Reuben Gray

Reuben Gray

Maine, USA
Death 30 May 1905 (aged 89–90)
Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
Burial Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA
Plot Block 11, Lot 49, S 1/2
Memorial ID 102125592 · View Source
Suggest Edits

•See John Bishop.
•See John Thomas Sanborn.

1850 census for Wesley, Washington, Maine, family #26:
Gray, Reuben, 35, b. Maine
Gray, Adaline, 34, b. Maine
Gray, Henry W., 13, b. Maine
Gray, Cynthia E., 12, b. Maine
Gray, Andrew, 10, b. Maine
Gray, Jefferson, 8, b. Maine
Gray, Justin, 6, b. Maine
Gray, Lydia, 4, b. Maine
Gray, Edwin, 2, b. Maine
Gray, Francie, 8/12, b. Maine

1860 census for Stearns Co., MN, family #227:
Gray, Ruben, 45, b. Maine
Gray, Andrew, 20, b. Maine
Gray, Jefferson, 18, b. Maine
Gray, Justice, 16, b. Maine
Gray, Lydia, 14, b. Maine
Gray, Charles, 12, b. Maine
Gray, Frank, 10, b. Maine
Gray, Walter, 8, b. Maine
Gray, Daniel, 6, b. Maine
Gray, Adline, 2, b. Minnesota

All 11 children are by the first wife, Adaline. None are by 2nd wife Eliza Ann Saunders. [Contributed by John Van Essen]

The first spouse and mother of his children - Adelilne Averill - !816 -1858 - presumably died with birth of last child in Stearns County, Minnesota - unknown location of burial. [Contributed by Richard Hagfors (49306246)]

1870 Federal Census, State of Minnesota, Cass County, Chippewa Agency, 09 July:
Gray, Reuben, age 54, married, hotel keeper, value of personal estate, $500, b. 1816, Maine
Gray, Eliza, age 48, married, keeping house, b. Vermont
Gray, Walter S., age 19, single, laborer, b. Maine
Gray, Adaline A., age 13, single, at home, b. Minnesota

1875 Minnesota State Census, Cass County, Household Number 2, Line 9:
Gray, Reuben, age 65, b. 1810, Maine; father b. Maine; mother b. Maine
Gray, Harriet [sic], age 60, b. 1815, New York; father b. New York; mother b. New York
In same household:
Saunders, Hiram, age 50, b. 1825, New York, father b. New York; mother b. New York
Sanders [sic], Jefferson, age 23, b. 1852, Minnesota, father b. New York; mother b. New York

      Gen. Sturgis, family and staff, of Fort Lincoln, arrived in town on Monday on a fishing excursion to Gull Lake. Accompanied by Mr. Bly they went out to the lake in the afternoon remaining until Wednesday morning when they returned to Brainerd and took the 2 o'clock train for home well pleased with their trip and the advantages afforded the sportsman on the attractive waters of that beautiful lake. By this we are reminded that C. G. Fletcher, who is fishing at that place for the Omaha and St. Paul markets and who by the way is making a grand success of this novel enterprise, is prepared to supply excursionists with boats and tackle, while the comfortable quarters at Mr. Gray's residence nearby affords everything to be desired in the line of hotel accommodations to small parties, rendering Gull Lake a very attractive resort to the tourist or sportsman. (Brainerd Tribune, 15 June 1878, p. 1, c. 7)

            Drunken Dick Heard From

Special to the St. Paul Dispatch.
      BRAINERD, May 13.—Reuben Gray of Gull Lake was shot at by "Drunken Dick," an Indian, on Saturday night, the ball grazing his face. The shot was fired through the door after Gray had ejected him from his house for being troublesome and impudent. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 May 1879, p. 4, c. 2)

1880 Federal Census, State of Minnesota, Cass County, Gull Lake, Page 319:
Grey, Reuben, age 65, head, married, keeps tavern, b. 1815, Maine; father b. Maine; mother b. Maine
Grey, Ann Eliza, age 58, wife, keeping house, b. 1822, Vermont; father b. Rhode Island; mother b. New York
Grey, Emma, age 5, daughter, b. 1875, Minnesota; father b. Germany; mother b. Germany
In same household:
Saunders, Hiram, age 52, single, lumber man, b. 1828, New York; father b. Rhode Island; mother b. New York
Saunders, Jefferson, age 22, single, lumber man, b. 1858, Minnesota; father b. New York,; mother b. New York

1885 Minnesota State Census, Township 133 Range 29, Cass County, Household Number 137, Page 20:
Gray, Reuben, age 68, b. 1817, Maine
Gray, Edena [sic], age 61, b. 1824, New York
Gray, Fred, age 12, b. 1873, Minnesota
Gray, Emma, age 10, b. 1875, Minnesota
Gray, Earnie [sic], age 5, b. 1880, Minnesota
In same household:
Sanders [sic], Heraisa [sic] [Hiram], age 51, b. 1834, New York

1895, Minnesota State Census, Township 135N, Range 28W, Crow Wing County, Household Number 80, Page 314, Line 22:
Gray, Reuben, age 80, b. 1815, Maine
Gray, Eliza, age 72, b. 1823, Vermont
In same household:
Saunders, Samuel, age 85, b. 1810, Vermont

1900 Federal Census, State of Minnesota, Crow Wing County, ED 67 Township 135/Rs. 27-29 (east half), Household Number 52, Page 3:
Gray, Reuben, age 85, married 34 years, b. May 1815, Maine; father b. Massachusetts, mother b. Massachusetts
Gray, Elisa [sic] N., age 78, married 34 years, mother of 0 children, b. September 1822, Massachusetts; father b. Rhode Island; mother b. New York
In same household:
Saunders, Samuel, widowed, brother-in-law, age 88, b. October 1812, Massachusetts, father b. Rhode Island; mother b. New York

                        CHAPTER II.


      A CAREFUL study of the route to Leech Lake, with a few valuable suggestions from Warren Leland, an old resident of Brainerd, led me to seek wagon conveyance to the former place over what is known in northern Minnesota as the Government Road. This road stretches for seventy-five miles through immense pine forests and almost impenetrable underbrush, and the only habitations to be seen from it are the half-way houses, erected for the accommodation of teamsters who are engaged in hauling Government supplies, and the occasional wigwams of wandering Indians. It was opened in 1856, by James Macaboy, for the convenience of Indian agents and fur traders.
      Fully equipped and with a driver celebrated for his knowledge of the frontier, we commenced at eight o'clock on the morning of July twelfth [He arrived in Brainerd on 07 July 1881.] our wagon journey to Leech Lake, the third objective in my expedition to the head waters of the Mississippi. John Monahan, who held the reins in this seventy-five mile journey over one of the roughest roads of Minnesota, is a true son of Erin, who need not take a back seat for Hank Monk, or any of the famous drivers of the border.
      A ride of between three and four hours brought our little party to Gull Lake, where a halt was made for rest and refreshments. Gull Lake was for many years the home and head-quarters of the noted Chippewa chief, Hole-in-the-Day, and was the scene of many sanguinary struggles between his braves and those of the equally celebrated Sioux chief, Little Crow. The remnant of a block house, fragments of wigwams, and a few scattered graves, are all that is now left to tell the tale of its aboriginal conflicts.
      A family of four persons, domiciled in a log-house, constitute the entire white population of the place. Reuben Gray, the genial patriarch who presides over this solitary household in the wilderness, delights in the title of landlord, and his hotel has become somewhat famous as one of the pioneer half-way houses between Brainerd and Leech Lake.
      Our arrival at Gull Lake was duly celebrated by launching a canoe, which soon returned with a fine mess of fish. These, with such fruits and vegetables as were in season, afforded a dinner which our appetites, whetted by a forenoon's jolting in a county wagon, had fully prepared us to enjoy.
      After dinner we resumed our journey, with Pine River as the evening destination. Sometimes in the road, sometimes out of it; now driving along the shore of a lake, and again over huge logs and boulders, it was voted that our ride to Pine River was unlike anything we had ever elsewhere experienced.
      The ranche [sic] of George Barclay, the only white habitant between Gull Lake and Leech Lake, was reached at five o'clock in the evening. Here we were most agreeably surprised to find very good accommodations for both man and beast. Barclay is a decided favorite with the Indians, and his prosperity in this isolated corner of Minnesota is largely due to his friendly relations with them. He is always supplied with guns, knives, beads, tobacco, and such other goods as are in demand by his dusky neighbors, for which he receives in exchange furs, game, snake-root, and such other products of the forest as find a ready market at Brainerd or Saint Paul.
      Much valuable information was obtained at Pine River concerning our route to Leech Lake and beyond, the peculiar traits and characteristics of the Indians whom we were likely to encounter, and those persons at the Agency who could be of most service to us. (Down the Great River, Willard Glazier, Hubbard Brothers, Philadelphia, 1887, pp. 32-36)

            Remembered His Old Friend

      It is rumored that among the bequests of the late Leonard Day, of Minneapolis, is a handsome legacy to Reuben Gray, an aged and somewhat eccentric character, who has for years lived as a trader among the Indians at Gull Lake, some mile's north of this city. Gray and Day were in olden times most intimate friends, and married for first wives two sisters named McAllister. All lived as neighbors in the town of Wesley, Me., on the Mathias river. Both lost those wives, and Gray married another of the sisters, but she too, has long been dead. Both came west about the same time, and went thereafter wide apart in fortunes. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 March 1886, p. 3, c. 4)

      Reuben Gray was arrested on Tuesday by Gus. Beaulieau, and taken to St. Paul on charges of selling whiskey to Indians, at his place at Gull Lake, fourteen miles northwest of Brainerd. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 March 1886, p. 3, c. 3)

      Reuben Gray, for many years in charge of the hotel at Gull Lake, has sold the place and moved into the city. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 April 1886, p. 3, c. 3)

      L. H. Dodge will move out to Gull Lake and will have charge of the stopping place there this season. His partner, Mr. Burton will remain in charge of their Sixth street sample room. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 April 1886, p. 3, c. 5)

      A new post office has been created at Gull Lake, called Gladstone, with L. H. Dodge as postmaster. Postmaster Dodge had the endorsement of J. H. Koop, P. M. (Brainerd Dispatch, 02 July 1886, p. 4, c. 3)

      A telegram from Winona says that Reuben Gray, of Brainerd, convicted of selling liquor to Indians was fined $100 and sentenced to ninety days in the Winona county jail. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 June 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

      The old summer resort on Gull lake formerly owned by Reuben Gray has been purchased by a Mr. Chambers, who is now throughly repairing and refitting the house and grounds, and will open it about August 1st for the benefit of the general public. This is one of the most attractive spots in Minnesota for a summer resort, and we have no doubt but that it will be liberally patronized. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 July 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

            The Coming Minnetonka.

      The club house on the Old Mission at Gull lake was occupied last week by a party consisting of the Mrs. W. B. Kolman, Mrs. J. E. Goodman, Miss E. G. Morser, J. W. Bailey and Mr. and Mrs. N. H. Ingersoll. This week Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Ferris, Mr. and Mrs. O. C. Foster and Mrs. Rosa Parker sojourned there. By the way Gull lake is destined to become a lively rival of Minnetonka in the near future as all the land around its shores is being picked up by parties who expect to use it for summer residences and pleasure resorts. By August 1st W. B. Chambers will have his resort, which will be called the Hotel Chambers, ready for guests and it will be a model hostelry in all respects. The location is a very desirable one, situated between the two lakes, Round and Gull, with a commanding view of both, and is situated on the finest fishing grounds in Minnesota without exception The gentleman will put a steamer on the lake to run from his hotel to the depot of the Brainerd & Northern Minnesota railroad which will be located four miles from his place diagonally across the lake on the north shore.
      Then, too, the company expects to plat four forties at the station and lay it out into business lots and property especially adapted to summer residences and already many applications have been made for the same.
      D. M. Clark and J. F. McGinnis have secured a 40-acre tract just west of the property that the company will plat and they are preparing to build comfortable summer residences there.
      Besides the club house on the Mission I. U. White has a comfortable cottage just above Bishop's and J. McNaughton has a resort at the lower end of the lake, and during the coming season there will be at least a score of other summer residences built along the shores of the lake. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 July 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

      W. B. Chambers is making preparations to open his hotel at Gull lake about the 1st of August and at that time will give a grand opening to which invitations will be issued in due time. Already quite a number of guests have been booked for the season and the proprietor is very much flattered over the outlook. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 July 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

                  Finest in Minnesota.

      A syndicate of gentlemen consisting of Leon E. Lum, J. L. Smith and others have bought the house and grounds at Gull Lake which was occupied at one time by Lou Dodge but which was opened last summer by W. B. Chambers, as a summer resort. The place will be fitted up in fine shape by the addition of paint, porches and screens and will be made one of the most desirable in northern Minnesota. The location is one which cannot be excelled and it is peculiar that the premises were not taken by some one long ago. The finest fishing in Minnesota is at Gull Lake and the tributary waters and the day is coming when it will be a smart rival of Minnetonka. The railroad now runs within three miles of it and a steamboat for pleasure parties is nearly ready to be launched upon its waters, by a party of Brainerd men interested in building up and advertising the beauties and pleasures to be seen and enjoyed in that vicinity. The only disadvantage is the distance from Brainerd, but as new roads have been laid out avoiding the sand hills this is partially overcome and we look for many cottages to spring up in that vicinity during the summer. (Brainerd Dispatch, 26 May 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

      The contract has been let to fix up the buildings this side of Bishop's on Gull lake, as a summer resort to W. J. Smith. The proprietors expect to put about $2,000 in repairs on the house, barn and grounds. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 June 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

                 DEATH OF AN
                             OLD TIMER

         Ruben Gray Passed Away Last
            Night at the Advanced Age
                 of Ninety-Six Years


          He was in These Parts Before
            There was a Brainerd at All
                 —Funeral Tomorrow

      Ruben Gray, 96 [sic] years of age, passed away last night at 6 o'clock at the home of his son, J. M. Gray, and the end came as peaceful as sleep, death following a slight indisposition of five or six days. The old gentleman was as "lively as a cricket," as he himself expressed it only a few days ago, but he had to finally give up to old age and he laid down to die.
      Mr. Gray had been a resident of the county for nearly forty years, coming here long before there was any Brainerd at all. He lived for a long time at Gull River and moved to Brainerd in the early days and stayed here for about ten years. He afterward moved out to Gull Lake where he lived on a farm for years, coming back to Brainerd about three or four years ago to make his home with his son, Justin [sic] M. Gray.
      He was very well known in this county in fact he was as well known as any man in the county. He was of the honest, wholesouled Yankee type and his eccentricities made him familiar to all. Mrs. Gray, his wife, died about three years ago and her remains were interred in Evergreen cemetery.
      Mr. Gray was the father of 12 children eight of whom are still alive. Mr. Gray was born at Boston [sic], Ma [sic]., and moved west when young locating at Minneapolis [sic] where he spent most of his boyhood days.
      The funeral services will be held tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gray in the Gray block on Fifth street. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 May 1905, p. 3, c. 1) [Contributed by John Van Essen]

                    SWEPT BY FIRE

      Another historic landmark in the Brainerd community today fell prey to the elements when the 2 1/2 story frame building, for many years known as the Half-way house between Round and Gull lake about ten miles from Brainerd, was destroyed by fire.
      The former hotel, located at Bishop's creek, was destroyed by fire Thursday night. Origin of the fire was undetermined but the theory is advanced that it was caused by spontaneous combustion in the upper story.
      The building was the property of William Nash, of Minneapolis, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mahadga and family lived on the place.
      All their furniture, clothing and other belongings were destroyed at a loss of approximately $1,500. The Mahagda's are now living at Green lodge.
      The loss is partially covered by insurance.
      The place, formerly used as a hotel, became known as the Half-way house being used as a stopover inn between this city and Walker. It was a popular place a half century ago when it was built and when travel was not as easy as at present and modes of transportation more remote and slower. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 October 1933, p. 1, c's. 2 & 3)

NOTE: This was the old Reuben Gray/John Bishop hotel property. It was later known as the Chambers' hotel, which was eventually purchased by Leon Lum, J. L. Smith and others in Brainerd to be used as a summer resort.

Family Members

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  • Created by: A. Nelson
  • Added: 13 Dec 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 102125592
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Reuben Gray (May 1815–30 May 1905), Find a Grave Memorial no. 102125592, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by A. Nelson (contributor 47143984) .