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Virginia LaFayette "Jennie" or "Vergie" Davis Gray
Birth: Jun. 19, 1834
Lincoln County
Maine, USA
Death: Aug. 17, 1886
Washington County
Arkansas, USA

~ A descendant of six or more Mayflower passengers, including John ALDEN, through both parent's blood lines and of Revolutionary War veterans.

1st w/o Colonel Oliver Crosby GRAY.

David Yancey Thomas published four volumes of Arkansas And Its People, dated 1930 dedicates five pages reflecting on son Carl Raymond Gray's ancestorial life including his most wonderful parents, the Arkansas educators from Maine, Oliver Crosby and Virginia L (Davis) Gray, aka Mrs V L Gray. View pages 606 through 610.

Page 608, Mr Thomas reflects upon O C Gray's career, which would also apply to his first wife, to wit:

"...a career of social service the value of which is beyond computation."

"From beginning of his(her) career Colonel Gray's (Virginia's) efforts were activated by purpose whose intensity and definiteness strengthened with the years to set before the rising generation high ideals of personal development and service to their fellowmen. He sought by every means to imbue the young student with ideas, to the end that as men and women might be realized and find effective expression in fulfillment of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship."

Birth: fourth of seven known children near Davis Point, Cushing, Lincoln now Knox county, Maine (became Knox county, 1 April 1860).

~ An accomplished artist, writer and educator, as a youth, enjoyed visiting Harbor Island in Muscongus Bay, off Davis Point, to play with her cousins, children of uncle Captain Richard DAVIS, ~ ~ uninhabited some seventy years later when son Carl took guests aboard M/V Miss Harriette and boated to it for lobster cook-outs.

~ Her family is traced to Mayflower passenger Reverend William BREWSTER, by son Carl (organizer & 1st Chairman of Nebraska Mayflower group), Nebraska membership #1, Maine's #1783 and nationally #5384, then later her first grandson, whom she sadly never knew, was recipient of 2nd highest military award given by our country, as well as honored by other countries, Major General Carl Raymond GRAY, jr (charter member & 2nd chairman of Minnesota Mayflower group) found they also descended from Francis COOKE and Stephen HOPKINS, then it was discovered they had blood from William BRADFORD, Richard WARREN and John Alden.

~ Son Carl Raymond GRAY, without a day of formal college education, ended his fifty-six plus years railroading, as vice-chairman, Union Pacific Railroad, under his younger chairman, the honorable William Averell HARRIMAN, and whom the University of Arkansas sought out and honored in 1929 (as did three other colleges, in 1916 through 1937) with an honorary LL D degree. Carl, was also a "Trustee" of Colby College (formerly Waterville College till 1867), where his father graduated, Class of 1855, under the most honorable Reverend Robert E PATTISON, D D, receiving his LL D degree in 1884. Carl is found on page 479, "Who was Who in America, Volume I".

~ First grandson, Carl Raymond GRAY, jr, commanded all military railroads in Europe and Africa during World War II, recipient of nation's second highest military award, then was the 3rd and 2nd longest administrator of the Veterans Administration under president Harry S Truman, to name but two accomplishments, found in Who's Who in America, Volumes 27 & 29 along with youngest grandson, Dr Howard Kramer GRAY, M D serving in southwest Pacific then head of hospital in Hawaii, following end of war, returning to the Mayo Clinic.

Father, Captain George DAVIS, (she buried him next to her 1st son at Princeton, Christmas Day 1870), often took his children with him on his world-wide sailing voyages. Virginia and step-daughter "Delia" to Europe, via New Orleans, aboard Bark Diana in (1st letter dated 23 June, 1857, Hamburg) where Monday, June 22, 1857 they saw the Emperor of Russia, Alexander II (1818-1881), next to last Czar of Russia, 1855 till death in 1881, who visited Hamburg while Delia & Jennie watched him passing, with family, directly beneath them from their hotel window. Eight years earlier, Capt Davis took older two of three sons. Byron and Raymond for two year voyage around the world aboard newly Maine built, 443 ton, s/v Hampton 1849/51, laying over in San Francisco, February 1850 (eight months prior to California's statehood) during the 'Gold Rush' days, see "Reminiscences of a Voyage Around the World", published 1869 by her brother, Raymond C DAVIS.

~ My Franconia, Grafton county, New Hampshire cohort, 3rd great grandchild of Jennie's father, Capt George DAVIS, via his son Byron, maintains thirty letters, the University of Michigan's archives ten letters, thus we had forty letters plus GRAY family's two diaries, written by "Jennie" between years 1857 from Hamburg Germany to her 1886 Arkansas death, revealing, in her words, her family life. Letters transcribed by New Hampshire cohort, copies shared with six known GRAY family descendants (the youngest, a granddaughter of "Jennie's" first grandson, living in Franconia, Minnesota visiting Barbara June 2012 on her trip to see Gray Rocks in Knox county, Maine, finding it missing its portico, added around 1922), and to me (years earlier, she shared her thirty letters with "Jennie's" first g,granddaughter Gladys Ethel (Gray) DIEFENBACH). A 422 page diary of son Carl, 1867 to 1872, transcribed by "Jennie"s" second great granddaughter's husband plus her 1983 published Civil War diary (1863-1865). Her 842 page diary of son Carl, 1872 to 1874, plus reportedly letters from brother Raymond, were filed by fourth president of Woodsman of the World, Farrar NEWBERRY at Arkansas History Commission, listed as Mrs GRAY's letters. These (?) pages may well reveal much unknown during Reconstruction period, The Brooks-Baxter War and which building reportedly, burnt to the ground at Saint Johns' College of Arkansas (NOTE: I believe burnt building to be the 1872 two story replacemet of the Civil War hospital buildings), where her hubby was its 3rd president. They built their home but one block west, between it and the Little Rock Aresnal.

Virginia, at age 23, wed Oliver Crosby GRAY, age 27, of Monticello, Wright county, Minnesota, Friday, 28 May 1858, in Cushing, Lincoln now Knox county, Maine by Robert GAY, Justice of the Peace, returning to Monticello, Minnesota (first of three letters from Monticello, Minnesota 14 July 1858 --- many historians have this wrong including the University of Arkansas, --- as Monticello, Arkansas) -- where her husband was principal of the new Monticello Academy following first teaching in Hennepin county, Minnesota Territory. They returned to Minneapolis (letter 21 August 1859) where his family was and where son Clyde Leslie was born Saturday, 19 February 1859, and where she had taught drawing & painting according to her letter written 22 January 1860 (one of three) from Holly Springs, Mississippi.

They, because of the lack of available money, caused by our 1859 national recession, within Minnesota moved to affluent Marshall county, Mississippi, eight miles from Byhalia, same to Holly Springs, for school year 1859/60, teaching one year, boarding on a plantation whose overseer, WELLS/ WILLS, had three daughters, one a red-head and seventeen slaves. This plantation was near; "... the famous Martin Mission of the Presbyterian Church established on the road [old"Pigeon Roost Road"?] about 1824 or 1825. (The site of the Mission was also about six miles northwest of Holly Springs) Even in those early days, travelers sometimes detoured by the holly springs for the fine water and excellent camping site.". The same area, and most likely (?) the same plantation then owned, since 1837, by Dr Euclid Borland whose brother ex Senator Solon BORLAND, wife and family then lived in Princeton, Arkansas since February 1858, he, editing a newspaper in Memphis, which Euclid, his bride and father-in-law having settled spring 1837 following Indians being removed to what now is Oklahoma. (December 20, 1862, husband, Confederate Capt O C GRAY, did battle in Holly Springs, causing Gen U S GRANT to abandon his taking of Vicksburg for many months and return to Memphis with wife, son and wife's slave, recorded as one of the Confederate's best battles.)

The GRAYs then removing to Princeton, Dallas county, Arkansas, she, later following Oliver by stagecoach, likely one of Col John Thomas CHIDESTER's, from river-town Napoleon (lost long ago to flooding rivers) ninety miles to Pine Bluff, with her infant son who got sick. Driver was drinking and got lost, so they spent a night at the Horton or Morton's 1,000 acre cotton plantation, who was gone but their doctor was near. The stage went ahead so the next day they waited for next stage, whose driver had just been killed, thus was late. At Pine Bluff instead of waiting an hour, she hired a carriage for $20.00 to take her the fifty miles to Princeton (first of four letters, from Princeton 20 August 1860). They started teaching 3 September at Princeton Female Academy, Princeton, Dallas county, Arkansas, created January 1855, first under James L BARRY, then in 1860 under Virginia Davis GRAY with husband Oliver, starting their Arkansas teaching careers school year 1860/61, where son, Clyde Leslie, died Thursday, 4 April 1861,

Oliver had enlisted under, former United States Senator, Colonel, Dr Solon BORLAND, Esquire, under their landlord, Col Wm T M HOLMES, as company commander of Princeton Light Horses, in what became the famous 3rd Arkansas Calvary Regiment of the Confederate States Army Monday, 29 July 1861, Virginia remaining in Princeton where she kept her 1863-1865 dairy, published 1983 in Arkansas Historical Quarterly, in which she wrote November 17, 1863 she had spent the week at Mrs Lea's, (former Eliza Ann "Sarah" Wright whose art work is better than , and did a couple drawings of "Jennie" during that week, according to her 2nd g.granddaughter's husband, Dr Robert Knutson, M D, also found written July 17, 1864 that Dr Henry Montgomery DYE (1830VA-1878TX) asked her to sketch the Dallas county Court House for him to be sent to Confederate headquarter's Richmond, Virginia because it was used as a hospital. Sketch not found in Richmond files, so I believe this to be unsigned #3249 in Arkansas History Commission files, they said, donated by a party in Tennessee. This done same date Oliver prepared his second resignation letter near Atlanta, then authorized to resign the Confederate army and join the Confederate navy, however was captured by Federal troops Saturday, 16 November 1864, imprisoned on Ship Island, Mississippi, Fort Massachusetts, held as Capt O C GRAY, until exchanged Thursday, 2 March, 1865 at Mobile, Alabama, home in Princeton Monday, 1 April 1865.

The GRAYs remained at Princeton Female Academy where her baby brother Fred visted October 1865, he a wounded Union infantry officer during battle in northern Florida, she birthing second son, Carl Raymond GRAY, a couple years later, morning of Saturday, 28 September 1867.

Oliver became employed by Masonic operated Saint Johns' College of Arkansas at Little Rock, the first institution of higher learning created in Arkansas, engaged in re-opening it for school year 1867/68, under its 2nd president, Luke Edgar BARBER following use during the war as a major hospital serving over 8,000 injured, with its seventeen (17) temporary wooden buildings, most removed before school reopened, became its 3rd president his last three of seven years service.

Virginia, removing with son in November (from son's diary), to Little Rock, Pulaski county, by Chidester's night stagecoach with Major Harold BORLAND (son of Senator Solon) assisting, later birthing daughter Ethel Davis, Tuesday, 5 December 1871 (letter, 15 December 1871). Her brother, Raymond, visited winter of '72/73, other frequent visitors were Fanny her sister "Mollie" and "Berta" (which now is "Berta") (listed next to son Clyde at cemetery) all mentioned in her 1983 published diary, her papers and some art work now, as of fall 2005, at University of Arkansas', MC-1618.

Two of the Saint Johns' unsigned sketches in the Arkansas History Commission files were most likely her art work, #5097.16 showing wooden two story hospital buildings remaining either side of the main brick building and #1667 showing new 1872 building north of the main brick building which replaced the hospital buildings after three students died from cerebra-spinal meningitis and may (?) well have been the building burnt to the ground during the Brooks-Baxter War of 1874, instead of the Brick building (reported destroyed by fire about 1890) in newspaper's 1919 centennial issue. This and other facts may be tucked away in the 842 pages, written 1872-1874, in three bindings existing at Arkansas History Commission , miss-labeled as Mrs Gray's letters. Donated 1964 by Farrar Claudis NEWBERRY (1887AR-1968AR), partially viewed July 2005 by Dr Carl H MONEYHON, who published her Civil War diary 1983 in Arkansas Historical Quarterly, concluding it was primarily, a loving diary by a doting mother of her son's childhood events, from 1872 to 1874. The Arkansas History Commission, in October 2011, refused to allow a local lady to preserve this hand written historic material on its fragile, 137 year old deteriorating acid paper, (they seemingly prefer it to waste away) by using her portable scanner on this material written during ending of Reconstruction and The Brooks-Baxter War days. Such is Arkansas' interest in preserving its history.

The GRAYs had moved to Fayetteville, Washington county, Arkansas (letter 22 September 1874) for school year 1874/75, where both became teachers at the newly created (1871) public institution for higher learning, Arkansas Industrial University (University of Arkansas after 1899) under first permanent president, Gen Albert Webb BISHOP whose 2nd wife was a close friend who she assisted prior to their elaborate and stylish Little Rock marriage. She was the first chair of "drawing, painting", till 1881, "The art department makes its debut in 1874 with Mrs. V.L. GRAY as instructor.", so written by Reynolds and Thomas, also from page 91 of the 1877 record of Board of Trustees: as mentioned by Don Schaefer, Publications Manager emeritus at the university, "In 1877 Mrs. O. C. Gray, chair of painting, presented a painting of the A.I.U. building and grounds to Gov. W. R. Miller(1st native born governor) to be a perpetual memento." Oliver 2nd chair of "civil engineering (1874-1879), and his true love, existing mathematics, ROTC, etc." (AIU's first classes held January 22, 1872 in Wm McILROY's hill top farm home with eight students, Anna PUTMAN among them), university's location at Fayetteville credited mostly to ex-union Colonel LaFayette GREGG, whom they purchased their homestead from in 1877 with he with wife, becoming close friends.

The GRAY's had lived on top floor (third) of a brick hotel with a neighbor, fellow teacher Mary GORTON and her student sister, (letter, October 1875) before buying their thousand dollar homestead from the GREGG's, July 1877, on north side of Dickson street between Gregg and West avenues (letter 24 February 1878).

Their Fayetteville home, to wit:

"The Gray home was diagonally across the street from us at West Dickson and Gregg streets. It was of a rambling English cottage type, olive green in color, charming with ornamental woodwork at the porch, and, with vines and shrubbery in just the right places. The large yard was kept in beautiful order, both front and back."


"Everything about their home reflected her artistic taste. The mantel in the front room was white, with a lovely spray of pink and white apple blossoms, her work, painted on it, while in the long west room the fireplace was surrounded by hand-painted tiles, I think perhaps to interest the children."

Source: Hattie Elizabeth WILLIAMS' 1958 published story about the GRAYs,

Virginia gave the University's Board her painting (her known art work was all unsigned) of University Hall (Old Main) & grounds (now missing), so recorded by resolution to her, page 91, 18 June 1877, Board Records. She was the 1st person to be assigned second floor Clock Tower (where a clock was finally installed 127 years later), (letter October 1875)

In her unpublished, 11 July 1881 letter, she details events of the replacement, during 1884 commencement, of their president, General Daniel Harvey HILL by the Board of Trustees, his biography also states his problem with Jeff DAVIS during the Civil War.

The GRAYs parted with easterly most portion (letter 30 January 1881) of their 2-1/4 acre homestead, reportedly formerly the James THOMAS farm until about 1870, on which the four acre, Masonic-Odd Fellows Evergreen cemetery, in which both are interned, was located, and with their large home destroyed by fire (letter, February 24, 1878), with a cottage on corner remaining, much in need of fixing up, purchased from Colonel LaFayette GREGG and wife Mary whose stately "Historic" home built 1871, replacing their first built, a log house, yet standing proudly, west across Gregg, ~ ~ to the href=>"Frisco" RR, where now sets the "Historic" Frisco station (third structure, currently (2011) a restaurant) located where son Carl, at its first structure, reportedly paid $5/month to Wiley P McNAIR's telegraph operator to learn telegraphy. View afore mentioned Hattie E WILLIAMS' memories of the Gray Family.  

Virginia wrote in a letter of 22 November 1883 that she had visited her friend "Mollie" (later, 2nd wife of her hubby) who had returned from Tennessee as a widow with older sister long dead (1879), to Little Rock where she was a matron at the Mute Asylum She also mentioned the other Princeton friends who are no longer living.

Virginia died from cancer, discovered December 1885, with family near at 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, 17 August 1886. (letter, Fayetteville, 31 March 1886).

Local newspaper reported:

"As a demonstration of sorrow and respect for the burial of Mrs Gray on Wednesday the business houses very fitly closed their doors. An act which was right."

Virginia's obituary stating;

"She was a most estimable lady, a loving Christian wife and mother. No lady had more friends in Fayetteville than Mrs Gray."

Virginia Davis GRAY was laid to rest in lot 30, section 1 of Masonic-Odd Fellows, now "Historic" Evergreen cemetery, Fayetteville, Arkansas, --- later joined by her husband Colonel Oliver Crosby GRAY, granddaughter Virginia KRAMER, daughter, Ethel Davis (Gray) KRAMER and hubby's second wife, her close friend, "Mollie". First son, Clyde Leslie, in Princeton cemetery, Princeton, Dallas Arkansas, between her father Captain George DAVIS and friend "Breta" (Holmes) NASH, second son, Carl Raymond, is buried at Druid Ridge cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland with wife and second son with her mother and paternal grandparents at Davis cemetery, Cushing, now, Knox county, Maine where a cenotaph was erected for her father and older brother.

View Special Collections of University of Arkansas.

Death: from cancer in Fayetteville, Washington county, Arkansas.

Father: Captain George DAVIS b: 21 December 1796 in Lincoln now Knox county, Maine
Mother: Catherine YOUNG b: 19 September 1804 in Lincoln now Knox county, Maine.

Marriage: Oliver Crosby GRAY b: 30 DEC 1832 in Lincoln county, Maine
Married: 28 May 1858 in Cushing, Lincoln, now Knox county, Maine

Known Children

Clyde Leslie GRAY b: 19 FEB 1859 in Minnesota.

Carl Raymond GRAY b: 28 SEP 1867 in Princeton, Dallas county, Arkansas.

Ethel Davis GRAY b: 5 DEC 1871 in Little Rock, Pulaski county, Arkansas.

There were four grandchildren, the three males to adulthood, two in "Who's Who in America", Volumes 27 & 29:



Compiled by Bill BOGGESS, raised at Carthage, Missouri(ah). author of: "The Story of Two ARKANSAS Pioneer School Teachers" and "The Grays From Maine", on file at libraries in Little Rock, Arkansas and the University of Arkansas.

Revised: 03/06/14
Family links: 
  George Davis (1798 - 1870)
  Catherine Young Davis (1804 - 1849)
  Oliver Crosby Gray (1832 - 1905)
  Clyde Leslie Gray (1859 - 1861)*
  Carl Raymond Gray (1867 - 1939)*
  Ethel Davis Gray Kramer (1871 - 1910)*
  Virginia Lafayette Davis (1828 - 1833)*
  Josephine Davis (1830 - 1833)*
  Noel Byron Davis (1832 - 1865)*
  Virginia LaFayette Davis Gray (1834 - 1886)
  Raymond Cazallis Davis (1836 - 1919)*
  Ferdinand Davis (1840 - 1921)*
  Georgiana Davis (1842 - 1845)*
*Calculated relationship

"None knew her, but to love ~ ~ None named her, but to praise"

Evergreen Cemetery
Washington County
Arkansas, USA
Plot: Masonic, now Evergreen I, west half plot 30
Maintained by: NJBrewer
Originally Created by: Twist
Record added: Nov 30, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31837635
Virginia LaFayette Jennie or Vergie <i>Davis</i> Gray
Added by: Bill
Virginia LaFayette Jennie or Vergie <i>Davis</i> Gray
Added by: Bill
Virginia LaFayette Jennie or Vergie <i>Davis</i> Gray
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 Added: Aug. 4, 2016
~ first to be assigned second floor Clock Tower of now University of Arkansas, but she's now all but forgotten ~
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