Friday, May 20, 2011

Howard Asa Gray Family History Friday

Howard Asa Gray was the son of Osburn W. Gray. He was the husband of Alda. As I said last week, I found Asa by utilizing information that my family gave me. They told me that his name was Ace, but they did not know that Ace was only his nickname. They did tell me the Funeral Home they used. It is worth while to investigate any information that you have been given. I called the Funeral Home, and they not only told me that Howard was shown there also his daughter, Hazel.

The Funeral Home sent me a copy of the death certificate.I needed to know more about Hazel. Alda died after giving birth to Hazel. She lasted for 3 days after Hazel was born. Hazel was 4 years old and her and a little friend were playing with matches. Hazel was called into the house, and her friend put a lit match inside the box. As Hazel ran to the house the matches caught on fire, and then her apron. As Hazel ran the fire got worse, and she was burned throughout most of her body. A doctor came to the house for the next few days. Hazel died after enduring so much pain.

Aunt Nellie took care of the family. Howard went to work in the coal mines of West Virgina. His father Osburrn worked at any job he could get. He was a day laborer. He worked in the field, and so did the children. What ever work they could get and when they could get it, so this is probably why Howard wanted to be stable somewhere. His 2 other brothers Byron, Augustus, and Herbert all worked in the coal mines too. Herbert would go on to commit murder. I will have to share that information with you some time soon. I have the newspaper pieces I got from the archives, and I wrote to the prison he stayed.

Howard had a hard life, and I can see where he thought he had bad luck, but I think it started with Osburn. Osburn decided to leave without conforming to the year of morning...married another woman, and she was pregnant in no time. His family never had anything to do with him. His eldest daughter stayed with the family in Graysville. Unknown to the rest of the people Osburn took his family back to the place where he grew up swimming in the river. Howard grew up taking his kids to the same place, and my grandfather took his kids to the exact same place. We put this all together from a distant cousin. I met him on rootsweb. He told me about the swimming, and told me how he visited the place when he was young. My Aunts told me about how they would go, so we looked it was the same place. It makes my heart heavy thinking that Osburn wanted to be a part of his family again. Maybe he told them stories  about how they grew up in Graysville.


Always Goggle your family person. You never know what you will come up with. There are so many people that have already done vast amounts of research. You may get lucky! Sometimes there are people that you will find with the same first middle and last name as YOUR person...these are usaully clues!!!! This may not be your person, but the names usually give great clues.

Many times you can find the maiden name of the female embedded in the name of one of the children. Usually it is a male, but sometimes it can be a female. Names often repeat from one generation to another. You can also find out much about the people...a common name can indicated that the person just went with what everyone else was doing like Eliza...very common in the 1800's. There are many Spanish names in the line of Phoebe Grant (Alda's mother), so I am wondering if there was Spanish in the line of Christopher Monroe Smith, or was she an avid reader of a book or two that was Spanish, or did she know some Spanish people?


  1. It's sad to know how hard was life, at that time.

  2. what a fascinating story and they all had names that you don't really hear anyu more - Nellie, Osburn, Agustus, Hazel. You have managed to uncover such detail.

  3. oh i adore yourfamily posts on friday! is like reading a novel!
    thank you for sharing and wish you a great day!

  4. I love your posts. Now your family stories aren't lost. They are there for others to read and to share and to learn from. Have you taken a photo of the swimming spot? If you get a chance you should. That little place connected your family. Thanks for sharing today! I always look forward to reading your posts!

  5. Very interesting stories. Poor little Hazel, what a tragedy.

  6. What a outstanding job of depiicting life in the past. I know I'm going to really enjoy sharing pics and stories from my family. Thank you again for steering me in this direction.

  7. that's beautiful family story,
    hope that you have fun doing it!

    Happy Friday!

    read mine at

  8. Interesting post, with good information for doing family research. Thanks!

  9. Thanks for joining in this week... I enjoyed your story and all of your tips are very helpful..

  10. What you did was amazing.. you are so persistent and that is very encouraging. Goes to show if there is a will, there will always be a way.

    It is indeed sad that your family members have to go through such a hard life. Take care now.

    have you a bless weekend!


    Honest Scrap award,

    if you comment for Jamie, Brian, and Viola,
    take the butterfly award as well!

    Happy Tuesday!

  12. This is fascinating. I will read more. I've been doing some family and historical research, too, and it certainly is addictive!!

    Have a good Pink Saturday!

  13. Wow! What a colorful past!