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Profiles from the Archives: John E. Ray Jr.

Matthew M. Peek, Military Collection Archivist
Jacob T. Parks

John Edwin Ray Jr. was born on November 29, 1888 in Wake County, North Carolina to John E. Ray Sr. and Finney (or Finny) Ray. In 1900, John Ray Sr. was the principal of the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Institute in Raleigh, N.C. John Ray Jr. attended college at Wake Forest College in Wake Forest, N.C. (present-day Wake Forest University), where he received his A. B. in 1908. Soon after graduation, he enrolled in the medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He would then attend Cornell Medical School at Cornell University in New York, where he graduated with high honors in June, 1912.

John E. Ray Jr. was drafted into military service on August 7, 1917, as a First Lieutenant with the Medical Corps in the North Carolina National Guard. When the National Guard was called into federal military service, they were reassigned as the 30th Division of the U.S. Army. Ray Jr. then served in the 105th Field Signal Battalion and the 119th Infantry, 30th Division, U.S. Army, during World War I. He received a promotion to Captain on March 16, 1918—the rank he would hold until his death. John E. Ray Jr. died on October 5, 1918, from wounds he received near Bellicourt, France, in battle.  

To learn more about John Ray Jr.’s WWI service, check out the John E. Ray Jr. Papers (WWI 73) in the WWI Papers of the Military Collection at the State Archives of N.C. in Raleigh, N.C.

This blog post is part of the State Archives of N.C.’s World War I Social Media Project, an effort to bring original WWI archival materials to the public through the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ (NCDNCR) various social media platforms, in order to increase access to the items during the WWI centennial celebration by the state of N.C..

Between February 2017 and June 2019, the State Archives of N.C. will be posting blog articles, Facebook posts, and Twitter posts, featuring WWI archival materials which are posted on the exact 100th anniversary of their creation during the war. Blog posts will feature interpretations of the content of WWI documents, photographs, diary entries, posters, and other records, including scans of the original archival materials, held by the State Archives of N.C., and will be featured in NCDNCR’s WWI centennial blog.