Harry Gray – 1997 Inductee

The son of John F. and Wealthy (Heath) Gray, Harry Gray was born February 14, 1854, in Bellville, Richland County, Ohio. Later that year the Gray family moved to Iowa County, Iowa, where Harry attended the local schools and worked on the family farm. In 1877 he filed a claim for a homestead in Valley Township, Osborne County, Kansas, near the Vincent community. Harry then returned to Iowa and on March 28, 1878, he married Ida Jane Parker, at Ottumwa. The couple had four children, Rose, Earnest, Ralph, and Clarence.

In addition to farming Harry supplemented his income by teaching in the nearby rural one-room schools, first at Grantham School, District Number 63, and then at Rouner School, District Number 65, where he was paid thirty-five dollars a month for the six-month term. Harry helped to build both the Vincent Church and School. He also taught Sunday School for several years and also served as justice of the peace. At two hundred and twenty-five pounds, Harry was an imposing yet jovial man, with light-colored hair, sandy beard, and a ruddy complexion. He was popular among his fellow citizens and in 1891 he was elected Osborne County Clerk, a position he held for a two-year term. He stayed out of politics for another twenty years before being nominated as the Republican Party candidate for Kansas State Senator in 1912. Harry won the election and served for two terms before retiring from public life.

Soon after the Grays moved from their farm into the town of Luray, Kansas, where they spent their remaining years together. Harry passed away August 18, 1927, in Luray and he was buried in the Vincent Cemetery in Valley Township. Ida died November 25, 1932, at Waldo, Kansas, and she was buried with her husband in the Vincent Cemetery.

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