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Milton Clark Gray


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"Spokane and The Spokane Country - Pictorial and Biographical - Deluxe Supplement." Vol. II. The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912. (No author listed.) pgs. 82-85.

       Milton Clark Gray, one of the prominent stock breeders of Whitman county, who is also well known in the real-estate circles of Pullman, was born in West Virginia on the 12th of April, 1856, and is a son of William Jesse and Mary Ann (Dague) Gray, also natives of West Virginia. The Gray family trace their ancestry back to the early colonial days, some of our subject's forefathers having participated in the Revolutionary war. They were formerly residents of Pennsylvania, the grandfather, Mathew Gray, having been born and reared near Ryerson's Station, Greene county. His sons, including William J., responded to the country's call for volunteers and went to the front during the Civil war, thus maintaining the reputation for patriotism the family had long ago established. Agricultural pursuits always engaged the energies of William J. Gray, who passed away in 1872, when he was still in his prime.
       The early years of Milton Clark Gray were marked by many hardships and privations. He was a lad of only sixteen years when his father died, but, being the eldest child, the operation of the small home farm largely devolved upon him, while he was compelled to render the family further assistance by hiring out to the neighboring farmers. The wages for work of this kind at that period were very low, for money was scare and many were seeking employment, so that the lad was compelled to serve many times from daylight to dark for the paltry sum of thirty-seven and a half cents a day. The succeeding eight years brought about various changes and lessened his responsibilities, so that in 1880 he was able to realize the ambition of his life and supplement his meager education by attending the Ohio Wesleyan University and Ada University. He was able to continue his studies in these institutions for two years and at the expiration of that time he again turned his attention to agricultural pursuits in the summer, while the winter months he devoted to teaching in Ohio and Illinois. As he was enterprising and ambitious he carefully saved as much of his earnings as possible and during four succeeding years acquired sufficient capital to enable him to engage in business for himself. An opportunity was afforded him to become associated with Robert Burgess & Son, well known breeders and importers of fine stock at Wenona, Illinois. This proved entirely satisfactory in every way and he has ever since been engaged in this business. He remained in the vicinity of Wenona for four years, after which he went to Emporia, Kansas, still retaining a business connection with the Burgess company, however. Disposing of his interests in Kansas and Illinois six years later, he removed to Minnesota, where he followed the same business until 1898. In the later year he went to Nebraska, where he established a stock importing establishment that he operated until 1902, when he again disposed of his interests and came to Whitman county, where he has ever since resided. Mr. Gray has met with excellent success in his undertakings and, being a man of foresight and good judgment as well as unusual sagacity, he has directed his activities with intelligence, and his efforts have been substantially rewarded. To him is largely due the improvement of the horse stock in the Pacific northwest. In addition to his large and well established importing business he has acquired extensive holdings in real estate, owning about four thousand acres of fine grain land in British Columbia and Alberta. Of recent years he has been investing quite heavily in property, although he still continues to engage in the stock business.
       At Crete, Nebraska, in May, 1900, Mr. Gray was married to Miss Cora E. Streeter, of Wisconsin, a daughter of Gaylord D. and Marie (Adams) Streeter, natives of New York. In the maternal line Mrs. Gray is descended from the Adams family that provided America with so many eminent men, belonging to the branch of which John Quincy Adams was a member. One daughter, Mariana, has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Gray.
       The family in religious matters in liberal, favoring no special creed. Fraternally Mr. Gray has attained high rank in the Masonic order, being affiliated with the blue lodge and chapter and also the commandery. He likewise belongs to the Odd Fellows, Maccabees and Elks. His political support he gives to the democratic party save at municipal elections, when he casts his ballot for the man he considers best qualified to subserve the interests of the majority. He has always taken an active interest in all local affairs and in 1907 he was elected mayor of Pullman, which was the year the saloons were voted out, a movement in which he was largely instrumental. Mr. Gray is a man of many fine qualities and such strength of character that he inspires confidence in all who have dealings with him. He is a believer in the Jeffersonian principle which is exemplified in his own life and is a widely read student of and a writer upon economic questions. What he is and what he has achieved must be entirely attributed to his own efforts, as he has made his own way from early boyhood and is in every sense of the word a self-made man, his success being due to his determination of purpose, persistence and definite aim. Conservative and cautious in his methods, he takes a full inventory of his powers and possibilities of success before undertaking a new venture, and as a result knows exactly what his plan of action will be and concentrates his entire force upon the achievement of his ambition.
       In closing this sketch, it will not be amiss to quote from a testimonial handed Mr. Gray over thirty years ago, by the faculty of the university at Ada, Ohio, at the time when from lack of funds, as well as a sense of duty to his mother and the balance of the family, he was obliged to withdraw from the institution before graduation. From said testimonial the following paragraph is given:
       "Mr. Gray has been a student at this institution for several terms, and of the thousands who come under our instruction, we seldom find a man whom we can commend so favorably. He is a gentleman of most pleasant manners, a kind and generous heart, with a strong will, a sensitive conscience, a clear strong mind, and possessed of strict habits of industry:---we believe him worthy of high trust."
In the light of our subject's subsequent life and achievements, the opinion formed of him by his mentors in earlier days, seems to have been fully justified.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton

* * * * Notice: These biographies were transcribed for the Washington Biographies Project. Unless otherwise stated, no further information is available on the individuals featured in the biographies.


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