Obituary Details

Anna C. Gray

(11/05/1858 - 11/12/1948)
Courtesy of Johnny & Margaret Thon Files, 11/18/1948

Anna Gray, Wyoming Pioneer Woman, Dies

Thon Book 4

Anna C. Gray is dead - her ashes, the mortal remains of a pioneer woman who came to the Wyoming territory in the covered wagon and stage coach days - were brought home to their final resting place by airplane.

Mrs. Gray passed away at Houston, Texas, Friday, November 12, at the age of 90 years. She had been in failing health for the past ten years, and five years ago her son, Richard F. Gray of Houston, Texas, came to Lusk and took her home with him and she has since resided there.

She was born in Marshall, Wis., November 5, 1858, the daughter of Thomas and Catherine Ferrell.

Her earliest recollections were of her father leaving to join his regiment during the Civil War, and she also remembered the grief of the people when President Lincoln was assassinated.

As a young girl, Anna Ferrell came to Wyoming in 1881 to teach, and her first school was at Chugwater, and her last at the LaPash school in Cheyenne. It was here that she met Henry T. Gray, a young cattle foreman for the Hon. Francis E. Warren. They were married February 22, 1887, and some time later bought a small ranch seven miles east of the new town of Lusk. The ranch is now the property of Richard Pfister.

With the exception of a short time spent in Nebraska, this ranch was their home for the next thirty years, and, like all pioneers in a new country, they experienced many kinds of hardships.

Tireless Community Worker

Mrs. Gray was a staunch worker for the betterment of the community in which she lived, and worked tirelessly to get a church established in the new town. She was the first member of the Congregational Church which she helped to organize in Lusk.

Mr. and Mrs. Gray were the parents of two sons, Richard F. and Frank H. Gray.

In later years the family moved to Lusk and purchased the home of Mrs. C. M. Lusk. This brick home was the first fine residence of Lusk for many years, and it was here that Mr. Gray died, September 28, 1891, and the funeral services were conducted from the home.

A number of years after her husband's death, Mrs. Gray sold the home to George Earl Peet, and he built an addition to the residence for a funeral chapel, and it was here in this home, 27 years after Mr. Gray's services, that the last rites were conducted for his wife.

Mrs. Gray had always been active in civic and social organizations. She was a charter member of Niobrara Chapter No. 26, Order of the Eastern Star, and also of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, which she served as its first president. members of both of these organizations attended the services in a body.

After her death the remains were cremated and were brought back by her son, Richard Gray, who made the trip from Houston to Denver by plane, and in Denver was joined by his brother, Frank, who flew from his home in Portland, Oregon.

Services Held Monday

Services were held from the Peet Chapel on Monday afternoon, November 15, at 2:00 o'clock, by Rev. Lawrence P. Juell, pastor of the Congregational Church.

Mrs. Anita Culver sang "The Lord's Prayer," and a quartet, composed of Mrs. Culver, Mrs. Sam Thomas, Jr., Dale Bardo and Gerald Bardo, sang "Lead Kindly Light." Mrs. Gerald Bardo was the accompanist on the chapel organ.

At the close of the services a short memorial was conducted by the American War Mothers, of which Mrs. Gray was also a member, and Mrs. Culver sang "Crossing the Bar."

The small bronze casket which contained her ashes was interred in the Lusk Cemetery beside her husband.

Surviving beside her two sons are two grandsons, Richard, Jr., of Houston, Texas, and Robert Gray of Portland, Oregon.

Note: Although the obituary above indicates date of death as November 15, the Lusk Cemetery records state November 12. We have used November 12 as this was a Friday.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Historical Niobrara County Library History, part 1 by Muriel Dalgarno View Record
Historical Reminiscences of the Founding and the Growth of the Town of Lusk View Record
Historical Costlow Collection Part 1, Frank Lusk, Founder and Namesake View Record
Historical Congregational Church History View Record
Obituary Gray, Henry (09/05/1859 - 09/28/1921) View Record