonesboro to Carthage.  Please write and 
let me know if they came to you yet.  As I have nothing new to write, I must come to a close.  No more 
at present.  Only remaining your affectionate son.
Hugh M. Ray
{additional on back of sheet} 
Mr. Neven Ray
Dear Sir,
 I now embrace the opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at this time 
hoping that these few lines may find you and family enjoying the same blessing.
 Mr. Ray, I want you if you please, to do a little favor for me.  Please call on A.H. McNeill at Carthage 
and get thirty-five dollars in money that was to be lodged in his hands by Mr. L. Lawhorn three ten dollar 
bills on the Bank of Charlotte, one five dollar on the State Bank of N.C. and hand it over to my mother 
and tell her to take care of it for me.  And in so doing, you will oblige your friend William Whitlock.  
So no more at present but remain yours most respectively.
William Whitlock

1861 Dec 15

Wake County 
December 15th 1861
Miss Christian Ray
Dear sister,
I have the privilege of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am in tolerable health at this 
time and hope these few lines will find you all enjoying the same blessing.  I have not been well for 
the last week but have no reason to complain.  I have the measles but I don't mind them much.  I am not 
sick.  I can eat anything.  I heard from home the 10.  When Mr. Blue got back, he had a letter from home 
and a box for Cousin? W.B. Monroe and I found two shucks of butter in his box and a letter ? letters 
came to hand at the same time.  I was very glad to get ?, the letter,and the butter.  It came to hand 
in very good time just when the measles was about covering me.  Cousin WB Monroe has not got over the 
measles yet. He has a tolerable share of them but I think he is getting better now.  He cannot speak 
out a whisper yet he is up and about all the time.  McCaskell has got the measles too.  He is up and 
about.  He don't seem to mind them.  He got a box of provisions from home but it was all eat up.  It 
seems like anything from home is better than anything we have here.  Although we get plenty, we get 
tolerable good beef. now we have moved into our house yesterday we will fare some better. now we can 
keap dry of wet days and have a fire to set buy if we will stay here all winter.  I think I will go 
home about Christmas but I don't know how long we will stay here.  The colonel was here yesterday and 
said he had the chance of  going to three places Manases?, Wilmington or South Carolina it is that we 
will be sent to Wilmington if we will go.  There I expect will go in a week or two at the farthest.  
James W. McDonald is in the hospital in Raleigh.  He has the fever.  I saw him yesterday.  He is getting 
better.  He has fell away tell there is nothing but skin and bone.  I have nothing new to write, so I 
must close by sending my best respects to you and all the rest.  I remain your affectionate brother till 
Malcolm Ray
Write soon as you can when you get this and tell me all the news.  Give my love to Aunt Nancy.  Tell her 
I have not forgotten her.  Give my respects to all inquiring friends.  So I must close for this time.
{included in this letter}
one day after date I promise to pay Malcolm Ray the sum of one dime for value received as witnessed my 
hand and seal.
William B

1861 Dec 28 

Wake County
December the 28th, 1861
Miss Flora J. Ray
Dear sister,
I take my pen in hand this morning to inform you that I am in tolerable good health at this time and 
I hope when these few lines will reach you, it will find you all enjoying the same blessing of health.  
I have nothing of importance to write to you at this.  There has been a great deal of sickness in this 
regiment.  There has been several deaths here since we came into camp.  Mr. James Doudy died last 
Thursday night about two o'clock.  There is five or six of the company very sick.  Yet as long as you 
will see cousin Archibald shall say no more about them he can tell more than I can write at this time.  
You sent me a pare of Pantatoons by him and I almost had another to send them back with him for I had 
two good pair but I believe I will keep them.  I cannot write such a letter to you as I would like to 
for there would not be space to do so.  We have a trouble som time here.  There was an old man and his 
wife beat nearly to death lst Wednesday night by a part of our regiment.  It took place about one o'clock.  
The alarm came into the camp and the roll was called to see who was missing.  Capt. J.M. Kelly checked 
every man in his company.  There was not one of them missing.  About four o'clock the major called for 
three men from every company in the regiment to go in search of the men.  The major and part of the men 
went to the house and found three of them there ? They had broke all the dishes and one glass window.  
They took up and guarded them back to the camp.  The men all belong to Capt. Haliburtan's company.  They 
have been under guard ever since.  Their trial has not came off yet.  The punishment will be bad.  I think 
the balance they was accused of doing is not fitten for me to write to you.  You may no it was tolerable 
bad if so but there is so many things said here that is not so we do not no when we hear the truth but 
there is some truth in this for they broak the dishes and one glass window and threw a gallon of whiskey 
in the fire and it smoakt the right Black.  I must not tell you anymore about our men now.  I saw 175 
Yankees Christmas Day in Raleigh that had been taken prisoner.  They were all good looking large men and 
well dressed.  They all had good cloth and shoes and very good overcoats. They were going to take them 
to Salisbury.  I heard them talking and saw bullet holes in some of their coats large enough to put a hen 
egg through.  I believe if they war bac ? that they would have came back to fight us again.  They said 
that we out numbered them in every battle that had been fought about three to one.  They made out like 
they had only about 40 killed at Manases and one of them said the southern papers publish nothing but 
lies and they dare not publish the truth for if they did their men would all leave them.  They got to see 
a peach the guard ordered them to quit talking to them and we left.  That is all I can tell you about the 
Yankees now.  I think that is all the news I have to write to you now only.  All the neighbors in the camp 
are well.  There is none in our house sick except Cousin William - and I think he is somewhat better than 
he was.  I hope he will go home and you will see him.  Our cook has left us and gone home.  Some of us have 
to do the cooking now and I believe we can do better without him than with him.  It counts up money pretty 
fast at fifty cents per month now.  I have told you everything I can think of at present.  I want you to 
write to me as soon as you can and let me know how you are getting along.  You may tell Cela that John is 
well and getting very well.  I got the cakes you sent to me.  I have not heard from Hugh this week, yet 
I heard from him last week and he was well. I heard that Cousin Mar or Mae Ray was dead and I was sorry 
to hear there was so much sickness in the neighborhood.  I must come to a close by sending my best respects 
to you and all the rest of the family.  So I close.  I still remain your most affectionate brother until 
Malcolm Ray
Excuse my bad writing and mistakes.  Give all my respects to all inquiring friends.  I want you to write 
soon.  All of you… I cannot write all of you at once.  All of you write to me as soon as you can.

1861 Dec 29

Camp Vance? near Carolina City N.C.
December 29th 1861
26th Regt N.C. ? Co. H
Miss Christian Ray,
 Dear cousin.  With pleasure I take my pen in hand to drop you a few words to let you know that I and 
Hugh are in tolerable good health and I hope this will reach and find you all enjoying the same blessing.  
Our co and all in tolerable good health except two or three. Mr. R.P. Willcox has the Typhoid Fever but 
he is mending since a few days.  Mr. G. P. Shorts was taken sick yesterday.  The Dr. said he had the fever.  
There is a few slight cases of the Mumps in our company.  We have not got our houses finished yet by there 
not being enough sent at first we can finish in two or three days if the lumber would come.  There was a 
rowdy time home at Christmas.  There is five days allowed that we are exempt from all duty except guard 
munting(?) and roll call.  But some of our men must spend their Christmas in the guard house for their 
misbehaving.  But I can boast so far that none of my tent mates or mess mates has got in the guard house yet.
 The blockade is still lying about Bogue Inlet but they take care to keep out of range of guns at the fort.  
There is nothing of importance occurred about here of late and therefore you must be content with such 
news as I have at present.
There was a wedding in this regiment last Thursday (day after Christmas) in the company called the Chatham 
guards Mr. D. Hutson to a lady from Wake County.  She had come down to wait on his brothers in the hospital 
and concluded to marry before she would go back.
 Please write soon and give all the news.  Tell cousin John that I will write to him before long.  I send 
my best respects to you all.
Your affectionate cousin,
N.A. Ray

*The Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library hereby grants permission to: Darryl Black to publish on a NC-Scottish Family website for genealogical purposes the following material in its collections in accordance with the provisos stated below:

Selected letters from the Nevin Ray Letters Collection. Credit line: Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library

This permission is granted in so far and only in so far as the rights of the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library are concerned. The Library claims only physical ownership of the material cited above. Persons wishing to publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights.

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