W.  S.  Ray

          W. S. Ray,  editor of the  Shelby Democrat,  stands prominent among the successful men of Shelby County.  He was born in Shelbyville on the  11th of February, 1848, and is the son of  Martin M. Ray, one of the most prominent men of his time in Indiana.  The subject of this sketch completed a good common school education, with a collegiate course at the Northwestern Christian University of Indianapolis, where he graduated in 1869.  He then entered upon the study of law and continued in it until 1873, when he formed a partnership with his brother, Harry Ray, and they commenced the practice of law in Shelbyville.  After this, Mr. Ray devoted himself to his profession so successfully, that in 1874, he was elected Prosecuting Attorney, and re-elected in 1876; the same year, 1876, he received the Congressional nomination for the Sixth Congressional District of Indiana, in a convention held at Anderson.  This was an honor which rarely falls to the lot of one so young, he being at that time but twenty-eight years of age, but it was an honor which he saw fit to decline, as he refused to accept the nomination and continued in his law business, fulfilling the duties of Prosecutor, until 1878.  On the 13th of June, 1878, Mr. Ray started a new Democratic paper in Shelbyville, in capacity of editor and part proprietor, his partner being  B. S. Sutton, of Shelbyville.  The name of the paper was the  Shelby Democrat  and from the first it was a success: it was a first-class county paper, and its circulation increased in an unprecedented manner; the intention of its editor was to make it as good a paper as there could be found in Indiana; to this end the  Democrat  was enlarged in September, 1878, to its present dimensions.  In October, 1878, Mr. Sutton sold his interest in the paper to  A. McCorkle,  and until the death of the latter, was published under the firm name of  Ray & McCorkle.  Mr. Ray became sole proprietor in 1878, and in 1880, established the  Daily Democrat,  which has been sustained, as perhaps but few papers have, in a city of but 5,000 people. As a politician, Mr. Ray is bold and zealous; as a newspaper writer, is able and aggressive, and his influence has been an important factor in moulding the character and actions of the Democratic party in Indiana.  Although universally regarded as a strong partisan, he has always freely criticised what he believed to be wrong in either the principles or policy of his party. In his denunciation of civil service reform, under the operations of the present law, and in his advocacy of Governor Hill of New York for President, he has made himself a reputation that is co-extensive with the boundaries of the Nation. Mr. Ray is, in personal appearance, prepossessing, in manners pleasing, popular among his associates, and withal a most elegant gentleman.
History of Shelby County, Indiana,  "Shelbyville Sketches," page 530-31, Chicago: Brant & Fuller, 1887.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming

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