Jesse M. Ray, a well-to-do and respected resident of Surry, Hancock County, was born in this town, August 17, 1824, son of Robert and Edith (Wormwood) Ray. Robert Ray, who was born and reared in one of the coast towns of Maine, after his marriage settled in Surry, which was then in its earliest stage of development. Having bought a tract of unbroken land on the Shore Road, he cleared a part of it, and for a time tilled the soil. He subsequently sold that property, and purchased land on the Bay Road, on which he was engaged in general farming and lumbering until his death, at the advanced age of seventy-nine years. His wife died at the homestead, in the sixty-sixth year of her age. Their family included fourteen children, namely: Susan and Henry, deceased; Mary, who first married the late Jacob Lord, and is now the wife of Philip Brown, of Surry; Phcebe, the wife of Philip Milliken, of Surry; Jane, Ingalls, Nathaniel, Almira, and Nancy, deceased; Jesse M., the subject of this sketch; Adeline, deceased; Archibald, a resident of Massachusetts; and Frederick and Augustus, twins, who live in California.
Making the most of the educational advantages offered him at the district school, Jesse M. Ray obtained a good knowledge of the subjects there taught. Having a natural aptitude for mechanical pursuits, he afterward learned the trade of house and ship carpenter, and followed it in this locality for many years. Skilful in the use of tools, he was kept busily employed during his days of activity, and made carpentering and joining his chief occupation through life, although he was also engaged in trade for a time. A few years ago he built a fine residence in the village, where he and his family have since resided.
In politics Mr. Ray has been a faithful supporter of the Republican party since its formation. His first Presidential vote, cast in 1848, was given to Zachary Taylor. During one term he represented his district in the legislature, and he was Town Treasurer for nine years and Collector of Taxes for three years. His religious belief brings him into fellowship with the Methodist Episcopal church, with which he united several years ago.
In 1843 he married Miss Jane H. Milliken, a daughter of the late James Milliken and a sister of Henry J. Milliken. The only child born of their union, Emily J., died at the age of eighteen years.
Source: Biographical review: containing life sketches of leading citizens of Somerset, Piscataquis, Hancock, Washington, and Aroostook counties, Maine. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1898.