RAY FAMILY NARRATIVE
Lilly Ray, the daughter and first child of George Ray and Virginia Elizabeth Bourn, was born in Gualala on 14 September 1881. She died on 2 July 1884 at the age of 2 years and 9 months of unknown causes and was buried in the Gualala Cemetery. Her headstone is no longer present at the cemetery, but her footstone remains as well as the monument base, which contains the biblical inscription: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me.”
Lilly’s father, George Arthur Ray, Sr. (b. 24 December 1846 in New Brunswick, Canada) migrated to California by 1870, initially working in the mills around Fisherman’s Bay. He then moved to Point Arena, where he worked as a blacksmith. In 1880 he married Virginia “Jennie” Bourn (1860-1946), the daughter of Morton Bourn, the owner of Bourn’s Landing. Bourn’s Landing played a major role in the development of Gualala, serving as the principal shipping point, both for export of the region’s lumber products and import of commercial goods and supplies, from the early days of the town’s formation through the late 1930’s.
In 1890 George Ray was living in Stewart’s Point (formerly Fisherman’s Bay) and ran H.A. Richardson’s blacksmith shop in the big barn located next to the entrance of the former RCMS building on Skaggs Springs Road. By 1900 he had purchased a home in Berkeley, California, where his wife and children lived while he was working in Gualala. George also owned timberland near Robinson’s Gulch.
The early death of their daughter, Lilly, was not the only tragedy for the Ray family. Their eldest son, George Ray, Jr., when he was 16 years old, was playing around with his double-barreled shotgun at the old Gualala mill when it accidentally discharged, severing a portion of his left arm and two fingers of his right hand. Fortunately, young George survived his injuries.
In 1913, George Sr. traveled for unknown reasons to Boston, Massachusetts. He died there, his death certificate citing complications from liver cancer. He is buried at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, California. After George’s death, Virginia moved with her daughter and family to Beverly Hills, California. She died in 1946, and her burial site is not known.
Siblings of Lilly Ray:
George Arthur Ray, Jr. was born in Gualala on 2 May 1883. He married Gertrude Martin of San Francisco and died 19 July 1971 in San Francisco. They had children Oliver, Edward, and Marion.
Walter C. Ray was born in Gualala on 27 July 1884. He married Agnes Nelson of Tuolomne County and died on 17 July 1982. They had children Kenneth and Barrett.
Hazel Ray was born in Gualala on 14 July 1981. She married Percy Crane in Alameda County and died on 17 July 1982. They had one son, Phillip.
Research compiled by Kelly Richardson, Anchored Genealogy.