MRS. NEELY GRAY


From History of Dane County, Wisconsin, publ. by Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1880, page 993

MRS. NEELY GRAY, nee Adaline C. STARKS; born in Otsego Co., N.Y., in 1821; her father, Jonathan STARKS, was a cousin of Gen. STARKS, of revolutionary fame. Her father died when she was 18 years of age, and then the family, consisting of the mother and six daughters, one of them married, came West in the fall of 1839, and settled on the present site of Madison, where two of the married sisters had settled in 1838. The family wintered in 1839-40, in the old log cabin built by Eben PECK two years previous. Simeon MILLS was then a prominent settler. A Mr. FAKE was keeping tavern. There were three families of BIRDS - Prosper B., Augustus A., Charles H., also two unmarried BIRDS - Enos and I. Washington; the BIRDS and a George HYER were from New York; Robert L. REAM, from Pennsylvania, came the preceding year, and a daughter born in Madison is Vinnie REAM, the famous American sculptor. An Episcopal preacher named Philo was here, and also Messrs. VAN BERGEN and SMITH, the brothers-in-law of Mrs. GRAY, who were the pioneers that secured the coming of the STARKS family. When she came, Eben PECK, who built the first log house in Madison, was living in a frame house, and Mrs. Roseline PECK was in good demand as a violinist at the dances which were numerous and popular. George P. DELAPLAINE, Darwin CLARK and Adam SMITH were unmarried residents. There was also a WINSLADE family, whose widow still lives in Madison. There were also families named LAMB, WYMAN and STONER. The fist male child born in Madison was named Madison STONER, born in 1838, and the first female child was born in 1837, and named Wisconsiana Victoria PECK. In 1842, the subject of this sketch was married to Neely GRAY, who had been a member of the Territorial Legislature, and was afterward a member of the First Constitutional Convention. Mr. GRAY was a millwright by trade, and owned a grist-mill in Platteville, Grant Co. For seven years after marriage, they lived in Platteville; in 1850, Mr. GRAY went to California, and after his return in 1852, he was engaged till his death in mercantile pursuits. He died in May 1867; they have four children, three sons and a daughter - all now living - three married, and living in Wisconsin. The oldest, Henry, enlisted at the age of 18, and was assigned to the Quartermaster's Department, and, at the close of the war, was a Quartermaster. Franklin is partner of James CONKLIN, his father's former partner in the grain and coal business. The youngest son, Arthur I., is at home; the daughter is the wife of E. D. PARDEE, druggist, of Madison. Mrs. GRAY lives on Clymer street, in the neat residence which she built in 1878. She also owns a brick residence on Washington avenue, and other real estate. The family are Episcopalians. Her husband, Mr. GRAY, was born in 1810, and came to Wisconsin in 1835, and to Madison in 1849. In early life, his only capital was industry, integrity and business ability, and he soon won the confidence of his fellow men and secured a fair competency. He was a loyal Unionist, and held several offices of trust and honor. Mrs. GRAY has seen Madison develop from a woody thicket to the present rich and beautiful product of civilization.


Transcribed and contributed to this site by Carol

 

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