Elisha J. Gray, M. D. It is not only at Tecumseh, where he located more than fifteen years ago, that Doctor Gray is well known and his services held in high esteem as a physician and citizen. He has been in active practice for more than a quarter a century, chiefly in the State of Arkansas before coming to Oklahoma, and has made a record of consistent ability, skill, faithful attendance to duty and integrity of character wherever he has been and whatever has been his associations. He is now one of the older physicians of Tecumseh, and established his home in that little city when it was in the early stages of its growth, and very few if any of his professional associates and rivals of that time are still in active practice in the same locality.
A native of Arkansas, Elisha J. Gray was born at Batesville, Independence County, January 27, 1863. His great-grandfather, Gilbert Gray, came from France to Fayetteville, North Carolina, some four or five years before the beginning of the Revolutionary war. Like many of the patriotic Frenchmen who came later he served throughout the war for independence, fighting in the armies commanded by General Washington and General Greene. Later he spent his years as a farmer and died in Fayetteville in North Carolina. Elisha C. Gray, father of Doctor Gray of Tecumseh, was born in North Carolina in 1832 and died at Hickory Valley, Arkansas, in April, 1911. Reared in North Carolina, he went when a young man to Independence County, Arkansas, and after his marriage spent his years quietly and industriously as a farmer and stock raiser. During the war between the states he was a soldier in the Confederate army, and always gave his support to the democratic party. He took quite an active interest in politics, and in 1877 and again in 1879 represented his home county in the Arkansas State Legislature. Religiously he was a member of the Protestant Methodist Church. Elisha C. Gray married Anne Meacham, who was born in Hickory Valley, Arkansas, in 1838, and died at the old home there in May, 1908, aged seventy years. These worthy parents gave their lives chiefly for the benefit of their children, and they brought into the world fifteen boys and girls. A brief account of this large household is as follows: Julius Braxton, who is a farmer and merchant at Hickory Valley, Arkansas; Aurelius G., a farmer and cotton buyer at Cave City, Arkansas, and a present state senator of that state; Mary E., wife of Samuel Simmons, a farmer at Cave City, Arkansas; Mrs. Sarah A. Davis, living at Cave City and widow of Mr. Davis, who was a farmer; Christopher C., who is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and a successful physician and surgeon: Martha, who died when two years of age; Dr. Elisha J.; James Edmond, a farmer in the State of Wyoming; Queen Esther, who died at the age of twenty-seven, married a Mr. Yarbrough, who is now a teacher in Rockwall, Texas; William A., who became a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, was formerly at Fayetteville, Arkansas, but his present whereabouts are not known to the members of the family; John W., who graduated from Washington University of St. Louis and is a physician and surgeon at Quinton, Oklahoma; Thornsbury A., a farmer at Cave City, Arkansas; Virgil O., also a farmer at Cave City; Aurora, wife of Mr. Ball, a farmer at Pfeiffer, Arkansas; and Lily, who married Mr. Jackson, and they live on the old homestead farm in Hickory Valley, Arkansas.
Dr. Elisha J. Gray spent his boyhood and early youth on an Arkansas farm. He had the usual round of pleasures and interesting incidents of boyhood, intermingled with much hard and sturdy toil, and he had to use his own efforts largely to pay for his higher education. He attended the common schools of Independence County, took his three years’ course in Arkansas College, Batesville, and left that institution in 1887 to enter the Vanderbilt University at Nashville, Tennessee, where he was graduated from the medical department with the degree of M. D. in the class of 1889. Some years later, in 1901, Doctor Gray returned to his alma mater to take post-graduate work.
His practice began in 1889 at La Crosse, Izard County, Arkansas. He remained there one year, at Cave City three years, at Kenyon, in Jackson County, Arkansas, two years, and at Hickory Valley two years.
Up to that time he had hardly looked upon any one location as a permanent home. He found his permanent work and residence at Tecumseh, Oklahoma, where he arrived in January, 1898. Since then he has worked up a large general medical and surgical practice, and has enjoyed many of the best successes of the competent professional men. His offices are in the First National Bank Building. He is a member of the County and State Medical societies, and does all in his power to promote the welfare of the profession and of the community at large.
In politics he is a democrat, and for eight years served as a member of the city council of Tecumseh. He is a steward in the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and is quite active in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being past noble grand of Tecumseh Lodge and representing the lodge in the Grand Lodge.
At La Crosse, Arkansas, in 1891, he married Miss Ollie Gardner, daughter of J. O. Gardner, who was a farmer in Arkansas, but is now deceased. Tn their marriage have been born three children: Maud E., who graduated from the Tecumseh High School and from the Central State Normal School at Edmond, and is now a popular teacher in Tecumseh; Bernice, is the wife of Earl Waldorf, who is bookkeeper for the Theodore Maxfield Sons, one of the large wholesale firms of Oklahoma City; and Gilbert, who is still attending to his studies in the public schools of Tecumseh.