Lysander James Gray

1 May 1841 - 4 Mar 1916

Private, Company K

11th Alabama Infantry, CSA

By Neva Tull Spencer

501 Davis Drive

Athens, Texas 75751

Lysander James Gray was born on 1 May 1841 in Morgan Springs, Perry, Alabama, the son of Williamson C. Gray (b: 7 Oct 1812 and d: Mar 1872) and Winneyford Martha Coley (b: 6 Jun 1812 and d: 12 Nov 1891).

He enlisted on 11 June 1861 for the duration of the war. Lysander J. Gary was a private in Company K, 11th Alabama Infantry. He enlisted in Morgan Springs, Perry Co., Alabama.

On 29 June 1862 he was wounded. "G.C.M.B." through inferior maxillary rendering mastication very difficult (he was shot in the lower jaw making chewing very difficult). L. J. Gray appeared on a report of casualties of the 4th Bridgade, Longstreet's Division in action before Richmond 30 June 1862.

On 2 Apr 1864, he was in Wilcox Brigade, Lee's Army. On 13 May 1864, he was admitted to General Hospital, Howard's Grove, Richmond, Virginia and returned to duty 15 June 1864 and detailed to Selma, Alabama.

From 1 Sep 1862 until 21 Feb 1863, he received $66 pay. From 1 May 1863 until 31 Aug 1863 he received $44 pay. From 1 Mar 1863 until 31 Oct 1863 he received $88. (That is about $11 a month paid every 6-8 months).

He died of natural causes on 4 Mar 1916 in Lamar County Texas and was buried in the Old Deport Cemetery in Deport, Lamar, Texas. He married Martha Ann Yates on 27 Feb 1866 in Red River County Texas.

Martha Ann (Mattie) Yates was born in Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama on 4 Jan 1850 to James S. and Louisa A. Yates. On 22 Sep 1892, Mattie J. Yates died and is buried in the Old Deport Cemetery in Deport, Lamar, Texas.

Following her death, L. J. Gray married Martha Jane McCraw on 20 Jan 1895 in Clarksville, Red River, Texas. Martha Jane (Mattie J.) was a widow with two children, having first been married to L. J.'s brother Elias George Gray. L. J. and Martha Jane had one son Sidney Mason Gray born 12 Sep 1897 in Deport.

Following the Civil War, Lysander James Gray moved to Deport, Lamar, Texas, where he owned a hotel and livery stable. He lived in Deport, the place of birth of all his children, until he died. (Note: Deport is on the county line. Sometimes it was in Red River County and sometimes Lamar.)

His children were:

1. John W. Gray, born 05 May 1868 in Deport, Red River (now Lamar Co.), Texas. Died 24 April 1925 Paris, Lamar Co., Texas.

2. Elizabeth M. Gray, born 23 April 1870, died 24 July 1870

3. Willie Ida Gray (md. Perdue), born 26 Mar 1872, died 22 May 1937 in Caldwell, Burleson, Texas.

4. Mattie A. Gray, born 1 July 1872, died 21 Apr 1875.

5. James J. Gray, born 5 Apr 1877, died 17 May 1945 in Deport, Lamar Co., Texas.

6. Winnie Gray, born 3 Sep 1878, died 9 Oct 1878 in Deport, Lamar Co., Texas.

7. Samuel Gray, born 31 Dec 1879, died 9 Jan 1880 in Deport, Lamar Co., Texas.

8. Georgia F. Gray, born 24 Feb 1881, died 2 Apr 1881 in Deport, Lamar Co., Texas.

9. Tommie Gray (md. Womack), born 25 Oct 1882, died Aug 1936 in Galveston, Galveston Co., Texas.

10. Sammie Gray, born 30 Aug 1885, died 30 Jan 1887 in Deport, Lamar Co., Texas.

11. Jessie Relephard Gray (twin) (md. Wilson) and (md. Stout), born 30 Nov 1887, died 14 Mar 1963 in Paris, Lamar Co., Texas. Buried 16 Mar 1963 in Deport, Lamar Co., Texas.

12. Frank Gray (twin), born 30 Nov 1887, died Dec 1887 in Deport, Lamar Co., Texas.

13. Bobbie Gray, born 24 Nov 1890, died 24 Dec 1890.

Lysander James (L. J.) was known as Sam. He was an early settler in Deport. He came there after the Civil War and remained until his death in 1916. He owned the local hotel and ran a livery stable. One time the outlaws Frank and Jessie James stayed in his establishment. It must have been near the time when his twins were born because he named them Frank and Jessie after the James brothers.

There are many stories about L. J. Gray in my oral family history, which varies slightly depending on who is talking. One is that he was wounded in the mouth during the Civil War and was both disfigured and had trouble talking. (He always wore a long flowing beard). The story goes that after the war he came home to his parents house and asked for something to eat. While eating, he said, "Well, I guess I am going to have to tell you who I am." He was so changed by the war in appearance that his own parents did not recognize him. He was 24 years old at the time.

There is also the story about his mother, "Winnie" (wife of Williamson C. Gray). Before the war started, the Gray family was wealthy. In addition to supporting the war efforts with two sons (L. J. and his brother Benjamin Franklin Gray enlisted together), Williamson converted all of his money into confederate dollars. Winnie had a whole suitcase full of confederate money. She is reported to have said: "One night I went to bed rich and woke up poor."

At the time of his death in 1916, he had acquired considerable wealth. He died without a will, and his estate was probated by his widow Mattie J. who gave power of administration to his first born son, John W. Gray.

For more information on this family visit

©Ron Brothers and Neva Tull Spencer, All Rights Reserved, 2000.

July 16, 2000

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