John Gray, born 1793
GRAY, CRAIG, HILL, PERRY
Posted By: Pat Ryan White (email)
Date: 10/26/2014 at 18:51:58
A Soldier of 1812 - Who Has Fought Life's Battles Long and Well.
The deeds and memory of public heros are preserved in story and in song, while we are apt to esteem but lightly the life-long struggles and triumphs of those who through the prosaic years of private life, build up and maintain a noble character, overcoming through all, difficulties that call for a courage equal to that required to lead a forlorn hope against an enemy's battlements.
Among the few old worthies yet among us, who have passed the three-score years and ten allotted to man, is our esteemed townsman, Mr. John Gray. Mr. Gray was born near Greensburgh, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in 1793, his life having extended over a period of 85 years, years crowded with the most momentous events of history. When twenty years old, he entered the United States service, in 1813, as a member of Capt. Wm. Craig's company, attached to Col. Reece Hill's regiment, which did guard duty at Erie, while Commodore Perry was having constructed there two vessels of the fleet afterwards engaged with the British in the famous battle, known in history as "Perry's Victory." Mr. Gray with his company assisted in hauling the masts for these vessels from the woods, which was done with oxen attached to a common wagon, and was himself a part of the time a guard on one of the vessels. In August of the same year, they were sent to Cleveland where after the great victory, they assisted in rowing ashore the prisoners captured by Perry, and were sent with some of them as guard, to Lancaster, Ohio. While at Erie, Mr. Gray witnessed the bombardment of the British vessel Charlotte, which had the temerity to approach too near the American guns on shore, guarding the ship-building, a well-directed shot from one of which carried away her bowsprit, when she put to sea.
Mr. Gray was married in 1815, his wife dying in 1850. He lived on a farm in Allegheny county, Penn., for 29 years, leaving there in 1851 for Iowa, coming by steamer from Pittsburgh to Burlington, thence to Henry county, where for five years he lived on a farm. He was forced to abandon farming on account of rheumatism, and has ever since resided in Mt. Pleasant, being one of our oldest citizens. He has six children living; is yet a hearty old gentleman, taking a lively interest in current events, has the esteem of all, both for his age and excellent character. We wish him many years to come of unalloyed life and happiness.
["Mt. Pleasant Journal", August 9, 1877]
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