Major James GRAY, Family Bible

Major James GRAY, Family Bible


This is a transcription of a family bible. Unfortunately I don't have the original bible or a photocopy. The records and clippings in the bible were transcribed by hand by a cousin years ago, with the exception of one newspaper clipping, which was photo-copied. I will include the text that she wrote out. As her handwriting is very readable, the accuracy of this information should be good.

Stories about Major James GRAY, Family Bible

Text of the transcription


The following is transcribed from handwritten notes I received from a cousin.  Her notes are in <>, my notes are in [].

Photo copy of Gray Family Bible page (printed 1796 – 620 copies)

Parents:               Born:                         Married                        Died

James Gray          February 16, 1799     December 28, 1820      August 9th, 1878

Jane Gray (Brewster) May 14, 1798                                            November 11th 1868


Joseph B. Gray           October the 9, 1821                                   June 9th, 1875

John A. Gray               April the 4, 1823                                       January 18th, 1891

James L. Gray              February the 6, 1825   January 16th, 1851 Oct 19th, 1873

Mary Jane Gray            May the 29, 1827        January the 1, 1847   June the 17, 1864

Sarah Ann Gray            March the 20, 1829                                      July the 12, 1843

George C. Gray            December 20, 1831                                      April 11th, 1865

Elizabeth Reid Gray     February 20, 1836       April 9th, 1861           March 12th, 1872

Martha Maria Gray        August 26, 1838                                             February 7th, 1863

William H. Harrison Gray September 20, 1840                                   April 3rd 1883

[there is a note in the handwritten copy, to the left of the name George C. Gray, that says “C – Clayton”, I don’t know if this means that the middle name Clayton is written in the Bible.]


In this city, on Thursday, 22d inst, Earnest Clarenden, infant son of James L. and Harriet Rebecca Gray, aged six months.  <(Followed by a short poem – no date for year.  I am assuming this baby was born between about 1862 & 1868 because census records show that Gilson was b. Feb. 1861 and Merritt was b. ca 1869 – eight years between them.  This is the first time I have ever heard of this brother of Grandpa Gray>  [on the large stone at the Gray family plot in Independence MO, between the names of his parents, it says “Earnest C. Gray, Died Mar 22 1856, Aged 5 Mos.”]

Died.  On the 7th inst., Miss Martha Maria Gray, daughter of James and Jane Gray, aged 24 years and 5 months.

Of an amicable disposition, she had many friends, by whom she was much beloved.  Her illness was somewhat protracted; and whatever suffering she experienced, was endured with patience.  She died in full possession of her mental faculties, declaring “I love Jesus”.  Her voice to her young friends is – “Be ye ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the son of man cometh.”

Sad Accident At The R.R. Depot on Peach Street. –

About nine o’clock yesterday morning a lamentable accident occurred near the Union Depot, in this city, by which, Geo. Gray, a highly respectable employee of the Cleveland & Erie Railroad lost both his legs just below the knees.  Mr. Gray was formerly employed as switchman on the Eastern branch, but transferred himself to the Western division some time ago.

A car had been detached from the train and Gray was upon it to stop its progress at a particular point.  While trying to set the brake he accidentally slipped, and falling across the track just before the moving car, the wheels passed over both legs below the knee, cutting and smashing the limbs in a shocking manner.  He was immediately picked up and carried to his residence, where medical attendance was soon at hand.  Both limbs were amputated, but it is feared the patient cannot recover.  Mr. Gray was a very worthy young man, and has a wife and infant child dependent upon him.  We hope his case may not prove to be as dangerous as supposed.


In this city, November 11th, Jane Brewster, wife of Mjr. James Gray, in the seventy-first year of her age.

Funeral to take place from the residence of Thomas Mahaffey, no. 222 State Street, Friday November 13th at 2 o’clock P.M.


Justice – In this city, on the evening of the 2nd inst, Mrs. Ann L. Justice, aged 74 years.

Funeral from the residence of her son, Joseph Justice, West Ninth Street, between Myrtle and Chestnut Streets, on Wednesday, January 4th, 1871, at 2 o’clock P. M.  Friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend.

Jane Brewster’s death date in Bible record was November 11, 1868.  The Thomas Mehaffey in the death notice, married, Aug. 22, 1822, Maria Brewster, sister of Jane (Brewster) Gray.  According to my notes on Mahaffey (source: material Helen Andrews) from the “Dispatch” – Nov. 4, 1868 – Mahaffey, Mrs. Thomas (Maria) died in Erie of pneumonia Nov. 3, 1868 – (8 days before Jane)>

01/28/01 Note to Bob Clark   Cousin Bessie was a cousin of Mother.  They had been writing about the family during the WW2 and Mother gave me the info that she had.  My cousin Arthur Gray was filling Mother in at that time.>

Death of Major James Gray – Erie Dispatch 8/21/1878

Major James Gray, whose death is announced in this paper, was a resident of Erie for nearly his whole life of eighty years, and lived highly esteemed by a large circle of acquaintances.  His parents came from the Eastern part of the State when he was quite young, and settled here, and James grew up with the place, seeming to consider himself a part of it.  He always took a deep interest in what was going on of a public character, and at one time and another held offices of trust.  He filled the position of Deputy Sheriff, was several times elected a Constable, and ably filled other offices.  His title of Major was derived from his connection with the militia, he having attained to that rank, during his service.  His sons upon reaching the age of manhood “went West” to grow up with the country as their father had done, and many times importuned him to go out and make his home with either of them.  But he was devotedly attached to the home of his youth, and with the exception of an occasional visit, never left Erie since coming here, until he left it to die.  A few months since he was laid up with a severe attack of erysipelas in his head, from which his recovery was slow; indeed, before he had entirely recovered he sought the home of his son, John, in Marseilles, Ill.  There he suffered a paralytic stroke from which he never recovered.

Major Gray was one of “nature’s noblemen”.  None knew him but were deeply attached to him, as he was always a sunny-faced cheerful man.  His honesty was proverbial.  “Grandpa Gray”, as the present generation delighted in calling him, will not soon be forgotten by the young men & women of South Erie, his home during the greater part of his life.

Death of J. B. Gray –(from the Nevada Daily Transcript)

Another of this city’s oldest and most respected citizens has gone.  On Wednesday morning at seven o’clock, Joseph B. Gray passed peacefully away to that land “where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.”  One week from his death, he was taken with a chill, which was followed by pneumonia, which resulted in his death at the time stated.

Mr. Gray was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, and was, at the time of his death, fifty-three years and eight months old.  He came across the plains to this state in 1852 and has since that time, continuously resided in this city.  He was an honored member of the following Masonic fraternities:  Nevada Commandery, Nevada Royal Arch Chapter, Nevada Lodge No. 13.  He was also a member of Oustamah Lodge of Odd Fellows, and belonged to Mistletoe Encampment of the same Order.  He was a member of Wyoming Tribe of Independent Order of Red Men, also of the Champions of the Red Cross, and of the Good Templars, in each of which he always acted in some official capacity.  He leaves a wife and three sons and three daughters, and a step-son to mourn his loss, and the whole city to regret his removal from a sphere of usefulness, which but few men among us will be found capable of filling.  He will be buried today at 2 ½ o’clock p.m. from the M.E. Church, Rev. M. Sims officiating under the auspices of the Masonic fraternity.  Thus one by one are our oldest inhabitants passing away.  In the death of Mr. Joseph B. Gray, the city loses one of its most honored citizens, his wife a kind husband and his children an indulgent and affectionate father.

<(at the top of article someone has written June – 1875)>

[I can only assume that the old West was populated with mostly young people, if a man of 53 was one of the oldest citizens!  Back in Erie, his father was still living, so 53 was not considered old, even in that time – B.C.]

[This is an obituary of Alexander W. Brewster Jr, brother of Jane (Brewster) Gray]

Died – At his residence in this city, on Monday afternoon Alexander W. Brewster, Esq. in the 55th year of his age.  The subject of the above notice, in all the characteristics of personal worth and usefulness, was no ordinary man.  Ever intent upon doing good, and contributing to the happiness and prosperity of his fellow men, he has so interwoven himself with every public enterprize as to have become indissolubly connected with the general progress and improvement.  An active and consistent member of the Associate Reformed Church, he stood not aloof from secular organizations, being at the period of his death in prominent official relationships with the Erie Fire Department, the Erie and North-East Railroad Company, the Erie Cemetery Association, and all the other institutions, whether corporate or otherwise of our city and county.  Some seventy years ago he filled the office of High Sheriff of the county, and discharged his duties ably and satisfactorily – occupying since then various posts of honor and responsibility, to popular acceptance.  No citizen was more extensively useful, or enjoyed to a greater extent public respect and confidence.  His integrity stood unimpeached and unimpeachable – his honor above suspicion – and broad-souled humanity and breathing sympathy where the significant attests of his every day conduct.  He was, in short, a pattern Husband, Father and Citizen – a true Christian and liberal Benefactor.  He has, we can readily believe, only been translated from the toils and troubles of earth to the serene bliss of the upper skies.

It is a somewhat singular coincidence that, one of the first and most efficient in organizing the Erie Cemetery Corporation, he has been the first to find a last resting place in the beautiful grounds set apart for the interment of the dean through  the agency of the Corporation.  He reposes beneath a command elevation contiguous to the highway leading to “Ridge Road”, and a fitting monument will doubtless ere long mark the final earthly home of our late esteemed fellow-citizen, whither those who knew him and loved him will oft repair to offer those heart-felt tributes which departed worth and goodness are ever sure to elicit.

We extend the amiable and stricken family of the lamented deceased our cordial sympathies. – May the great father of all families, and source of all comfort, sustain them in this their hour of dark sorrow.

[The following story is about James L. Gray, who was Jackson County Sheriff at the time]

Sheriff Gray, “Watched”

There have been some argus eyes upon Sheriff Gray for the last twelve months, but his late settlements so completely put a quoitus upon whatever suspicions any enemy might have had concerning him, that he was admitted to be master of the situation, so far as the past was concerned, and as a consequence all eyes were turned to the future.  Judging the future by the past, it was clear that extraordinary efforts would be resorted to, or the watching of Sheriff Gray would be of no avail.  His deputies became interested in the movement, and the matter at once took a tangible shape, and the prospects of success at once became encouraging.  The plan was engineered by deputy Brougham, of Kansas City, and heartily endorsed by Messrs. Bailey, Peacock, Sheley, Noland and Thomas, at Independence.  A number of the friends of these gentlemen were called in, $300 in cash were placed at their command, and proceedings at once instituted.  The watch was bought of Wells & Baldwin, of Kansas City, at a price corresponding with the amount of money raised as above stated.  It was of the finest gold and most superior workmanship, and was suspended to a massive gold chain costing a round hundred.

At about six o’clock Wednesday evening the above mentioned parties, viz; Noland, Sheley, Peacock, Thomas and the Sentinel led by Brougham brought affairs to a crisis at the Sheriff’s residence in this city.  A meeting was organized in the parlor, and Horace Sheley was appointed a committee of one to bring in the ladies first, to be immediately followed by the Sheriff.  He executed his duties promptly, and soon Mr. Gray was in the “hands of his friends” as the politicians say and face to face with the president of the meeting.  After a few introductory remarks the watch and chain were produced to the Sheriff’s astonished vision.  He was informed by Mr. Brougham’s representative that this was a testimonial intended as an expression of the esteem in which he was held by his associates in the Sheriff’s office and by the friends who had participated in the contribution.  It touched the Sheriff in a tender point, and for a little time he could say nothing, but rallying, he expressed his heartfelt thanks for the friendship which had so unexpectedly made him the possessor of so beautiful a present; especially as it appeared to be the result of true friendship unmixed with selfish motives.  He concluded by inviting everybody to supper.  Of course everyone went.  The Sheriff’s excellent lady had been duly posted, and as a consequence everything desired by the inner man was in the right place in the best style.  Good cheer characterized the supper hour, and soon thereafter the guests departed, each cherishing pleasant memories of the incidents of the evening.

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