Lee County Biography


Thomas Gray is one of the old settlers of this county, who is well known and highly esteemed as one of the enterprising, progressive farmers, who have done so much to render Lee County one of the well-improved portions of the Prairie State. He resides on section 4, Lee Centre Township, where he has a large and highly cultivated farm on which he has erected a fine set of buildings, and is there most successfully carrying on the occupation to which he has devoted the greater portion of his life.

Mr. Gray was born in London, Canada, where he remained until the age of seventeen, when he removed with his father to Ogle County, this State, and settled in Leaf River Township, remaining there for seven years. In the early summer of 1849, he came to this county and located at Inlet Grove, Lee Centre Township, where, for a number of years, he kept a hotel, known as the Inlet House. In August, 1877, he removed to the farm on which he now resides, and where he has over since been engaged in agricultural pursuits.

Mr. Gray was married at Inlet Grove, November 4, 1852, to Miss Margaret Ann Saxton, who was born in Nova Scotia, November 4, 1830. When she was about four years old her parents removed to Canada, and settled about forty miles from London. Here she was reared to the age of sixteen years, when the family removed to Calhoun County, Mich., and three years later, to this county. Mr. and Mrs. Gray are the parents of six childrenóJohn W., who is farming in Lee Centre Township; Fremont, who died in infancy; Edward J., also a farmer in this township; Jessie F., M. Anna, and Josiah L.

Mr. Gray is a stanch Republican, and in earlier years took an active part in political affairs. He has held the office of Highway Commissioner for many years, and has also been School Trustee, he and his wife arc consistent members of the Freewill Baptist Church, and takes an active part in all religious matters, doing whatever lies in their power for the advancement of Christianity and or the benefit of their fellow-citizens.

The father of our subject, John Gray, was born in Ireland, and came to Canada when a young man, where he was married to Mary Powell, who was a native of Wales. In 1842, they left Canada and came to Illinois, settling in Ogle County, from which place they removed to Lee County, settling in Lee Centre Township, where they lived for the remainder of their days. Their family consisted of ten children, of whom our subject was he third in order of birth, and the eldest son. The parents of Mrs. Gray, Peter and Catherine (Hankinson) Saxton, were natives of Nova Scotia, where they were married, and where the father died. The widow came to Canada with her four children, and there lived for many years. She is now a resident of Iowa.

History of Lee County - Portraits & Biographical 234

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