William H. Gray (Oregon politician)
|William H. Gray|
|Member of the Provisional Legislature of Oregon|
|Children||Caroline Augusta Gray|
William Henry Gray (1810–1889) was a pioneer politician and historian of the Oregon Country in the present-day U.S. state of Oregon. He was an active participant in creating the Provisional Government of Oregon. Gray later wrote the book A History of Oregon, 1792-1849 and was instrumental in the establishment of the Oregon Pioneer Society.
Gray came to the Oregon Country as a lay member of the Spalding-Whitman missionary group. Resigning his post in 1842, he went to the Salem area to work at the Oregon Institute. Gray later became a farmer and a sawmill operator.
In the spring of 1843, Gray's house was the site of the first "Wolf Meeting", as part of the ongoing Champoeg Meetings. At a pioneer gathering on May 2, 1843, the French-Canadians and Americans present were divided about forming a "civil community." Joseph Meek called for the division, and Gray seconded the motion for a division on the question. After voting on each article presented, the basis of the Provisional Government of Oregon was laid. Afterwards Gray was a member of the provisional legislature and of the committee that drafted the First Organic Laws for the provisional government.
In 1854 he purchased a sheep flock numbering 400 in Iowa and took them overland across the continent. Using a scow and the assistance of a steamboat, Gray sailed down the Columbia River for the Clatsop Plains. While navigating from Astoria the scow was harangued by a storm and sunk at Chinook Point with all of Gray's livestock.
Both a pioneer and a historian of Oregon, Gray is credited with being the guiding spirit behind establishment of the Oregon Pioneer Society at a meeting held in the hall of the House of Representatives at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem in October 1867.
- Cogswell, Philip Jr. Capitol Names: Individuals Woven Into Oregon's History. Portland, OR: Oregon Historical Society, 1977. p. 44
- Mowry, William A. Marcus Whitman and the days of Oregon. New York City: Silver, Burdett and Co. 1901, pp. 237-239
- Grover, Lafayette. The Oregon Archives. Salem: A. Bush. 1853, p. 14
- Lockley, Fred (1 Dec 1913). "Reminiscences of Captain William P. Gray". The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society. 14. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
- "Mrs. Jacob Kamm observes 90th birthday anniversary". The Oregonian. 1930-10-18. p. 3.
- Hubert Howe Bancroft, The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft: Volume XXX: History of Oregon: Volume II, 1848-1888. San Francisco, CA: The History Company, 1888; pg. 603.
- A History of Oregon, 1792-1849: Drawn from Personal Observation and Authentic Information. Portland, OR: Harris & Holman, 1870.