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Johnson City Chronicle, Johnson City, TN
Obituary of James Gray

April 4, 1942

[see image for photograph]

LAST 'MAN IN GRAY' PASSES - Washington county lost its last Confederate war veteran yesterday when James Gray, above, died at his home in the Gray community. This picture of Mr. Gray, who would have been 93, April 9, was taken two years ago on the occasion of his 91st birthday.

Washington County's Last Confederate Veteran Dies

Funeral Services for James Gray, Nearly 93, To Be Held At Gray Station This Afternoon

James Gray, last Confederate veteran of Washington county, died at his home in the Gray community yesterday about noon. He had been in declining health for sometime, but his condition became grave only about a week ago. Had Mr. Gray lived until April 9, he would have been 93 years of age.

Suriving are his wife, Mrs. Vertie Gray; one daughter, Miss Alice Gray; one step-son, Charles Erwin; one step-daughter, Mrs. Roy V. Murray, and four nephews and two nieces, all of Washington county.

Funeral To Be Held At Gray Baptist Church

Funeral services will be held from the Gray Station Baptist Church this afternoon at 3 o'clock. The Rev. A. J. Watkin, of Jefferson City, the Rev. John Bowery, of Bristol, and the Rev. H. M. Carder, of Fordtown, will officiate. Burial will be in the Gray Cemetery.

Active pallbearers: Jonathan P. Bickley, W. B. Gray, Roscoe Hodges, Joe Hamilton, Dewey Brown, John N. Wright.

Honorary pallbearers: B. N. Isenburg, Cecil Duff, R. N. Brown, H. K. Dillow, Foy DeVault, Byrd Kitzmiller, J. Huse Gray, A. J. Isenburg, Sr., Fred DeVault, J. D. Kitzmiller, Dr. R. E. Stack, Doc Hall, R. C. Hamilton, E. S. Adams, Jesse G. Smith, Roy Martin and Henry Barnes.

Flower bearers will include members of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Mr. Gray was the son of Nancy Dickenson Gray, of Castlewood, Va., and of Harvey Gray of St. Paul, Va., both the Dickenson and Gray families being widely known in Virginia.

Entered War When But 14 Years Of Age

He entered the War Between the States at the age of 14 as a rookie mounted soldier, serving with General Robert E. Lee. He was 15 on April 9, 1865, when Lee surrendered at Appomatox courthouse.

Gray's unit was closely associated with various important movements in Virginia during the darkest days of the cause, and was largely made up of "reserves" of the hill counties, boys and old men who were called into service. His company was one of a force of 5,000 organized into brigades. The one which Gray belonged to was commanded by John A. McCausland.

When Confederate cavalry leader, Jubal A. Early, detached by Gen. Lee with a part of the Second Corps, moved out one afternoon in June towards Charlottesville and Lynchburg, Gray was not far away. Early's men were pursuing Major General David Hunter, who had just left a trail of destruction, including Stonewall Jackson Military Institute at Lexington. As a member of Early's cavalry, commanded by McCausland, Gray was in the Georgetown raid in the suburbs of Washington, and though he crossed the Potomac many times, he never entered Washington, but viewed the capitol dome in the distance.

Mr. Gray served in many skirmishes in Virginia and Maryland. He often recalled that it was during one of the skirmishes in Maryland that his horse was stolen - together with seven huckleberry pies, which were in his saddle pockets. The highly prized food was the result of a trade with a Maryland housewife who accepted three plugs of tobacco for the pies.

Gray became a foot-solder after his only horse was stolen and it was about the same time that he was assigned the task, with a number of others, to take a large number of horses to Mississippi to recuperate for the winter, and to bring back such animals as could be used in service. On his return trip, he was in the neighborhood of his mother's home, when word was received of Lee's surrender.

Mr. Gray made Washington county his home the greater part of his life. He lived on a sizable farm two miles from Gray Station in what is known as the David Kitzmiller homestead, erected of brick in 1828 by David Kitzmiller. It passed to the Roller family in 1860. Gray purchased it in 1895, and it is virtually the same as when he bought it.

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