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James Brown Ray

Gov. James Brown Ray

  • February 12, 1825 - December 7, 1831
  • Democratic-Republican
  • February 19, 1794
  • August 4, 1848
  • Kentucky
  • Married twice--Marry Riddle, Esther Booker; seven children
  • Succeeded


JAMES B. RAY, Indiana’s fourth governor, was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, on February 19, 1794. He studied law in Cincinnati, was admitted to the bar, and established a legal career in Brookville, Indiana. Ray entered politics in 1821, serving as a one-term member to the Indiana House of Representatives. From 1822 to 1825, he served as a member to the Indiana State Senate, also serving as president pro tempore of the senate in 1824 and 1825. On February 12, 1825, Governor William Hendricks resigned from office, and Ray, who was president of the senate at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He was elected to his own gubernatorial term in 1825, and reelected to a second term in 1828. During his tenure, railroad construction was advanced with a concentration in the Indianapolis area, and the Wabash and Erie Canal construction was initiated, as well as, construction on the Michigan road. Also while governor, Ray served on a commission that handled treaty negotiations with the Miami and Potawatomie Indians. After finishing his term, Ray established the Hoosier newspaper, and retired from politics after running unsuccessfully for Congress in 1837. Governor James B. Ray, who became eccentric in his later years, died on August 4, 1848, and was buried at the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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