Copy courtesy of Colby College, Waterville, Maine
THE ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT
34th Year ~ MONDAY , DECEMBER 11, 1905
COL O C GRAY HAS DEPARTED
Passing of a Noble Life on Saturday Evening.
A GREAT EDUCATOR
Under His Tutelage Many of the Leading Citizens of the State Have Been
The funeral of Col O C Gray was held at 3 p m
yesterday at the First Presbyterian Church, the services being conducted
by the Rev J S Edenburn, the pastor. The funeral was attended by
hundreds of leading citizens of Little Rock, evidencing the high esteem
in which the deceased was held. The floral offerings were numerous
most beautiful. The incidental music was furnished by the pupils of
Arkansas School for the Blind, who looked upon the deceased almost
the veneration due an indulgent father. Mrs Trebing of the school
faculty sang a beautiful solo, "Safe in the Arms of Jesus" [title:
engraved 44 years earlier on sons gravestone]. Rev Mr Edenburn read
Scripture lesson and made a brief address upon the merits of the
deceased as a man and notable relation which he bore to the educational
interests of the state.
The pallbearers were as follows: J E Williams, John
Fletcher, J H Harrod, Jesse Hart, John W Blackwood, Carroll D Wood.
The members of High de Payens Commandery, Knights
Templar, of which the deceased was a member, acted as an honorary escort.
Immediately after the services at the church the
remains were taken to the Choctow depot, and carried on a special train
to Fayetteville, were the funeral was held this morning under the
auspices of the Knights Templar.
Oliver Crosby Gray, superintendent of Arkansas School
for the Blind, died at 5:30 p m
PICTURE of Col GRAY
Saturday at the school, after a six weeks' illness with cerebro-spinal
meningitis. For half of this period his condition has been critical,
while his death came as shock to the entire state, it was not wholly
unexpected, and his family and friends were in a measure prepared for
the inevitable end. He was one of the foremost educators of Arkansas,
and his life work has left its deep impress upon the youth of the state.
Many of those who were his pupils in the old St John's College of Little
Rock, and at the State University, are now among the leading men of
state in business and the professions, while for the unfortunates who
have had the privilege of his tutelage for many years in the School
the Blind he possessed an abiding affection that has told for their
good. He set for them a high ideal in life, in literary, domestic and
mechanical pursuits, and has set the standard of accomplishment for
those unfortunate wards of the state. His was most active an energetic
life for good, and in his death Arkansas witnesses the passing of one
its best beloved and most useful citizens. Possessing an activity know
to few of 73 years, fully abreast of the times in educational
advancement, his noble nature shrank instinctively from strife and
dissension, and he claimed and held indissoluble the loyal friendship
all with whom be came in contact.
O C Gray was born Dec 30, 1832, at Jefferson, Maine.
In 1855 he graduated from Colby College, Waterville, Maine [where son
Carl was a Trustee in 1938], being a classmate of Nelson Dingley who,
Congressman, afterwards became the father of the historic Dingley
tariff. Last spring Col Gray attended the jubilee reunion of his class
at Waterville. After attending Dartmouth College for a time, Mr Gray
located at Minneapolis, Minn., and was superintendent of public schools
of that city in 1856-57. In 1858 he came to Arkansas as principal of
Monticello Academy [That was Monticello Academy in Monticello, MN,
1859 to Holly Springs, MS, and 1860 to Princeton], for two years. He
principal of Princeton [Female] Academy in 1860-61.
At outbreak of the war, he enlisted as a private in
the Third Arkansas Cavalry, commanded by Col Solon Borland and later
Hobson and was promoted to the captaincy of Troop A. In 1864, returning
home on a furlough, he was captured and held prisoner for a time, until
he was exchanged and returned to his command. Later he became
lieutenant-colonel [incorrect, captain highest rank obtained] on the
staff of Gen Armstrong, and served under Generals Forrest, Wheeler
Johnston [as Provost Marshall].
At the close of the civil strife, he returned to the
school room in his adopted state, and was principal of Princeton Female
Academy in 1866-67. From 1868 to 1871 he was professor of mathematics
St John's College, at Little Rock, then the foremost educational
institution of the state, and for several years was its president.
[Arkansas School for the Blind dedicated its first built brick building
in 1869 in Col Gray's honor, removed 1948, bricks used in new Governors
Mansion]. In 1875 he removed to Fayetteville, and was professor of
mathematics [and civil engineering, to 1879] in Arkansas Industrial
University until 1886. He was principal of [1st school, Washington
School] the public schools of Fayetteville in 1887-88 and then returned
to the chair of mathematics in the university for seven years. [Mayor
Fayetteville 1886-87]. In 1895 he was elected superintendent of the
Arkansas School for the Blind, which position he held until death,
the exception of Dr John H Dye in 1899 and 1900, when he was principal
of the Speers-Langford Military Institute at Searcy.
May 27, 1858, Col Gray married Virginia L Davis, who
died Aug 17, 1886, at Fayetteville. By this marriage there were two
[three] children both survive. [The first, Clyde Leslie, 1859-61, buried
Princeton with mother's father Capt Geo Davis] The eldest is Carl R
Gray, of St Louis, vice president and general manager of the Frisco
system [1920, president Union Pacific RR, 1937, vice chairman], who
been a frequent visitor at his father's bedside during his illness,
who had been with him for over 24 hours preceding his death. The second
[third] is Ethel, Mrs Leroy Kramer, of Kansas, whose husband is in
Frisco service. June 17, 1889, Col Gray married Mrs Mary N Beattie,
daughter of his old colonel, Solon Bourland (sic, Borland), and who
two daughters, now living, Misses Grace and Mary Beattie, and one son,
Godwin Beattie. Mrs Gray survivies [died 1938]. There are also two
surviving brothers, Thomas Gray of Minneapolis, Minn, and John D Gray,
of Stockton, Calif.
Col Gray has been a member of the Presbyterian church
all his life, and was one of the oldest members of the Scottish Rite
bodies of the Valley of Little Rock. He was also a member of Magnolia
Camp, Masons, Union Chapter, Royal Arch, and Hugh de Payens Commandery,
EXPRESSION OF SYMPATHY
The following resolutions were adopted by the school
Whereas, God has seen fit in His
infinaite wisdom, to take from us our beloved and most worthy
superintendent, Col O C Gray:
Resolve, That we, the Arkansas [School] for the Blind
have sustained an irreparable loss, and we tender to his bereaved family
our deepest sympathy in their ad our afflication.
N AMANDA MOORE,
JOHNIE GARDNER, Committee.
Mrs Mary N Beattie was Mary (Mollie) Melbourne Borland (1850AR-1938MO),
youngest daughter of Senator Solon Borland, M D. She moved to Memphis
1869 with sister Fanny Green (Borland) Moores, both very dear friends
Virginia Gray, O C's first wife, and married John M Beattie, of
Scotland, 22 Feb 1872. The 1878/9 yellow fever epidemic in Memphis
her husband, Fanny's husband then Fanny in 1879 along with some 5000
others, bankrupting the City of Memphis..
Mollie returned to Little Rock after 1880 census and was Matron at
Deaf School until marrying Oliver Gray. She served as Matorn at the
Blind school after 1895. She died in Kansas City, and her ashes were
buried with Oliver, 19 February 1938, only known record being the 18
1938 obituary in the Northwest Arkansas Times. No stone or engraved
notice is at the grave site. Go to Gray, Mary at:
http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/ar/pulaski/pulaobit.htm (Mary, Jennie,Ethel)