James S. Gray
James S. Gray, a prominent farmer and influential citizen of Brandywine Township, was born in
Preble County, Ohio, January 20, 1821. He was the fourth of six children, three sons and three
daughters, born to Robert and Margaret (Sheaffer) Gray, the former a native of Chester
County, Pa., of German descent. [cut] He enjoys the credit of killing more than 800 deer during
his twelve years of residence in that county [St. Clair County, IL]. In 1849, he came to Shelby
and here on the 9th day of September he was married to Eliza Vanpelt, a native of Liberty
Township, this county, born September 10, 1831. She was the fourth of ten children -- five sons and five
daughters -- born to Aaron and Margaret (Robertson) Vanpelt, the former a native of New
Jersey, of Dutch descent, and the latter a native of Warren County, Ohio, of English descent.
Immediately after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Gray went out to St. Clair County, Ills., where they
resided upon a farm five years. In 1854, they returned to this county and located near Waldron,
Liberty Township. They removed to Brandywine Township and settled where they now live in
1867. The life occupation of Mr. Gray has been that of a farmer, and as such he has been very
successful. He and wife are the parents of seven children as follows: Mary E., born January 30,
1851, died October 11, 1852; William R., born October 27, 1852; John M., born February
10, 1855; Margaret A., born March 22, 1857; Laura E., born May 27, 1860; Rosa May,
born July 27, 1862, and Cassius E., born December 20, 1864.
Mr. and Mrs. Gray are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics the former is an ardent Republican. He has a
good farm of eighty acres, nearly all of which is in a good state of cultivation.
History of Shelby County Indiana, Chicago: Brant & Fuller, 1887, pg 616-17.
Contributed by Metta Johnson.
NOTES from Metta: Margaret's marriage certificate lists her birth name as Robinson.
It seems the further back in time, the more interchangeable the two surnames were. The
estate papers in Shelby Co IN, show Sidney and David G. Robertson. David witnessed
Aaron's will. Also, Margaret Robertson/Robinson and Aaron Vanpelt only had eight children.
Eliza Vanpelt had two older half-brothers from father's first marriage to Harriett Rhynearson
[you can imagine the spelling variations here! - PMF].
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