(transcribed: 02/13/06)
Copy courtesy of Robert C Knutson, MD 
Memphis, Tennessee   Monday December 11, 1905 
Head of School for Blind Goes to Rest After Years Ably Spent
                for Welfare of Others 
Arkansas Bureau C E Harper, Mgr. 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Dec 11 ---   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
under the auspices of the Hugh de Payens Commandery and 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 and
most beautiful. The incidental music was furnished by the pupils of
Arkansas School for the Blind, who looked upon the deceased almost with
the veneration due an indulgent father. 

The body was taken to Fayetteville by special trainfor burial. 

Oliver Crosby Gray, superintendent of Arkansas School
for the Blind, died at 5:30 p m Saturday at the school, after a six
weeks' illness with cerebro-spinal meningitis. For half of this period
his condition has been critical, and 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. 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 the state in business and the professions, while for the
unfortunates who have had the privilege of his tutelage for many years
in the School for 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 life was active an energetic for good, and in his
death Arkansas witnesses the passing of one of 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 of all with whom be came in contact.

His Life. 
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, as
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 the
Monticello Academy [That was Monticello Academy in Monticello, MN, then
1859 to Holly Springs, MS, and 1860 to Princeton], for two years. He was
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 Col
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 and
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 in
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 of
Fayetteville 1886-87]. 

Elected Superintendent. 

In 1895 he was elected superintendent of the Arkansas
School for the Blind, which position he held until death, with 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 has
been a frequent visitor at his father's bedside during his illness, and
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 the
Frisco service. June 17, 1889, Col Gray married Mrs Mary N Beattie, a
daughter of his old colonel, Solon Bourland (sic, Borland), and who had
two daughters, now living, Misses Grace and Mary Beattie, and one son,
Godwin Beattie. Mrs Gray survives [died 1938]. 

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,
Knights Templar. 
Mrs Mary N Beattie was Mary (Mollie) Melbourne Borland (1850AR-1938MO),
youngest daughter of Senator Solon Borland, M D. She moved to Memphis in
1869 with sister Fanny Green (Borland) Moores, both very dear friends of
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 took
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 the
Deaf School until marrying Oliver Gray. She served as Matron 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 Feb
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) 
Solon Borland: