John Lawrence Ramey, Book Collector


John Lawrence Ramey, 1911-1999.
Railroad mechanic and book collector


Among the greatest pleasures I received in my experiences at Bookana were the many friendships those years brought. One of the first customers to come into the store was a man I knew only as Ramey. Though he had had little formal education, he was probably as well schooled on history as anyone I have ever met. And he knew his books. Ramey was especially keen in materials involving the Civil War and the Old West. The man had been searching for books for more than twenty years, yet his personal library contained only several hundred volumes. The discriminating interest which went into that collection, however, made it worth a great deal of money.

Ramey was much help to Frank and me, for we had so much to find out about the kinds of stock we needed. In exchange for his advice, we usually gave Ramey the first chance to look over volumes of Americana that we had purchased. I haven’t seen Ramey in years, but if he’s still alive I know how to find him. All I have to do is to stake myself out in a bookstore – any one of them – and he’ll be along eventually.

Chalk Dust on My Shoulder, page 254-255 by Charles G. Rousculp, 1969


John Lawrence Ramey

Ray Carey’s addresses in Columbus, Ohio

It turns out that the below mentioned Ray Carey moved around quite a bit. A search of Polk’s Columbus Ohio City Directories has him listed living at 14 different address from 1911-1939. That is just when he is actually listed in the directories. He is not listed in the 1926, 1934, 1935, 1936 and 1937 directories. Below is an interactive Google Map with approximate locations of where he lived:

Using Google Street View you can check out the neighborhoods as they are today. Many of the houses do not appear to be standing and a couple of them are most likely where I-70 now runs through the city. I was able to make fairly good guesses as to where the houses may have stood using a 1901 Columbus map as an overlay on Google Earth while referencing Google Street View.

Courtsey of David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

Courtsey of David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

Prior to 1911 was difficult to locate Ray in Columbus. There is a Raymond H. Carey listed as living at 469 Hamilton Avenue. Other Carey’s living at that address include Grace, Martha and Stephen. This Ray Carey is most likely Raymond Henry Cary (1883-1953) the son of Stephen Cary (1850-1910).

This Raymond Henry Carey is also listed in the 1909 city directory at 469 Hamilton Avenue. Oddly there is also a listing for Ray H. Carey at 537 Hamilton Avenue. To add to the confusion they are both listed as having the occupation of a traveling agent. At this point I’m going under the assumption this is the same man and most likely a mistake by the directory publisher. It is unclear when Ray Carey (1885-1977) came to Columbus from Hillard but according to his 1905 marriage record to Ola Mae Eastman, he wasn’t yet living in Columbus. Raymond Henry Cary’s listing are pretty consistent with working as a traveling agent or clerk while Ray Carey is consistently listed as a motorman.

Ray Carey and his dog

Ray and Dog

I thought I would start the reboot of this site with a photo of Ray Carey (1885-1977) and this unidentified dog. The photo may have been taken in the early 1940s when he was living in Hilliard, Ohio with his wife Ola Mae (nee Eastman). The photo was found with a group of photos that I have that also include photos of Ray with Ola Mae and his brother Silas and his wife Ethel.