Jo Daviess County

Thomas B. Bray
Elizabeth Township

Thomas B. Bray, of the firm of Weir & Bray, is, with h is partner, conducting a successful hardware business at Elizabeth, among whose people they enjoy a fine patronage. The motto of the firm is "honesty and fair dealing," and by closely following this line of action they have fully established themselves in the esteem and confidence of their community.

The early home of Mr. Bray was on the other side of the Atlantic, in the County of Cornwall, England, where he was born June 10, 1835. His parents wer eJohn and Grace bray, both also of English birth and parentage. In 1845 they embarked for the U.S. from Plymouth, bound for the city of Quebec, Canada, where they arrived after a voyage of six weeks. Making but very little stay in the Dominion, they came over into the States, proceeding directly to Northern IL and settling on a tract of land in the vicinity of Galena. Here the father carried on farming until 1850, when on account of ill-health, he was obliged to abandon it. He died at Galena in May, 1861.

Thomas B. was reared to manhood amid the pioneer scenes of the early settlement of the county, receiving his education largely in the subscription school. He was a bright and intelligent boy, fond of his books, and then, as now, kept himself well posted as far as able upon the current events of the day. When a youth of 17 years he began an apprenticeship at tinsmithing under the instruction of R. Butcher of Galena, with whom he worked four years as an appentice, and one year as a journeyman. Later he was engaged a short time in business with H.R. Bachelor, at Galena. He was also for five years located at Shullsburg, Wis., operating most of the time with a partner.

The marriage of Mr. Bray was celebrated in Nov. 1867, the bride being Lucretia, daughter of Davis Robinson, of whom a sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. Of this union there wee born four children, three of whom are living, namely, Henry C., John, and Charles, with their father. In November, 1886, Mr. Bray associated himself in partnership with Mr. Weir in the hardware business, which they have since prosecuted to most excellent advantage. Mr. Bray, politically is a Republican, with independent proclivities, aiming to support the men whom he considers best qualified for office, irrespective of party. Socially, he belongs to the I.O.O.F. at Elizabeth, and at present is Secretary, and deputy Grand Master of Hardin Lodge No. 33. He is also Treasurer and Trustee of the Village Board, and , in religious matters, a devout member of the methodist Episcopal Church.

During the progress of the Civil War, Mr. Bray enlisted August 1, 1862 in Co. I. 96th IL Inf. which was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland. He remained iwth his regiment until April, 1863 when he was detailed into the pioneer service, making breastworks, bridges, etc., for the passage of troops. He participated in the battle of Franklin, and at teh expiration of his first term of service, re-enlisted in July 1864 in the 1st U.S. Veteran Vol. Engineer Corp., serving until receiving his honorable discharge, by order of the War Dept. in June 1865. He is a member and present Commander of David Hill Post # 532, G.A.R. at Elizabeth.

From Portraits and Biographical Pg 620, Transcribed by Christine Walters