Nicholas Gray: Irish Rebel - War of 1812 - Land Office

I believe the portrait at left is Nicholas Gray.

Nicholas Gray was an attorney in Co. Wexford, Ireland and in 1795 married Elinor Hughes. His life changed dramatically when he took part in the 1798 Rebellion as the Secretary to the Rebel Council of Wexford and also as Aide -de-Camp to Beauchamp Bagenal Harvey in 1798.  Mrs Patricia De Bernardi was a genealogist who researched the Gray family in Co. Wexford. Patricia’s work is included in an article written by Sir David Goodall “ A Divided Family in 1798: The Grays of Whitefort and Jamestown”. [Journal of The Wexford Historical Society 1994-’95]  Nicholas Gray had a close association with Robert Emmet and was appointed  leader of the troops of Co. Kildare in the 1803  Rebellion.  Nicholas Gray had to flee Ireland because of his rebel principles. These experiences in Ireland prepared Nicholas Gray for his service to America in the War of 1812.  The other Gray family researcher's in the U.S. include Mrs. Billie Jo Holt, an excellent researcher, Peggy Dyas, Annette Avila and Charlotte Gray.


 My Dear Mr Patten,

        I must first tell you that my poor wife, children  arrived here safe after some narrow chances for their lives, and when they arrived I was gallivanting about two hundred miles from New York and knew nothing of their arrival until by chance I happened to come to Town when your dear sister wished me joy of their safe arrival. I nearly had a cent when I met them. The great and good Mr Emmet [Thomas Addis Emmet brother of Robert Emmet] released me out of my difficulties and has been a father to us since and the situation I have now obtained is through his interest.  We lived in the city of Hudson about 130 miles from New York for some time on his bounty for I almost cut my foot off splitting a junk of wood with a damned axe, and was laid up for three months. I separated the great toe of my left foot smack off together with the ball of the foot but as soon as I got the boot off I bound it again together and when it could bleed no more, then I was three months near lame, then when I recovered we got the existence I now have.  I support tolerably my family upon 400 dollars yearly or 90 British that I earn by walking four miles each day to Town, for I live in the summer house of a friend, not as yet being able to afford to rent one mile from the City of Albany; there at nine in the morning, home at one dine, and back at two, stay there till five quill driving, and then home. I have not the best furnished house in the neighborhood, I unquestionably have the most elevated, for I am more than one thousand yards above the highest steeple in the city of Albany among the larks, sometimes basking in a well-aired cloud. We once complained of receiving 1s/11d a day from Government when in Kilmainham, but unfortunate man you never know when you are well off, where in this free country a large family can be supported upon 81/2d per day each, how could you grumble you ingrate at 1s/11d nearly three times as much, and had nothing to do but eat beef, drink whisky and make songs!  But if I live till spring I shall have my salary doubled. Give my best respects to all our old acquaintances - Hicks, Cassin, Ridway, Tandy, Long, my good old friend Coile. I have not heard anything of poor Harvey Hughes since my family arrived. May every happiness that visits the abode of mortals be yours is the prayer of me and my family, your and my dear friends the beloved Emmets are all well. Did you know Mr. Thomas Traynor who once made an extraordinary escape out of the Castle? He is now here and is well, all of his family are well also, they live about 10 miles from here. [Nicholas Gray had thoughts of returning to Ireland if he could avoid persecution and the further danger of prisons.]  I am an Officer of the State and hold my situation under the supreme Court.  Yours Nicholas Gray. The above is taken from a undated letter from Nicholas Gray of Wexford to Mr Patten. Written some years after 1803, the year of Robert Emmet’s uprising in Dublin. This letter was discovered by Paula Hayes of Ireland located at the Trinity College Library Dublin. [1]

     Documents located in The National Archives of Ireland show -  Document dated: 3-16-1804  Nicholas Gray imprisoned at Kilmainham, Dublin.  Crime Description: Treasonable practices. Convict has a wife and family, and resides in Co. Kildare. States he is an Attorney by profession and had a practice in Co. Wexford before the 1798 rebellion after which he bought a farm in Co. Kildare.  Document dated: 11-5-1804  Nicholas Gray imprisoned at Kilmainham, Dublin. Crime Description: Being involved in the rebellion in Co. Kildare. Comments: Letter Recommending that the convict be detained for questioning. States convict resides in Athy, Co. Kildare.  Document dated: 4-7-1799  Nicholas Gray imprisoned at Wexford . Crime Description: Administering unlawful oath. Comments: Calendar of convicts confined In Wexford Goal.[2]


  Nicholas Gray was the private secretary to Governor Daniel D. Tompkins who also became Vice President. Nicholas served briefly with the New York Militia as an engineer.  He also was Inspector General of New York 3rd District. His son served as a Midshipman in the Navy during the War of 1812.

   The Governor to Thomas Addis Emmet Touching A Legal Matter, Albany, Dec 20, 1811.” Our friend General Gray has had a sad time of it since he returned from New York. I have just visited him and find him recruiting very fast.”[3] Whether in Ireland or the U.S. Nicholas Gray was an effective recruiter of new troops. Nicholas Gray to JM " October 1,1814 wants to recruit a Brigade of free blacks in New England and New York.” Nicholas Gray to JM " September 29, 1814 recommends John P Emmet for appointment to the Military Academy".[4] "John Patton Emmet was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point on Oct 1, 1814. Resigned in early 1817 because of ill health. John Patton Emmet was born in Dublin, Ireland, April 8, 1796. The son of Thomas Addis Emmet he was seven years old when arriving in this country. In 1822 he received his medical degree from the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons. [5 ] In Ireland Nicholas Gray was a member of the the Council consisting of eight men to Direct the Affairs of the People of the County of Wexford. "Gray, secretary of the Council, wrote on June 16, 1798 to Fr. Philip Roche, the new Commander in Chief, desperate for reinforcements for his Southern Army which had almost melted away since the Battle of Ross: Dear Citizen,...We have, however, now issued orders, desiring all unmarried men to repair to camp immediately. Gray's word's were no empty claim. Obedience was enforced with such effect that four days later this army was back in shape sufficiently to fight the Battle of Horetown which lasted four and a quarter hours when the shortage of gunpowder again forced the Wexfordmen to withdraw. The Southern Army was back in business as Gray had predicted. The Republic"s writ still ran."[6]

   The Governor’s Special Plea for the Appointment of Master Gray, as Midshipman in the Navy, Albany January 16, 1812. “ Genl. Gray, the father, officiates as my private Secretary, and is a gentleman of unblemished reputation, of amiable manners and a good family. The son is a sprightly, intelligent, amiable youth as any with who I am acquainted”.[7] 

   General Gray, The Governor’s Secretary, Detailed to Assistant General Wadsworth in a Staff Capacity Albany, July 6, 1812. “I have requested Mr. Gray who is well acquainted with those subjects to repair to Niagara and to confer and advise with you and the other officers,in establishing the necessary regulations upon that subject and in planning any other operations which may be deemed necessary in the service upon which you have entered. Mr. Gray has seen service in Ireland in the capacity of General of Brigade and has made Military science his study. He is possessed of a manuscript treatise upon the duties of Staff Officers & upon the details of Garrison, Camp & field duty, which will be very useful. He is a gentleman of respectable family, and amiable character and of Military education and qualities." [8]

       The Governor Introduces General Gray to Colonel Swift, Albany, July 8, 1812. D'r Sir: The bearer General Gray repairs to Niagara in consequence of a request which was made by Genl. Wadsworth. He has seen actual service, is an Engineer and Artillerist & well qualified to be useful at the Niagara Station. He is not assigned to any specific Command or duty, but repairs there at my request, with a view to be useful as his knowledge or experience will enable him. He has a son in the service of his Country, and is willing to devote himself to her service also. [ 9]


   Nicholas Gray was introduced To General Porter July 8, 1812. “ Public papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York, 1807 - 1817” He has made Military matters his study and was Lieut. General of the Irish Patriots. He is a gentleman of a patriotic turn, is ambitious of being useful to his adopted Country and is a man of modesty, information and amiable deportment. You will find him a good Engineer and Artillerist. He likewise sketches well and is well qualified to Organize the staff.”[10]

   This is taken from a letter written by Nicholas Gray to Mrs.Codd of Buffalo, New York dated Aug 20, 1812. Mrs. Codd was most likely a relative from Wexford, Ireland. " My Dear Madam, When I left your hospitable - I made you a promise to write to you from headquarters but in truth I have been so fully occupied here ever since my arrival in so various employments. I could not collect sufficient sentiment from War and destruction to compose a letter to a Lady of feeling. I sleep every night almost at the muzzle of the British Cannons. I have built three batteries which have placed the quarters of our troops in Security - one at Lewiston, one at Black Rock here, and one opposite Fort Erie. The country around here is really beautiful and picturesque. I write you on the Bank of the Niagara River, two miles or so from Lake Erie. I live at the Quarter Master Generals, Porter. To Mr. Traynor give my best respects. I got a dreadful shaking coming down here, and had some of my old wounds opened.  But now never had better health in my life.  My dearest Ellen and children are all well. Mr. Emmet has been ill but is now quite well thank providence God preserves him to his amiable family. General Van Rensselaer his aid Solomon V R  and secretary breakfast to here on Thursday last on their way to Lewiston Headquarters. When you write to me [you see I expect a letter from you] direct to Genl. Gray Headquarters, Lewiston. My dear Women the - Spirit take you into his protecting care and your little ones. Sincerely your friend Nicholas Gray. [11]


     In Nicholas Grays own words. From the Documentary History of the Campaign: Niagara Frontier in the Year 1812, Volume 1, Part 1:

Pages 139-141: "Inspector General Nicholas Gray to Governor Tompkins,

Headquarters, Lewiston, July 22, 1812-Dear Sir, I arrived here on the 18th

inst. And was received with every mark of attention and respect, and yesterday

visited the garrison, accompanied by General Wadsworth, whose anxiety for the

necessary camp equipage, artillery, arms and ammunition is very great. We have

some fine companies of infantry here without belts or cartridge boxes, and all

without uniform except a very handsome company of light infantry raised by

Captain Dox of Geneva, and to which evidently every attention has been paid?"


"The enemy have thrown up redoubts on the south and north approaches to

Queenston, which command our camp, stores, headquarters and etc. They appear to

have in each of them an 18-pounder, and the one on the south side has been

leveled at the general's quarters ever since I came here; the distance about

nineteen hundred yards? The enemy unfortunately have the commanding ground

everywhere, and even at the garrison commanded by Captain Leonard, who, I

believe, is an excellent officer?"


Page 140: "?General Wadsworth has this morning ordered a military school both

for officers and soldiers which you know is much wanting. He pays unwearied

attention to the troops, and a system is forming which has for its object the

organization of the staff and camp duties. Indeed he is most deficient in his

most necessary officer, who is absolutely incapable and negligent. I mean his

brigade inspector, who seems to be in a dream from morning till night. I should

strongly recommend the removal of this gentleman, and some capable officer put

in his place. His name is Keyes. To the incapacity of this officer the want of

due organization is owing in a great measure?"


"?the absolute want of all sorts of working tools has prevented the troops

taking measures absolutely necessary to their protection. They have been in

want of everything, and have great fortitude and zeal to bear their privations

so well. The camps are pretty healthy. Out of 402 men, the sick returns are 35?"


"?A citizen of the States came over yesterday morning with two others, and

informed the General that a party of Indians had passed over to Grand Island

for the purpose of destroying the military stores along the shore from Black

Rock. Your two letters I had the honor of delivering to Colonel Swift [LUTHER's

colonel], and the promotion of Major Miller was well received. He appears to be

a good officer?"


Page 141: "?The militia of Canada, we understand, have been allowed to go home

to the harvest, and I know not a more applicable or better chosen time can

occur to overwhelm them than just now, if the troops were prepared and in

sufficient numbers to ensure victory. General Hall has not arrived here as yet,

but is expected to march this day from his home. The tents and etc, have not as

yet arrived, but are also expected, as is some artillery?" (Tompkins Papers,

Vol. VII, pp. 502-6, New York State Library.)[12]



   Nicholas Gray supervised the construction of several batteries on the American side. One of the batteries was named Fort Gray in his honor located at Lewiston and with two 18 pounder long guns helped support the American crossing of Niagara River during the Battle of Queenston Heights on October 13, 1812.

      “From the battery located at Brown’s Point, about two miles from Queenston on the Canadian side, Oct 14,th, 1812. About half an hour before daylight yesterday morning, Tuesday, the 13 th. October. I heard a heavy Cannonading from Fort Gray, situated on the height of the mountain on the American side and commanding the town of Queenston.” [13]

    Lieut.- Colonel George McFeeley to Brigadier General Smith. “ Lieut. Colonel Gray commanded the artillery. The unremitting attention paid to his duty proves him an Officer  whose Zeal and Science do honor to himself and country; to this gentleman I feel much indebted for the manner he acquitted himself.” [14] 


    Letter written to Genl. Alex’r Smyth -   Private Secretary Gray Commissioned Lieutenant- Colonel and Assigned to Command By The Governor. Buffalo, October 26, 1812. “ Sir: Nicholas Gray holds the rank of  Lieutenant Colonel in the Militia of this State by virtue of a commission as my Aid De Camp. That Commission would not perhaps justify his assignment to the command of any particular Corps in the line of the Militia without the consent of all the Officers of such Corps. Having been employed in public service on this frontier during the months of July, August, and September having seen Military service, he will be well qualified to take the command of a Detachment of Militia.”[15]

    During the months of July, August, and September of 1812 Nicholas Gray made a survey of the whole Niagara Frontier. " On August 31, 1812  Nicholas Gray notifies General Van Rensselaer about the Combustible telegraph located on the Canadian side of the  Niagara river. A system of beacons was established from Lake Erie to Queenston and thence to Pelham Heights by which messages could be sent during the daytime by means of colored balls or flags or at night-time by burning wood in a basket hung on a pole". [16]

    “Nicholas Gray, who was inspector general of New York the following year, with the rank of colonel, and who was then acting engineer, made a valuable reconnoissance of the whole frontier. His manuscript report to General Van Rensselaer is before me. His outline map, accompanying the report, I found useful in constructing the Map of the Niagara Frontier on page 382.” [17]

      Battle of Queenstown, 1812.  " The Original Manuscript Report by Nicholas Gray [signed] to Gen. Van Rensselaer describing the Niagara  frontier, detailing the positions of the British defences, the places where a crossing would be impossible and where a crossing might be forced, accompanied by a full page pen and ink map with the possible crossings of the Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario marked. Dated Lewiston, August 31, 1812. It is evident that the attack was made at Lewiston from the opinions given in this document, as Col. Gray enlarges on the possibility of crossing there, describes the approaches to Queenstown,  and notes the distance from there of the British main force. The battle was fought six weeks  after the date of the document". [18]

      The Governor Closing up his Accounts with the Paymaster General, Albany, January 20, 1814.  “Lieut. Col. Gray  the present Inspector  of the 3rd. District, was in service in 1812, for the period stated in his account. He was the Engineer who built the Fort at Lewiston, called  “ Fort Gray”  that at Black Rock occupied by Swift’s Regiment and after wards had a command in the line on the frontier under General Smyth.” [19]

       Nicholas Gray  had survived the Rebellions in Ireland to fight his fellow Irish  countrymen in the War of 1812. " After the suppressed rebellion of 1798, Ireland had become a prime recruiting ground for the British army.  Pushed by poverty, recruits sought food, clothing, pay and a way out of Ireland. The Forty-first foot included dozens of captured rebels of 1798, who had agreed to enlist to avoid the gallows. In 1813 most of the reinforcements sent to Upper Canada also came from Ireland.  The Irish-American officers included such veterans of the 1798 rebellion as Nicholas Gray, the army's inspector general and Alexander Denniston, who commanded the Twenty-seventh Infantry, primarily composed of Irish recruits from New York City. Gray aptly described Denniston as " a Gentleman who has fought and beaten the Enemies of America in his native Country and now doubly are [his] enemies."[20]

    " In 1812, New Jersey had more than 35,000 men of military age, 2500 of them in uniformed militia companies. As the War of 1812 continued, more New Jersey militiamen were called to duty to help protect the states coast from the British blockading fleet. Active duty militia strength reached 3,529 men in December 1814, with thousands more drilling monthly in preparation for such duty.

 The documents relating to Hulick's position as Captain in the New Jersey Militia during the War of 1812. Includes a letter dated New Brunswick, May 2, 1813 and signed by Inspector General Nicholas gray, outlining Hulick's responsibilities as a Captain in the Militia". [21]

      Robert Malcomson in the preface of his book "A Very Brilliant Affair " writes " I hope these pages reveal their personalities and predilections while also giving new insights into the actions of such previously shadowy figures as William Wadsworth and Nicholas Gray". [22]  A shadowy figure accurately describes the life of Nicholas Gray both in Ireland and America. 

     This is taken from the Military Society of the War of 1812 -1895-131 pages “ After inspection of the troops  by  Colonial Nicholas Gray, Inspector- General U.S.A., was honorably discharged from the military service of the United States Army on December 3, 1814, with the thanks of Governor Tompkins.” [23]

      On  “March 30, 1815  Nicholas Gray was appointed register of the land office in the Mississippi Territory” [24] Nicholas Gray  was assigned to the district west of Pearl River, with its land office at Washington near Natchez, the close of the war also brought an influx of settlers and demands for the sale of public lands”.  [The Land Office Business by Malcolm J. Rohrbough]. “ Meigs arranged for a sale of public lands in Washington in October 1815. On the appointed day the village was overflowing with men interested in the land business. The crowd demanded that Nicholas Gray, the recently arrived register, permit private entries of lands before the formal close of the public sale. The inexperienced register vacillated, unsure of himself and uncertain where to turn for advice, and finally consented. Gray’s conduct of the sale provoked a storm of protest and many charges against his official conduct.” [25]                              

    Letter to the editor, defending his conduct as register of the the land  office,  signed and dated: Nicholas Gray, July 5, 1817. [Supplement to the Natchez Intelligencer]  It may be necessary  for me to notice a publication signed by Robert Williams, which appeared in your last paper, address to " The People West of Pearl River". Intending to take no farther notice of any news paper  publication, I will to my friends, and for the information of such of the people of this Land District as have a knowledge of the land laws, and of the registers duty as an Officer of the treasury, the merits of each case separately, as they have appeared as charges. Nicholas Gray states that no illegal sell of land was done by him or his son Nicholas Gray Jr. who was a clerk at his father's land office. My son has undoubtedly every right to purchase Lands - the arrange of lots he can have no knowledge of, persons who were present at the time of drawing, know the truth of this.  Nicholas Gray also denies  showing favor to Irish buyers and states no sales took place, but at the same time he states it would give me pleasure to sell a good piece of land to an Irishman. The first application for forfeited lands was made by Mr. Jeremiah Hunt to Mr. Walton, during the sales in 1815 - it was for a tract on the Mississippi forfeited by Robert Williams, and had been as Mr. Hunt said mortgaged to him. Mr. Walton wrote the application, and Mr. Hunt signed it, upon which a very abusive altercation took place in my office between Williams and Walton. When Williams vowed eternal vengeance against Walton, and said he would at every sale, endeavor to annul the entire of the sales. [26]  “In 1816 former governor  Robert Williams attacked the land register, Nicholas Gray,  in his office with a knife.  But Williams forgot to take the knife from its sheath, just bruising Gray”. [27]  Ex Governor  Robert Williams had invested heavily in land and had accused Nicholas Gray of favoritism towards his friends.

     “In spite of the controversy over Gray’s conduct, sales increased. By July 1816 only seven townships in the district remained unoffered. Gray wrote, “The  demand for lands since the 1st. July seems as great as ever; all payments are made in the Mississippi Stock”. [28]

      In 1816 a notice was printed in the Niles Weekly Register, published in Baltimore, that Colonel Nicholas Gray, after having consulted with the governor of the Mississippi Territory, was authorized to invite any number of industrious emigrants into that Country where they would be provided with lands, rent free, for three years and with cattle and corn at the usual rates".[ 29]

       Nicholas Gray suffered from what was  described as consumption.  His harsh treatment in Kilmainham and Wexford Goal prisons had created  health problems . His life in America was not always easy or comfortable. None the less he states in his letter to Mr. Patten “ I should  prefer slim visage and empty pockets here, than full ones and fat cheeks in the martials”. [30]  Nicholas Gray after living a truly adventuresome  life died in 1819,  at the approximate age of 45. 

        Nicholas Gray Jr. states -Natchez Ms. ,December 26, 1823.” I certify that I was employed by Thomas Freeman,late surveyor of the lands of the United States south of the State of Tennessee, as a clerk in his office, before the month of May 1821”. [31 ] Nicholas Gray Jr. was nominated by John Quincy Adams to be Register of the Land Office at Washington, Mississippi on May 9, 1826. His appointment was confirmed on May 10, 1826. [32]

        Nicholas Gray Jr married Ellen N. Rogers in Adams County December 18, 1832. Sophia Eleanor the daughter of Nicholas Gray married William Moore August 29, 1821. [33]  “ Rev.  Newitt Vick resided in the Open Woods, but his plantation was where Vicksburg now stands. The first settler in  the town was his son, Hartwell Vick. He and Nicholas Gray Jr., from Adams county, [son of the old Surveyor General] established a large commercial business. Gray was a man of education. Vick was a man of fine mind, full of enterprise, but ahead of the times. The concern failed.” [34]

         Nicholas Gray Jr. purchased land in Vicksburg on August 1, 1837 from T.H. Goodall on which he built the " Wexford Lodge". [ Named in honor of Co. Wexford, Ireland. Located in the “ Vicksburg National Military Park”.  The only structure in the park to survive the battle of Vicksburg].  Nicholas Gray Jr. deeded the property to Ben Johnson, who in turn deeded it to James Shirley on January 1, 1851. [35]   T.H. Goodall was a cousin to Nicholas Gray Jr.  Thomas Henry Goodall was the son of  James Goodall  and  Catherine Isabella [Gray] Goodall of Wexford, Ireland. Another son George O'Neil Goodall also lived at Vicksburg at the time.  James and Catherine's daughter Catherine Emily [Goodall] Roberts lived at Vicksburg  she had married Abraham Roberts on June 6, 1827 in Wexford, Wexford Ireland.  "This Indenture, Made and Entered into This Seventh day of December, 1837 between the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Vicksburg,  Abraham Roberts and Nicholas Gray, of the sum of  Seventy Five Dollars, have this day granted, bargained and sold, unto the said A Roberts & N Gray and to their heirs and assigns forever, known and designated on the plat of the Grave Yard of the City of Vicksburg, as Lot number Twenty One being by estimation forty feet square. " [36  ]             

     [Nicholas Gray to Thomas Oliver Larkin] Vicksburg 2nd. March 1848. “As you are relative of my wife [cousin Eleanor Rogers formerly] and frequently mentioned by her. I will introduce myself to your acquaintance. I have resided here since boy hood, have practiced farming, and the cultivation of cotton, sugar and tobacco. I have also practiced surveying and engineering. Now as I have given you a slight sketch of my life, perhaps you can judge how I could succeed in a Country like California. You perceive that I can do a little of most everything. I should be pleased to here from you soon, altho it will be many months before I can expect news from your side of the world.” [37]

     [Nicholas Gray to Thomas Oliver Larkin] St. Louis, Mo February 15th, 1851. " In answer to your enquiry as to my qualifications will say that in early life I was Chief clerk in the Surveyor General's Office in Mississippi, and with the preparation for the sale of lands according to the practice, of the Government, familiar with Spanish grants, and others of lands. I am and I have practiced surveying both for the U.S. Government  as a Deputy Surveyor, and I have also served in a private capacity, as well as a city engineer and Surveyor. During the administration of General Taylor I was highly recommended as I thought for the office of Surveyor General of California. But unfortunately General Taylor died, and a new administration coming to power." [ 38 ]

      [Nicholas Gray to Thomas Oliver Larkin ] Saint Louis August 27, 1851. “Since the reception of your letter I have been quite busily employed in my preparation for my departure for San Francisco and hope to be there about the middle of October or first November at farthest. I intend going via New Orleans  and the Isthmus.” [39]

       Nicholas Gray Jr. moved to California to survey the ranches of Thomas O Larkin. Larkin had acquired several land grants. Thomas O Larkin in 1844 was appointed the US Consul for California and was very involved in the politics that preceded the war with Mexico.  In 1850  Thomas Larkin  built the first brick building in San Francisco at 1116 Stockton Street.  Nicholas Gray Jr. discovered gold and quartz gold deposits  on several of Larkin's ranches.  [Nicholas Gray to Thomas Oliver Larkin]  Hamilton June 12th, 1852. " Dear sir, There are not over one hundred acres arable land within this portion of country - all hills and mountains, and ravines, rich in gold and I believe also rich in quartz gold".[ 40 ]  This map is located at [UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library. Collection: Maps of private land grant cases of California] “ Map of a survey of lands situated between San Leandro and San Lorenzo Creeks, the Bay of San Francisco and the range of mountains to the east, exhibiting the boundaries of the “ Rancho San Leandro” and adjoining lands: California as surveyed by Nicholas Gray, Deputy Surveyor, U.S., November 1855.” [41]

        "Gray's Map: by Nicholas Gray, 1856: 4 pages: the map was recorded at the County Recorder's office as 4 separate pages and each page is available here NW NE SW SE . The property owners of Rancho San Pablo are believed to have commissioned this map to help understand exactly who owned which pieces of land in Rancho San Pablo. Nicholas Gray was U.S. Deputy Surveyor. A James Forbes was also associated with the project  and sometimes this map is referred to as "Forbes's  Map". There was also one other person who is listed as having participated in this project but his name is unknown". [42  ]


       The Marin County Great Register of 1880. " Shows Emmet Gray, son of Nicholas Gray Jr., the age of 44, born in Ms., as a govt. employee and local residence of Richardson".[43]  Capt. Emmet Gray was the Tide Observer at Sausalito, Bay of San Francisco.  "Capt. Emmet Gray was in the service of the government for a quarter of a century as Tidal Observer; and during that time he performed his duties with marked ability and complete satisfaction to the engineers under whom he served."[44]

       Loftus Crosier Gray was the nephew of Nicholas Gray Sr. and the son of  Capt. Joseph and Bell Inda Crosier  Gray.  Loftus Gray married Mary Fitzpatrick of Co. Carlow, Ireland on January 14, 1848, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Mary was the daughter of Miles and Julia Fitzpatrick. Loftus and Mary homesteaded land in both Iowa and Kansas. Loftus Gray Jr. remained in Kansas  while the rest of the family made the journey to California by way of the Oregon Trail.  Loftus Gray was  Mayor of Gluttenberg, Clayton County, Iowa in 1852. Loftus enlisted as a private on August 19, 1862 at Troy,  Kansas. He was in Company B, 13th Infantry Regiment Kansas. Loftus received a disability discharge in March 1863 in Springfield, Mo.  Loftus Crosier Gray participated in the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas on December 7, 1862. The command was forced to cross a rapid mountain stream  several times, resulting in numerous deaths from exposure. The inscription on his tombstone reads [ Sacred to the memory of Loftus C Gray Veteran of late War, Youngest son of Capt. Joseph Gray and beloved husband of Mary Gray, Born in County  Wexford, Ireland, April 13, 1813. Died at Crescent City, Ca. December 5th, 1897].


1.[ Letter from Nicholas Gray to Mr. Patten. Trinity College Library Dublin. Ref Ms 873, [276] researched by Paula Hayes]

2.[The National Archives of Ireland  Bishop Street, Dublin 8, Ireland]

3.[Public papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, governor of New York, 1807-1817, Volume 2 - Page 39]

4.[Catalogue of the Papers of James Monroe by Daniel Preston]

5.[University of Virginia by Paul Brandon Barringer, James Mercer Garnett,and RoseWell Page. Volume 1, page 345.

6.[Wexford in 1798: A Republic Before Its Time by Brian O' Cleirigh]

7.[Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York, Volume 2]

8.[Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York, 1807-1817, Volume 3- Page 12]

9.{Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York, 1807-1817, Volume 3- Page 17]

10.[Public papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York, 1807 - 1817 Volume 3- Page 19]

11.[Letter by Nicholas Gray to Mrs. Codd, Buffalo, Aug 20, 1812. B.A.G. Fuller Autograph File. fms Am 1603 [142], Houghton Library, Harvard University]

12.[Tompkins Papers, Vol. VII, pp. 502-6, New York State Library]

13.[From Lady’s Edgar’s Ten Years of Upper Canada pp. 150-6.] 

14. [ From the Historical Register of the United States 1813, Vol 11, pp. 116-8.]

15.  [Public Papers of Daniel D Tompkins, governor of New York, 1807-1817, Volume 3- Page 172]

16.[British generals in the War of 1812: high command in the Canadas by Wesley B.       200. A.Conger Goodyear,War of 1812 MSS,box 2,V.7]

17. [Pictorial Field-Book of The War of 1812. By Benson J. Lossing] 

18.Letter from Nicholas Gray to General Van Rensselaer, dated August31,1812. A. Conger Goodyear War of 1812 Manuscripts, Mss. BOO-11, Vol. B. Battle of Queenston. Collection of Research Library, Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society]

19. [Public Papers of Daniel D Tompkins, governor of New York, 1807- 1817, Volume 3- Page  424]

20  .[ The Civil War of 1812   American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies by Alan Taylor]


21.[Princeton University Library. Manuscripts Division. John Hulick Collection 1812 - 1826}

22.[ A very Brilliant Affair   The Battle of Queenston Heights, 1812  by Robert Malcomson]

23.[The Military Society of the War of 1812-1895-131 pages]

24.[Catalogue of the Papers of James Monroe by Daniel Preston]

25.{ The Land Office Business by Malcolm J. Rohrbough. pages 113 -115]. 

26[ Letter by.Nicholas Gray, to The Natchez Intelligencer, July 2nd, 1817. Early American imprints.  Second Series. Call Number: MCFICHE         16, 676       No. 40952 .  Letter to the editor, defending his conduct as register of the Land Office. The University of Texas at Austin - 

       University of Texas Libraries.]

27.[Arming America by Michael A. Bellesiles].

28.[The Land Office Business by Malcolm J. Rohrbough. pages 113-115].

29. [Niles Weekly Register- The South in the building of the Nation-Volume 5, page 599]

30.[Letter from Nicholas Gray to Mr. Patten. Trinity College Library Dublin. Ref Ms 873, [276] researched by Paula Hayes]


31.{American State Papers-House of Representatives, 19th Congress,2nd Session Public Lands: Volume 4.]


32.[ American Memory Journal of the executive proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, 1815- 1829]

33.[ A Divided Family in 1798: The Grays of Whitefort and Jamestown” by Sir David Goodall. Journal of The Wexford Historical Society 94-95]

34.[ Mississippi, as a Province Territory, and State: Volume 1 by Francis Hamtramck Claiborne]

35[Alice Shirley and the story of  Wexford Lodge  by Terrence J. Winschel]

36.[Abraham Roberts and Nicholas Gray, Deed 1838, Natchez Trace Small Manuscript Collections. Box 2E1003]

37.[The Larkin Papers By Thomas Oliver Larkin, UC Berkeley,  Bancroft Library-BANC MSS C-B 37-45]

38.[ The Larkin Papers by Thomas Oliver Larkin, Anna Marie Hager and Everett Gordon Hager,  page 391]

39.[The Larkin Papers By Thomas Oliver Larkin, UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library-BANC MSS C-B 37-45]

40.[The Larkin Papers by  Thomas Oliver Larkin and George Peter Hamend. Volume 1X  1851-1853, page 107]

41. [UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library. Collection: Maps of private land grant cases of California]

42. [Gray's Map: by Nicholas Gray, 1856: 4 pages. El Cerrito Historical Society P.O. Box 304, El Cerrito, CA 94530]

43. [ Marin County Genealogy - The Marin County Great Register of 1880]

44.[Sausalito News, Volume 12, Number 8, March 28, 1896 - A Faithful Officer.]

Views: 2205

Tags: Military History

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on September 24, 2013 at 4:56am

Excellent stuff, Don.  May I assume Nicholas is an ancestor of yours?  Not sure if I missed you mentioning that or not.  Thanks for the interesting blog post!

Comment by Don Gray on September 24, 2013 at 10:06am
Ryan, Thank you for your comment. I am a descendant of Joseph Gray, older brother of Nicholas. Joseph was a member of the Yeoman Calvary in 1798, later a Captain in the Wexford Militia and a Magistrate. I failed to mention in the post the other Gray family researcher's in the U.S. They are Mrs. Billie Jo Holt, Peggy Dyas, Annette Avila and Charlotte Gray.
Comment by Gerry Regan on September 24, 2013 at 11:14am

With that, Don, have you shared your personal Irish story and that of your more recent family? I'd love to learn more about these.

Comment by Gerry Regan on September 24, 2013 at 11:16am

BTW, this is a great article on the Irish role in The War of 1812. Don, will you be visiting any of the battlefields mentioned here, or have you already, along with the family homesteads cited above? Share any images of the former, along with the story of the visit(s)?

Comment by Don Gray on September 24, 2013 at 2:35pm
Gerry, My wife, and I live in Kansas. We are both graduates of Kansas State University. Our son, Nicholas "Cole" has a degree in journalism from Kansas University. Cole and his wife, Tassie, live in California. My father Thomas Loftus Gray, at the age of 97 lives on the family farm.
We have visted the battlefields and homesteads in Ireland. I plan on visiting "Fort Gray" and battlefields in the U.S. Thank you, Don
Comment by Lois Harrison on August 27, 2014 at 6:40pm

My grandfather was Alvin Gray, son of Nicholas Gray Jr. 

Comment by Don Gray on August 27, 2014 at 11:01pm
Hi Lois, Thank you for making contact and would be interested in your family history.
Comment by Lois Harrison on September 1, 2014 at 3:43pm

Unfortunately I have very little to add.  I know a bit about Alvin, but he died when my mother was a very young child.  My mother died years ago and I didn't get much from her either.  Her name was Jane Esther Gray. She had 2 brothers:  Paul Gray, last resided in Seattle and Robert Miller (born Gray, but later adopted).  My uncle Bob died in the 70's of Huntington's disease and had no children.  The huntingtons was on my maternal grandmother's side of the family.  Paul Gray had children, but I never knew them. 

Comment by Don Gray on August 14, 2016 at 8:24am
I was sad to read Irish genealogist, Sir David Goodall, passed away on July 22, 2016.
Here is a link to Sir David Goodall's obituary in the THE TELEGRAPH.


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