Auglaize County, Ohio

History and Genealogy

Biography of the Sons of Rev. James Spray

Submitted by Arthur J. Spray at

The Sons of Rev James Spray

The Rev. James Spray had three sons Ebenezer L. Spray, James M. Spray & Joseph C. Spray . All were born in what is now Auglaize County. His three sons all joined the 71st Ohio Inf and served in the Civil War.

Ebenezer was born in 1827 Allen County (before Auglaize County was established). Son of Rev. James Spray and Nacy Lucas The Rev. James first wife. He married Hannah D Montgomery daughter of Shadrach Montgomery and Isabella McCullough 30th of June 1850 in Auglaize County, the marriage was performed by Rev. Thomas Reed. Ebenezer died in Paulding County Novemeber 11, 1875 and is buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery Paulding County, Ohio.

James M Spray was born December 30, 1840 Allen County (before Auglaize County was established). Son of Rev James Spray and Jane Huey his second wife. He married Hannah Jackson daughter of John Jackson and Rachel Chambers 8th of March, 1864 in Wapakoneta Ohio. James died July 1, 1884 and is buried at Shinbone Cemetery in Washington Twp., Auglaize County, Ohio

Joseph C Spray was born February 4, 1842 in Allen County (before Auglaize County was established). Son of Rev. James Spray and Jane Huey his second wife. He married Tamzon Shinn daughter of Thomas Shinn and Rebecca Roberts 18th. Of March 1864. Joseph died June 21 1909 and is buried at King Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio.


Sergt. Joseph C. Spray of Washington township, Van Wert county, Ohio, is a veteran of the late Civil war who lost his good right arm in the service. He came from an old North Carolina family of English-Irish extraction, and was born in Shelby county, seven miles south of Wapakoneta, in Auglaize county, Ohio, February 4, 1842. James Spray, father of Sergt. Spray, was reared a farmer in Warren county, Ohio, his father having first emigrated from North Carolina to western Pennsylvania, and thence came to Ohio, being among the pioneers of Warren county. James was still a young man when he went to Auglaize county, Ohio, and there married Nancy Lucas, daughter of Ebenezer Lucas, to which union were born five children, of whom two died young and three reached adult age--Ebenezer, Hester and Naomi. Mrs Spray died in Auglaize county, and Mr. Spray took for his second wife, in the same county, Jane Huey, daughter of John Huey, a native of Scotland, and this union was blessed with two children--James M. and Joseph C. Mr Spray was one of the original pioneers of Auglaize county, and settled four miles south of Wapakoneta, when the country thereabout was all a wilderness, and assisted the United States authorities to remove the Indians west. He was an expert marksman and hunter, shot many a deer and wild turkey, and enjoyed life in the forest. The United Brethren church was the first religious denomination in Auglaize county, and Mr. Spray was one of the earliest converts. He ardently espoused its cause, eventually became on ordained minister, and for twenty-two years was an itinerant preacher of acknowledged eloquence and power. The second wife of Mr. Spray was also called away by death, and his third marriage was with Harriet Givens, of Hardin county, Ohio, to this marriage were born four children--Jane, Mary, Nancy and Helen.

Mr. Spray gave three sons to the service of his country during the late Civil war, who served as follows: Ebenezer L., three years in company G, Seventy-first Ohio volunteer infantry, returned without wounds but with shattered health, and died in November, 1876, as a result; James M., served four months and ten days in company K, Fifteenth Ohio volunteer infantry, and then three years in company G, Seventy-first regiment, then veteranized for three years, February 1, 1864, and was honorably discharged in June, 1865; was shot through the right hip December 16, 1864, and died July 3, 1883, near Wapakoneta, from the effect of the wound. The father himself died December 15, 1860, at the age of fifty-five years, on his farm, in politics a Jacksonian democrat and a greatly respected citizen.

Sergt. Joseph C. Spray was educated in an old log cabin frontier school-house, learned to read, write, became quite thorough in arithmetic, and was reared on a farm. At the age of about nineteen years he enlisted at Wapakoneta in company K, Fifteenth Ohio volunteer infantry, for three months, under Capt. George W. Andrews, served four months and ten days, and was honorably discharged August 28, 1861; he re-enlisted at the same place September 1, 1861--this time in company G, Seventy-first Ohio infantry, under Capt. John W. Moody, for three years or during the war, filled out his term and was honorably discharged and mustered out at Gallatin, Tenn., February 1, 1864, and veteranized the same day for three years longer, or during the war, and was finally again honorably discharged May 17, 1865, at Cincinnati, with the rank of duty sergeant. During this long and faithful service Sergt. Spray took part in the following principal engagements, which list is not entirely completed: Red House, W. VA.; Columbus, Ky., 1862; Shilo; Fort Donelson; Clarkesville, Waverly, Tenn.; several fights with Wheeler's cavalry; the second fight at Fort Donelson, 1863; Flin Lick, Hartsville, Tenn.; all through the Atlanta campaign, being nearly four months under fire; Dalton, Resaca, Big Shanty; Snake Creek Gap, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Lovejoy Station, on the march to Nashville with Gen. Thomas; at Columbia, Spring Hill, Franklin, November 30,1864, then for two weeks on a skirmish around Nashville, and then the siege, December 15 and 16, 1864, and on the 16th was shot through the right arm while carrying the regimental colors as a volunteer, two of his comrades having already fallen while performing this duty, and, after our subject fell, his own brother, James M. Spray, fell shot through the hip, with the flag in his hands. Sergt. Spray was confined in Cumberland hospital two weeks and in the hospital at Louisville, Ky., two and half months, and here the arm was twice amputated before it would heal, the second amputation being made January 22, 1865, close to the shoulder.

The marriage of Sergt. Spray took place, while he was home on a furlough, March 6, 1864, near Wapakoneta, to Miss Tamzon Catherine Shinn, who was born in Warren county, Ohio, November 17, 1844, a daughter of Thomas and Rebecca (Roberts) Shinn. The father was a farmer in Warren county, moved to Auglaize county; in 1848, and settled on 160 acres in the woods, and died June 19, 1855, aged about thirty-seven years, the father of the following children: Robert, Franklin, Tamzon C., Martha, Ruhamie, Andrew, and George. Mrs. Shinn, the mother, lived to be over eighty years of age and died at the home of our subject. The son, Franklin Shinn, served in the Civil war in Company G, Seventy-first Ohio volunteer infantry, and also in the Seventeenth Indiana volunteers--making a total of four years. After the war Mr. and Mrs. Spray settled in Spaulding county, on thirty acres of land, all in the woods, resided there eleven years, the Sergeant teaching school thirty-seven months of the time, and then came to Van Wert county, in August, 1879, and bought a home in Middlepoint and other valuable real estate in the town. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Spray has been blessed with seven children, now living, and named as follows; Arthur A., Jane, Martha G., Emma, Laura, Joseph S., and Blaine. Mr and Mrs. Spray are consistent members of the United Brethren church, in which he is a trustee, and in politics he is a republican. He is very popular with his party, and under its auspices has served as mayor two terms, and town marshal, six years as city councilman, and as president of the school board for six years; also as assessor two years, and is now a notary public. He also served four years as postmaster of Middlepoint under the Harrison administration. He was one of the charter members of the Zeller-Hamilton post No. 260, G. A. R., has served as post commander two and one-half years, and is now filling the office of quartermaster. As a citizen, the sergeant holds a most enviable position in the esteem of the community, and his military record shows that he was one of those grand soldiers never to shrink from duty in time of action, and his bravery at Nashville will make him for all time an honored man.

National Archive Civil War
Co. G 71st. Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Van Wert County History