THOMAS GRAY, who is cultivating his father's old homestead located on section 21, Hilyard township, was born in Madison county, Illinois, on the 30th of July, 1856. He is the son of James and Matilda (Janes) Gray, the father being born in Virginia, in 1806, and the mother in Ohio. James Gray came to Illinois when a youth of seventeen years, first settling in Sangamon county, where he devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits to which he had been trained from his boyhood. From there he removed to Madison county, continuing to be identified with the same activity for three years. He subsequently came to Macoupin county where he was connected with farming interests until his death in 1897, at the age of ninety-one years. The family of Mr. and Mrs. James Gray numbered thirteen, eight sons and five daughters. Of these three are now living; Mrs. Oliver M. Beebe, of this county; Hillary, who is also a resident of this county; and Thomas , our subject.
The common schools of Macoupin county provided Thomas Gray with such educational advantages as he enjoyed, while his preliminary agricultural knowledge he acquired under the supervision of his father. General farming and stock raising have always engaged his activities, his efforts at all times having been so intelligently directed that he has met with good financial returns and now owns one of the valuable farms of Hilyard township, originally the property of his father.
For his wife Mr. Gray chose Miss Mary Howerton, their marriage taking place in Macoupin county, on the 9th of February, 1882. Miss Howerton was born near Brighton, Illinois, on the 19th of July, 1860, and was the daughter of Robert and Sophia (King) Howerton, both natives of this county. To Mr. and Mrs. Gray were born two daughters: Fannie, the wife of S. J. Johnson, of Fosterburg; and Irene, who keeps house for her father, the mother having passed away on the 17th of March, 1886.
In religious faith Mr. Gray is a Baptist, while politically he is an earnest advocate of the principles of the democratic party. He has never prominently figured in community affairs, always having led a somewhat retired life, but he can at all times be depended upon to give his support to every movement for the general welfare.