Biography of R. N. Gray

R. N. GRAY. In tracing the genealogy of the Gray family in America, we find that the first member who made his home here was Robert Gray, the great-grandfather of our subject. He was a native of North Ireland, and was there reared and married, his wife being Miss Margaret Wilson, also a native of that country. Nearly a year after their marriage this young couple decided to cross the ocean and make their home in America. This was at a period ante-dating the Revolutionary War, for Mr. Gray was a soldier in that war and fought bravely for independence. They were unavoidably delayed on the voyage to this country by bad weather and their first child was born on the ocean. This child was named Jane. After reaching this country they remained in the East until after the war, and then, as Tennessee was open for settlers, they found their way there and were among the pioneers.

The next child born to this worthy couple was Robert Gray, the grandfather of our subject; the others were named, in the order of their births, as follows: John, Daniel, Betsey, Nancy, Molly and Sarah. The three eldest daughters married three brothers by the name of Hawkins-John, Nicholas and Nathan, and the sister of these men was the mother of the noted Davy Crockett. The other two sisters, Molly and Sarah, married Asariah Davis and John Lindley, respectively. All the children married and reared large families. The father of these children died about 1826. He was a man of influence, and was highly respected wherever he made his home. Robert Gray, the grandfather of our subject, was reared in Tennessee, and was there married to Miss Mary Kenny, who was reared in the same county and perhaps in the same neighborhood. She had one brother, James, and her sister married a very eminent physician by the name of Robert Pollock. Shortly after Robert Gray’s marriage Kentucky became a State in the Union with the few other States at that time, and, although infested with wild animals, and still wilder Indians, Mr. Gray, with a few friends, moved there and settled in Christian County, of which Hopkinsville is the county seat. Mr. Gray became well acquainted with the noted Daniel Boone, and was in many Indian fights with him. The latter was Mr. Gray’s nearest neighbor, and they became fast friends. As new settlers began pouring in and the country began to be fairly well populated, Mr. Boone, who preferred a pioneer life, emigrated to Missouri, long before that State was admitted into the Union, and continued to fight Indians and bears. Mr. Gray, although earnestly solicited to go with him, concluded that he had had enough of pioneer life, and continued to make his home in Kentucky. After the land came into the market, Grandfather Gray entered large tracts and became quite wealthy in the way of land. There he and his wife passed the remainder of their days. They were the parents of twelve children, six sons and six daughters, all of whom grew to mature years except one. They are named as follows: Elizabeth, Nancy, Wilson, Jane, Mary, John, Sarah, an infant unnamed, Robert, Daniel G. (father of our subject), Nicholas and Hester-all now deceased except the father of our subject. Grandfather Gray was a mechanic, cabinetmaker and wheelwright, and was also a farmer. He was a noted trader in his day,buying land and stock, and every year drove horses to Virginia and the Carolinas. He always kept a six-horse wagon and a team of sixteen-hand horses, and often hauled salt and dry goods from Richmond, Virginia, a distance of several hundred miles. He had the genuine Kentucky love of horse flesh, and always had good teams.

His son, Daniel G. Gray, father of our subject, was born on the homestead in Kentucky, and was named after Daniel Boone, the Indian fighter. He grew to manhood in that State and learned the wheel-wright’s trade of his father, the same being of great help to him in supporting his family in later years. When twenty years of age he began to branch out for himself, and in traveling around he met the young lady who became his wife about three years later. Her name was Elizabeth Catherine Gallion. Their nuptials were celebrated June 4, 1829, and the following children were the fruits of this union: Robert Henry, born March 17, 1830; Mahala Jane, born July 29, 1831; William D., deceased, born January 25, 1833; Mariel H., born October 2, 1834; Thomas J., born February 8, 1836; John D., deceased, born November 29, 1837; J. M., born August, 1840; Mary L., born August 25, 1842; Harriet E., deceased, born February 17, 1844, and Nanny H., born April 24, 1846. Two years after the birth of the latter, on the 2d day of April, 1848, Mrs. Gray died. In 1849 Mr. Gray left his family in Greene County, Missouri, whither he had moved after his marriage, and took a trip overland to California, where he followed his trade until 1851 or ’52, when he returned to Missouri. in October, 1853, he married Miss Elizabeth Crumpley, and five children were born to this union: William, died when five years of age; John is farming in Kansas; R. N., our subject; Anna, who died when twenty-two years of age, and Henry, who is residing at Eureka Springs, Arkansas The father and mother, still living, are now quite aged people. Although eighty-seven years of age, time has dealt leniently with Mr. Gray, and he is one of the best preserved, physically and mentally, of the men, few in number, who have attained to his age. Although living in Mississippi, he is well known to the people of Greene and Christian Counties, Missouri, and is universally respected. Mr. Gray is a Republican in politics. His eldest brother, Wilson, served three years in the army during the War of 1812, under Jackson, and took a prominent part in the battle of New Orleans. His brothers, Robert and Nicholas, our subject being named after both, went from Kentucky to Cole County, Missouri, and married into wealthy families there. The former served twice in the State Legislature, and Nicholas was sheriff until both resigned and in 1847 moved to Texas. There their deaths occurred in the year 1851. The father of our subject was elected twice to the office of assessor of Greene County when that county comprised nearly all of southwestern Missouri, and filled that position in a very satisfactory manner. Honorable and upright in every walk of life, cordial in manner, apt in expression, and full of the knowledge of men and events, gathered in many years of intelligent observation, one seldom meets a more interesting man for his years.

The original of this notice was born in Greene County, Missouri, October 16, 1858, reared on his father’s farm there, and his education was an active druggists of the State, and has one of the finest and best equipped stores in the country. It is well stocked with every kind of drug and all sorts of toilet requisites, perfumes, fancy soaps, patent medicines, etc. This is in all respects a representative house in its line, and Mr. Gray understands thoroughly every detail of his business. In politics he is a Republican, and socially a Mason, a member of Friend Lodge No. 352 at Ozark.

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In the month of January, 1887, he was married to Miss Nora Collier, a native of Kentucky, born January 23, 1866, and the daughter of Judge John P. Collier, of Ozark. Two children have been born to this union: R. N., Jr., whose birth occurred June 21, 1888, and Lucy May, born October 23, 1891. Mr. and Mrs. Gray are members of the M. E. Church South. They have a pleasant home in the city, and are well respected by all.



Greene County MO,

A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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