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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
John H. Gray

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[This information is from pp. 54-55 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

John H. Gray, proprietor of a general store in Tannersville, Greene County, N. Y., was born in Olive, Ulster County, this State, January 13, 1853, son of Morgan and Rachel (Freileigh) Gray. His grandfather, Martin Gray, was a lifelong resident of Columbia County and a prosperous farmer.

Morgan Gray, father of John H., was born in Saratoga, and he there followed farming some years. He later came to Greene County, and remained a short time, then went to Olive in Ulster County, and in 1868 settled upon a farm in Saugerties, where he is still residing. He is now seventy-five years old, but possesses the activity of a much younger man. He is a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. His wife, Rachel, was born in Saugerties, daughter of Samuel Freileigh, a prosperous farmer of that locality. She died at the age of fifty-six, having been the mother of seven children, of whom six are living; namely, Samuel M., John H., Carrie, Mary, Abbie, and Charles. Carrie married Daniel York, Mary married Orville Smith, and Abbie is the wife of Frank Smith.

John H. Gray was educated in the common schools. He assisted his father on the farm until he was thirty-one years old, when he purchased the general store conducted up to that time by his brother Samuel M., and, adding other goods, carried on the business for four years. Selling out to his brother-in-law, he came in 1890 to Tannersville, and purchasing land in the centre of the town, on the west side of Hunter Turnpike, erected his present store, in which he has carried on a profitable business ever since. The store is sixty by one hundred feet, and two stories high, the upper floor being used for storage purposes. He carries a large and varied stock, including dry and fancy goods, boots and shoes, hay and grain, paints and oils, groceries, hardware, housefurnishing goods, carpets, crockery, harnesses, robes, all kinds of patent medicines, wines, liquors, cigars, and tobacco. He also has a millinery department. He opens in April and closes January 1. With the aid of twenty-one employees, he transacts a large business, supplying all of the hotels and park resorts in this locality. He buys by the carload, and the character of his trade demands the handling of the finest quality of foreign and domestic goods. In connection with his store he carries on a well-equipped livery stable, keeping an average of thirty horses.

In 1882 Mr. Gray married Jennie Carnright, a native of Quarryville, Ulster County, daughter of Wynkoop and Abbie (Freileigh) Carnright. Her father was born in West Hadley, Ulster County. He moved from there to Quarryville and later to Maiden-on-the-Hudson, where he has resided for the past twenty-five years and is general overseer on the stone dock. Her mother also was born in Quarryville. She was a daughter of Samuel P. Freileigh, a farmer of that town, who was of Dutch descent. Mrs. Carnright, who is no longer living, was the mother of two children: Jennie, who is now Mrs. Gray; and Carrie, who married James Hommul. Having a good common-school education and possessing excellent business ability, Mrs. Gray is a valuable assistant to her husband, and has a general supervision of the store. She attends to most of the buying, and gives her particular attention to the millinery department, which is well stocked with seasonable goods. Mr. and Mrs. Gray have one daughter, Maud S., aged fourteen. She is attending the academy in Kingston, and makes a specialty of music.

Mr. Gray is a Democrat in politics. He is a great lover of horses, and keeps a number of speedy animals, and Mrs. Gray is also fond of driving.

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