Auglaize County, Ohio

History and Genealogy



Biography of Rev. James Spray

Submitted by Arthur J. Spray at sprayaj@worldnet.att.net

John C Spray, my Grandfather, was the son of James M Spray and Hannah Jackson. James M Spray was a Civil War veteran and the son of the Rev. James Spray and Jane Huey. The Rev James Spray was the son of James Spray and Naomi Hollingsworth of Warren County, Ohio.

The Rev James Spray and two of his wives are buried in Shinbone Cemetery, his second wife Jane Huey is buried in Shanahan Cemetery. James M Spray is also buried in Shinbone Cemetery, but I have never found where his wife Hannah (Jackson) Spray is buried. She died in Shelby County.

The Spray family has resided in Auglaize County since it was established and has many ties to this county. I have the Civil War records of the three sons of Rev. James Spray who served in the 71st Ohio Regiment. Ebenezer Spray- James M Spray- Joseph C Spray. They all were married in Auglaize County. Ebenezer moved to Paulding County, Joseph C moved to Van Wert County and James M stayed in the Shelby-Auglaize County area.

Ministers License Record 1 - page 19

Rev James Spray this day presented to me a license from the Court of Common Pleas of Allen County, Ohio being dated 10-19-1847 authorizing him as a minister of the Gospel of the United Brethren Church to solemnize marriages with in the state of Ohio so long as he continues such minister. Recorded Shelby County Ohio 01-01-1858. Licensed Allen County Ohio 10-19-1847 James Spray was also a Justice of the Peace for Allen County, Ohio.

Auglaize Annual Conference Church History First Year
The first session of this young conference was held in Pleasant Hill Chapel, Mercer county, Ohio, convening on the 9th of September, A.D. 1833. Dr. L Davis, late of union biblical seminary, Dayton, Ohio, was the presiding Bishop. The following named preachers composed the conference at that time: James Spray is one of those named. The average salaries of the Preachers was $132.00

Rev. James Spray - Obit

Rev. James Spray died of consumption at his residence near Wapakoneta, Auglaize, County, Ohio. Brother Spray was born December the *16th 1806 and departed this life December the 24th 1860. He embraced Christianity and united with the church of the United Brethren in Christ in 1834. He had labored in the itinerancy about sixteen years, the greater portion of that time in the frontier, in the swamps and wilderness. He was also elected as one of the Delegates to general conference from the Auglaize annual conference. His Labors now are over, and he is at rest. He said that the hope he had contended for was stronger than death. He left a wife and six children, and a numerous circle of friends, to mourn their loss, but their loss is his eternal gain. May the Lord help them all to be prepared to meet him in glory. Funeral services by the writer, to a large and weeping congregation.

S.S. Holden
Montezuma, Mercer Co, OH
February 12, 1861

* Date in question

As a Circuit riding preacher, some of his circuits listed below:
1852-1853 Ft. Recovery 14 meetings 10 churches
1853-1854 Van Wert 12 meetings 9 churches $48.56 annually
1856-1857 Mt. Pleasent Mission
1858 Laramie
1860 Middle Creek Circuit $137.07 annually

Ninth Session Auglaize County Conference.
Benevolent fund Sister Spray $10.00

History of Western Ohio and Auglaize County by C.W. Williamson
Press of W.M. Linn & Sons 1905 page 772

" The two branches of the United Brethren Church have elegant buildings in sections 24 and 25." Washington Twp.

1831 William Spray Section 25.
James Spray Justice of the Peace 1857-1861
Rev. James Ebenezer Spray Justice of the Peace 1866-1869 s/o Rev James
James Spray Justice of the Peace 1872-1875 s/o Rev James

UNITED BRETHREN ARCHIVES
CHURCH OF THE UNITED BRETHREN IN CHRIST
302 LAKE STREET
HUNTINGTON, IN 46750 219-356-2312

Huntington College Library

Rev. James Spray
b. 12-13-1807 Warren County, Oh
m. 1st. Nancy Lucas 03-15-1828 Clinton Co. Oh
m. 2nd. Jane Huey 02-23-1840 Allen Co. Oh.
m. 3rd. Harriet Givens date needed
License:
Allen County, Oh 10-19-1847
Shelby County, Oh 01-01-1858

United Brethren in Christ Archives
William s/o James M. Spray & Hannah Jackson
Birth 11-16-1864 Auglaize County, Ohio
Married 10-09-1890 Van Wert Oh. Viola Catherine Pratt
Died 03-09-1929 Davenport IA.
Grandson of Rev. James Spray
Middlepoint Ohio 1891
Delphos Ohio 1891
Kewanna Illinois 1901

SPRAY - REVEREND JAMES

SOURCE: "History of the 5th Session of the Auglaize Conference"

Convened at Olive Branch (Shinebone) church, 11 Sept. 1857 Written by Rev. J. L. Luttrell of Shelby Co., Ohio

Reverend Spray is mentioned as being member of the fifth session of the Auglaize conference of the E.U.B. Church. The conference was held this session at the Olive Branch Church, Auglaize Co. on 11th day Sept. 1857.

The Reverend James Spray invited us to take Sabbath dinner at his house, telling us he wanted to invite us into the itinerancy. We must be pardoned for giving the reader a full benefit here. We do so that those who live now may know that some, yea many, lived in the earlier history of our Conference life and especially do we record it that the young men who enter the ministry now may see something of what it cost someone before them to break ground to their hand. Services are out" - that's the way we used to say it-and we hear a stentorian voice calling, "Come on, boys" and we follow. The voice belongs to our host. Now we are at his home, just a few rods from the church. The house was after the fashion of the day, in part, it was built of large logs hewn on both sides, and was two stories high. It had a large fireplace in one end, with a stick and mud chimney on the outside, which acted as though it had been built wrong end up, as the building was painted a beautiful black by the friendly smoke which persisted in claiming its place within the building, rather than out and above it. Windows were not necessary as light had free course through the cracks in the logs. Well, in due time dinner was served-not such as now - no napkins, no silverware, no dessert dishes, no pie plates, we did not need them. Again the voice that called us to dine, called us to a leafy shade, and our host leads the way, and soon, by his direction, we are all seated on the ground, with the master of ceremonies, James Spray, in the center of the circle and then follows a scene worthy of the painters skill. The dinner itself not digested, was an old fashioned one, after the manner of rural life, and was so well spiced with touches of sparkling wit and clerical good humor from the head of the house that we were in fine condition to receive what awaited us on the green afterward. I think that all who were present can say that one hour spent in hearing that man of God relate his experience in the work of the ministry, and the incidents of his life, was the one hour of all others in which they were made wiser, sadder, happier and better. To the writer the picture of that hour hangs in the hall of memory as brilliant in all it's colors as when it was painted thirty-five years ago. James Spray was about six feet in height and well built, his skin was fair. His hair was light, almost red, his eyes were blue. His cheekbones were prominent and the nose sharp, which indicates a quick, penetrating mind. Brother Spray was given to eccentricities, as the following incidents will show. Riding through a long lane one day, a large porker jumped up before him, and took off in fright down the lane with the preacher after him hollowing "Boh, Boh" imitating the hog when he came across two or three men, putting an end to his fun. In another incident, he staid overnight in a hotel in Indiana and the landlord feigned great piety, but Brother Spray suspected great fraud and contrived a test. His horse was trained to bite, so Reverend Spray gave the horse a punch causing the horse to give the pious landlord a bite, causing him to cry out "You'll bite will you?" This satisfied the preacher who rode off, laughing at the discomfort of the pious (?) host.

Another time he purchased a horse out on his field and not having saddle or bridle he peeled bark and constructed a bridle out of that and started for home. All went well enough until he came to the tollgate west of St. Mary's, Ohio, when he suddenly came to grief, if not to shame. On riding up to the gate he was confronted by a woman who demanded the fee. Money he did not have, and to say he was a minister seemed hardly the thing to do at the time and pass he could not unless he paid. Well he summons the courage and asks the lady if the clergy did not go free, and receives the reply, "Yes, sir" and looking him full in the face, she said "Are you a preacher?"

The people he served were poor and few in number, and could not pay much for support of the Gospel, and Brother Spray would take any thing anyone would give him and pack it home a hundred miles or more on horseback - coonskins, a piece of meat, a little corn, no difference what. At one time someone, who made a chair or what passed for one, proposed he would make him two for Quarterage, if he could get them home any way. He was told to make them which he did and the preacher carried them home on his horse. In many respects James Spray was a remarkable man. Careless as to dress, indifferent to censure or praise, he could be himself and suffer no loss of independence. At times he excelled in oratory, many of his day. His perceptibilities were keen, and on questions of church laws he had no peers. When he rose in the conference room to speak on Questions of law, all wanted to hear, and when he died the question was asked "Who will fill his place?" He died in great peace at his home in Auglaize County, Ohio in the year 1861.

BY REV J L LUTTRELL
A MEMBER OF THE CONFERENCE FOR THIRTY-FIVE YEARS

PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR BY THE
UNITED BRETHREN PUBLISHING HOUSE)