Moore County, NC

Alleged offense: Murder; Robbery
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: 17
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): Yes
Legal intervention (following lynching): No
Mob size: Unrecorded
Mob members: None named
Alleged victim: Randall McDonald
Household Status: Unrecorded
Occupation: Unrecorded

An African American man named Bob Ray was shot and killed for an alleged murder of a white woman and robbery of a white man. According to newspaper accounts on December 1st, 1892, Ray allegedly arrived at the home of a white man, Randall McDonald, demanding that McDonald give him money. McDonald’s two sisters attempted to alert their neighbors, at which point the Ray supposedly shot at the sisters, killing one and wounding the other. McDonald claimed that Ray then held him at gunpoint until McDonald surrendered his money. For some time the culprit went unidentified until a posse formed and accused Ray of the crime. On the night of Friday, January 6th, 1893, the mob arrived at a hut about one mile outside of Keyser, North Carolina where Ray was staying. When the mob demanded that he surrender, Ray supposedly ran at them, shooting. The mob returned fire and killed him.


Death certificate: None found
Census: 1880 Census Robert Ray

News coverage:

Was He Guilty?

A Fatal Defiance

Shot to Death by a Posse


Town: Keyser, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 35.154943, -79.518917
Rationale:  Keyser, the township (?) described in reportage, does not appear to exist today. Census enumerations from 1930 show that Keyser was listed as being in Moore County, and that it was associated with Pinehurst. Annexation records search did not reveal anything. We thus chose a space near Pinehurst.

Additional Resources:

Researcher’s Note: 1880 Census is of a Robert Ray in Cumberland County, but is the only African American man by the name of Robert Ray in the area, so it is likely this is the same man.