Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JAMES H. GRAY. Since this is the "electric age," at least no other term seems more appropriate, and the period in which we are now living is universally referred to in this phrase, it would be a good thing if more young men would turn attention to some form of this work, learn some line in which electricity can be applied to the world's industries, rather than taking up many of the older vocations of men, such as the law, ministry, medicine, etc. Of course the world needs good men in all these lines as much, if not more than ever before, but if a boy has any natural bent whatever along mechanical lines, he doubtless will develop into a better earning capacity by studying electricity than if he entered any of the old-line professions or trades, and, all in all, he will accomplish just as much for the general welfare of the human race. James H. Gray, foreman of electricians of the Frisco System, headquarters at Springfield, was wise in choosing his life work and he has met with gratifying success while yet a young man.
Mr. Gray was born February 12, 1881, at Carthage, Missouri. He is a son of Theodore F. Gray, a native of western Ohio. He grew up in the East and attended school there. In his earlier years he was a traveling salesman and in later life engaged in the brokerage business, being successful in both. Having accumulated a competency, he retired from active life ten years ago, after engaging in the brokerage and commission business in Springfield for many years and he is now living quietly in his pleasant home on East Elm street, at the age of seventy years. During the Civil war he served with credit as a soldier in the Union army. Politically, he is a Republican, and he was formerly a member of the Knights of Pythias. His wife, who was Mary E. Grissom before her marriage, is still living. To these parents five children were born.
James H. Gray received his education in the schools of Carthage, Nevada, and Springfield, having removed to the latter city when young with his parents, and here he began life for himself as clerk in a grocery store, later worked for his father in the commission business, later taking a position with the Springfield Traction and Lighting Company as general electrician, most of his work being on motors. He began studying to be an electrical worker. Leaving this company, he worked for some time as electrician at the old Baldwin theater, having charge of the switchboard on the stage. All the while he studied electricity by night and soon had a good working knowledge of the science. In 1901 he was employed by the Frisco, working with its electrical equipment on cars, etc. when the road's electric department was created in 1904 he was placed in charge of the same as foreman, having proven that he was well qualified for this responsible position, and from that time to the present, a period of over ten years, he has been foreman of this department, his long retention indicating that his work has not only been high class, but that he is reliable and trustworthy. He has continued a deep student of all that pertains to his line of work and has kept well abreast of the times. He has had from seven to nine men working under his direction in this department all the while in the shop, and also several men working on the outside. He had charge of the electric department in the new shops for some time. He has served under the four chiefs in this department, named as follows: P. M. Pierce, W. C. Coover, Rober E. Massey and L. C. Hensel.
Mr. Gray has remained unmarried. Politically, he is a Republican. He belongs to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Knihts of Pythias, the Woodmen of the World and the Christian church.
Springfield-Greene County Library