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Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company

Page 271

CYRUS W. GRAY. It afford us pleasure to present in this volume a sketch of this gentleman, who is well known and respected and is at present serving his third term as a member of the County Board of Supervisors, representing Carlinville Township. Mr. Gray was born October 29, 1827, in Berlin, Rensselaer County, N. Y., a son of Stephen R. Gray, a native of the same town. The grandfather of our subject, the Hon. Daniel Gray, was, it is thought, born in New York. He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence and ability, and was prominent in public affairs. He served as a member of the State Assembly and also in the Senate. He was a farmer by occupation and his last years were passed on his farm in Berlin Township.

Stephen R. Gray was reared to agricultural pursuits, and made his home in his native county until 1836, when he came to Illinois to seek a location and purchased a farm in Pike County, a part of which is now included in the village of Barry. In the fall of that year he returned to Rensselaer County, and the following fall (1837) removed his family, consisting of his wife and four children, to their new home. They traveled with teams and were about six weeks on the journey. At that time Barry was a hamlet of three or four log houses, and he was among its early settlers and was potent in promoting its growth. He and his family removed into the log cabin that stood on his place, and he actively entered upon the development of his farm. He also soon gave his attention to the manufacture of lumber, and the sawmill that he built was one of the first erected in that section of the country.

Mr. Gray was influential in the public life of his community, and was the first Postmaster of Barry. The place was originally called Worcester, but when the postoffice was established the name had to be changed and Mr. Gray, at the suggestion of others, proposed the name of Barry. He resided there until about 1851 and then, removing to Pittsfield, bought property in that city, and made his home there the remainder of his life, his death occurring in 1879. He was a man of firm character and well-balanced mind, and was endowed with good executive and business qualities. In his politics he was a strong supporter of the Democratic party. In 1859 he was elected to the important office of Sheriff of Pike County, and discharged the duties of that position very satisfactorily. The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Sabrina Bently, a native of Rensselaer County, N. H. Her death took place in 1884 at Pittsfield, at a ripe old age.

The subject of this biographical review was one of a family of nine children. He was in his tenth year when his parents came to Illinois and has quite a distinct recollection of his early home in his native State. During his early boyhood in Berlin Township, Troy was the nearest market, and it was twenty miles distant. He attended the first school ever taught in Barry. When quite young he commenced to assist in the duties of the farm, thus quite early gaining an excellent knowledge of agriculture. He made his home with his parents until his twenty-first year and then went to St. Louis, where he was engaged as a clerk in a commission house between four and five years. After that he went into business for himself principally in grain and country produce. He continued in that until 1877, when he came to Carlinville and for a time engaged in milling. He subsequently began again to deal in grain and also in live stock, which business he is still carrying on with good financial success.

In 1851 Mr. Gray married Miss Sarah E. Long, who died in 1862, leaving one child - Mary L., now the wife of W. C. Bush. Our subject was married to his present wife, formerly Miss Catherine Whitaker, in 1867. Mrs. Gray is a native of Pike County and a daughter of Abram S. Whittaker, a pioneer of that section of the state. Of this union there are four children - Paul W., Daisy, Helen and Frank M.

Our subject is a thoroughly upright, honest man, always dealing fairly and squarely by all, and his estimable character, as well as his capability, have given him an important place among the civic officials of his township which, as before mentioned, he is well representing as one of the Macoupin County Board of Supervisors. Politically, he is a Democrat and his party finds in him a faithful supporter. Religiously, both he and his estimable wife are devoted and consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

1891 Index

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