Biography of Leonard L. Gray
Big River Township, Mendocino County, CA Biographies





Leonard L. Gray, Whose portrait appears in this work, the oldest child of James and Hannah LeBallister Gray, was born in Lincoln county, Maine, in 1812. He resided at his birthplace till he was twenty one years of age, at which time he left home with seventy five cents, with which to begin the battle of life for himself. He sought and, obtained employment in a lime kiln at West Thomaston, Maine, where he labored for two months, when he sailed before the mast, which he followed till his twenty fifth year. He then returned home with money enough to purchase a small stock of goods and began the merchandising business in Whitefield, Lincoln county, Maine, which he continued for two years. He then began contracting to quarry stone for the erection of light houses, and erected the light houses known as "Owls Head" and "Three Beacons." He continued at that for five years. He then began merchandising at his native place, which he followed for about two years, and then moved to Augusta, Maine, and resided two more years. In December, 1853, he started via Panama for San Francisco, arriving April 1st of the following year. On his arrival he went to the northern mines, at Timbuctoo, and remained two months. He then proceeded to the Wyandotte diggings, where he followed the same business for a short time, and then returned to San Francisco. In September, 1854, he came to Mendocino and began working in the redwoods, which he continued for nine months. In 1855 he went to San Francisco, but remained only a short time, when he returned to the mill in Mendocino City and worked till the failure of Harry Meigs. He then. ent to Petaluma and began the wood business, conducting it for nine months, when he returned to the Albion Mill, where he worked for six months. He then went to the city, returning to Mendocino in June, 1856. In the fall of 1856 he visited his birthplace and sojourned two and one half years. In 1858 he returned to Mendocino, and in 1861 settled on his present place, where he owns ninety nine acres. He was a passenger on the ship Independence, which was burnt on the 16th of February, 1853, with five hundred and fifty five passengers on board. They were one half mile from Marguerita island, and on reaching the island there were two hundred and twenty four all told, the rest having been drowned. Eighty one were buried the first day on the beach. Married Elizabeth LeBallister. She died in 1860. Their two children are Prince W. and Charles F.

From:
History of Mendocino County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, California 1880


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