genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893, p. 274.  Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

ROBERT A. GRAY, Supervisor of Mosquito Township, is engaged in carrying on his farm, which is situated on section 33. He is one of the well-to-do and influential agriculturists of this vicinity, and has been a resident of the county for some twenty years. He has served in many public positions of honor with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his constituents, and has represented this district in the State Legislature for two terms and served on a number of important committees.

Our subject was born in County Donegal, Ireland, October 16, 1835. His father was likewise a native of the same country, descended from an old Scotch family that settled in Ireland in 1542. The Grays of Castle Torras, though Protestants, were always celebrated for their liberal political views, which won them the love and esteem of their Catholic fellow-countrymen.

There he grew to man's estate and was married in 1834 to Miss Elizabeth Patton. In 1836, the father, Joseph Gray, came to the United States on a visit to friends in Maryland and was taken sick and died in Philadelphia the same year. His wife survived him several years, and died in 1845.

Our subject was only ten years of age when he was left an orphan by the death of his mother, and he was placed in charge of a guardian, who robbed him and his family of everything. When only eighteen years of age he commenced teaching, and for the past twenty-five years has been engaged as an educator in this State. In 1860 he was united in marriage with Miss Martha Blackburn, who was born in Ireland.

The family of Mr. and Mrs. Gray comprises eleven children, as follows: William A., who lives in Blue Mound; John K., who is at home; Annie, wife of William Wallie, of Stonington Township; Joseph, Maggie I., Lizzie M., Robert H., Sarah, James M., Frank and Edna, who complete the family. Robert H. and Mary are deceased. The parents and several of their children are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Since 1874 Mr. Gray has been a member of the Christian County Board of Supervisors and Chairman of the Board. He has filled many local offices, and in 1885 was elected to the State Legislature. He was re-elected to that important position two years later, and was a member of the Committees on Claims, Education and Elections.

He is a well-educated man and is posted on all public topics, is broad in his views, and in addition to his other accomplishments is a poet of no mean degree. He is from the county in Ireland that produced such men as Gens. Montgomery and Carleton, and the fathers of Presidents Polk and Buchanan, and also John C. Calhoun.

In politics, our subject is a Democrat, and socially is a member of the Masonic fraternity. His farm consists of two hundred acres, which are well cultivated and upon which is a substantial residence. He is at present one of the Board of Trustees of the State Historical Library, associated with Judge Lambert Tree [Tree Studios, Chicago, Illinois] and Hon. J. N. Perrin.



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