Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Butcher, Baker . . . . . . . .

David Brown Letter
(click to enlarge)
Mary, the subject of this post, is the oldest daughter of Timothy and Hannah Kelly Brown.  Very little information about her was given in the David Brown letter1;   however, that information was received from Nellie Brown and Sarah Brown Taylor, people who would have either known her, or known about her from their parents who were siblings of Mary2.   Using this information, I have been able to piece together sketches of Mary’s life.  Of all the Browne immigrants, I still feel as if I know the least about her.

Mary was baptized May 21, 1837 at Patrickswell Roman Catholic Church in Patrickswell, County Limerick, Ireland3.  She was about eleven when she left Ireland with the rest of her family and arrived in Boston on January 29, 1849.  (See Arriving in America, The Voyage on the John Murray, and Boston.)  Mary is included with the family in the 1850 US Census4 in Vermont where they lived for a short time before moving to Chicago.  (See Vermont)  Once in Chicago, (See Chicago, F I R E !, and Aftermath), although still located close to her family, Mary begins her own story.

The 1860 US Census does not specify relationships for individuals in the same household; however, from our previous research, we know the members of Mary’s immediate family.   She is enumerated in Chicago, Ward 8, with three of her siblings, Johanna
1860 US Census
(click to enlarge)
(married to Thomas Roach), James and Thomas.  (See 1860 Census right.)  The David Brown letter, states that Mary was married to Henry Gray.  A Henry Gray, baker, born in New York about 1838, is shown at the same address.  Catherine Gray, presumably a daughter of Mary and Henry, born about August 1859 in Illinois, is also listed in the household5.  I have not been able to find records for Mary between 1850, when she was in Vermont, and 1860; nor, have I been able to locate a marriage record for Mary and Henry in either Illinois or Wisconsin where she may have previously lived6

Although still a common name, Henry Gray is more easily
1858 Chicago showing Washington St
identified in the Chicago City Directories because he gave a specific occupation - baker7.  The 1861-2 directory shows his home address as 154 Washington; 84 Dearborn in 1862-3; 81 Dearborn in 1863-4; 276 Wells in 1865, and the 1866 directory shows him living on Franklin at the northwest corner of Jackson with the rest of the Brown family.  The 1862-3 directory shows his employer as CL Woodman located at 195-7 Illinois, just around the corner from his home on Dearborn in the North section of town.  By 1866, he is working for SW Hull & Co. at 96 S Desplaines.

Bread was an important component of everyone’s diet in the 1800s.  Because many houses were not equipped with ovens to bake bread, (certainly not tenement housing), bakeries provided a
Advertisement for CL Woodman
vital service to the community.  Located throughout the city, many of them were small, ethnic, family run businesses with few outside employees.  While Chicago had many of these small bakeries, there were also large industrial bakeries manufacturing not only bread, but also tinned crackers and biscuits.  Some of the larger operations, such as CL Woodman, SW Hull, and the Chicago Mechanical Bakery, employed one hundred people or more.  Often, room and board was included as part of the wages which may explain the proximity of the Gray’s home to Henry’s employer in the early 1860s8.  While there were abundant opportunities for work, it also came with long hours, often fourteen hours a day, and low pay9.

Labor shortages and inflation were experienced during the Civil War years, (1861 to 1865), for both individuals and businesses when so many men were away fighting.  Wages were cut making it more difficult for families to provide adequate housing and food for their families10.  About this time, many trades were forming unions demanding improvements in working conditions, hours, and wages.  Chicago bakers were part of this movement forming their union, the Chicago Journeymen Bakers’ Protective Union, in April 1864 with a large representation of about 150 members.  In June 1864, the Chicago bakers union authorized a strike asking for a reduction in hours and a twenty-five percent increase in wages11.  There is not a list of union members; however, Henry Gray was likely involved in the strike, which failed, and union activities.

The Gray family is absent from Chicago during the later 1860s.  The
1870 Census - LaSalle, IL
(click to enlarge)
1870 US Census12 shows a family in LaSalle, IL consisting of “W. H.” Gray, baker and confectioner, with a personal estate of $1,800, (1837 – NY), Mary, a store clerk, (1839 – VT), and five children: Catherine (1860 – IL); Calvin F (1862 – IL); Thos H (1865 – IL); Lyman J (1867 – NY); and Otis Jas (1869 – NY).  The earlier 1860 census shows that “Henry” was born in New York.  Is this the same family?  The two youngest children were born in New York.  Why would the family have gone there?

Using earlier census records to locate W. H. Gray, I found William H Gray, age 14 (1836 - NY), in the 185013 US Census for Seneca, Ontario County, New York.   Others listed at the same residence are Calvin S Gray, age 35, physician, Elanon M Gray, age 35, George F, age 9, and Edward P, age 1.  Baptismal records for all three children were found in the Dutch Reformed Church in Geneva, (Ontario County, New York).   William Henry was baptized on October 25, 1839; he was born earlier on October 6, 1836.  Calvin Gray and Eleanor M Thomas are listed as parents for all three children14.   The 1855 New York State Census15 shows W H Gray, age 19, (indexed as W N), as an employee of Hiram L Saydam.  The occupation of both men is shown as “baker.” Perhaps William Henry was an apprentice and learned his trade from Mr. Saydam.  This appears to be a likely candidate, but there is still the difference in names – William Henry vs. Henry.   

Probate records for Ontario County, New York provide additional details.  Calvin S Gray died intestate in October 186616.  Since there was no will, Calvin’s wife would have inherited one-third of the estate, and William Henry and his surviving siblings would have inherited the other two thirds of the estate.  Earlier in the year, April 1866, William Henry’s brother, George, died.  George’s will listed two brothers, Henry and Edward, as his heirs17.   The piece
Segment of will of Joshua Gray
(click to enlarge)
that ties this together is the will of Calvin’s father, Joshua Gray, from May 1869.  The will lists all of his children including, William A Gray, Lyman R Gray, Charles P Gray, Catharine Randall, Julia Hitchcock, Caroline Barnes, and Lucy Ann Gray.  The will also identifies two surviving sons of Calvin S Gray as Henry and Edward18.  William Henry would have had incentive to return to New York because he was the beneficiary of several family members who died in the late 1860s.  This could be the source of his personal estate shown in the 1870 census.

Two of the children of William Henry and Mary Gray, Catharine and Lyman, were probably named after William Henry’s siblings.  Lyman and Otis James were born in New York during a period when several close family members died.    Taking into consideration all of the above information, it appears that William Henry Gray and Henry Gray are the same person.  Although he was baptized as William Henry, he was known to the family as Henry and used that name during his earlier years in Chicago.  When he returned to Illinois about 1870, he went by the name of William Henry.

William Henry and his family must have returned to Illinois shortly after the death of his grandfather, Joshua Gray, in 1869.  While the 1870 census shows them in LaSalle, they probably did not stay there long since the Chicago City Directory for that year shows them again with the rest of the Brown family at 219 Jackson19.  This puts them in the heart of the 1871 fire that destroyed Chicago.  They, too, would have had a harrowing escape as did the rest of the family.  (See F I R E !)  By 1872, the City Directory shows the family headed by WH Gray, baker, living at 356 22nd which is located south of the burned area.

William H Gray is only shown in Chicago in two additional years; in 1876 at 207 S Jefferson, and, in 1877 at 11170 Wentworth Ave.  He is identified as a “baker” in each of these years.  This becomes very curious since Mary Gray is listed under her own name during 1873 to 1878 and again from 1885 to 1886 as the “widow” of William20.  I have not found a death record or burial permit for William Henry Gray during this time.  Since Mary and William Henry are shown in separate residences for some of the same years, would a more logical reason be that they were actually divorced?  Divorce was not very common during this time and carried many negative connotations, especially for the woman.  Perhaps it would have been more socially acceptable for Mary to be a widow rather than a divorcee, especially for an Irish woman who was raised a Catholic21.  Other than the 1870 census, which shows Mary as a store clerk, no information was shown in the city directories about how Mary earned a living.

Additional family members are living in Chicago with Mary in 188522.  Mary’s son, Lyman, a confectioner, now 18, is living at the same address as is Mary’s mother, Mrs. Hannah Brown, (See Aftermath.)  There is also a Clarence Gray, bartender, living in the household.  I have not heard of Clarence before.  Because he is in the same household with the same surname, he could be related to the family.  Could this be Calvin using a different name? 

I have not identified records for the other children of Mary and William Henry except for possible death records for Otis and Thomas Gray in 1882.  Otis Gray, age 8, died at the small pox hospital in Chicago on April 1, 1882.  Thomas Gray, age 14, boot black, died at the same hospital on April 5, 1882.  Based on birth years given in the 1870 census, Otis would have been about 13, and Thomas would have been about 17.  Incorrect ages for the children could have been given at the time of admittance; or, if the children were of slight build, estimated ages could have been incorrect.  No additional information, such as a cemetery, is given on the death records or in the burial permits; however, the children were admitted to the hospital on the same day23

Death Certificate Mrs. Mary Gray
(click to enlarge)
 Mary died of consumption on August 4, 1886, age 49, and is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Chicago.  She was living at 2723 Wentworth at the time with her son, Lyman, a candymaker.  Lyman, died March 15, 1889 at St. Luke’s Hospital of typhoid fever.  He is also buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery24.  
Death Certificate Lyman Gray
(click to enlarge)

There is another piece of information about a William Henry Gray that I can’t ignore.  I don’t know if this is the same William Henry Gray or not.  There is a marriage record for Wm H Gray and Mary E Robinson on February 19, 1879 in Wyocena, Columbia, Wisconsin25.  The parents of Wm H are C.S. Gray (Calvin S Gray?) and E.M. Gray (Eleanor M Thomas?).  A child, Henry, was born to them on February 21, 188026.  This same couple and child are shown in the 1880 US census record for Columbia County, Wisconsin27.  The occupation for William H is given as “baker.”    

In the next post, we will look at another of the immigrants from Ireland.

March 20, 2018
While searching records in the Chicago Catholic Church Records for another family, I ran across baptismal records for two children of William Henry Gray and Mary Brown.  The records are at Old St. Mary's on Wabash before the church was destroyed in the Chicago fire.  One baptism is for Simon Joseph and the other is for James.  Both baptisms took place on April 29, 1870 and show the parents as "Henry Gray (Episcopalian) & Mary Brown."  The records also give the date of birth and sponsors for each child.  Simon Joseph was born January 17, 1868.  Michael Brown and Mary Brown sponsored Simon Joseph.  James was born January 26, 1870.  His sponsors were James Brown and Anne (Mahoney) McDonough.28  The names of the children do not exactly match those given on the 1870 U.S. Census; however, Lymon and Otis are not Saints names and would not have been acceptable at a Catholic baptism. Otis James became James and Lymon J. is easily translated to Simon Joseph.  Since the census record shows that both boys were born in New York, we can determine that Mary and Henry Gray returned to Illinois sometime between January 26, 1870, the date Otis James was born, and April 29, 1870, the date both boys were baptized.  Also, they were likely in Chicago for the baptisms (January) before moving on to LaSalle, Illinois where they were enumerated in the census.

Baptism records Old St. Mary's, Chicago, Illinois, pages 229 and 230

1.       Brown, David, Kewanee, IL., 11 May 1943.  Letter to Esther ________, Columbus, OH.  The David Brown letter continues to be my “roadmap” to the Browne family of Fanningstown, County Limerick, Ireland.

2.       Nellie is the daughter (eighth child) of John and Ellen Burns Brown.   See More Brown Children for more information.  Sarah Brown Taylor is the daughter (sixth child) of Patrick and Ann Burns Brown.  See  " . . . and he leaves a large family to mourn his death"

3.       Baptisms, Patrickswell Catholic Parish Registers, Lurriga, 21 May 1837, microfilm 02409-05, page 63, National Library of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.

4.       United States Census, 1850, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MC2X-Z5D) Brandon, Rutland, Vermont, United States; citing family 1636, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.:National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.)

5.       Year: 1860; Census Place: Chicago Ward 8, Cook, Illinois; Roll: M653_168; Page: 114; Family History Library Film: 803168.  Available online at Ancestry.com.  The census was taken in June, 1860.  Catherine’s age is given as 10 months, (10/12), making her birth about August, 1859.

6.       Note that Emma Roach, a daughter of Thomas and Johanna was born in Wisconsin.  It is possible that the family traveled from Vermont to Wisconsin before moving on to Chicago.  To date, I have not found marriage records for either couple, Thomas and Johanna Roach or Henry and Mary Gray, in Illinois or Wisconsin.

7.       City Directories for Chicago are located on both Ancestry.com and Fold3.

8.       Jentz, John B. and Schneirov, Richard, Chicago in the Age of Capital; Class, Politics, and Democracy during the Civil War and Reconstruction, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield, 2012, page 45-46.  Besides making bread, many of the larger bakeries manufactured biscuits and crackers using “machinery for mixing the dough and an oven with a steam-powered system for circulating baked goods through the heating chamber. . . . well into the 1880s, Chicago bakers were still opposing the craft practice of having part of their wages paid in room and board supplied by their masters.”  

IMAGE of advertisement for CL Woodman is taken from, The Railroads of Chicago, A Comprehensive History, The Western News Company, Chicago, IL.  Available online at: https://ia801403.us.archive.org/19/items/railroadsofchica00lawr/railroadsofchica00lawr.pdf

9.       Chicago Tribune, Bakers’ Union Strike, ProQuest Historical Newspapers, 5 Jun 1864, page 4.  In 1864, bakers who worked, “fourteen hours per diem commencing at five o’clock in the evening, received two dollars, and hands engaged for 12 hours, during the day, received one dollar and seventy-five cents.”  Using the inflation calculator on WolframAlpha.com, two dollars in 1864 is equivalent to $32.31 today.  Remember, this was the pay for a fourteen hour day. 

10.   Jentz,  op.cit., page 45-6.

11.   Chicago Tribune, Meeting of Union, ProQuest Historical Newspapers, 17 Apr 1864, page 4 and Meeting of Journeymen Bakers, * Jun 1864, page 4.

12.   1870 US Census, La Salle, La Salle, Illinois; Roll M593_243; Page 323A; Family History Library Film: 545742

13.   1850 US Census, Seneca, Ontario, New York; Roll M432_572; Page 477B; Image 407

14.   The Archives of the Reformed Church in America; New Brunswick, New Jersey; Geneva Church, Records, Consistory Minutes, 1831-1884, available on-line at Ancestry.com.  The date of baptism for Wm Henry is given as October 25, 1839.  His date of birth is listed as October 6, 1836.  George was baptized April 22, 1842.  No date of birth is shown.  Edmund was baptized August 31, 1849 and was born on July 28, 1849.  The same record set also shows the marriage of Calvin S Gray and Eleanor M Thomas on June 7, 1836.

15.   New York State Census, 1855, database with  images, FamilySearch  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K63F-RML : 7 September 2016), W N Gray in household of Hiram L Saydam, E.D. 1, Seneca, Ontario, New York, United States; citing p. 36, line #3, family #285, county clerk offices, New York; FHL microfilm 590,803.

16.   Probate Records (Ontario County, New York), 1830-1883, New York. Calvin S Gray, Record of Letters, Volume U, Page 443, Surrogate’s Court, Ontario County), Ontario, New York.  Available on Ancestry.com.  Subsequent research has uncovered that Calvin’s first wife, Eleanor died in 1852.  (Find A Grave Memorial #117323364.)  Calvin had a second wife, Amy, who was included in the 1855 New York State Census.  They did have children.  The full probate file would provide additional information about the beneficiaries and the sums of money received.

17.   Probate Records (Ontario County, New York), 1830-1883, George T Gray, Record of Wills, Volume S, Page 562, Surrogate’s Court (Ontario County); Ontario, New York.  Available on Ancestry.com

18.   Probate Records (Ontario County, New York), 1830-1883. Joshua Gray, Record of Wills, Volume W-X, Page 78-9, Surrogate’s Court (Ontario County); Ontario, New York.  Available on Ancestry.com.

19.   The 1870 US Census was taken in LaSalle, Illinois on June 1, 1870.  The exact date of the 1870 Chicago City Directory is not known.  It is assumed that the information was printed in the later part of 1870.

20.   In 1878 and 1886, Mary is shown as the widow of Henry.  Addresses given for Mary are:  1873 – 19 Elgin; 1874 – 580 26th; 1875 – 400 22d; 1877 – 39 Elgin; 1880 – 1019 N Halsted; 1885 – 175 S Jefferson;  1886 – 2723 Wentworth av.  Mary is not shown in the Chicago City Directories between 1878 and 1885.

21.   Divorces were few in the 1870s and most were obtained by men who had only to “prove” adultery on the part of the wife.  It could also be that they were “separated” or that the husband was “away on business for an extended period of time” – probably not likely in this case since William Henry Gray was a baker.  The women involved were often referred to as “grass widows.”  http://www.yourdictionary.com/grass-widow

22.   The Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago, 1885, Thomas Hutchinson, Company, Chicago: The Chicago Directory Company, page 569.

23.   "Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N72P-3MV : 17 May 2016), Otus Gray, 01 Apr 1882; citing , Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference nr 4227, record number 47, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,031,440.

"Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N72P-3MK : 17 May 2016), Thomas Gray, 05 Apr 1882; citing , Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference nr 4228, record number 48, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,031,440.   

Mt. Olivet and Calvary cemeteries do not have records of burials for these children.

24.   "Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2M3-KPPT : 17 May 2016), Mary Grey, 04 Aug 1886; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference 88607, record number , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,030,917.

"Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N7D8-C6L : 17 May 2016), Lyman Gray, 15 Mar 1889; citing , Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference cn 3567, record number 80, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,030,938.

Mary’s son, Lyman, purchased three graves at the time of Mary’s death.  The third burial is for Harry Clancy.  Harry died March 25, 1888 at three years old.  I do not know the connection to the Brown/Gray family.  The information was obtained during a phone call with the clerk at the Mr. Olivet cemetery.

25.   "Wisconsin, County Marriages, 1836-1911," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XRL3-PTD : 3 June 2016), Wm. H. Grey and Mary E. Robinson, 19 Feb 1879; citing Wyocena, Columbia, Wisconsin, United States, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison; FHL microfilm 1,275,883.

26.   "Wisconsin Births and Christenings, 1826-1926," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XTMM-DFJ : 12 December 2014), Henry Bailey, 21 Feb 1880; citing Portage, Columbia, Wisconsin, reference ; FHL microfilm 1,302,854.

"Wisconsin Births and Christenings, 1826-1926," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XRFB-SJ3 : 12 December 2014), Henry Bailey, 21 Feb 1880; citing Portage, Columbia, Wisconsin, reference P 367 No 01258; FHL microfilm 1,302,854.

"Wisconsin Births and Christenings, 1826-1926," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XRFY-GR9 : 12 December 2014), Henry Bailey, 21 Feb 1880; citing Portage, Columbia, Wisconsin, reference P 315 No 00960; FHL microfilm 1,302,854.

27.   Year: 1880; Census Place: Portage, Columbia, Wisconsin; Roll: 1420; Family History Film: 1255420; Page: 236A; Enumeration District: 034. Available online at Ancestry.com

28. Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925.  St. Mary of the Assumption Parish (Chicago: Old, Wabash) page 229 and 230.  .  Database with images,  https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DHG9-SW1?i=129&wc=M66G-2W1%3A40147601%2C40147602&cc=1452409FamilySearch. Image 130 : 8 February 2017. Catholic Church parishes, Chicago Diocese, Chicago.


  1. Thank you,Mary Ann. I really appreciate you time,efforts and excellent research skills. I have one question. What resource do you use to pinpoint exactly where the addresses they lived at are located? Thanks

    1. The addresses were found in the Chicago City Directories. Those are available online at Ancestry and FOLD3. While neither site has a complete set, between the two websites, nearly all years are covered. The Cincinnati Public Library has all years from 1839 to 1928 on microfilm.

      There is a section for all but the earliest years that lists all of the streets in Chicago. It also shows the cross streets and the house number at the intersection. That information allows you to determine, within a block, where their residence was located. From there, use a map from the era to pinpoint the location.

      Ancestry allows a search by residence (use the Keyword box). This is very helpful in determining anyone else living in the same residence.