(transcribed w/notations; 04/12/06) 
SOURCE: Washington County (Arkansas) Historical Society, courtesy of the
Grays great,granddaughter Wint (Gray) Bones. 
F L A S H B A C K 
February 1968 
page 35 
Far Back Campus Memory; 
G R A Y   H A L L, Commemorating a Great Man
By Deane G Carter 

Gray Hall, once a dormitory, later an academic
building on the University campus, was named for Oliver Crosby Gray. I
worked in Gray Hall for nineteen years, and still a quarter century
later I knew nothing more about the name it bore except that "Gray was
an old professor here who taught mathematics." To my mind   that is a
gross understatement for O C Gray was one of the great men of the early
faculty of the University of Arkansas. Here is what the historians say
of him: 

Oliver Crosby Gray was born in Maine 1832. He was
graduated from Colby College [1855] and attended Dartmouth [no record of
such] for a short time. He went west in 1856 [1855] and for one year was
superintendent of public schools in Minneapolis. He came to Arkansas in
1858 [1860, after a year near Holly Springs, Mississippi] and was
principal of the Monticello Academy [school name correct, location
Wright county, Minnesota]; Princeton [Female] Academy until the start of
the Civil War. He enlisted as a private in [what became] 3rd Arkansas
Cavalry, and came out a captain [after being captured 16 Nov 1864,
imprisoned on Ship Island, MS exhanged 2 Mar 1865] (Confederate). 

After the war, Gray returned to Princeton [Female]
Academy for a year, then was professor of mathematics at St John's
[Johns'] College, Little Rock, later becoming its president, and serving
until 1875 [arming his students during The Brooks-Baxter War, protecting
the sitting Governor after beng ejected from his office, while at St
Johns' College]. In that year   [6 July 1874 retained as 1st head of
Civil Engineering (1874-1879) and established Mathematics at AIU]   he
came to the Arkansas Industrial University and was on faculty from 1875
[1874] to 1895, except for one [three] year when he was principal [Ella
Carnall his assistant] of the Fayetteville [Washington] public schools
[and 1-1/2 year as Mayor of Fayetteville]. (that [those] was the year
the whole faculty was fired [9 Jun 1885, Gray one of 3 asked to return
in 1888]. 

Professor Gray was elected superintendent of the State
School for the Blind [their first brick building built in 1869, had been
dedicated to "Colonel Gray"], which position he held until his death,
again except for one [two] year as principal of another school --- the
Speer-Langford Institute at Searcy. Campbell's History says of Gray, "He
was an active home owner here, mayor of the town, principal of the
schools, and gave high tone to all he did." 

The "high tone" of this family did not end with O C
Gray [wife, Virginia, - "Vergie", was 1st chair of Drawing & Painting
1874-1881, as it was then called, in 1877 she presented the board her
painting of the new "University Hall (Old Main) and its grounds", givng
in turn to Gov Miller to hang in his office, now missing, her 1863-65
diary was published in 1983 Arkansas Historical Quarterly, its original
and other of her materials are; MC1618, at Special Collection,
University of Arkansas]. His [their] son, Carl R Gray, who grew up and
was educated in Fayetteville and the university, worked his way up in
railroading from messenger boy and telegrapher [14 y/o Carl paid McNair
$5/mo to learn telegraphy in 1882/3], to the presidency [56+ years] of
four railroad systems in succession, finally becoming president of the
Union Pacific [1920, in 1937 ending as vice-chairman of the board of
directors, also recipient of University of Arkansas' honorary LL D
degree in 1929, (three others from like institutions), trustee of his
father's, Colby College, Waterville, Maine, in Vol 1, "Who was Who in
America", with two of three sons in Vol 27 & 29 "Who's Who in America"]. 
~ ~ ~ ~ 
Author's Note: This sketch of O C Gray was prompted by 1966 demolition
of Gray Hall, and the removal of Gray's portrait from the old building
to the University museum. Except for Hill Hall, Gray was the last of
three men's dormitories to come down. It served for 60 years, from 1906
to 1966. In later years, from the early 1920s, the building served a
number of departments: Horticulture, Ag Chemistry, Entomology, Plant
Pathology, Agr Economics, Agr Education, and Agricultural Engineering.
It was in the Agricultural Engineering department that I worked from
1922 to 1941. The sketch of O C Gray is from a brief history of the
department in its first 20 years 
--- 1921-1941
Additional Comments: 

Colonel Gray served many differnet areas of responsiblility at the
University as well as the city, his church and the masonic order. His
1st wife, mother of his children, also unselfishly dedicated to
educating the youth of Arkansas, as were their son Carl and his three
sons General Carl R Gray, Jr, Russell Davis Gray and Dr Howard Kramer
Gray. Their daughter Ethel Davis (Gray) Kramer married , lost one child
then died in 1910. Her husband, LeRoy Kramer, went on in life to become
president of world wide GATX Corporation died in 1953/4 in Chicago. 

For those interested see: 


GRAY (Davis),Virginia L 



GRAY(Flora), H A 

KRAMER(Gray), Ethel Davis 

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