Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JOSIAH JEFFERSON GRAY. The permanent prosperity of a nation must rest upon its agriculture. Where agriculture has been decadent, nations have declined. The history of the past decade proves that the agriculture of the United States, if not actually on the decline has not made the strides forward that it should have, and the result of this affects the producer and consumer alike in one respect --a rapid increase in the cost of living. This is a fact recognized by far seeing men to such an extent that at this present time we find some of the strongest minds of the country grappling with the problem of putting our agriculture on a permanent and sound basis. This has become a near national issue.
An enterprising farmer of Brookline township, Greene county, is Josiah Jefferson Gray, who was born in the vicinity where he now lives on January 16, 1851. He is a son of George Washington and Sarah Jane (Edgar) Gray. Samuel Gray, our subject's grandfather, was a native of Ireland, from which country he immigrated with his father to America shortly after the close of the Revolutionary war. The father of our subject was born in Tennessee, from which state he emigrated to Greene county, Missouri, in 1833, and settled in Brookline township among the first of the pioneers, and here he cleared and developed a good farm, and spent the rest of his life, dying about 1906. The mother of our subject was born near Mammoth Cave in Green county, Kentucky. Her death occurred on the homestead here in 1901. They were the parents of four children, two sons and two daughters, namely: Josiah J. of this sketch; Andrew Jackson, born in 1854, died in 1865; Elizabeth A., born in 1848, married Jefferson Moneyham of Chariton county, Missouri, and they have five children; Sarah Jane married William Robertson, who is deceased and she is living in Oklahoma and has five children.
Josiah J. Gray was reared on the home farm where he worked when a boy and in the winter attended the district schools. He has followed farming all his life, having remained at work on the home place until 1869, when he started out in life for himself. In 1882 he purchased the place where he now resides, and since then has acquired eighty acres more, now owning a good farm of one hundred and twenty acres known as "The Oak Hill Stock Farm," on which he carries on general farming and stock raising. His farm is a part of the Wilson Creek battleground. Mr. Gray was but ten years of age when that great struggle took place, however he has a very vivid recollection of what transpired that memorable day.
Mr. Gray was married, August 22, 1878, to Arena Jane Russell, a daughter of J. N. and Nancy Elizabeth (Grimmer) Russell, both of whom came to Greene county from Tennessee in the early forties, and in this county Mrs. Gray grew to womanhood and attended the public schools.
To Mr. and Mrs. Gray the following children have been born: Johnnie T., born in 1880, was educated in the district schools, and he worked on the home farm until his marriage in 1901 to Margaret L. McNabb, daughter of J. P. and Sarah McNabb, of Republic, after which he moved to Stone county, Missouri where he is now operating a farm which he owns; he has three children, Earl V. who is ten years old, Archie, aged seven, and Theodore. Joe Emmett, second son of our subject, was born June 15, 1887, was educated in the district schools, and remained on the home farm until his marriage, November 24, 1913, to Hollie Davis, daughter of Barney and Harriett (O'Dell) Davis, of Christian county, Missouri; he then took up farming for himself on a farm adjoining that owned by our subject. Willie J., third son of our subject, born June 12, 1893, was educated in the district schools, and is assisting his father operate the home farm; Ada, born August 18, 1883, was educated in the neighborhood schools, is single and lives at home; Emma E., born June 21, 1885, was educated in the home school, is unmarried and living at home; Hubert C., born July 12, 1889, died in infancy; a daughter, Ida Maudie, died in 1882; one daughter born in 1879, unnamed.
Politically, Mr. Gray is a Democrat. He belongs to No. 471 Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Mr. Gray raises hogs and cattle of standard grade in large numbers.
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