Source: History of Bureau County, Illinois
H.C. Bradsby, Editor
Illustrated, Chicago: World Publishing Company 1885
Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Historical Society
NATHAN GRAY, Westfield. Our subject's ancestors were of Scotch extracton, and of the good old Presbyterian stock, many of whom settled in the north part of Ireland, from whence four brother emigrated to Massachusetts. Our subject's grandfather, Daniel Gray, was a farmer and reared a large family in Massachusetts. Several of his children were soldiers, and one an officer in the Revolutionary war. His son, Collister Gray, was born in 1777, in Hampshire County, Mass. He removed to Madison County, N.Y., where he farmed, and died in Chenango County, N. Y., aged over eighty years. He was married in his native State to Hannah Calhoun, who was born in 1777, in Petersham, Worcester Co., Mass. She died in Chenango County, N.Y., aged seventy-six years. She was a distant relative of John C. Calhoun, and was the mother of five children, who reached the age of maturity, viz: Collister, deceased; Mrs. Phoebe Stowel, of Poweshiek County, Iowa; Mrs. Cornelia Newton, of Nebraska; Nathan, our subject, and Alexander H. of North Springfield, Mo. Nathan Gray was born April 8, 1812, in Lebanon, Madison Co., N.Y. He was reaared and educated in his native State, where he made farming his occupation, and was married there, December 19, 1836, to Meriba Brown, who was born May 11, 1817, in Hamilton, Madison Co., N.Y. Her parents, Edwin and Lucy (Woodman) Brown, were natives of the same county, and of English extraction. Her uncle, Thomas Simmons, was one of the founders of Galesburg, Ill. Mr. Gray came to Bureau County, Ill., in June, 1846 and entered 1,040 acres of land in Westfield Township, which was the nearest Government land to Peru. At that time while standing on his land he could not see a sign of human habitation. He met several gentelment who assured him that Bureau county was the most healthful country in the world, among them were Mr. Bowen, from Clarion Township, Mr. Bingham, from Dover, and Stewart Richard, from near Princeton. In September of the same year he brought his family to this county It cost him only $11 to have his goods, wighing 2,200 pounds, hauled from Chicago. When he arrived at Mr. Bowen's he found that he had just been buried, and in Dover he found Mr. Bingham at the point of death. At Stewart Richard's he was told by that worth that he was just on the hunt for some women folks to help lay out the old lady, who had just died in this healthy country. Nothing daunted, Mr. Gray went on to Princeton, where he in partnership with Dr. Convers kept a general store for two years. During one year they sold ninety-six fiddles, principally to the Green River gentry. After this Mr. Gray was in partnership with John Dodge, and for several years was Postmaster. In the spring of 1852 he removed onto his farm which he improved, and where he now resides. His wife died March 5, 1882. She was the mother of six children, viz: Mrs. Lucy Prindle, of Washington, D.C.; Sidney C. of Columbus, Neb.; Clark, Hermas, Jay N. and Mabel Gray. Of these Clark Gray enlisted in 1862, in the Ninety-third Regiment, Company E. Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served till the close of the war. He was elected First Lieutenant but was promoted to Captain, and participated in several battles and "Sherman's march to the sea." Bureau County voted him for his conduct a handsome sash and sword. At present he is a banker in Larned, Kansas. Mr. Nathan Gray has always taken an active part in all public and political matters, and among the many schemes and political contests with his adversaries we remember his wool kicking at the Green River voting precinct, and others, while an old time Whig. At present he is identified with the Republican party. In his own township he was a leading man for years, and while filling the office of Supervisor was an active advocate for he building of the new court house.