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IL Biographies
Page 7


J.B. GRAY, whose mane is well known among the leading citizens of Coles County, has retired from active business, and is spending the closing years of a long life of usefulness at his home in Charleston. He was born April 7, 1816, in Greene County, Pa., and is the son of John and Rhoda (Bane) Gray, natives of Pennsylvania. His great-grandfather was a native of Ireland, who emigrated to this country at a very early day, and settled in Maryland. His grandfather, Judge David Gray removed to Pennsylvania, where he entered an extensive tract of land in Rich Hill Township, Green County, and as soon as the land came into market, he purchased this claim, which made four large farms. In 1832, his son John removed to Athens County, Ohio, a leading agricultural State, and at that period considered the Far West. He passed the remaining years of his life there engaged in farming, and was a man of influence in the community, interested in promoting all measures calculated to benefit the county.  He was a Republican in politics, and both himself and his wife were prominent members of the Presbyterian Church. A family of nine children was born to them, five of whom are now living. Their record is as follows: Sarah, the wife of Francis Braddock, a Presbyterian clergy; Jesse B., Isaac P., John and George. Jesse B. Gray lived at the homestead until he was twenty-one years of age, where he acquired much practical experience in the details of systematic farming, and received a good common-school education. He remained on the homestead engaged in farming until 1865. He then disposed of his property there and came to Illinois, whose resources as an agricultural State were being rapidly developed. He bought a tract of land containing 240 acres in Seven Hickory Township, this county, and was successfully engaged in farming there until 1884, when he retired from business and purchased his present residence in Charleston. In 1847, Mr. Gray was married to Miss Sarah Vorhees. Mrs. Gray was a native of Athens County, Ohio, and the daughter of Peter Vorhees. A family of six children was born to them, whose record is as follows: Frank, a resident of Homer, Champaign County, married Miss Mary Whaley, and has a family of four children -  Harry, Glen, Jesse and Elsie; Ruth, Mrs. McNutt, is a resident of Seven Hickory Township and has a family of three children ?Fred, Clifford and Cleta; Almira, Mrs. J. Ashbrook, is a resident of Seven Hickory Township, and has two children- Earl and Claud; Sarah, Mrs. Martin McConnell, is a resident of Charleston, and George, single and at home. In 1883 the family circle was broken by the death of Mrs. Gray. The beloved wife and devoted mother was removed from the companionship of those whose joys and sorrows she had shared for so many years, but only to await the home-coming of her loved ones, where parting shall be no more. Mrs. Gray was a sincere and earnest Christian, and had been for many years a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Gray is a Republican in politics. He served as School Director and Commissioner during his residence in Seven Hickory Township, discharging his public duties faithfully, and to the satisfaction of the community. He became a member of the Presbyterian Church at the age of seventeen, and throughout a long life has honored and served the Master, winning what is of more value than the most brilliant earthly success, the Divine approval. Pg.#507...Submitted by: DeAnn

Illustrated History of Union and Wallowa Counties, Page 288-289, Copyright 1902 
JOHN H. O'BRYANT- We esteem it a privilege to be permitted to chronicle for the history of our county a brief review of the substantial and prominent citizen, whos name is at the head of this article, and who has wright in the pioneer's life so weel and faithfully for the opening of this and adjacent counties and for their development and advancement for over one-third of a century, while his life of constant adherence to right and the principles of truth and uprightness, together with manifestation of sagacity and sound judgment, has placed him in a most enviable position of esteem and prominence throughout the entire county. John H. O'Bryant was born to Elias and Sarah O'Bryant on July 10, 1830, in Blount county, East Tennessee, and at the age of seven years he was brought by his parents to the city of Springfield, Missouri, where they settled on a claim. At the age of fourteen our subject was called to mourn the loss of his father and from that time until he was twenty(?) years of age he was constant in labor on the farm for his mother and the other members of the family. When he had arrived at the age of twenty-four, others had matured to be able to shoulder some of the responsibilities of life, and John H. followed the desire that the reports form the Pacific slope had kindled in his breast, that of coming hither to seek his fortune and build a place for himself. Accordingly he embarked with an expedition that was bringing cattle to the coast; It consisted of eighteen men, four wagons drawn by oxen, thirty-five horses and mules, and six hundred and seventy0six head of cattle. For four months and one day they steadily pursued thier way toward the setting sun, and they arrived in Beckwith valley, in California. Mr. O'Bryant went from there to mariposa county and commenced to mine, continuing at that enterprise until the spring of 1857, then went to Sonoma county and there worked in the redwood forests for a period and then in 1860 came to Salem in this state and later went to Polk county. In this latter place he remained until the fall of 1862, and then came to Auburn, in Baker county, and embarked as freighter from the Dalles to Auburn, and in 1863 he went to Idaho basin with freight. In the fall of this year he came to Baker county, settling eight mile below Baker City and remaining there until 1866. In that year he came to his present place, which is five miles west from North Powder and entered a homestead on the ground where he is living at the present time. To the original holding he has added by purchase until he has a good farm of two hundred and fifty acres. During all the years from 1866 until the present time, he has labored faithfully, and wisely at the home place, and the result is that he has a fine estate, well improved, large barn, good dwelling, orchard, and many other conveniences and necessaries that make the rural life both pleasant and probfitable. While Mr. O'Bryant has devoted most of his time to the culture of the soil, he has some stock and gives some attention to rearing animals. The marriage of Mr. O'Bryant and Mrs. Elizbeth J. Hand was solemnized at Baker City, on June 12, 1884. They are both devoted and prominent members of the Baptist church, and their lives are daily exemplifications of the teachings of the faith that they espouse. Mr. O'Bryant's mother died in 1867, near Springfield, Missouri. Mr. O'Bryant has seen much of the life of the frountiersman and endurred the hardships that beset that path, taking his full share in both danger and grief and endurance of trying ordeals, but at the prensent time he is enjoying the fruit of his toil and the esteem and love of his neighbors, and all that are acquainted with him, while he and his wife are faithful in showing to a world the light of Christianity and the Redeemer of mankind, whom they delight to honor and love to follow....Submitted by Dawn

 

 

 

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