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 Wray E Black

Wray E Black

Fairfield, Jefferson County, Iowa, USA
Death 22 Jul 1898 (aged 15)
Wyoming, USA
Burial Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Plot M_189_4
Memorial ID 154128 · View Source
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The Salt Lake Tribune
Sunday, July 24, 1898
page 8


Shot by a Young Companion by Accident
Tragedy on Hoy's Ranch

Promising and Popular Salt Lake Lad the Victim of Careless Shooting of a Rifle by Willie McGinness, a Rock Springs Boy - Young Black Raised Himself on a Haystack and Received a Bullet in His Shoulder and Neck - Awful Blow to His Parents

Wray E. Black, the sixteen-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas R. Black, was accidentally shot and killed by Willie McGinness, a companion, on the ranch of Mrs. Valentine S. Hoy, forty-five miles from Rock Springs, Wyo., early Friday morning. The circumstances surrounding the tragedy are peculiarly distressing.

Young Black went to the ranch two weeks ago to spend part of his vacation on a hunting and fishing trip. Full of life and spirits, he bade his parents good-bye with many laughing promises of the game he would kill and bring home. No shadow of the coming tragedy marked that last parting. The lad swung himself smilingly aboard a passing street car and soon was hurrying toward his destination.

On Wednesday last the hay-making season began on the Hoy ranch. It was great sport for young Black and his comrades to watch the mowing machines as they swept through the billowy sea of tall grass. As they saw the sweet-smelling hay hoisted and packed into great stacks, an idea struck the boys.

They concluded it would be lots of fun to sleep on the hay, with the twinkling stars and the blue dome of prairie sky over them. Wednesday night they enjoyed the experience so much that they concluded to repeat it. About 6 o'clock on Friday morning, McGinness took up a 45-calibre rifle with which the boys had been hunting and started on a tramp.


He told the other boys that he would return before long with a deer. An hour and a half later he came back and began playing with the rifle. He was throwing chips in the air and firing random shots at them, when Black, who had been dozing on the top of the hay, raised himself on one elbow. As he did so, McGinness fired again, and Black sank back on the hay, moaning. When his terrified friends climbed up the hay to his side, they found blood spurting from a great gash in the wounded boy's shoulder and from a hole in his neck. Help was summoned from the house, which was a few hundred yards away, and young Black was carried there.

He seemed to rally slightly when an effort was made to stanch the flow of blood, and a wagon was made ready in which to carry him to a physician in Rock Springs. The start was made, but the boy became so much worse from the jolting of the wagon that it was thought best to take him back to the ranch house. This was done and a messenger sent for a doctor.

Gradually the lad began to sink, although even to the end it was hoped that he was not fatally wounded. Two hours after the shot was fired, young Black murmured, "I am so tired, Mrs. Hoy. Won't you let me go to sleep?" They were his last words, for a moment later his head sank back on the pillow and life was extinct.


At her home on First street, Mrs. Black was reading a bright letter from her son, telling of his good health and glorious sport, when Mr. Black came in with a telegram announcing that Wray had been killed. Both Mr. and Mrs. Black went by the next train to Rock Springs. When they arrived they found that the body of their boy had been taken from the ranch to the town and that everything possible had been done for him.

The McGinness boy was almost frantic with grief. He insisted on going to Rock Springs and giving himself up to the police. He was locked up, but when Mr. Black heard of it he expresssed a desire that he be not prosecuted. He was convinced from what he had heard, that the killing was the result of an accident, although McGinness had been culupably careless.

The body of young Black was brought to Salt Lake yesterday afternoon. Both parents of the boy are almost prostrated by the calamity, but friends ministered to their sorrow yesterday and attempted to offer consolation. The funeral services will occur this afternoon at 4 o'clock. The interment will be in Mt. Olivet.

Wray Black was born in Fairfield, Iowa, in December, 1882. Not long after he was born his parents came to Salt Lake, where they have since resided. The dead boy was being educated in the public schools. He was in the second grade at the high school and always stood well in his classes. Among his friends and playmates he was deservedly popular, and his sudden death will leave a void among them that will be hard to fill.

Young McGinness, who is almost as much to be pitied as the family of the lad he killed, lives in Rock Springs. He came out there several years ago from Chicago with his adopted parents, and has always been known as a very likeable little chap. He is 14 years old.

The ranch where the tragedy occurred was formerly owned by Valentine S. Hoy, who was killed a few months ago by Powder Springs desperadoes.


The Salt Lake Tribune
Monday, July 25, 1898
page 8


Remains of Dead Boy Interred at Mt. Olivet

Great Crowd Attend the Obsequies, which were of a Simple Character - Services at the Home

All that was mortal of Wray C. Black was laid to rest in beautiful Mt. Olivet yesterday afternoon. There, where gentle breezes blow tangled blue-grass over lowly mounds, where the flowers smile a restful greeting to the weary, and the birds warble sweet requiems, a great throng of the dead boy's friends gathered to pay a last tribute to his memory.

Services at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Black preceded those at the grave. A large number of friends of young Black and his sorely stricken family were present. Rev. W. M. Paden, of the First Presbyterian church, was in charge of the services, which were of a simple character. They consisted of prayers for divine consolation to the bereaved family and friends; consolatory verses from the Bible and a short talk on the life and character of the dead boy.

Two hymns, "Not Half Has Ever Been Told," and "Come Unto Me, and I Will Give You Rest" were also sung. At the conclusion of the services the sad cortege took up its march to Mt. Olivet. The pall bearers were Clint Webster, Harry Wilmer, Frank Mooney, Harvey Hardy, Frank Foote, and Albert Hooper. They were selected from last year's second class at the High School, of which young Black had been a member.

Family Members





  • Imported from: UT State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 154128
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Wray E Black (Dec 1882–22 Jul 1898), Find A Grave Memorial no. 154128, citing Mount Olivet Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Utah State Historical Society (contributor 4) .