Ray found dead at roadside near Elm City.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 October 1945.

Given the circumstances — gone squirrel-hunting, headed home — Sheriff Weathersby’s determination that Henry Ray committed suicide seems hasty. His death certificate is more equivocal, citing his cause of death as “Probably suicide Gunshot wound in chest” and noting that the incident occurred “near house.”


In the 1940 census of Rocky Mount township, Nash County, N.C.: Callie Ray, 55, widow, and grandson Henry, 16, both farm laborers.

In 1942, Henry Ray registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 23 October 1923 in Nash County, N.C.; lived in Sharpsburg, Wilson County; his contact was H.P. Massingill, Sharpsburg; and he worked on Claud Albritton’s farm, Sharpsburg, Nash County.

Henry Ray died 5 October 1945 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was 20 years old; was born in Nash County, N.C., to Coley Ray of Nash County and Ida Barnes of Wilson County; was single; worked in farming; and was buried near Sharpsburg, Nash County.

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