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"To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunties as you do at conclusions."

                BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

 

  PROCTER CEMETERY RESTORATION PROJECT

The transformation of the Procter Cemetery is stunning. The beautifully restored marble tributes to our community’s cherished pioneer families now stand proudly and glisten in the sunlight. One can imagine what the cemetery looked like in the 1800’s when the markers were first lovingly erected, such as the one for Lucy L Briggs who died in 1857 at the age of just 2 years and 18 days. Her headstone states, “A bud on earth, A rose in heaven.”
 
The project also uncovered the headstones of Elzada Smith and Mariam Titus. Both of these women were not listed in any of the known Procter Cemetery readings. Four tablets were returned to their family’s plots, Mary Hamblin, George and Charley Hall, and Harrieth Fillmore. Most likely, these markers had fallen over and someone placed them in another area to safeguard them. Thankfully, Stonehugger was able to find their bases and return them to their original locations.
 
Finally, as the project was completed in the spring and the bushes were still without leaves, Helen Wildermuth of Stonehugger was able to locate an obelisk and finial that were lying down the embankment. These items are being stored until they can be returned to the tops of their rightful monuments.
Stonehugger Cemetery Restoration Company will provide the Society with a binder documenting all the information and work done to the 57 stones. The Society also updated the list of those buried in the Procter Cemetery that is available on our website. Those highlighted in green were restored. The names highlighted in yellow are tablets that still need restoration. The names highlighted in orange are the patriarchs of each family whose monument needs restoration, as well.
The community’s support allowed for the success of this phase of the Procter Cemetery Restoration. The Society thanks all who helped plan the project, organized or attended fundraising activities, and our sponsors.
 
Platinum Sponsor - The Four County Community Foundation
 
Silver Sponsors - Armada AmVets Post 93, Armada Lions Club, Avon Pryor – in Memory of John M. Crawford, Ray Township Firefighters, Ray Township Lions Club, and the Romeo Lions Club
 
Bronze Sponsors - William Diener, Mario & Joelle DiNello, Janet Garrett, Rusty W. F. Millar, Richard Pointe, Richmond Lodge #187 F & A Masons
 
Individual Sponsors - Graham Family, John & Audrey Hemr & Family, Winn & Sharon Renken, and Leroy Smith
 
This was a wonderful start to the restoration of the entire Procter Cemetery. A quick review of the cemetery shows another 74 markers and 33 monuments that would benefit from restoration at an estimated cost of $40,000. The Society’s members will need to discuss how and when to continue with the next phase in the restoration of the Procter Cemetery.
 
 
 
NEWS / EVENTS

The Ray Township Historical Society has published its 2017 calendar titled "Destination: Ray Township" featuring transportation-themed images. Visit Our Store page for more information.


Amazon
will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the Ray Township Historical Society whenever you shop on AmazonSmile. Click on the AmazonSmile button to sign up and start shopping.
THANK-YOU TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS SUMMER'S SILENT AUCTION! It was a huge success raising $1,584 that will benefit the Ray Library interior renovation project and archival preservation.


Thank you to this year’s generous donors:




2016 CALENDARS ARE NOW ON SALE FOR $5.00 each. 
Visit our store page for more information.
RAY TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL SOCIETY
to become THE FRIENDS OF THE RAY TOWNSHIP LIBRARY AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY!


At the Special Board meeting on December 21, 2015, the Board and Membership unanimously approved the change to the Society’s name and updates to its Bylaws. The formal request has been submitted to the State of Michigan for approval. Once the process has been completed, the Society will begin work on updating its website and documentation as well as looking into ways to support the Library.


The new Society is seeking additional members who are interested in helping the Library and/or preserving the history of Ray Township. Stop by the Library or contact Terry at 586-784-9221 for more information.

 


 

Click here to view history of the Procter Cemetery.
Click here to view plot documents for the Procter Cemetery.



OUR MISSION

The Friends of Ray Township Library and Historical Society’s mission is to engage passionate individuals to enrich cultural experiences, enhance literary and educational opportunities, and enliven history.



 
A BRIEF HISTORY OF RAY TOWNSHIP

Whether you are new to Ray Township, or have lived here for generations, you’ll agree that the “jewel of Macomb County” is a unique and wonderful community. It has grown and changed through the years, but unlike so many surrounding areas, Ray Township has retained its rural charm. Many diligent historians have researched our township, and we present a small sampling of their efforts here.  (The following is adapted from Leeson’s
History of Macomb County, Michigan, pp.858ff.) 

Joseph Chubb was among the first white settlers of the area that became Ray Township. His 1825 patent of one section of land was signed by John Quincy Adams. Sadly, Joseph Chubb’s wife soon became the first adult person to be buried in Ray on January 9, 1827. Lucinda Chubb was the first white female child born in Ray, and Edgar Freeman was the first white male child. At about this time, other white settlers included the families of Zelottes Stone, John Gass, Duncan Gass, Nathaniel Thompson, Benjamin Freeman, J.T. Robinson, and Samuel Butterfield. At the time of its organization, the area was named “Rhea”, after the Latin name of a river in Europe. After two or three years, the name was changed to “Ray”. The community grew as more settlers came to the area. The first schoolhouse was erected near what is now known as Ray Center in 1834. The first church building was erected in Ray in 1839, for the Close Communion Baptist Society.

(The following is adapted from the Ray Township website: www.raytwp.org. It includes some background on two of our best known historic buildings, the Township Hall and Library.)

When Ray Township was established in 1827, the boundaries included what is now Armada Township. In 1832 the boundaries were enlarged to include Lenox, Macomb and Richmond Townships. Ray Township was later reduced to its present size of 36 square miles with boundaries as follows-32 Mile as the northern boundary, 26 Mile as its southern boundary, its eastern boundary being a line one mile east of North Avenue and to the west a line one mile west of Romeo Plank. 


The current Township Hall is housed in what was originally the Ray “Union Church” built in 1869. In the 1940’s attendance lagged at the church and the trustees decided to abandon the church and to turn the property over to the township to be used by its residents. On June 6, 1950 a formal agreement was signed between the church trustees and the trustees of the Township. The Township Board began holding meetings at the hall in 1968 and in 1973 opened a small office in the back room. In 1996 the Ray Township Senior Center addition was built on the back of the hall. The interior of the old hall was renovated in 2001 to provide much needed office space for the Township Hall.

The Township Library is located in a former one-room schoolhouse that was built in 1863. The “Mill School” served the community to educate the children of Ray Township for ninety-one years. The ownership of the school and property was transferred to Ray Township in 1953. The building was reconditioned in 1983 and opened as the Ray Township Library.
(The following is excerpted from the Macomb County Historical Commission website’s Local History Spotlight page; it describes the settlements that were a part of Ray Township.)

Davis - This settlement of Ray Township was originally named Brooklyn. Because this name was already taken in Michigan, the settlement was renamed Davis in 1876 in honor of Rev. Jonathan E. Davis. At its peak in the 1940s, Davis had 2 grocery stores, 2 gas stations, a church, Davis Hardware, a barber/beauty shop, cleaners, tile factory, grange office, two-room schoolhouse, insurance and other offices, a Masonic Temple, and a cemetery. Prior to 1876, there were 2 blacksmiths, a hotel, general store, sawmill, cooper, church, school and cemetery. The “Plank Road Mill” manufactured planks for the Romeo Plank Road. Davis is located at 27 Mile and Romeo Plank Road in Ray Township, and it is still a viable entity as a community.


Meade - Stewart Taylor became the first postmaster of this rural post office in 1838. At that time called “Vienna,” it was renamed for Civil War general, George Gordon Meade, on November 28, 1863 and operated until July 31, 1906. During the 1870’s it was also known locally as the “Crawford Settlement.” At one time near a small airport, as of 2005, Meade still enjoys a somewhat tenuous existence. There is still a party store (located in one of the oldest surviving structures) as well as Meade Cemetery and a few street signs that still mark Meade. It was/is located at 26 Mile Road between Romeo Plank and North Avenue.


Ray Center - Located in the southern part of Ray Township, Ray Center’s post office was opened there on February 13, 1846. The first land purchase in the area was made by Reuben R. Smith in 1824. First named Rhea, after the Latin name of a river in Europe, it was later changed to Ray, which is still the township name. Its location was at the intersection of 29 Mile, Hartway and Indian Trail Road on the north branch of the Clinton River. One of the main businesses was the Shafer Mill. It went into decline when the railroad passed it by, instead going by Armada and Romeo.


Ray - This rural post office in the center of Ray Township opened on May 1, 1827 with Reuben R. Smith as the first postmaster. Not to be confused with the Ray Center post office, it operated until June 25, 1868.

 

 

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