WILLIAM GRAY. Pioneer life in Central Illinois lacked many of the harsh features of the same life in other regions that were not so favored in climate nor the lay of the land. Still, early settlers, no matter where they were, had a common experience as to necessary deprivations and makeshifts that filled the ordinary needs of daily life. Not all of these are unpleasant and in some are found a strong vein of the humorous while the flight of time tinges the whole experience with a pleasant rosy light.
William Gray, the owner of a farm on section 24, North Otter Township, has a fund of experiences at his tongue's end that would delight the children of today who love stories of adventure in which situations that to them are novel and interesting. Mr. Gray was born in Edwards County, this State, December 25, 1834. He has, however, a tinge of Southern life and instinct. His father, the late Charles Gray, was a native of Virginia, and his mother, whose maiden name was Louisianna (Everly) Gray, was born in Kentucky.
The first home of our subject's parents was Kentucky whence they removed to Sangamon County, Ill., They staid here but a short time, however, and then removed to Edwards County, where they remained until the father's death, which occurred in Sangamon County while there transacting business. The mother died at her home in Edwards County. Only two children came to the parents and of these, out subject is the eldest. He was about three years of age when his father died and he continued living in Edwards County until he was eighteen years old, when he went to Pike County and there made his living by working on a farm by the month. He there continued for two years and thence went to Greene County, where he was engaged in farm labor by the month for nearly two years longer.
The marriage of Mr. Gray took place while in Greene County. The lady's maiden name was Elizabeth A. Butler and she was a native of the county wherein she was married. Mrs. Gray bore her husband three children, two of whom died in infancy. The surviving child, William O., is a farmer in Missouri. Mrs. Elizabeth Gray died in Greene County, in the fall of 1860.
The original of our sketch was again united in marriage to the lady whose maiden name was Elsie Heater. She also bore him one child who died in infancy and the mother too yielded up her life in Greene County in about 1867. For a third time he was united in matrimony to a lady whose maiden name was Mary Ballard, who is a native of Greene County. By this lady Mr. Gray became the father of five children, who are, Minnie B., Charles H., Arthur E., Lola V., and Estella V. The eldest daughter is now the wife of Ezra D. Frantz; Charles H. died in childhood.
Mr. Gray has always devoted himself to agriculture. He has two hundred acres of good land upon which are excellently built houses. His residence, a view of which is shown on another page is an attractive and conveniently arranged house in which his wife makes a comfortable home. Politically, our subject inclines to the principles and theories of the Republican party, by which party he has been elected to several responsible positions, among which is that of School Director. Mr. Gray is a member of the Masonic fraternity. His religious views coincide with the Universalist Church.