Thomas Gray is one of the largest stock raisers in Osage County. His fortunes have been identified with this state since early manhood, and though he had to start out with only an ordinary equipment of training and capital, he had made prosperity by sheer force of ability and constant exercise of good judgment and hard work.
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He was born on a farm at Crows Hill, New York, March 9, 1854. Of the eight children born to Joshua and Elizabeth (Foxley) Gray he is the only one now living. His parents were English people and on account of the crowded conditions socially and economically in that country they emigrated to the New World. From New York they came west to Illinois, in the early ’50s, and spent about twenty years in Coles County. Then on account of ill health they traded their farm for one in Osage County, Kansas. This Kansas farm contained 160 acres and Joshua Gray devoted the rest of his life to general farming and stock raising. While in England he had learned the trade of stone mason and plasterer. He had only such education as was given in English schools in the early part of the last century. He possessed very keen business judgment, and in every community where he resided enjoyed the highest respect. After becoming a naturalized American he voted the republican ticket but was not interested in the holding of office. He was a member of the United Brethren Church. Joshua Gray died in February and his wife in December of 1889.
His parents removing to Illinois during his infancy, Thomas Gray spent his early life in that state, attended the local schools and was about grown when his parents removed to Kansas.
On January 13, 1881, he married Olive J. Lamond. Mrs. Gray was born February 17, 1856, in Putnam County, Ohio, on a farm, a daughter of Henry Nelson and Sarah Ann (Kendall) Lamond. Her parents were both natives of Ohio, and in 1868 they brought their family from Ohio to Kansas, making the entire journey with wagons and teams, and being five weeks on the road. Mr. Lamond died in 1900 and his wife in 1899.
After his marriage Mr. Gray lived with his parents and rented a farm, and he then bought 120 acres. He proceeded rapidly and energetically in the development of that land, from time to time had increased his holdings until he now owned and operates 400 acres in Sections 5, 6 and 7 of Valley Brook Township, Osage County. He had made special success in the raising of stock, and he specializes in the Poland China hogs and Shorthorn cattle. When he and his wife began housekeeping they lived in a small two-room house. A visible evidence of their prosperity is found in their fine modern home, with a complete light, heating and water plant and with all the conveniences.
Mr. and Mrs. Gray had born to them six children: William J., who died in 1903; Thomas R.; Henry G.; Dean L.; Albert W.; and George C., who died in 1900.
Mr. Gray is a republican in politics, had given his own children good educational advantages and had done much in his community towards the building of churches and the establishment of good schools. He favors prohibition, and wherever possible had exerted his influence in behalf of good roads. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias. Mr. Gray’s brother John enlisted for service in the Union army, but was soon afterwards taken sick and died in a hospital.