Senator Thomas M. Raysor

SENATOR THOMAS RAYSOR, "born 23 December 1797, was the son of Michael Raysor, Jr. and Eleanor Risher.  A planter, he initially resided in St. Bartholomew Parish.  Tax returns for 1824 recorded 1,121 acres and 12 slaves as his property.  The 1830 federal census noted 33 slaves as part of his St. Bartholomew household.  Sometime before 1841, he moved to Barnwell District.

According to the 1850 census, his real estate in Barnwell was worth $6,000; slave schedules for that year recorded 147 slaves as belonging to him.  Writing his will 23 September 1856, he mentioned a plantation (2,730 acres) and other property;  an inventory taken 2 February 1858 included 48 slaves and valued his estate at over $20,000.

Public office for Raysor began with his service as clerk of the Court of General Sessions and Common Pleas for Colleton District (1822-1833).  While in the Senate, he was a member of the committees on engrossed bills (1833), internal improvements (1833), and finance (1833).  Locally, he served as inspector of timber for the western division of the Charleston and Hamburg Railroad (1832-1833) and militia captain (c. 1841).

Married twice, Raysor first wed Hannah Stokes, daughter of Peter Stokes and Elizabeth Lawford.  Six children were born to them:  Elizabeth Eleanor (m. John May), Thomas , Jr. (1827-1896), Rebecca Caroline (M. William C. Moss), Peter Andrew, Laura Anne (m. James Daniel Erwin), and James William.  His first wife died 21 February 1841.  In May 1844 he married Mary Ayer, daughter of Lewis Malone Ayer and Sarah Nunnars and widow of William Dicks.  No issue was born to the second union.  Survived by his wife and four children, Thomas Raysor died 11 January 1858 in Barnwell District." from the Biographical Directory of the South Carolina Senate, 1776-1985, Volume II, by N. Louis Bailey, Mary L. Morgan and Carolyn R. Taylor.

The earliest known ancestors of Senator Thomas Raysor's father, Michael Raysor, Jr, were first noted in New Bern, North Carolina in the mid 1700's.  The Rishers, Fontaines, and Raysors (also spelled Rasher,  Raisher,  Razor, and Razer in early ) were all present in that area at the time and later migrated to Colleton District, South Carolina.

Michael Raysor married Eleanor Risher around 1795, and Thomas Raysor was the second of their seven children.  According to Frank W. Raysor, family legend has it that Eleanor's parents, Benjamin Risher and Mary Fontaine Risher, objected to the marriage because Michael operated a stage coach stop where whiskey was sold.  The Raysor Tavern is shown on the 1824 map of the area, on what is now SC 61.

Is this early South Carolina family related to the Raysor family from eastern Pennsylvania?
If you look at the probable migration pattern, it is very possible that this Raysor family migrated from Dauphin County, PA straight down the coast to New Bern, Craven County, NC, and then on to Charleston, SC.  If anyone would like to work with me on this, please contact Pat Sabin.  

Raysor GenForum - Post your information and queries (includes PA Raysors)

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The Next Generations
        Rev. Dr. Thomas Raysor had twelve children by two wives, Cornelia Erwin Ayer and Sarah Isabella Leard.  Because he ministered to many Methodist congregations in South Carolina, his children were born in several towns and counties.  His third child, WilliamMoss Raysor, was born October 3, 1853 in Barnwell District (area now in Bamberg County).  He married Anna Murray Gavin around 1879, and they lived for many years and raised their four children, Walter, Charlie, Maud and Katie Lou,  outside Branchville, South Carolina.

        Our grandfather, Albert Sevier Sabin,  was a mid-westerner with East Tennessee and New England roots.  He and his brothers,  Guy and Will Sabin, came south as young men and ran a cypress mill in the swamps of Colleton County.    Bert and Guy Sabin eventually  married "Low Country" girls by the name of Maud Raysor and Ruth Koger.   Katie Lou Raysor also married an East Tennessee boy, Jim King.

        Bert and Maud Raysor Sabin settled in a home he had built for them in Orangeburg, South Carolina, where their first children were born.  They eventually moved back to his mother's home of Jonesboro, Tennessee, but for many years maintained a home in Walterboro, South Carolina.

        Guy Sabin lived in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and worked at the Customs House  in Charleston for many years before marrying Ruth Koger.  They raised a family and lived out their lives in Charleston.

        Will Sabin, who  had joined his brothers in South Carolina much later, was  murdered in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 1911.

Photo Gallery

Michael Raysor - Portrait
Senator Thomas Raysor and Hannah Stokes Raysor?
William Moss Raysor- About 1873
Anna Murray Gavin - about 1879
Emily Maud Raysor - 1907
Walter M. Raysor - Abt 1905
Maud and Katie Lou Raysor- Abt 1907
Children of Rev. Dr. Thomas Raysor & Cornelia Ayer, Abt 1910
Susan Leard Raysor & Family
Harry Raysor Family of St. Matthews, SC

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