(transcribed w/notations; 04/11/06)
SOURCE: Washington County (Arkansas) Historical Society, 
courtesy of the Grays great,granddaughter Wint (Gray) Bones. 

May 1958
(pages, 27-30) 

By Hattie E Williams 

As I pass the old sites today where those old homes
have been replaced by modern business buildings, in fancy   I can see
again   the pink and white apple blossoms of the Gray orchard,  
with the white pony, Jule, running beneath them, while across the street
  our own plum and cherry trees are blooming,   and I find myself
  longing with Riley   to go back when we had our old neighborhood. 

Just now I am writing of the Gray family. 

Oliver Crosby Gray [1832ME-1905AR] was born in North
Jefferson, Maine, December 30, 1831,   and his wife,   Virginia
Lafayette Davis [1832ME-1886AR],   was born   at Cushing, Maine.  
Soon after their [1858] marriage they came to Princeton, Arkansas
[1860]. Here their son, little Clyde, who lived only two years, was born
[INCORRECT; born Minnesota, died Arkansas],   and in 1867 their son,
Carl Raymond [1867AR-1939DC], was born.   They moved from Princeton to
Little Rock. It was here in 1871 that their daughter Ethel
[1871AR-1910IL] was born [ married 6 June 1900, LeRoy Kramer, later
president of world-wide GATX Corporation]. 

Colonel Gray brought his family to Fayetteville about
1875   when he became Professor of Mathematics [and 1st Professor of
Civil Engineering, 1874-1879, she 1st Chair of Painting and Drawing,
1874-1881] in the Arkansas Industrial University which had been
completed   only a few years before [1st class February 1872] (and is
now the University of Arkansas)[as of 8 Mar 1899]. 

The Gray home [2-1/4 acres purchased July 1877 from
LaFayette Gregg & wife] was diagonally across the street from us at West
Dickson and Gregg streets.   It was of a rambling English cottage
type, olive green in color, charming with ornamental woodwork at the
porch, and, with vines and shrubbery in just the right places. The large
yard was kept in beautiful order, both front and back. 

At the time of which I write,  there were in the family
  Colonel and Mrs Gray,14-year-old Carl and 11-year-old Ethel [ca1880/1]. 

One day, when I was about 5 years old, my Mother sent
me across the street to Mrs Gray's with a dish of piccalilli. 

I stood knocking   with the knuckle of my forefinger
  for   perhaps an hour   and   at last   was found weeping
  by someone passing through the front hall.   They sweep me up in
their arms and comforted me, and just as I was about   to be happily
surrounded   by Ethel's dolls, my brother Horace appeared,   having
been sent to bring me home.   To appease me he carried me on his
shoulder. Mother could not understand why I had stayed so long   until
  I showed her   the 'blister'   on my knuckle on my forefinger. 

I wish I could write of this family as  
they came into my life as neighbors -- always there, just across the
way, acting with sweet sincerity.   Child as I was, I felt the
difference in their atmosphere. They were well fixed as this world's
goods go, but were never ostentatious about it.   Everything about
them suggested good taste and high thinking. It is probable that my
memories began about the time we lost an older brother [Willie M, d
1881],   that the feeling of confidence in their sympathetic nearness
surrounded me.   Sorrow alway brings out the best in people. There is
too, I think,   and indefinable atmosphere about some homes. 

Mrs Gray was an artist [and authoress, see MC 1618,
Special Collections, University of Arkansas]. A quiet, dark-eyed,
gray-haired woman, whom I remember vaguely. Everything about their home
reflected her artistic taste. The mantel in the front room was white,
with a lovely spray of pink and white apple blossoms,   her work,  
painted on it, while in the long west room the fireplace was surrounded
by hand-painted tiles, I think perhaps to interest the children, 

When I was quite small,   Mrs Gray brought over a
little dress which she had made   for a small relative,   but   as
it was too small for her, Ethel had suggested that she give it to me. Of
course, I could wear it! 

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
exquisite daintiness. 

As small boys,   Carl   and my brother,   of the
same age,   were good friends, One day when Horace was ill, my Mother
happened to enter the sickroom just in time to divert "green" apples  
from Carl's pockets to Horace's sickbed.   He explained that because
Horace was in his Sunday School class he was doing this for him. 

There is among our books today   a little
paper-bound copy   of "Pilgrim's Progress" with his name, Carl R Gray,
written on it in a childish hand. 

I do not remember ever seeing Carl Gray still. He was
always dashing about the pace   either in or out,   across   the
yard to the depot, and then up the porch steps home again. (He early
began to carry telegrams of agent W P McNair.) [paid McNair $5/mo to
teach him telegraphy] 

When some time before this   the Frisco Railroad
was secured at last for Fayetteville [Arrival of first passenger train
June 8, 1881 with 10 y/o SWANEY aboard, Mr. W.W. SWANEY, at age 94,
boarded last train leaving 18 Sept1965], it was Colonel Gay who at that
time of celebration, led the parade of University cadets from the old
freight depot (then Terminal) to town [see Hale's, "U of A, 1871-1948",
p 51]. His son Carl watched the celebration with interest. It was
Colonel Gray who with neighbor, D Y Ellis (father of Frank Ellis) gave
the railroad part of their own home grounds. No doubt Carl's first
interest began in those early years when his father had owned the land
which the railroad now used and with his alert mind and active body it
gave a challenge to him   far more attractive   than mere school
books could do. No doubt too, a few years later the neighbor, Frank
Ellis's trip north   with   the Greeley Artic Rescue Expedition also
roused his interest in far places. 

General D H Hill [its written, was fired and replaced
during commencement of 1884] was president of the University while
Colonel Gray was a teacher there for about eleven years. In 1886   we
find Colonel Gray as Mayor of Fayetteville [April 1886 till Oct 1888].
He is instrumental in having the first public school [Washington] built
in Fayetteville and served as its first superintendent [1885, with Ella
Carnall his assistant]. Always public-spirited, he seems to have been
identified with every progressive movement. He was an active Mason and
Knight Templar of which he served as Master and Commander at different
times [also an Elder at his church, and School Board member].   Again
[as of July 1888] he was teaching in the University   in early '90's (
for I recited Freshman Trigonometry to him).   In later years, Gray
Hall on the University campus was named for him. 

I can see Colonel Gray now as he moved energetically about
his place, working in the yard.   He was tall and well built,   of
fine military bearing, with iron-gray hair and a long well kept beard. 

After Mrs Gray's death [17 Aug 1886, from cancer],  
a distant relative of Colonel Gray's with her son, lived with them and
we seem to have lost touch with them for a few years. 

Carl married [Hattie A Flora, 6 Dec 1886, Oswego, KS]
and with his wife and baby   came to welcome the second Mrs Gray [Mrs
Mary (Mollie) Melbourne (Borland) Beattie (1850AR-1938MO), married 17
June 1889]   when Colonel Gray brought her home. 

Mrs Gray [Matron at Arkansas Deaf school in Little
Rock, ca 1880/9] was a lovely person whom I admired greatly. A daughter
of a former United States senator [Colonel Solon Borland, M D,
(1811VA-1864TX)] she brought distinction to the new home. At that time
  I was in my early teens   and to me   the home took on a new
attraction. I enjoyed visiting with Percy Bourland [??, possibly
half-brother Harold Borland's unknown to us, daughter], Mrs Gray's niece
and going to the parties given for Godwin, Mrs Gray's son [b 1877TN], of
my age. And   at all the girls   it was our greatest joy to know
during those years, it was Mary Beattie [Mary Borland (Beattie) Bell
(1875TN-1962MS)], Mrs Gray's [youngest] daughter. She had an
indescribable charm of manner.   She had a disarming smile, such a
sweet, courteous way of putting you first, and such a wise head on so
young a person -- an altogether winning personality. We enjoyed too
meeting a gentle sister, Grace [1873TN-1954MS, Colorado Springs,
1902/44], a talented young teacher [career teacher in Deaf schools,
never married] who visited them on rare occasions. Mary called her
"Dacie" [Both sisters often spent summers during 1920/30's with Carl at
his Gray Rocks summer home in Maine]. 

Those were happy years for me, Ethel Gray was at home
taking special course at the University and enjoying her sister, Mary
who was also attending the University.   I think of it as a kind of
golden age. They say that is what the teen age should be, for there is a
glow about everything that is not found in later years. 

After Mary's graduation ["with distinction", class
1896, 1st with cap & gowns, then taught at Deaf schools], the family
moved away [1895, he superintendent Arkansas School for the Blind, in
Little Rock, who in 1869 dedicated their first brick building to
"Colonel Gray", later bricks cleaned and used in Governors Mansion,
1949, she its Matron, where he died December 1905],   and so I bring
to a end my personal memories of this dear family. However, I would like
to add that Colonel Gray lived to see his son Carl become a great
railroad executive [recipient in 1929, University of Arkansas' honorary
LL D degree, with three more from other institutions]. He became
president of several railroads at different times, was president of the
great Union Pacific, and was vice=chairman of its board of directors
[Time Magazine, 26 April 1937, p 74] at time of his death [9 May 1939,
-- p 479, "Who was Who in America", Volume I].  [Their 50th wedding
anniversary in Life Magazine, 21 December 1936, p 68-72]  

His son, Carl Jr [a WW II Army General], became a railroad
executive, and also served as Administrator of Veterans Affairs, United
States Government, serving to June 1953. Another son, Russell, is now a
prominent business man in New York City. And another son [third and
last], Dr Howard Gray, was noted surgeon of Mayo's Clinic [operated on
Jimmie Roosevelt, 1938]. Their mother, Carl's wife, [Harriette Amanda
(Flora) Gray (1867KS-1956ME) was first white child born in Montgomery
county, Kansas (Osage Indian Ceded Lands)], was chosen by the Golden
Rule Foundation as the "American Mother of the Year 1937 [Time Magazine,
May 3, 1937, p 17]. [Sons Carl and Howard found in Volume III, Who was
Who in Amerca, and Volume 27 & 29 Who is Who in America] 

(Editor's note: To supplement Miss Williams' personal memories of this
Gray family, we add the following from Reynolds and Thomas's History of
the University of Arkansas) 

O C Gray was graduated from Colby Colege in Maine in
1855 [Carl R Gray became a Trustee of Colby College, 1938 till death.
Photos of Class 1855 found in MC 1618, of Special Collections,
University of Arkansas, along with other materials of Virginia LaFayette
(Davis) Gray] He came to Arkansas in 1958 and was successively principal
of Monticello Academy: [INCORRECT, when married 1858, 1st went to
Monticello, Wright county, Minnesota then Minneapolis, MN till 1859,
then Holly Springs, Mississippi, arriving at Princeton, Arkansas
summer/fall 1860]; principal of Princeton Academy [??]; principal of
Princeton Female Academy; president of St John's [Johns'] College,
Little Rock; professor in the Arkansas Industrial University;
superintendent of Fayetteville public schools; [Mayor of Fayetteville];
principal of Searcy Institute; and superintendent of the School for the
Blind, Little Rock. His teaching career was interrupted by service in
the Confederate army during the War. He was Captain in the 3rd Arkansas
Cavalry [resigined the army 18 Aug 1864 to join the navy, captured by
Federal troops 16 November 1864, imprisoned on Ship Island, MS exchanged
2 Mar 1865]. The title of "Colonel" was an honorary one. A handsome
portrait of O C Gray hangs in Gray Hall. [1906-1966, moved to the
University museum]. 
Additional Comments: 

The Gray family parents written of above were, --- as a couple, ---
without any  doubt, --- the most unselfish and dedicated, --- pioneer school teachers
in Arkansas, contribting more to the youth and communitues in whch they
lived than any other couple! Their children and grandchildren were
likewise, unselfish and publicly dedicated with many honors bestowed
upon them. 
Virginia Davis Gray's 1863-1865 diary was published in 1983 in the
Arkansas Historical Quarterly, annoted and edited by Dr Carl H Moneyhon,
UALR for spring and summer issues. Her unpublished, transcribed diary
1867-1872 concerning son Carl Raymond is found at University of
Arkansas' Special Collection in MC 1618, along with some of her art
work. Also in files at Arkansas History Commission are three bound
volumes containing 845 pages written by her, 1872-1874, during
Reconstruction Years and The Brooks-Baxter War, in which Colonel Gray
armed his students and protected the sitting Governor while he was at St
Johns' College after being ejected from his office. We hope to get these
three volumes transcribed. 
The painting she did of the University Hall (Old Main) while assign the
2nd floor Clock Tower as studio and gave to the Board in 1877, who
directed it to Governor William Miller (1st Arkansas born governor) to
hang in his Little Rock office is lost, possiblily (?) with a Miller

Forty unpublished letters were transcribed with copies furnished family
members in 2005, dating from 1857, Hamburg Germany to 1886,
Fayetteville, Eleven of which were to younger brothers, housed at
Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan where her brother
Raymond was Librarian 1877-1905, other thirty to her older brother, his
wife  & daughter.

Colonel Gray was twice honored, first in 1869 by what became Arkansas
School for the Blind at 18th & Center streets, Little Rock and secondly
on the campus of University of Arkansas in 1906, both multi story brick
buildings dedicated to his name, later removed --- discarding forever
those honors bestowed upon him! 

For parties interested, see: 

GRAY (Davis),Virginia L 

<http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/m e/lincoln/obits/gray4ob.txt>


GRAY(Flora), H A 

KRAMER(Gray), Ethel Davis
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