Wyandotte County Pioneer, Kansas State Board of Agriculture Secretary. Born: December 5, 1830, Evans, New York. Died: January 23, 1880.
Born in Evans, Erie County, New York, on December 5, 1830, to Mary Morgan and Isaiah Gray, Alfred Gray grew up on his father’s farm. In 1847 he began a two-year stint as seaman aboard a ship sailing out of Buffalo. Gray then pursued an education at Westfield Academy, New York; Girard Academy, Pennsylvania; and the Erie Academy; finally from 1853 to 1855 he studied law in Buffalo and at the law school at Albany, New York. In March 1857 Gray made the decision to immigrate to Kansas, where, at the age of 26, he settled in Quindaro, opening a law and real estate office. Soon, however, Gray chose to return to the occupation of his father, and he ultimately built one of the best farms in Wyandotte County. Gray was chief clerk of the territorial legislature and was elected to the first state legislature; in April 1862 he entered the army and served as a regimental quartermaster with the Fifth Kansas Cavalry and the 10th Kansas Infantry regiments.
Gray is best known for his post-Civil War activities. He served as director of the State Agricultural Society from 1866 to 1870 and was elected secretary of the State Board of Agriculture in 1872, serving in this capacity until his death in 1880. He gained a wide reputation for his style of published reports, which were promotional by design, and for the success of the Kansas display at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. According to one biographer, "It is no flattery to say that the State of Kansas has had few citizens who have done so much to advance its material prosperity as Mr. Gray. His persistent industry and research have presented the resources of the State to the world in such a concise, intelligent manner as to both interest and instruct every reader of his works. . . . His name will live and his works be referred to long after he shall have departed from his labors."
Entry: Gray, Alfred
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: October 2010
Date Modified: January 2013
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