George Washington Gray

Submitted by Teddy (Gray) Brock


Geo. W. Gray died at his residence in Kansas City, MO. Monday evening at 10:45 o'clock. The body was brought to Perry Wednesday evening on the plug and funeral services held at the Methodist Church Thursday at 10 a.m., after which the body was interred at Oak Ridge Cemetery beside that of his wife by Hope Lodge No. 45 I.O.O.F. according to rites of the Order.

Mr. Gray was a native of Fleming Co., Kentucky and was one of the early settlers of the Kaw Valley and saw much of the troublesome times that proceeded the Civil War. In the early days he owned and occupied the farm now owned and occupied by Henry Sutter. When he sold it he bought a farm northeast of Perry where he lived for a number of years. Several years ago he rented the house in Perry now occupied by Mox Dondeville. He then moved to Kansas City for his wife to take medical treatment. Her health continued to fail and they moved back to the farm where she died.

After her death Mr. Gray traded the farm to Mr. Geo. Miller for Kansas City property and moved back there again. About a year ago his health broke down and he spent the winter in Oregon with relatives, but without any benefit. He returned to Perry last March and in April returned to Kansas city where he was confined to his bed until his death.

His two daughters, Misses Mollie and Kate, and grandson Ernest Gray, made their home with him in Kansas City. His son, E.M. Gray, owns the "Jefferson Co., Fruit Farm" northeast of Perry.

Mr. Gray was about 71 years of age. He was a member of Hope Lodge No. 45 I.O.O.F. of Perry and of Lawrence Lodge No. 6 A.F. & A.M. He was an active member of the M. E. Church South nearly all his life. He took great interest in the lodges and in church. He was a good and kind neighbor and his neighbors, both in country and in town, were sorry each time he moved from their community. Thus, one by one, the old timers are passing away. [Possibly published in the Perry Mirror in Jefferson Co., KS]

[PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM of Jackson, Jefferson and Pottawatomie Counties, Kansas Containing full-page portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, published by Chapman Bros., Chicago 1890]

GEORGE W. GRAY, one of the old citizens of Jefferson Co., owns and occupies a good homestead on section 7, Rural Township. He came to Kansas in April, 1855, settling first on 160 acres of wild land near Lecompton. This he improved and lived upon twelve years, and then selling out, purchased that which he now occupies. This comprises 117 acres, which he has improved from its primitive state so that it has become one of the most desirable farms in the county.

A native of Fleming County, Kentucky, Mr. Gray was born Feb. 16, 1831, and is the son of John and Elizabeth (Seamands) Gray, who were natives of Greenbrier County, Va. The father made a comfortable living as a farmer in the State of Kentucky, of which he was a pioneer settler, removing thither as early as 1814, after having served in the War of 1812. He attained to the advanced age of eighty-six years, dying in Kentucky in 1882. The mother died Feb. 28, 1868, aged seventy-one years. Both parents were members in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the father was particularly zealous in the cause of religion, and later became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Politically he was, during his earlier years, an old-line Whig and after the abandonment of this party he identified himself with the Republicans. He was somewhat prominent in local affairs, holding the minor offices.

The parental family was completed by the birth of nine children, seven of whom are living: David S., in 1859, was murdered along the Kansas Bottoms in Jefferson Co.; Olivia E. became the wife of William E. Christy and is now deceased; Frances is the wife of George W. Seever of Montgomery County, this State; John M. is a resident of Kentucky; America is the wife of Richard Hawkins of the same State; George W., of this sketch, was the next in order of birth; Fielden W. lives in Kentucky; Harrison Madison is a resident of Labette County, this State; and Elizabeth M. lives in Jefferson Co.

Mr. Gray spent the first twenty-one years of his life under the parental roof, receiving excellent school advantages. Upon reaching his majority, he started out for himself and engaged as a farm laborer in his native county. Prior to this he had been engaged in teaching school . In 1852 he was joined in wedlock with Miss Elizabeth A. Markwell, a native of Kentucky and the daughter of Lewis and Elizabeth (Davis) Markwell. Two years later Mr. and Mrs. Gray left the Blue Grass regions, seeking the country west of the Mississippi, and locating in Platte County, Mo. Mr. Gray farmed there one year, then came to Kansas [1855], and before settling down to business joined the State Militia and participated in the battle of Byron's Ford, near Independence. He was also in the fight at Westport. In the meantime he was promoted to be Quartermaster Sergeant. After being mustered out he returned to his family in Jefferson Co., and in1867 settled upon his present farm. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Gray are recorded as follows: Llewellyn J. died at the age of twenty-seven years; Elias M. is farming in Rural Township, Jefferson Co.; Frank, who possessed rare musical tastes and was engaged as a music teacher, died at the age of twenty-three years; Molly E. is a teacher in the graded schools of Oskaloosa, this State; Kate is attending the National Commercial College, at Kansas City, Kan. Mr. and Mrs. Gray are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Mr. Gray officiates as Steward. He keeps himself well posted upon political affairs, voting the straight Democratic ticket, and is quite prominent with his party in this section , having officiated as Chairman of the Democratic Central Committee. He has twice received the nomination of his party for the State Legislature. He was, for one year, the Trustee of his native township in Kentucky. He gives much attention to the education of his children, taking pride in their acquirements and encouraging their progress. He is looked upon as a liberal and public-spirited citizen and a self-made who has worked his own way up to a good position, socially and financially.

The paternal grandfather of our subject was David Gray, a native of Virginia, and the son of John Gray, who was born in Scotland. The latter emigrated to America in time to have a hand in the Revolutionary War, in which his son, David, also served as a soldier. The mother of Mr. Gray was of French and German descent. The parents of Mrs. Gray, Mr. and Mrs. Markwell, were natives of Fleming County, Kentucky, and he followed farming during his entire life. He was Justice of the Peace for a long term of years and, according to the then existing laws, became Sheriff, being the oldest Justice of the Peace in the county. He was an ardent Democrat, and had two sons in the Confederate Army. Elsewhere in this volume may be found a lithographic portrait of Mr. Gray.