The mention of this name carries the local historian back to the period of struggle, when a might army of sturdy pioneers were engaged in conquering the West.  The search of the genealogical tree takes us to England, where we find JOHN GAY migrating to the United States prior to the Revolutionary war, establishing a home in Pennsylvania an dying in Ohio at the remarkable age of one hundred and three years.  His son, JACOB, born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, followed the tide of emigration to Ohio, married AMY HERBERT, a native of New Jersey and daughter of THOMAS HERBERT, on of the first settlers of Ohio.  JACOB GAY died in 1848, at the age of fifty-seven years, and his wife died in 1867.  SAMUEL GAY, his only son, was one of five children, all long since deceased.  He was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, October 28, 1812, emigrated to Indiana in youth and became one of the early settlers of Tippecanoe County.  He came here with his parents in 1834, when his father bought three hundred acres of partly improved land in Wayne Township.  The old people are buried in Sherry Cemetery, nearby the homestead.  SAMUEL GAY grew up like all other pioneer farm boys with little time for schooling, but much for hard work.  On October 11, 1837, he married ELIZA, daughter of WILLIAM and NANCY REED, of Ross County, Ohio, and by this union were seven children: JOHN W. and EMELINE, who lives with him; JOSEPHINE, wife of ALONZO BOSWELL, of Wayne Township; SEYMOUR; JAMES MADISON, of Wayne Township; SANFORD, of Oklahoma, and SAMUEL, also of Wayne Township.  The father of this family became an extensive landowner, as he added to his father's original purchase until he had some seven hundred acres.  He was a very liberal man, always ready to contribute to public enterprises and to help his fellow man in distress.  Though a staunch Whig and Republican, he would never accept office, his heart being set on agricultural pursuits.  He belonged to no orders and showed little disposition to join any organization that required him to be away from home.  He died in September 1902 after completing his ninetieth year.  His wife, who has always been a devout Methodist survives him and reached the end of her eighty-ninth year on July 1, 1909.  He is buried in Sherry Cemetery, which contains the bones of several generations of the family.

JOHN W. GAY, the eldest son of SAMUEL, was born in Wayne Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, October 14, 1840. He went through all the rough experiences of a pioneer boy on an Indiana farm, which consisted of hard licks from morning until night, few amusements and only such education as could be picked up by short winter attendance in the poor schools of those days.  He grew up on a farm, learned all about farming and in the end owned a farm of his own, which he managed with skill and industry.  He has long been one of the largest landowners in Wayne Township, at one time having one thousand acres, which, however, have been reduced to nine hundred.  He is highly respected, as, indeed, are his brothers and sisters and all the connection of GAYS, who stand for the oldest and best the county has to show in agricultural developments, their lives being the connecting link between the pioneer past and the progressive present.


Past and Present of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, Illustrated, Vol. II, pp.
B. F. Bowen and Company, Publishers, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1909

Biography Index   |  Tippecanoe County INGenWeb Project

©2001-2009 Tippecanoe County, Indiana Biographies Project

  All rights reserved