15 March 1814 (Bordeaux, France) - 4 August 1879 (Denison, TX)
Denison Daily News
Wednesday, August 6,1879
Died August 4th at 10:30 p.m., of inflammation of the bowels, Justin Raynal, aged sixty-five years.
Mr. Raynal was born in Bordeaux, France, on the 15th day of March 1814. In 1846 he emigrated to the United States, accompanied by his wife and two children, and engaged in the jewelry business in New York. When the gold fever broke out he disposed of his business and lef for the Pacific coast. But fortune did not smile on him; there not only did he meet with pecuniary reverses, but in Sacramento he lost his beloved wife, who as he often stated, had proved herself a true helpmate to him, but also his darling daughters. His son, who he had fonly hoped would become the prop of his age, misbehaved in such a manner that his father forbade him in his house, and henceforth they were strangers to each other.
Various other towns in California were next visited and business therein commenced by him, but with little better success. Nevada, Nebraska, and several other States were next tried, but for a while it seemed that misfortune was steadily following his utmost endeavors to secure a competency. He was frugal and worked faithfully, but his efforts were not crowned with success until he reached Omaha. Here he opened a restaurant and soon secured for his establishment a reputation second to none; in fact, it was considered the best arranged and best kept restaurant in that section of the country. But the climate did not agree with him, consequently he sold out and next commenced business in Chicago. His venture proved successful, and he was fast reaching the goal of his ambition which was to secure for himself a competency and revisit the scenes of his youthful days, his native country, la belle France. But his fond hopes were again doomed to disappointment, the great Chicago fire reduced him almost to penury. Our deceased friend, however, did not belong to that class of men who despond when assailed by disaster. The Empire State, Texas, had long since attracted his attention, and he determined to try his luck in the Bonny South. His funds gave out when he reached Springfield, Mo. He was offered and accepted a position as cook at an academy in that city, saving every penny; he soon had enough to continue his journey, and came to this city in January 1873, with about $100 in his pocket.
Being pleased with Denison, he concluded to locate here and at once opened a restaurant near the corner of Main street and Austin avenue. His thorough knowledge of the business, his agreeable manners, and above all, his strict honesty, soon secured him a large number of friends. His business prospered and soon he was able to buy the property on which he lived.
In 1877, he, at the earnest solicitation of his fellow citizens, consented to become a candidate for councilman. He was elected by a large majority and re-elected in 1879. At the time of his death he was president of the council, chairman of the fire committee and a member of the finance committee. His actions as councilman speak for themselves. He worked indefatigably for the interestes of this city and every measure calculated to promote the same received his warmest support.
His private character was above reproach. But few know how many tears have been dried through his charity. No one applied to him in vain for assistance. He not only had a kind word for each and every one, but his purse was always open to the deserving poor, and many a poor man has been fed and sheltered by him, and many a tear was shed in the huts of the poor, when the news of Raynal's death spread through this city.
On the subject of free education he was an enthusiast, and in his last will and testament bequeathed his fine brick building on Main street to the public free school of this city, with the proviso that his name not be removed from the cornice. But even if no name were affixed to the building, his name can never be forgotten in this community.
Those who have know the genial, whole-souled old gentleman, will never forget him, and coming generations will bless him for having, through his magnificent gift, enabled them to procure the greatest blessing to mankind - a good education.
We trust that those who are entrusted with this noble gift - the school board of this city - will always keep in their minds the often repeated admonition of the noble deceased. "Keep sectarian influcences out of the public free school."
About ten days ago he was taken sick, and even when the fatal disease had but just commenced, he seemed to have a presentiment that it would be fatal. Though everything possible was done that medical service could suggest, though he had the best attention, it all proved in vain, and Monday at 10:30 p.m. he breathed his last.
His funeral took place Tuesday afternoon and was by farthe most imposing one ever witnessed in this city.
As he was a prominent member of the Masonic Lodge, he was buried by that noble order. The body was taken from the residence of the deceased to the public school building where a large concourse of people of people had assembled to witness the funeral ceremonies. The coffin was deposited in front of the entrance door, and the ceremonies were opend by Rev. Mr. Hall with an eloquent prayer, after which Rev. Mr. Parks delivered the funeral sermon. Want of space forbids us from giving even a synopsis of the same, which was very highly commended. At its close the procession formed in the following order : First, the Maennerehor band, the Masons, the hearse, the pall bearers, who were members of the Masonic fraternity, the Gate City Guards, the Denison Cornet band, the different fire companies, the Denison Artillery company, the Mayor, members of the city council and city officers in carriages, and a long line of carriages with citizens. During the march of the procession, a section of the Artillery company, stationed in the park, fired salutes at stated intervals. On arriving at the cemetery, at the place where the remains of Justin Raynal were to be intered, close along side of the remains of his beloved friend, Judge W.D. Kirk, in accordance with a wish expressed shortly before his death, the Free Masons consigned him to Mother Earth with with the beautiful and impressing ceremonies peculiar to the craft. The Gate City Guards then fired a military salute of three rounds over the grave of the departed, and the large concourse of people slowly and sadly returned to their homes.
The Denison Daily News
The Denison Daily News
November 18, 1879
The Sunday Gazetteer
Sunday, April 11, 1897
Monday, April 5, 1897
Justin Raynal, who devoted a small fortune to the public schools of Denison, has slept in an unmarked grave for about 15 years. After several abortive attempts, it does look at last as if a successful effort was to be made to rescue his grave and memory from oblivion. An appropriation of $150 or more has been ordered for a monument. It will take at least $500 for the erection of a suitable head stone.