Lee County Biography


Lee Center and Dixon

Josiah L. Gray, Deputy Sheriff of Lee County, is now a resident of Dixon, and has made his residence here since December 1890, when he came here to serve in his present position. He had been living in Lee Center for Forty-two year and was only five years old when he went with his parents to that place. He was born at Leaf River, Ogle County, this State, October 24, 1844, to John & Mary (Powell) Gray, natives of Ireland and Wales. He was variously engaged as a farmer and mechanic at Lee center, and was a successful house building mechanic for a good many years.

The gentleman of whom we write enlisted in the War of the Rebellion in Co D, 15th IL Infantry and fought with his regiment in Sherman's Army and was with him when he was driving Johnson's Army North and was with him at the Grand Review at Washington City. He was then sent west to Kansas and Nebraska to suppress the Indian troubles, the regiment being stationed at Kearney and on Sept. 26, 1865 was honorable discharged at Leavenworth KS. Since that time he has lived in this county, with the exception of a four years residence in Iowa.

Mr. Gray is he youngest of 10 children, born to his worthy parents, all of whom are yet living but two. The father although born in Ireland, came of English parents, his father, Henry Gray, having been sent there from England as a collecting agent and died there. John Gray had come to Canada when a young man and there married his wife and helpmate. In 1841 they came to Ogle County, this State and in 1849 came to Lee County and bought a farm in Lee center Township, and there the father passed away in 1889, at the age of 98 years, and the wife died in 1868 at the age of 62 years. They were valued and consistent members of the Baptist Church. Mr. Gray served in the War of the Canadian Rebellion while in Canada and in politics was a sound Republican. The subject of this notice was a stalwart adherent to the Republican party, as were also his five brothers, three of whom served bravely in the late war. John C. of the 75th IL Inf. served about one year; William H. was in the 7th IL Cavalry for the same length o time; and James was in the 13th IL Infantry, in which he served for three years and four months, re-enlisting in the 7th IL Cavalry for one year more. He was badly wounded by a bursting shell and left on the field for dead. He was found and taken care of, and is at present one of the prominent and leading members of the Grand Army of the Republic No 229, of Dixon, a society in which all old soldiers like to meet their comrades.

History of Lee County - Portraits & Biographical Pg 234

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