JUDGE JOHN C. GRAY
JUDGE JOHN C.GRAY.--One of the most
eminent jurists of
the superior court. Born in
in which historic struggle both
families were represented. His parents were the Hon. John L. and
John C. Gray was only three years of age, he was taken by his parents to
at home until he was eighteen years old, when he became a teacher in the schools
of his native state, thereby earning enough money to complete his education. In
1859 he entered
On January 1, 1865, Mr. Gray arrived in
A man of fine personality and marked ability, he became very popular in public affairs. He was the Republican nominee for the office of district attorney in 1885. After a warm contest, he was elected for a term of two years, after which he was reelected
and served a second term, but refused a third. During his term of office a band of seven noted criminals was broken up, all of whom were convicted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment varying from one to sixty years. In 1890, he received the nomination for
superior judge, a position held
then by Judge P. O. Hundley, and was elected against a very popular man by a
large majority. In 1896 he was reelected by the largest majority ever given to
a candidate in
last election to the bench took place in the fall of 1908, when he was chosen to serve for a term of six years, the term to expire in January, 1915. One morning in the month of May, 1913, Judge Gray went to his office apparently in good health; but a short time after his arrival the librarian of the law library found him stricken with paralysis, and the third day following, after two subsequent strokes of the malady, he passed away. His long career
on the bench, which extended for
nearly twenty-four years, was dominated by a spirit of justice and honesty of
purpose which won for him the esteem and respect of all who came to know him
officially or otherwise.
Always deeply interested in the schools of the county, Judge Gray held the position of deputy superintendent for a period of six years, besides which he was connected for several years with the board of trustees. He was always greatly interested in and actively identified with the upbuilding of the best interests of
raising, being the first one to
make the venture in olives and figs in
splendid ranch known as the Mt. Ida
Olive Grove. The crop of olives gathered there is shipped from the ranch in the
form of the pickled fruit and olive oil, as the place is equipped with an olive-oil
On October 6, 1869, Judge Gray was united in marriage with Miss Belle R. Clark. This union was blessed three children, namely; Helen, who died in infancy; Carleton, the prominent attorney of Oroville; and Ida B., who became the wife of Dr. J. W. Wilson, of Oroville. Mrs. Gray passed away on November 14, 1897, in
On July 3, 1902, the second marriage of Judge Gray occurred, when he was united with Mrs. Katherine (Jacoby) Hecker, who survives him.
In the passing of this eminent jurist, Butte County sustained a great loss, not only the loss of an able and fearless dispenser of justice, but also of an upright man, who, through his long period of residence in the county, received many political honors and gained a high degree of esteem from his associates and the citizens of the community.
Transcribed by Sande Beach.
Source: "History of Butte County, Cal.," by George C. Mansfield, Pages 471-472, Historic Record Co, Los Angeles, CA, 1918.
© 2007 Sande Beach.