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JOHN GRAYSON

The editor and publisher of the Washington EXAMINER, Washington County, PA


GRAYSON

John Grayson, who was for more than half a century a citizen of Washington, Pennsylvania, and for over forty years editor and publisher of the Washington EXAMINER, was a son of Robert Grayson, who with his sons William Grayson and John Grayson, aged respectively two years and nine months, sailed from Ireland in the brig "William" arriving at New Castle, Delaware, in June, 1784. The following sketch of John Grayson is from his diary:

"My father proceeded to Mifflin where he made his lodging for a time until after the death of my mother, then with my brother, William and myself, removed to Carlisle. My inclination turned upon the printing business at quite an early age, as much perhaps as from anything else and perhaps more from observing at very great interest and attention some printing type among the sweepings of a printing office. I went home resolving in my mind to learn the printing business and no other. Accordingly, at a suitable age, my father placed me with George Kline of Carlisle to learn the "art, trade and occupation of a printer," himself providing clothing, etc. Although discouragements met me and induced relinquishing my intention, having determined upon the matter I resolved to go through; and can say with all seriousness in my own heart, my duties were performed faithfully and honorably. In the winter of 1805, went to Philadelphia obtaining a situation in the book-printing office of William Duane, editor of the AURORA whose office was in Franklin Court. Continued to reside in Philadelphia under the summer of 1806, when the yellow fever making its appearance there, went to Trenton, New Jersey. Worked with James Oram, book printer, during the summer. Returned to Philadelphia, and between that city, New York, and the city of Baltimore, spent the remaining days of my journeyman printer life. 

June 18, 1812. The same day war declared by Congress, about noon the Declaration was received by express from Washington, against Great Britain. Being in the city of Baltimore, gave myself mind, heart and body to be a soldier while the war lasted. The city was in extreme frenzied excitement, business almost suspended; the population in masses in the streets and agitated as if a hostile army had invaded their homes. About simultaneously with the declaration of war, Congress has promptly passed a bill providing for accepting of the services of fifty thousand volunteers, signed by President Madison. Under this act many young men volunteered, and we signed our names at a rendezvous immediately opened at a tavern on Pratt Street, east of the basin. Opposite, across the street, was a large building used for a riding school. Before many days, plenty of volunteers signed for filling the company and many were excluded. We drilled daily in the above building and became pretty fair soldiers at least in evolutions of the drill.

Went through several promotions and served till the close of the war, thus completing three years on the Niagara and northern frontier: one as a volunteer in the Baltimore volunteers and two in the regular army; obtained a furlough for three months from this date, November 7, 1814; return to duty; no operation of this division of the army of any importance from date until news of peace having been concluded at Ghent was received. Now that the war has happily terminated, my anxieties are for private life and active business. A military one in peace, affording very little pleasure for me. In arranging of the peace establishment am retained and assigned to the corps of artillery in my present position as second lieutenant from the date of my commission as such in the infantry, 2d June, 1814. 

Report to Adjt. Gen Parker at Washington City, who solicits me to remain in the service, offering some inducements to do so; that I should be stationed at Fort McHenry near Baltimore, or any other post I should choose. General Parker was particularly kind, but I had joined the army because there seemed to be a necessity-my country engaged in war with a foreign nation. Now that an honorable peace was obtained and our just claims granted, I felt as standing in the way of some worthy young man who wished to make arms his profession. I therefore preferred returning to private life and printing business. Forthwith resigned my commission September 7, 1815, thus completing three years in the service on the Niagara and Northern frontier, one as a volunteer with the Baltimore volunteers and one with the regular army. 

Return to the city of Baltimore, enter into the book and job printing as a partner with James Kennedy; married to Martha Wray, daughter of John and Mary Wray, by Rev James Inglis, D.D. [on] May 9th, 1816."

From Baltimore he moved to Philadelphia, and thence to Washington, Penna.

The causes that brought him to this town are related in the history of the EXAMINER and his connection with that paper. During his long residence in Washington, he filled important offices of honor and trust, having been elected to the office of register in 1830; prothonotary in 1839; associate judge in 1843. Served as trustee of Washington Female Seminary from its organization till his death, and pension agent from 1853 to 1861. He died on the 11th of March, 1871, in his eighty eighth year. 

Of his children: Thomas W Grayson resides in Meadville, Penna; John Grayson resides in Pittsburgh; and Dr Wray Grayson and Miss Martha Grayson are residents of Washington, Penna. 

Source:  History of Washington County, Pennsylvania: with biographical sketches
of many of its pioneers and prominent men. Edited by Boyd Crumrine. Illustrated. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts and Co., 1882. p. 489 [for Grayson and McDermott]:

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