Judge William Rayen (1776-1854) left the means in his Will to establish and maintain a secondary school for all races in Youngstown, Ohio. The school opened its doors in 1866 and was the only high school in Youngstown until 1911. In 1922, Rayen moved from W Wood Street to Benita Ave. on the North Side of town. Rayen finally closed in 2007 to clear the way for East High School.
Our first family graduate of “The Rayen School” was in the June class of 1941; there were January and June graduations in those days. My uncle, Mafrano Lanier Taylor, was called French by the family. He was a well-liked graduate on the track team, Letter Man, basketball team, Spanish Club, and Hi-Y, Treasurer. I heard that he had a football scholarship to Michigan State University.
French was born to Robert Lanier Taylor and Cozelle Sloss Taylor in Athens, Alabama, and lived in Youngstown. Shortly after graduating from high school, Uncle French enlisted in the U.S. Army. His service was from 18 September 1942 until his discharge as a Sergeant on 25 December 1945.
He married his first wife, Ruth Washington, in 1947. On his 1930 and 1940 census and his 1947 marriage application, his residence was at 610 North Ave., Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio. The application also listed his occupation as slagger. Slag is an industrial by-product of the steel industry. He invented two safety devices for the steel industry, but I remember him for (1) being a record DJ and (2) having five wives.
Other family members that graduated from Rayen School were my aunt Alphasine (June 1942), my mother, Oradee ( June 1943), my cousin, Robert (1961), and myself. I was the last family member to graduate from Rayen School.