ETHEL DAVIS (GRAY) KRAMER (1871AR-1910IL)
Ethel Davis GRAY was born Tuesday, 5 December 1871, at
Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, to Virginia LaFayette (Davis)
Colonel Oliver Crosby GRAY (President of Masonic, St Johns' College).
She was their third and last child following Clyde Leslie
(1859MN-1861AR) and Carl Raymond (1867AR-1939DC).
Ethel's mother said of her after birth, that she had a
white cotton head, a woodshed nose, blue eyes and a cholic, thinking
blue eyes and cotton head would change, for those were NOT a family
trait. Three years later Ethel was found still with uncommonly white
skin, also, her hair, as seen in picture taken at Bentonville, AR after
the 1874 move to Fayetteville, was fine, thin, and all in frizzle of
The GRAYs, following conclusion of "The Brooks-Baxter
War" and Civil War Reconstruction, moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas
of 1874 where Ethel grew up with her four year older brother Carl.
Mother and father were faculty members at, 1871 created, Arkansas
Industrial University (AIU); Virginia, Drawing & Painting (1874-1881),
Oliver, Civil Engineering (1874-1879) and Mathematics (1874-1895).
booklets; "The Grays From Maine", and "The Story Of Two ARKANSAS Pioneer
Only photograph known of Ethel is from ca 1875, by Raphiel M Hansford
of Bentonville, AR.
Her mother's (Jennie to family) letters reveal Ethel
often accompanied her to classes at AIU.
Following life in a hotel for over two years, the Gray
family bought a run down, snake infested piece of property with a vacant
house and wet-weather stream Feb 1877, fixed it up and moved into their
own quaint rambling English cottage, olive green in color at Dickson
Gregg streets. This was a block east of the university.
Parents deeded easterly portion of their 2-1/4 acre
property, along Dickson Street, to "Frisco" (St Louis & San Francisco
RR) for the new railroad tracks and facilities, becoming a major
interest to Carl who at age 15, went to work for "Frisco" the first
years of his 56 year railroad career. (See booklet; "Carl Raymond
Washington County, AR 1880 census finds the GRAYs
living in this charming cottage, its ornamental woodwork at porch,
vines, shrubbery and fruit trees in just the right places for their
white pony, "Jule", to roam. Everything about the home reflected her
mother's artistic taste, such as the long west room's fireplace
surrounded by hand painted tiles to interest the children. Also written
"Carl was a sturdy brunette with coal-black hair and eyes, while Ethel
was the exact
opposite, a slender, fairytale-princess type with golden curls and
blue eyes, and of
all described in written
memories by childhood younger friend and neighbor, Hattie E Williams
(born 1877), "OUR NEIGHBORS --- THE GRAYS", published May 1958, in
"FLASHBACK", of Washington County Historical Society, copy furnished
Carl's granddaughter, Wint (Gray) Bones, d/o Howard Kramer GRAY, M
The children witnessed their mother's eight-month lingering
death from cancer occurring 1:30 pm Tuesday afternoon of 17th of August
1886 at home. The disease was discovered in December 1885 by Dr W B
Welch, who had served as a Surgeon in Princeton, Arkansas following
Battle of "Jenkins' Ferry" Saturday, 30 April 1864 while Virginia lived
in nearby Princeton, helping at hospitals, maintaining the 1983
published diary in Arkansas Historical Quarterly. It, concerning events
from 1863 to 1866 at Princeton while Ethel's father was off fighting
Civil War east of the Mississippi River, as Company A commander with
Arkansas Cavalry and divisional Provost Marshall, a regiment organized
by Col Solon Borland, M D,1861, whose daughters, Fannie & Mollie
close friends, Mollie, later Ethel's step-mother, was father's 2nd
Ethel attended Presbyterian's Lewis Academy in
Wichita, Kansas, where brother Carl and his family (married 6
December1886) were living in 1889, and where her future husband LeRoy
Kramer was born 19 August 1875 to Henry & America (Baynum) Kramer.
Ethel & Carl gained a "step-family" 17 June 1889 when
their father married Mary (Mollie) Melbourne (Borland) Beattie
(1850AR-1938MO) with teenage children, two daughters, Grace & Mary
son, Godwin. (Daughter of his 1st military commander, U S Senator Solon
Borland, M D (1811VA-1864TX), See booklet; "That Man Named Solon")
Ethel and four year younger step-sister, Mary Borland
Beattie (1875TN-1962MS) attended AIU classes 1892/96. Mary B graduated
1896, "with distinction", 1st AIU class to be adorned with caps &
Special Collections at University of Arkansas reported, 1
February 2005, finding the following, numbered 1 - 6:
1. In the Arkansas Industrial University, Catalogue of Students, For
Session Commencing September 2d, 1878, and Ending June 12th, 1879,
"Ethel Gray ... Fayetteville, Washington County" is listed on p. 18
the "School of Drawing and Painting".
2. In the Arkansas Industrial University, Catalogue of Students, For
Session Commencing September 3rd, 1883, and Ending June 12th, 1884,
"Ethel Gray ... Fayetteville, Ark." is listed on p. 14 in the "Art
3. In the Arkansas Industrial University, 1891-92, Catalogue of
Students, an "Ethel Gray ... Fayetteville ... Washington" is listed
113, in a section called "Special".
4. In the Arkansas Industrial University, 1892-93, Catalogue of
Collegiate Students, an "Ethel Gray ... Fayetteville ... Washington"
listed on p 109, in a section called "Special".
5. In the Arkansas Industrial University, 1893-94, Register of Students,
an "Ethel Gray ... Fayetteville ... Washington" is listed on p 125,
section called "Special".
6. In the Arkansas Industrial University, 1894-95, and 1895-96, Register
of Students, an "*Ethel Gray ... Little Rock ... Pulaski" is listed
145, in a section called "Special". The * is for "those in attendance
the first session (March 5, '95 ended July 17, '95...For this short
session no catalogue was used), but not the last".
Ethel GRAY is next found in 1897 "boarding" with
father and step-mother at 18th & Center Streets, Little Rock where
1895, father became superintendent and step-mother matron of Arkansas
School for The Blind, --- where 26 years earlier, in 1869, the school
had constructed and dedicated its first brick building in honor of
father, "Colonel GRAY", while teaching at nearby Masonic St Johns'
College, --- however, replaced in 1950 by Governors Mansion using
"300,000" of school's old bricks.
The June 1900 census found Ethel, single, living with
brother Carl's family in Monett, Barry County, Missouri(ah). Her soon
be husband, LeRoy Kramer, Esquire, worked for Carl as traveling
secretary and confident, at "Frisco" since 1897, is found in a rooming
house, same town. Ethel Davis GRAY married LeRoy Kramer Wednesday,
June 1900, later everyone moving to St Louis, Missouri where brother
Carl and wife Harriette named their third/last son Howard Kramer in1901.
Their beloved father, Colonel Oliver Crosby GRAY, died
at age 73, in Little Rock, 9 December 1905.
University of Arkansas built and dedicated GRAY HALL,
in 1906, to honor Colonel Oliver Crosby GRAY's memory. (1966, Removed
for Mullins Library)
Ethel gave birth to a daughter named Virginia who died, Thursday, 30
1908, --- Kramer's are not found in 1910 census but then Ethel died
age 38, Saturday, 16 April 1910 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois while
LeRoy was assistant Vice-President of Rock Island RR, She was buried
Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas, Monday, April 18th, next
her father, in lot 144, of Historic Masonic, now Evergreen Cemetery.
LeRoy married Margaret Frances (Hull) Hannegan,
Saturday, 17 February 1912 in Chicago they raising a family of one
daughter and two sons, whose grandson, LeRoy Kramer, III, of Harbor
Springs, MI has corresponded. LeRoy with wife Margaret are pictured
page 72, Life Magazine's 21 December 1936 issue celebrating the 50th
wedding anniversary of Carl and Harriette GRAY in Omaha, Nebraska.
later became President of world-wide GATX Corporation.
Ethel, with daughter Virginia, are peacefully at rest
in the beautiful Historic Masonic, now Evergreen Cemetery, Fayetteville,
Arkansas, Lot 144, along side her mother, father and step-mother
(un-marked). She like her mother before her, was an artistically
inclined person, differing only by Ethel's blue eyes and blond hair.
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