Flashback Minis: William Rayen

A portrait of William Rayen is in the possession of the Tyler History Museum. Rayen, whose legacy is carried on with the Rayen Early College and the street that bears his name, played a significant role in Youngstown’s early development. Artist Benjamin West painted the portrait around 1810.

The Esther M. Parmelee Estate donated the portrait.

Rayen and his wife, Margaret Caree Rayen, moved to Youngstown in 1802, where he operated a tavern and a store. Over the years, Rayen claimed many titles. He was Youngstown’s postmaster from 1818-1839, township clerk in 1816, justice of the peace after 1819 and an associate judge of the court of common pleas after 1820. Additionally, he was a stockbroker and director of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal Company and farmer.

Rayen died in 1854, leaving his estate to establish a public school in Youngstown. In 1866, The Rayen School opened on Wick Avenue. In 1922, the school moved to Benita Avenue until it closed in 2007.

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