Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Creator Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Bibliography:

Description of Series

William Fairfax Gray

Millie Richards Gray

Peter W. Gray

Edwin Fairfax Gray

Collected Papers: Correspondence

Collected Papers: Autograph

Collected Papers: Legal

Collected Papers: Printed Materials

Collected Papers: Maps

Photostats

Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History

Gray Family Papers

Manuscript Collection: MC033



Collection Summary

Creator: Gray family
Title: Gray family papers
Dates: 1826-1864
Abstract: Correspondence, diaries, legal documents and printed materials created by the Gray family or collected by them record events in Virginia and Texas from before the Texas Revolution to the Civil War.
Identification: MC033
OCLC Record No. 47248938
Quantity: 1 box (.4 linear feet)
Language Materials are in English.
Repository: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte, Texas

Creator Sketch

William Fairfax Gray was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, on November 3, 1787, to William and Catherine Dick Gray. As a land agent for Thomas Green and Albert T. Burnley, Gray first visited Texas in 1835. He attended the 1836 convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos and kept a detailed diary of its proceedings. Gray left Texas during the "Runaway Scrape" but returned with his family in 1838, settling in Houston where he practiced law. Among Gray's titles were clerk of the Texas House of Representatives, secretary of the Texas Senate, district attorney in Texas, clerk of the Texas Supreme Court, and secretary of the Philosophical Society of Texas. He was a Mason and a devout Episcopalian. He and his wife, Millie Richards Stone Gray (1757-1851), married in 1817 and had 12 children six of whom lived to adulthood. Gray died in Houston on April 16, 1841.

Peter W. Gray, 1819-1874, son of William and Millie Gray, came to Houston, Texas with his family in 1838. He became a captain in the Republic of Texas army and second lieutenant of the Milam Guards. From 1841 to 1861 Gray served as district attorney of Houston. He married Abby Jane Avery in 1843. In 1846 he was elected to the first Texas state legislature, and there he authored the important Practice Act, regulating Texas court procedures. Gray was a founder of the Houston Lyceum, which later became the Houston Public Library. After Texas secession, Gray represented the Houston district in the first Confederate House of Representatives. He became a volunteer aide to General John Bankhead Magruder in 1863, and saw action in the battle of Galveston. In 1864 Jefferson Davis appointed Gray his fiscal agent for the Trans-Mississippi Department. After the war Gray started a Houston law practice and was the first president of the Houston Bar Association. For a brief time prior to his death, he was appointed associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Like his father, Gray was an active Mason and Episopalian.

Edwin Fairfax Gray, 1829-1884, son of William and Millie Gray, served in both the Republic of Texas Navy and United States Navy, and while in the latter, sailed with Commodore Matthew Perry on his historic trip to Japan in 1853. After resigning from the Navy in 1858, Gray was appointed Texas state engineer, and secretary/treasurer of Houston Tap and Brazoria Railway Company in 1860. He joined the 3rd Texas Infantry during the Civil War and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the war Gray returned to engineering and often acted as an inspector for railroad construction. Gray had three children with his wife, Rosalie Woodburn Taylor Gray, whom he married in 1857.

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Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, diaries, legal documents and printed materials created by the Gray family or collected by them record events in Virginia and Texas from before the Texas Revolution to the Civil War. Those documents created by a Gray family member are arranged by individual. Contained in the William Fairfax Gray series are a handwritten Constitution of the Philosophical Society of Texas, a letter from James Madison, and an oath of allegiance to Texas made before Gray. A transcript of Millie Gray's diary covers the time period of 1832 to 1840, and documents her life in Fredericksburg, Virginia, her husband's move to and return from Texas, the family's journey to Texas, and life in Houston. In the Peter W. Gray series are correspondence with Nathan Fuller and Jefferson Davis in 1862, and a key to the writing of a Galveston secret society. "Notes on the Occurances of 1842" and the journal excerpt are believed to have been written by Peter W. Gray.

Documents collected by the Gray family are arranged according to material type and function. Seven letters written to Sam Houston and one written by him, document 1830s and 1840s Texas. Other notable correspondence is by former president Andrew Jackson, covering the approach of Texas annexation in 1844; Confederate governor of Texas Francis R. Lubbock, concerning martial law in Texas; and early Texan jurist and diplomat George W. Terrell, writing to Ashbel Smith and Lord Aberdeen of Britain. One of the 1000 printed copies of Col. Travis' March 3, 1836 letter from the Alamo reveals his situation there. A hand-drawn map documents the Texan defenses at Fort Defiance in Goliad in 1836. "An Ordinance" covers the terms under which the government of Texas planned to dissolve its union with the United States in 1861. "General Orders," written by General John Bankhead Magruder, is in regards to the exportation of cotton from Texas in 1863.

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Arrangement

Organized into nine series and nineteen subseries; arrangement is alphabetical and chronological.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

None.

Terms Governing Use

Open for research by appointment.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the San Jacinto Museum of History. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Jacinto Museum of History as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

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Index Terms

Names:
Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889
Fuller, Nathan
Gray, Edwin Fairfax, 1829-1884
Gray, Millie, 1800-1851
Gray, Peter W., 1819-1874
Gray, William Fairfax, 1787-1841
Houston, Sam, 1793-1863
Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845
Lubbock, Francis Richard, 1815-1905
Madison, James, 1751-1836
Magruder, John Bankhead, 1807-1871
Smith, Ashbel, 1805-1886
Terrell, George W.
Travis, William Barret, 1809-1836
Organizations:
Philosophical Society of Texas
Subjects:
Lawyers--Texas--Archives
Places:
Fort Defiance (Goliad, Tex.)--Maps
Houston (Tex.)
Texas--Annexation to the United States
Texas--History--Republic, 1836-1846
Texas--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Titles:
Constitution of the Philosophical Society of Texas
Notes on the occurrences of 1842

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Administrative Information

Citation

[Identification of Item], Gray Family Papers, MC033, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.

Acquisition

Gift of George D. Sears, 1958.

Processing Information

Processed by Joel Minor, 2001.

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Bibliography:

"GRAY, WILLIAM FAIRFAX" The Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/GG/fgr27.html

"GRAY, PETER W." The Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/GG/fgr25.html

"GRAY, EDWIN FAIRFAX" The Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/GG/fgr20.html

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Inventory

 

William Fairfax Gray

box folder
32 1 Correspondence 1831, 04/13, n.d.
2 Legal Documents 1837-1839

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Millie Richards Gray

box folder
32 3 Diary (transcript) 1832-1840

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Peter W. Gray

box folder
32 4 Correspondence 1862
5 Diary 1842
6 Key n.d.

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Edwin Fairfax Gray

box folder
32 7 Correspondence 1856

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Collected Papers: Correspondence

box folder
32 8 Sam Houston from Stephen F. Austin (transcript) 1836, 10/16
9 Sam Houston from George Bancroft 1845, 11/24
10 Sam Houston from G.B. Jameson (portion) 1836, 01/18
11 Sam Houston from J.R. Reiley 1842, 06/22
12 Sam Houston to Col. Yoakum 1849, 01/31
13 Sam Houston from Lorenzo de Zavala 1836, 03/14
14 Andrew Jackson to Sam Houston 1844, 03/15
15 Andrew Jackson to W.G. Reeves 1844, 06/15
16 Francis R. Lubbock to General P.O. Hebert 1862, 09/26
17 Francis R. Lubbock to Texas Delegation in Confederate Congress 1862, 09/30
18 G.W. Terrell to Ashbel Smith (3 letters) 1842-1845
19 G.W. Terrell to Lord Aberdeen 1845, 05/01
20 General 1829-1862
21 Envelope: Thomas M. Bagby n.d.

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Collected Papers: Autograph

box folder
32 22 Autograph: Thomas J. Rusk n.d.

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Collected Papers: Legal

box folder
32 23 Donation Warrant: T.H. Bruce 1838, 05/15
24 Mexican stamp legal form (blank) 1826-1827

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Collected Papers: Printed Materials

box folder
32 25 Broadside: Letter from Col. William B. Travis 1836, 03/03
26 Broadside: "An Ordinance" 1861, 02/01
27 Broadside: "General Orders" 1863, 02/22
28 Newspaper Clipping: The Bellville Countryman 1862, 09/06
29 Newspaper Clipping: The Houston Daily Telegraph 1864, 04/28

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Collected Papers: Maps

box folder
32 30 Plan of Fort Defiance 1836, 03/02

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Photostats

box folder
32 31 Genealogy of Gray Family n.d.
32 Constitution of the Philosophical Society of Texas 1837, 12/05
33 Correspondence: To Sam Houston from Lorenzo de Zavala 1836, 03/14
34 Printed Materials: Letter from Col. William B. Travis 1836, 03/03
35 Printed Materials: "General Orders" 1863, 02/22

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