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Josiah H. Gray was an early resident of El Monte. Voter registration shows him living in El Monte by 1869, and he may have developed a relationship with the Beer family when they lived in El Monte in 1880. Gray became a partner with Beer in the ownership of a lot across the street from Beer’s in Block A in the Town of Monrovia Subdivision in 1888. When Beer died, Gray assumed the ownership of Beer's in Lot H. Since Beer was having financial problems, the transfer may have been part of a financial settlement between the Beer and the Gray families.
Originally from Georgia (born 1824), Josiah marries Martha Bradley in Arkansas, and, in 1854, they have one child, Minnie, before Martha dies in 1856. In 1857, Josiah marries Louisiana Bradley. Though she has the same name as Martha, there seems to have been no close relationship (such as sisters) between the two.
In spite of Josiah being born in Georgia and living in Arkansas, he joins the Union army as a corporal and serves with the 2nd Regiment, US Sharpshooters (Regular Army), leaving the army as a sergeant. When he gets home, life in Arkansas is problematic. His farm has been unattended for four years, and Louisiana and two of his four children have died. However, he soon finds comfort in the arms of a Civil War widow, Elizabeth Cartledge, and marries her in 1865.
Even so, living in the South and having served in the Union army does not make him popular with his neighbors, so he sells his neglected farm and moves to El Monte, California.
It is unclear when he arrived in El Monte, but the 1869 California Voter Registration list records him living in El Monte and wrking as a farmer. The move turns out to be extremely fortuitous.
One year later, the 1870 census reports that he is working as a rancher with real estate valued at $3,000 and personal estate valued at $1100. By this time, he has three children: Minnie, from his wife Martha, and Henry and Charles, his children from Louisiana. Over the next few years, he has two more children with Elizabeth Cartledge, Lee (1870-1932) and Alice (1875-1964).
As previously stated, Gray and Beer had been real estate partners in 1888.In that same year, 1888, Gray moves to Maricopa County, Arizona, where one of his married daughters is living. They continue owning property together until Beer’s death in 1889.
On Josiah Gray’s death in 1892, his family sells the property in Block H, Lot 8 and Block A, Lot 15 of the Town of Monrovia Subdivision to another long-time El Monte resident, James Divine Cleminson. Cleminson also happens to be the husband of Josiah Gray’s granddaughter.
For more detailed biographical information on the Crandall and Denslow families, contact the Monrovia Historical Museum Foundation. A fee will be charged for access to the information.