John Rayner & Mary Rayner

Sally’s Great-grandparents:

John Alexander Rayner 1837-1901 | his parents
& Mary Winifred (Mollie) Rayner 1840-1925 | her parents
of Powellsville, Bertie Co, NC

John & Molly Rayner


John Alexander Rayner and Mary Winifred Rayner were married 24 October 1860.
They made their home in the old Rayner home one mile from Powellsville, NC- with his bachelor brother Marcus J Rayner, grandmother Penelope Drew and several unmarried sisters and younger brother Will.

The picture below is the detail of front porch with Christine, Mrs. Ed Raynor in the foreground. Pictures by Joe & Mary Maioni
on their roots connecting trip to North Carolina in 1948.

John Alexander Rayner, son of William Rayner and Eliza C. Drew, was born 31 July 1837.
He enlisted at Windsor in Bertie County, N. C. at age 24, August 9, 1862, for the war.
As a private with Co F 4th Reg NC Cavalry. Which later was Co F 59th Reg NCT.

The home burned one night about 1896,
James Moore writes I remember my grandfather, Raynor Moore, telling me that Aunt Nell was spending that night at Uncle Marc’s. Grandpa forgot this and went back into the house and fought his way to her room. He found it empty and then remembered where she was. He suffered burns on the face and hands.
Eunice Sessoms Waters wrote: My Grandma told “I woke up in the middle of the night and my house was full of smoke and fire. Before your grandpa and I could get the chairs, tables, and beds out, it was burning all over. My husband’s eyes were burned, burned so bad he had them tied up and could not see how to walk for a long time.”

(The home was rebuilt as it had been.)
John Rayner died at his home, the new old Rayner home 22 Dec. 1901.

“Molly” Mary Winifred Rayner, daughter of James Rasco Rayner and his wife Frances Florentine Lawrence, was born 3 Feb 1840 on a raining, freezing day.
Her mother died 20 Dec 1847;
her father remarried 2 April 1850;
then he died 27 Sept 1852
and the step-mother had died by 1855.
The children lived with various relatives and friends–
Molly went to live with J O Askew (1860 census), merchant.
Molly attended the school conducted by Mr Alfred Darden at his plantation “Elm Grove” at Mapleton.
Molly died of “uremia” on the 26 April 1925 at the home of her daughter Beulah Sessoms.

Mollie Rayner

Eunice Waters wrote My Grandma had read the Bible through many times more than I thought possible.
I never asked her a question about the Bible that she did not answer and then told me in which Book and Chapter I could find it.
She had a wonderful voice and could sing from memory Hymns, old Irish & English Ballads – Folk songs – all of Stephen Foster’s – and Lullabies.
She rocked her grandchildren and great grandchildren to sleep as she sang.
She sang as she knitted stockings for the grandchildren – and she sang at Twilight – Songs and Hymns she had learned as a child and young girl.
She did not have much formal schooling – as she did not go to College though her sisters did.
Her mother died when she was very young – and her father married the widow Mebane, who had several children, so she went to live with her Aunt Mary.
She did attend a Young Ladies School in the Home of Miss Anna Darden, who was her teacher.
(She was Lil Sumner’s great aunt) – My Grandma must have been a joy to Miss Anna – Her English, oral and written was very nearly perfect. So was her spelling.
Her memory was perfect. She could recite long poems, chapters from the Bible.
Things she had learned as a child, she remembered correctly.
She never failed to correct our English.
She would quote rules to us and then say “There are exceptions to all rules –
So just say words over and see if they sound right.”
“Richer than I, no one could be, I had a Grandma, who read to me.”

Molly Rayner and her daughters:
Johnnie Moore, Beulah Sessoms and Nell Myers

Molly Rayner in her hat

Children of John Alexander Rayner and Mary Winifred Rayner:
1. Gustave Beaureguard Rayner 3 Aug 1861-1952

Baptist preacher and farmer, Texas

married 1886 1st Louanna Mitchell 1868-1912
married 1913 2nd Francis Elizabeth Hale 1888-1960

2. Johnnie Florentine Rayner 14 Dec 1863 -21 Mar 1926 Maple Lawn

Johnnie Rayner Moore

married 24 Oct 1886 Arthur Cotton Moore 1854 -1926 Farmer

3. Percy Lockhart Rayner 12 Oct 1866-29 Sept 1930


Gen. Store- Powellsville

married c 1912 Ella Jones 29 June 1882 – 17 Sept 1961

4. Morton Lacy Rayner 1 Feb 1869 – 1927

Farmer- home place

married c 1900 Hattie Parker 1879 – 1958

5. Beulah Elizabeth Rayner 3 June 1871 – 24 Aug 1937


married 1890 William Elisha Sessoms 22 Sept 1849 – 10 July 1923
FarmerAhoskie side at Stoney Creek

6. James William Rayner 14 Feb 1874 – 16 Dec 1932


Railway Freight Agent-Powellsville
married 3 Sept 1902 Annie Ward Pruden 22 June 1876 – 22 Oct 1944

7. John Armstead Rayner 16 May 1875 – 4 Jan 1919


Farmer- Powellsville
married 1899 Betty Moore 17 July 1879 – 25 Feb 1919

8. Martha Penelope [Nell] Rayner 22 Mar 1878 – 13 June 1967

Nell — all grown up

married 1899 David L Myers 16 Sept 1868 -12 July 1956
son of Nathan Myers b 23 Sept 1838 and Sallie Ann Askew,
grandson of Giles Myers and Phoebe Phelps

Mercantile and Jewelry Stores- Ahoskie

9. Fredric Lawrence Rayner 2 Feb 1882-11 July 1882

5 thoughts on “John Rayner & Mary Rayner”

  1. My name is Gustave Walter Rayl, son of Winifred Rayner Rayl and Kenneth R. Rayl, Grand son of Gustave Rayner. Thank you for so much family history.

  2. Hello, I am working on the family of Gustave Beauregard Rayner and wanted to link his Findagrave record to his parents. Do you have any idea where his parents were laid to rest? Is there an existing Findagrave record for his parents? Thanks for any help.

    1. They are in the graveyard that was near the old Rayner home, I have their pictures and info on the Rayner Cemetery page.
      By the way Uncle Gus was born in the first year of the Civil War and not ten years later as I saw in his cemetery record.

        1. Our common ancestors are John Rayner and wife Judith Chappell. Among others, they had sons Samuel, Amos, and Joshua. Kenneth was the son of Amos. I descend through both Samuel (ancestor of Mary above) and Joshua (ancestor of John Alexander above).

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