Family Histories of Coleman County, Texas

by Anita Tomlinson

From A History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985 
edited by Judia and Ralph Terry, and Vena Bob Gates - used by permission

Grier McLaughlin Gray was born October 4, 1849, in Monroe County, which is now West Virginia, son of Andrew Wiley Gray and Mary Jane Patton. Andrew joined the Confederate Forces at the outbreak of the Civil War and was killed in the Battle of “Poison Springs,” Arkansas, in 1865. He was a Mason and was buried with Masonic honors. Mary Jane (Patton) Gray died August 14, 1859, when Grier was ten years old. Grier had two broth­ers, Tristan A. and Rankin A. and a sister, Margaret Ann.

Grier left Virginia in 1866 on foot the day he was seventeen years old for Dallas County. He walked most of the way. Finding work here and there to support himself, he arrived in Dallas County in the late sixties. A short time after his arrival, he met Mary Matilda, born July 15, 1850 in Georgia, North Carolina, the daughter of Silas (October 16, 1821-June 19, 1910) and Vianna (Curtis) Ledford (November 7, 1823-1898), one of ten children. Grier and Mary were married November 27, 1872 in Dallas County.

The Grays joined their forces and resources with Andy Young; they came to Coleman County, October 4, 1873, and settled on Pecan Bayou. Grier worked for Mr. Young as a cowhand at twenty dollars a month, and he was to run his cattle with those of Mr. Young’s. They were to share their meals as members of the Young family. As soon as they could get to it they built for Grier and his wife another log room with fireplace and loft, connecting it with the Young’s passageway. This was for saftey, as well as companionship for the two women. When it became necessary to own and fence the range, they bought and fenced until they owned over 7,000 acres of fine land. They built a four room house and hauled furniture from Baird.

The Groves were God’s first Temple in those days; circuit riding preachers, would come and hold an all day meeting under the trees and everybody would come with well filled baskets, and they would worshiped God together. There were few schools in the country at the time the two families moved to this country, and there was still some fear of Indian raids. Mr. Gray and Mr. Young took part in many buffalo drives. Mrs. Young and Mrs. Gray were the only women for miles around, on one occasion they lived together for over a year without seeing another woman.
Mr. and Mrs. Grier Gray had three children:

(1) Walter Andrew, August 14, 1877 in Coleman County-1942, married Josephine Carrington from Marquez (February 19, 1881-1975). They had two children:

Mary Ella, born Novmeber 1, 1901, married Frank Taylor (see James Frank Taylor).

Mabel, February 22, 1905-February 26, 1966. Walter Gray had the first car in Coleman and also the first car agency. He was a partner in the Gray-Gordon Store in Coleman.

(2) Myrtle Valentine, February 14, 1882-May 5, 1969, married James W. Woodward, August 50, 1900, 1887 in Cass County-October 15, 1933. His parents were Samuel Parker and Martha Ann (White) Woodward, stepmother to Judge J. O. Woodward (see Woodward). James and Myrtle had two children:

Ima Gray, born September 7, 1901, married Pat Ray Warren (see John B. Warren).

Maurese, March 5, 1904, married Langdon Powers Sawyer (Don) from Kansas City, Missouri, on March 14, 1926. Born to them was one son, Donald Gregg, April 9, 1927, married Stella Galindo from Bogota, Columbia, South America, on September 15, 1952. Born to them were Donna, William Gregg, Susana and Patricia, all born in South America.

(3) Charles Clyde, November 26, 1886-December 26, 1955), married Callie Henderson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Cowan Henderson. Born to them were:

(3a) Leta, born May 5, 1910, married Ulma Dagley. Born to them were Peggy Sue, Nancy Carolyn, and Dolores Jean.

(3b) Marie, Sep­tember 29, 1912, married Joe Golden and their children were Joe Gray, Ronnie Charles, Robert Taylor and Billy Mac.

(3c) William Grier, December 8, 1915-October 9, 1965. (3d) Dorothy Virginia, August 7, 1918, married Orion Smith and their children were Charles C. and Judy Gay.

One day in the late 1890’s, Grier came to Coleman City and told Mr. Allday, a reputable carpenter, he wanted him to build a house for Mary and the children and, “here is my checkbook.” Honesty was a way of life in those days. He owned a large tract of land in the southwest part of Coleman, where he wanted the house built, now 601 W. Walnut. This was among the first homes to have electricity. The house was finished in 1898. The entire construction was built and trimmed by hand on the outside and inside, the stairway was a work of art. It was beautifully furnished in the best of taste solid wood furniture, cherry wood with satin tufted sofas, chairs, tables, Victorian glass and wood cabinets, lace panel curtains, beautiful carpets, cranberry glass chandaliers. The outside was painted yellow with green trim and the roof was red. It was a lovely Victor an style house, although Mary and Grier always considered the Gray Ranch their home.

Grier Gray was an early (1884) commissioner of Pre­cinct 4. The Gray family became well known, too, for the oil and gas interests they owned, wells having been drilled on the Gray Ranch, for who the sand is named.

There were no deaths in their family until Mary died January 51, 1939. Grier followed her in death soon after on October 19, 1939, both buried in Coleman.

(Images to be added)
Charles, Mary, G.M., Myrtle and Walter [rear] Gray

Mable and Mary Ella Gray

Mary Ella Taylor

Grier Gray home in Coleman

Frank Taylor

Maurese Sawyer

Don Sawyer

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This page last updated March 26, 2015
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