Lee County Biography


James E. Gray, Postmaster of Lee Center and Collector of Lee Township, has an enviable record as a soldier of the late war and bears the scars of wounds received during that struggle. His father, John Gray, was born in Ireland, and his mother, whose maiden name was Mary Powell, is a native of Wales. They came to Illinois in 1842 and to Lee Centre Township in 1849, where they spent the remainder of their lives, the mother dying in 1866 and the father in July, 1888. They were the parents of ten children, of whom our subject was the ninth in order of birth.

James E. Gray was born in London, Ontario, December 15, 1841. When he was five months old. his parents removed to Ogle County, 111., where he lived until 1849, coming with his parents in the spring of that year to this county and settling in Lee Centre Township, where he grew to manhood. He was educated in the common schools and spent his youth upon the farm. He enlisted, April 18, 1861, in Company C, Thirteenth Illinois Infantry, being the first man in Lee Centre Township to enroll his name. He remained in this company and regiment for three years and was then mustered out of the service at Springfield, Illinois., October 8, 1864; here enlisted in the Seventh Illinois Cavalry and served one year, being mustered out at Tuscumbia, Ala. lie took part in the following battles: the siege of Vicksburg in December, 1862; Arkansas Post, Lookout Mountain, Ringgold Gap, Mission Ridge. At the battle of Chickasaw he was wounded in the left shoulder and left on the field for dead. During the siege of Vicksburg he received another wound, just above the left knee. On leaving the army Mr. Gray returned to Lee Centre Township and engaged in farming, but soon afterward removed to Black hawk County, Iowa, where he remained for six years, carrying on a farm and also operating a steam sawmill. After spending some time in different States, he again returned to Lee Centre and was engaged principally in farming until appointed Postmaster, April 17,1889. He has also held the office of Collector for some nine years.

Mr. Gray was married in Amboy, 111., to Anna Christopher, who was born in Staten Island, N. Y., and died in Lee Centre Township, July 6, 1881. One son, John C, was the only child born to this couple. Mr. Gray is a member of the Masonic fraternity and is a man highly esteemed for his many good qualities. He makes a good public official, serving both the interests of the Government and those of his fellow-citizens with much ability. Mr. Gray contracted a second marriage March 4, 1890, Mrs. Alpha M. Fox, nee Lewis, becoming the bride. Mrs. Gray at the lime of her marriage was the widow of M. Fox, a soldier in the late war.

History of Lee County - Portraits & Biographical 234

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