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Nicholas Gray - Irish Rebel - War of 1812 - Land Office

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Nicholas Gray - Irish Rebel - War of 1812 - Land Office

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 7:04AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Gray
This is a reduced summary of the life of Nicholas Gray in the U.S.

Nicholas Gray was an attorney in Co. Wexford, Ireland and in 1795 married Elinor Hughes.[1] His life changed dramatically when he took part in 1798 Rebellion as the Secretary to the Rebel Council of Wexford and also as the Aide-de-Camp to Beauchamp Bagenal Harvey in 1798. Document dated: 4-7-1799 shows Nicholas Gray imprisoned at Wexford. Crime Description: Administering unlawful oath. Calendar of convicts confined in Wexford Goal. Nicholas Gray had a close association with Robert Emmet and was appointed leader of the troops of Co. Kildare in the 1803 Rebellion. Document dated: 3-16-1804 Nicholas Gray was imprisoned at Kilmainham, Dublin. Treasonable practices. Convict has a wife and family resides on a farm at Athy, Co. Kildare.[2]
Nicholas Gray had to flee Ireland because of his rebel principles. In a letter to Mr. Patten, he writes I must first tell you that my poor wife, children arrived here safe after some narrow chances for their lives. I was gallivanting about two hundred miles from New York when your dear sister wished me joy of their safe arrival. I nearly had a cent when I met them. The great and good Mr. Emmet [Thomas Addis Emmet] released me out of my difficulties and has been a father to us since and the situation I have now obtained is through his interest. I live in the summer house of a friend one mile from the city of Albany. I am an Officer of the State and hold my situation under the supreme court.[3]
Nicholas Gray became the private secretary to Governor Daniel D. Tompkins who also became Vice President. Nicholas served briefly with the New York Militia as an engineer. He also was Inspector General of New York 3rd. District. His son served as a Midshipman in the Navy during the War of 1812.
The Governor to Thomas Addis Emmet Touching A legal Matter, Albany, Dec 20, 1811. "Our friend General Gray has had a sad time of it since he returned from New York. I have just visited him and find him recruiting very fast. [4] Nicholas Gray to JM " September 29, 1814 recommends John Patton Emmet for appointment to the Military Academy".[5 ]
General Gray, The Governor's Secretary, Detailed to Assit General Wadsworth in a Staff Capacity Albany, July 6, 1812. " I have requested Mr. Gray who is well acquainted with subjects to repair to Niagara and to confer and advise with you and the other officers. Mr. Gray has seen service in Ireland in the capacity of General of Brigade and has made Military science his study. He is a gentleman of respectable family, and amiable character and of Military education and qualities."[6]
Nicholas Gray introduced to General Porter July 8, 1812. "He was lieut. General of the Irish Patriots. He is a gentleman of a patriotic turn, is ambitious of being useful to his adopted Country. You will find him a good engineer and Artillerist. He likewise sketches well and is well qualified to organize the staff.[7]
In a letter written by Nicholas Gray to Mrs. Codd of Buffalo, New York dated Aug 20, 1812. Mrs. Codd was most likely a relative from Wexford Ireland. " My Dear Madam, I sleep every night almost at the muzzle of the British Cannons. I have built three batteries which have placed the quarters of our troops in Security - one at Lewiston, one at Black Rock here, and one opposite Fort Erie. The country around here is really beautiful and picturesque. I live at the Quarter Master Generals, Porter. I write you on the Bank of the Niagara River, two miles or so from Lake Erie ". [8]
Inspector General Nicholas Gray to Governor Tompkins, Headquarters, Lewiston, July 22, 1812 - Dear Sir, I arrived on the 18th and was received with ever mark of attention and respect, and yesterday visited the garrison, accompanied by General Wadsworth.[9]
During the months of July, August and September of 1812 - Nicholas Gray made a survey of the whole Niagara Frontier. " On August 31, 1812 Nicholas Gray notifies General Van Rensselaer about the combustible telegraph located on the Canadian side of the Niagara river."[10] The Battle of Queenstown, 1812. The Original Manuscript Report by Nicholas Gray [signed] to Gen. Van Rensselaer describing the Niagara frontier, detailing the positions of the British defences dated Lewiston, August 31, 1812. It is evident that the attack was made at Lewiston from the opinions given in this document by Col. Gray.[11]
Lieut. - Colonel George McFeeley to Brigadier General Smith. " Lieut. Colonel Gray commanded the artillery. Whose zeal and science do honor to himself and country.[12]
The Governor Closing up his Accounts with the Paymaster General, Albany, January 20, 1814. " Lieut. Col. Gray the present Inspector of the 3rd. District. He was the Engineer who built the Fort at Lewiston called " Fort Gray" [named in honor of Nicholas Gray] that at Black Rock occupied by Swift's Regiment and after wards had a command in the line on the frontier under General Smyth."[13] After inspection of the troops by Colonial Nicholas Gray, Inspector - General U.S.A. , was honorably discharged on December 3, 1814, with the thanks of Governor Tompkins."[14]
On " March 30, 1815 Nicholas Gray was appointed register of the land office in the Mississippi Territory".[15] Nicholas Gray was assigned to the district west of Pearl River, with its land office at Washington near Natchez, the close of the war brought an influx of settlers and demands for the sale of public lands." The crowd demanded that Nicholas Gray, the recently arrived register, permit private entries of lands before the formal close of the public sale.[16]
Letter to the editor, defending his conduct as register of the land office, signed and dated: Nicholas Gray, July 5, 1817. "It may be necessary for me to notice a publication signed by Robert Williams, which appeared in your last paper, address to "The People West of Pearl River". In the letter Nicholas Gray states that no illegal sell of land was done by him or his son Nicholas Gray Jr. who was a clerk at his father's land office. Nicholas Gray also denies showing favor to Irish buyers and states no sales took place, but at the same he states it would give me pleasure to sell a good piece of land to an Irishman. [17] In 1816 former governor Robert Williams attacked the land register, Nicholas Gray, in his office with a knife. But Williams forgot to take the knife from its sheath, just bruising Gray". [18]
Nicholas Gray suffered from what was described as consumption. Nicholas Gray after living a truly adventuresome life died in 1819, at the approximate age of 45.
Nicholas Gray Jr. built the "Wexford Lodge" located in the "Vicksburg National Military Park". Nicholas Jr. moved to California in 1851 and became a U.S. Deputy Surveyor . His son Capt. Emmet Gray was the Tide Observer at Sausalito, Bay of San Francisco for twenty five years.
The Gray family researchers in the U.S. include Mrs. Billie Jo Holt, Peggy Dyas, Annette Avila, Charlotte Gray and Don Gray. I am a descendant of Capt. Joseph Gray brother to Nicholas Gray. My sons name is Nicholas "Cole" Gray. The inscription on my gg grandfather Loftus Crosier Gray tombstone reads [ Sacred to the memory of Loftus C Gray Veteran of late War, Youngest son of Capt. Joseph Gray and beloved husband of Mary Gray, Born in County Wexford Ireland, April 13, 1813. Died at Crescent City, Ca. December 5th, 1897].

1.["A Divided Family in 1798: The Grays of Whitefort and Jamestown" by David Goodall. Journal of The Wexford Historical Society 94-95]
2.[The National Archives of Ireland Bishop Street, Dublin 8, Ireland]
3.[Letter from Nicholas Gray to Mr. Patten. Trinity College Library Dublin. Ref Ms 873, [276] researched by Paula Hayes]
4.[Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, governor of New York, 1807 - 1817, Volume 2 - Page 39]
5.[Catalogue of the Papers of James Monroe by Daniel Preston]
6 [Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, governor of New York, 1807 - 1817, Volume 3 - Page 12]
7.[Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, governor of New York, 1807 - 1817, Volume 3 - Page 19]
8.[Letter by Nicholas Gray to Mrs. Codd, Buffalo, New York, Aug 20, 1812 B.A.G. Fuller Autograph File. fms Am 1603 [142], Houghton Library, Harvard University]
9.[Tompkins Papers, Vol. VII, pp. 502-6, New York State Library]
10.[British Generals in the War of 1812: high command in the Canadas by Wesley B. Turner. page 200. A.Conger Goodyear, War of 1812 MSS, box 2, V.7]
11.[[Letter from Nicholas Gray to General Van Rensselaer, dated August 31, 1812. A. Conger Goodyear War of 1812 Manuscripts, Mss. BOO-11, Vol. B. Battle of Queenston. Collection of Research Library, Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society]
12.[From the Historical Register of the United States 1813, Vol. 11, pp. 116-8]
13.[Public Papers of Daniel d. Tompkins, governor of New York, 1807 - 1817, Volume 3- Page 424]
14.[The Military Society of the War of 1812-1895 - 131 pages]
15.[Catalogue of the Papers of James Monroe by Daniel Preston]
16.[The Land Office Business by Malcolm J. Rohrbough. pages 113 - 115]
17.[Letter by Nicholas gray, to The Natchez Intelligence, July 2nd, 1817. Early American imprints. Second Series. Call number: MCFICHE 16,676 No. 40952. The University of Texas at Austin - University of Texas Libraries.]
18.[Arming America by Micheal a Bellesiles]

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