Patrick Henry Ray

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Patrick Henry Ray (May 8, 1842 – October 30, 1911) was a career soldier in the United States Army. He first enlisted during the American Civil War, rejoined the Army in 1867, and continued until he died, having attained the rank of Brigadier General, in 1911.


From the New York Times, October 31, 1911:

NIAGARA FALLS, N. Y., Oct. 30.— Brig. Gen. Patrick Henry Ray, U. S. A., retired, civil war veteran and Indian fighter, died suddenly this morning at Fort Niagara. Gen. Ray was born in Waukesha County, Wis., May 8, 1842. He was educated in the common schools and enlisted as a private in the Second Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry in the civil war in 1861. When mustered out at the end of the conflict in 1865 he had been elevated to the rank of Captain. In 1867 he was commissioned Lieutenant in the regular service. He served in campaigns against the Sioux Indians and the Apaches. Gen. Ray was in command of a polar expedition in 1881-3, and by order of the President was sent on a special mission to investigate the gold fields in Alaska during the rush to the Klondike in 1897. He served in the Spanish-American war, and was later stationed in the Philippines. He was retired in 1906.

Arctic Expedition

From the New York Times, July 28, 1881:

Point Barrow Observatory.

From the San Francisco Alta, July 18.
The United States Signal Service Arctic expedition, in charge of Lieut. P. Henry Ray, United States Army, sails from our port to-day in the American schooner Golden Fleece, 126 tons register, Capt. Jacobsen, for Point Barrow, where the party will be landed with 100 tons of provisions and material, and a permanent United States meteorological and astronomical observatory will be founded.
The United States geodetic station at Point Barrow, under Lieut. Ray, on the most northern point of Alaska, and within the Arctic Circle, is to make synchronous observations of all kinds, in connection with the United States station established at Lady Franklin Bay under Lieut. Greeley, in latitude 81° 40′ North, and the international polar observations agreed upon with several foreign Governments. Houses and an observatory will be constructed, and the present aprty are to remain in that locality until the Summer of 1884, when they will be relieved and others take their places. It will be the duty of the expedition to make a careful collection of specimens of the animal, mineral, and vegetable kingdoms within a reasonable distance around the location. The main features will be the accumulation of metereological data. Gen. Hazen, Chief of the United States Signal Service, has ordered uninterrupted observations to be taken throughout the year, and as soon as the local time of Point Barrow is accurately determined all observations will be made simultaneously with those at Washington. Records of the magnetic variation and magnetic tides will also be kept, and the party go supplied with magnetometers and an equatorial telescope, and every class of apparatus that can aid in securing a most valuable collection of greatly needed scientific observations. The Golden Fleece will first touch at Plover Bay, Siberia, where the chronometers will be rated and carefully compared with known points. It is contemplated to send a United States steam or sailing vessel annually to visit and restock these stations with supplies, receive reports, and keep up a necessary connection with the party, independent of transient intelligence, which will from time to time be received through the Arctic whaling fleet.
The party consists of the following detail, all volunteers for the service: First Lieut. P. Henry Ray, Eighth Infantry, commandant in charge; acting Assistant Surgeon George S. Oldmixon, of Pennsylvania, surgeon; Sergt. James Cassidy of Oregon, United States Signal Corps, observer; Sergt. John Murdock, United States Signal Corps, naturalist and observer. He is from Wisconsin, and a graduate of Harvard University. Sergt. Middleton Smith, United States Signal Corps, naturalist and observer, and a graduate of Yale College; Mr. A. C. Dark, astronomer and magnetic observer, and graduate of the Polytechnic University of St. Petersburg; Capt. E. P. Herendeen, interpreter, store-keeper, and post-trader, experienced as a whaling Captain of the American Arctic whaling fleet, who has been many voyages to the Arctic Ocean, and is familiar with every locality; also, a carpenter, cook, and laborer, making the complete party of 10 persons. Besides their duties as Signal Service and observing stations and observatories, where full physical observations of the earth and the heavens will be taken, they are also permanently established as a relief and Life-saving station for the whaling fleets, and a stock of provisions will be kept sufficient to furnish subsistence to those in distress. In addition to the Point Barrow and Lady Franklin stations, the War Department will this year establish 18 other simply metereological stations on the northern islands of our coast about the Arctic Circle, as well as along the northern limits of the continent of North America, conveniently situated at proper distances apart to obtain complete reports of the circumpolar weather throughout the year. Such reliable data is deemed indispensable to the Weather Bureau in forecasting the weather many days in advance, and hence exceedinly valuable to agriculturist and to commerce. In the climate and winds of the Polar regions, the scientists have obtained a partial clue to fundamental laws regulating the motor agencies of atmospheric currents. These observations seek needed information to aid the correct demonstration of great physical laws necessary to advance almost every department of science, astronomy, navigation, hydrography, metereology, including much needed data concerning earth magnetism and atmospheric electricity. The knowledge sought is calculated to accelerate scientific discoveries, useful in arts, agriculture, commerce, and manufactures. The prospective value to humanity of these Arctic observations can scarcely be overestimated. The United States Signal Service already have Signal Officers stationed at St. Michaels, Alaska, and at Attou, Ounalaska, and Copper Island.

From Liberty

From A. P. Kelly, "Anarchy in Alaska", in Liberty (May 17, 1884), p. 5:

Perhaps when our bourgeois friend sees that people do exist peaceably without the restraints of authority, he may admit that human nature is not essentially and incurably bad. Lieutenant Ray, who was in command at the Arctic colony on Point Barrow, tells us some strange things about two tribes of natives living in that neighborhood. Neither tribe holds allegiance to any chief or ruler. No congresses or legislatures have as yet broken in upon the rude mode of living. They are Anarchists in the full sense of the word. Each man is his own chief, and, strange as it may seem, Lieutenant Ray pronounces them the best governed and happiest people in the world. There appears to be no clashing of interests among them, and no bully has ever yet come to the front and bulldozed the tribe by asserting that might made right. Fighting and quarrelling are unknown. Ray says he never saw a child punished in any form, and yet he reports the children as well-behaved, modest, and honest. As high as twenty-five children have visited the station at one time, and their deportment would be such that he could not help but notice the striking contrast between them and the children who had all the advantages of civilization. However small the child might be, it never intruded itself into uninvited places. No matter how many tools, articles of clothing, or provisions were scattered around, the lieutenant never saw them touch a thing, much less try to appropriate or steal them. If anything was given a child, it showed its appreciation thereat, sometimes in words, but more often in smiles, and by informing its playfellows that he or she had been shown especial favors by the great white captain. The only blow Ray ever saw struck in these tribes was by a husband, who boxed his wife's ears for supposed infidelity. Thieving is seldom known among the men or women of the tribes, and, when it does occur, there is no punishment for the crime. Possession appears to be nine points of law with them. A police court would soon become bankrupt there. Neither tribe appears to have any marriage ceremony. If the man is willing and the woman also, there is no legal impediment, and the twain are as one.

From C. L. James and A. P. Kelly, "A Shadow in the Path", in Liberty (June 28, 1884), p. 4:

[James:] In reading your article, "Anarchy in Alaska", I was in hopes I should learn how government could be abolished without being shortly reproduced. But I confess myself disappointed. Lieutenant Ray, whom you quote, was giving such a rose-colored account of the Alaskans that I thought nothing but its correctness remained to be settled; when, lo, I read that he saw "a husband box his wife's ears for supposed infidelity." I suppose that you will agree with me that the husband had no business to do that. But he did; though "neither tribe appears to have any marriage ceremony." Small as the incident is, it throws me back upon the old dilemma.
[Kelly:] It is strange that most men will stumble over shadows in the path, and declare that they have found insurmountable obstacles to progress and cannot possibly go on; but who has ever discussed socialistic questions without observing such phenomena? I gave Lieutenant Ray's description of an Anarchistic society, existing in Alaska among ignorant, untaught barbarians, simply to show that absence of authority does not mean social chaos and disorder; and because an Alaskan boxed his wife's ears for doing that which civilized, government-controlled white men frequently punish with murder, Mr. James despairs of ever achieving social order through Anarchy. The facts that these Alaskans do not rob each other, do not fight, live peaceably, and enjoy the fruits of their own labor seem to be of no importance to Mr. James. A man boxed his wife's ears, and therefore the law of authority is better than the natural laws of human relations, and it is useless to attempt to destroy respect for governments. In other words, Mr. James would maintain a system which enables the few to rob the many, involves wholesale murder and social cannibalism, causes poverty and wealth, breeds crime and builds prisons, for the sake of informing that Alaskan through legislative enactment that he must not box his wife's ears. We have a condition of society which is bad and altogether wrong and which makes men bad.