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Modena McCorkle


Born:  24 Jan 1845, Tuscumbia, Colbert Co, Alabama
Died:  26 Jan 1933, Wizard Wells, Jack Co, Texas

Modena McCorkle was the oldest daughter of William Waddel McCorkle and Mary Matilda Phillips.  Modena was born 24 Jan 1845 in Colbert County, Alabama. It has been suggested that Modena's first name was "Millie" but there is no documented proof.
William and Mary had three daughters before Mary's death around 1849.
Children of William Waddel McCorkle and Mary Matilda Phillips
Name Birth Death Spouse
Millie Modena McCorkle 24 Jan 1845
26 Jan 1933
William Charles Gray
Martha Isabel McCorkle Abt. 1847
  Roland Cassius Bunnell
Mary Epps McCorkle 15 Oct 1848
16 Jan 1930
(1) Lewis Autry
(2) John Simpson Gray
Modena helped raise her sisters after her mother's death when she was just four years old. She was assisted by a negro couple who had been former slaves.  Modena loved the lady dearly and when the negro woman passed away many years later, Modena and her husband traveled by train from Wizard Wells, Texas back to Tuscumbia, Alabama, to attend her funeral.
Modena's father was a farmer and worked hard raising cotton and corn crops in Spring Valley. With a large family of uncles, aunts and cousins living nearby, Modena and her sisters had an active social life.
When Modena was 20, a handsome young man came home from the Civil War, and soon they made plans to marry. Modena married William Charles "Alabama" Gray (also called "W.C.") on 01 Oct 1864 in Tuscumbia, Colbert County, Alabama. William was the son of William Gray and Mahala Nichols and was born on 30 Jun 1844 in Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama.  William had joined the Confederate Army in 1861 under General Bedford Forest and fought in the battles of Sharpsburg, Gettysburg, and Petersburg.
Modena and William's firstborn child was a daughter, born at the home of William Simpson Gray outside of Russelville, Alabama. The next 8 children were born in Colbert County, near Tuscumbia.
Children of William Charles Gray and Millie Modena McCorkle
Name Birth Death Spouse
Mary Lillian Gray 16 Sep 1866
Colbert Co, AL
03 Dec 1942
Jack Co, TX
Isaac Newton Ellis
m. 30 Dec 1883
Zura Modena Gray 16 Jan 1868
Colbert Co, AL
02 Dec 1942
Jack Co, TX
Clark Barton Anderson
William Simms Gray 08 Oct 1869
Colbert Co, AL
11 Nov 1933
Jack Co, TX
Claudia Johnson
m. 1922
Ada Isabell Gray 16 Oct 1870
Colbert Co, AL
23 Aug 1967
Denton Co, TX
John Tatum Smith
m. 01 Oct 1897
Laura Josephine Gray 15 Nov 1871
Colbert Co, AL
Colbert Co, AL
(Died in Infancy)
Charles Wesley Gray  11 Feb1873
Colbert Co, AL
04 Apr 1937
Paul Valley, OK
Josephine White
James L. Gray 05 Mar 1875
Colbert Co, AL
11 Apr 1902
Emma (Unknown)
John Elbert Gray 27 Nov 1877
Colbert Co, AL
07 Jan 1970
Jack Co, TX
Janie Hensley
m. 09 Nov 1905
Robert Edgar Gray 03 Mar 1881
Colbert Co, AL
13 Mar 1951
San Bernadino, CA
Earlden Pruitt
m. 14 Nov 1900
Joshua B. Gray 17 Apr 1883
Collin Co, TX
02 Aug 1885
Collin Co, TX
(Died in Infancy)
Sallie Estella Gray 03 Sep 1885
Collin Co, TX
23 Jun 1969
Hood CO, TX
James Thomas Hopper
m. 02 Jan 1901
The 1870 Census reveals a lot about the Gray and McCorkle Families.  William Charles Gray & his wife Modena McCorkle Gray were living in Tuscumbia, Colbert County, Alabama.  W.C. was 24 and Modena was 25.  They had three children: Mary Lillian (age 3), Zura Modena (age 2) and William Simpson (age 8 months).  W.C. & Modena's real estate value  ($400) was greater than those family members living nearby - although their personal estate ($200) was about the same. 
W.C.'s parents, William & Mahalia Gray, were living just a few houses away with two of his sisters, Cordelia (age 16) and Ivanna (age 13).  W.C.'s brother John Simpson Gray and his wife, Mary, and their young daughter Mahala (age 1) were living beside of their parents.
Modena's father, William McCorkle (age 63), and sister, Isabella (age 23) were also living nearby.

1870 Colbert County, Alabama, Census

Name Age Sex Race Occup. Real Estate
Estate Value
Birth Mth Born
in 1870
Last First
32 Gray John S. 27 M W Farmer 250 200 Ala   X
  Gray Mary 21 F W Keeping House     Ala    
  ----- Mahala 1 F W       Ala    
33 Gray William 53 M W Farmer     Ala    
  ----- Mahala 49 F W Keeping House 100 200 Ala    
  ----- Cordilia 16 F W At Home     Ala    
  ----- Ivanna 13 F W At Home     Ala    
36 Gray William 24 M W Farmer 400 200 Ala    
  ----- Modena 25 F W Keeping House     Ala    
  ----- Mary 3 F W       Ala    
  ----- Zera 2 F W       Ala    
  ----- William 8/12 M W       Ala Oct  
37 McCorkle William 63 M W Farmer 150 275 NC    
    Isabella 23 F W Keeping House     Ala    
The 1880 Census shows that W.C., Modena and their family were still living in Colbert County, Alabama. W.C. and Modena's age was 35.  The children living on the family farm were: Mary Lillian (age 14), Zura Modena (age 12), William Simpson (age 9), Ada Isabell (age 8), Charles Wesley (age 6), James L. (age4) and John Elbert (age 2).  Everyone listed on the Census was born in Alabama except for Modena's father, who was born in North Carolina.

1880 Colbert County, Alabama, Census

Name Race Sex Age Relation S
Occupation Birth
Last First Self Father Mother
Gray William C. W M 35 Head Md Farmer Ala Ala Ala
----- Modena W F 35 Wife Md Keeping House Ala NC Ala
----- Mary L. W F 14 Daughter S At Home Ala Ala Ala
----- Zurah M. W F 12 Daughter S At Home Ala Ala Ala
----- William S. W M 9 Son S   Ala Ala Ala
----- Ada I. W F 8 Daughter S   Ala Ala Ala
----- Charles W. W M 6 Son S   Ala Ala Ala
----- James L. W M 4 Son S   Ala Ala Ala
----- John E. W M 2 Son S   Ala Ala Ala

Memories from Mildred G. Anderson, 14 July 2007

In 1882, W.C. loaded his family and their belongings on a train and headed west.  They traveled on the train from Tuscumbia with Modena's two sisters and their husbands, the Bunnell brothers.  The train stopped at Lawton, Oklahoma, and her sisters left the train at that point.  Modena never saw her sisters again. W.C. and Modena settled in McKinney, Collin County, Texas.  The family lived there for several years before buying a farm and moving west of Wizard Wells, Texas.  In 1895, they moved to Jack County, Texas, were, after many improvements on his land, became one of the county's most prominent farmers.

William Charles "Alabama" Gray and Modena McCorkle Gray


Memories from Mildred G. Anderson, 14 July 2007

The Gray Family moved from Alabama to Texas in 1882, where they settled in Collin County, near Princeton. Uncle Johnny (John Elbert Gray) was four and Grandmother Smith (Ada Isabell Grey Smith) was 12. William Charles Gray did not like the black gumbo soil in the area where they had settled, so when Uncle Johnny was 10, W.C. (William Charles Gray) decided to look for land further west. Uncle Johnny asked if he could go. W.C. hooked up the covered wagon and put the gear on the team of horses, Modena packed up food, cover and clothing for them for several days, and they were off. It took them three days by covered wagon to get to Ft. Worth, Texas. They traveled on through Stephenville, Mineral Wells and on to Jacksboro, eventually going further west and finally returning to the Jacksboro area. They stayed in that area for a while where they attended a camp meeting. During that time, Uncle Johnny heard that a man (with a black beard) had killed a man, so he was afraid of that man the whole time they were in Jacksboro. They drove through the Wizard Wells area, and W.C. liked it, but he did not buy property there at that time. They returned home and stayed in Collin County until Uncle Johnny was 19 years old. At that time they packed up and moved to Wizard Wells. W.C. had enough money to purchase 300 acres and he called it the (Squire) William Gray Farmstead.  The homesite was high on a hill with a beautiful, expansive view. When approaching from the northwest, it looks purplish, hazy and mountainous. W. C. told John that that land was the very best of all they had seen, and would make a fine farm. For a few years, he traveled back and forth and got the land ready, put in fencing, cleared the trees and brush away, built the house and barn, etc.  A road divided the property. He had the name Squire William Gray carved above the porch on their home. Grandmother Modena McCorkle Gray thought it was the silliest thing she had ever known.  Mildred said that the Gray family traveled to Texas with Modena's sisters and their husbands.  They stopped at Duncan, Oklahoma, and that was the last time she ever saw either of her sisters. 

Memories from Mildred G. Anderson, 14 July 2007

Modena and W.C.'s youngest son, Joshua B. Gray, was born 17 Apr 1883 in Collin Co, TX.  When Little Joshua was about two, he went with his mother Modena to the barn and climbed up on the barn door. While Modena was attending to feeding the animals and milking the cow, he fell and hit his head on a rock. He died shortly after that. This was a loss his mother never got over. At the time of the accident, Modena was eight months pregnant with Sallie Estella (Stella) Gray.  Stella was born exactly one month later. Stella was a pretty young girl, and being the baby in the family, she was spoiled a bit. Older sister Ada helped raise Stella through the early years and they remained close friends their entire life.
The 1900 Census shows W.C. and Modena living in Justice Precinct # 7 in Jack County, Texas.  W.C. and Modena were both 55 years old - although he would have turned 56 before the end of the month.  Only two of their children were still living in the family home: Robert Edgar Gray (age 19) and Sallie Estella (age 15).  The Census shows that Modena had given birth to 11 children  but only 9 were still living.  Laura Josephine Gray had died in 1873 and Joshua B. Gray had died in 1885.  The Census incorrectly says that Modena's father was born in Tennessee (The 1870 Census shows that William Waddel McCorkle was born in North Carolina).  W.C. and Modena owned the family farm, but there was a mortgage.

1900 Colbert County, Alabama, Census

Name Relat. *
Birth Age S
Kids Birth Occup ***Home
Last First Mth Yr Born Alive Self Fat Mot O/R M/F F/H
Gray William Head W M Jun 1844 55 M     Ala Ala Ala Farmer O M F
----- Modena Wife W F Jan 1845 55 M 11 9 Ala Ten Ala        
----- Robert S. Son W M Mar 1881 19 S     Ala Ala Ala Farm
----- Stella M. Dau. W F Sep 1885 15 S     Tex Ala Ala        
* Race; ** Sex; *** Home (Owned or Rented), (Mortgaged or Free), (Farm or House)

The William Charles Gray and Modena McCorkle Grey Family

(Left to Right) Thomas Neal Rhoades, Mattie Alcester Anderson Rhoades holding daughter Lura Mae Rhoades, John Elbert (Johnnie) Gray (off the porch), Sallie Estella (Stella) Gray Hopper and James Thomas (Jim) Hopper holding baby Iva Mae Hopper, Ada Isabell Gray Smith, Modena McCorkle Gray, John Tatum Smith, William Charles "Alabama" Gray (seated), Zura Modena Gray Anderson (wife of Clark Barton Anderson) & daughter Jewel, Edgar Lee Smith (on door step), son of Ada and John Smith, Robert Edgar Gray with his wife  Earlden Pruitt Gray and their daughter Myrtle.
Lura Mae Rhoades was the daughter of Thomas Neal Rhoades and Mattie Alcester Anderson Rhoades.  Mattie was the daughter Zura (Zera) Modena Gray Anderson and Clark Barton Anderson (not pictured).

Ada Isabell Gray Smith, Modena, John Tatum Smith, W.C., Zura Modena Gray Anderson



William Charles Gray and Modena McCorkle Gray


William Charles Gray died 11 Apr 1909 in Wizard Wells, Jack County, Texas.  According to Mildred, he died of cancer of the jawbone from drinking strong liquor and chewing tobacco.  The funeral services were in Wizard Wells, Texas, on 17 Aug 1909 and he was buried in the Wizard Wells Cemetery.

GRAY, W. C. - 1909
Jacksboro Gazette
Jacksboro, Texas
Thursday, September 2, 1909


W.C. Gray died in his home nine miles east of Jacksboro, 17 August 1909.  He was born in Colbert County, Alabama, 30 June 1844.  He moved to Collin County, Texas, in 1882 and resided there until he moved with his family to Jack County, Texas, in 1896.  He enlisted in the Confederate Army from the state of Alabama in the early 1860s and continued in active service until the surrender in 1865.  That he bore himself gallantly in that memorable struggles goes without saying.  No true, braver, defender of the cause of the Confederacy ever wore the Gray.  He was a loyal friend, a loving and devoted husband and father, as well as a good citizen.
William Charles "Alabama" Gray was not buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas, but there is a headstone in his memory there.
This headstone for Isaac Newton Ellis, son-in-law of William Charles Gray, includes Civil War information for both men.  Ellis married W.C. and Modena's daughter Mary Lillian Gray and the couple had 17 children.
Headstone for Isaac Newton Ellis and William C. (Alabama) Gray

The 1910 Census shows Modena living with her son John Elbert Gray (age 32) and his family on the "Rented" farm.  Modena's age was 64 and she is widowed.  The Census shows that she had her "own income".  Her son William Simpson Gray was single and also lives on the farm.

1910 Jack County, Texas, Census

Name Relat. Sex Race Age S
Kids Birth Occup Home
Last First Born Alive Self Fat Mot
Gray John E. Head M W 32 M1 4     Ala Ala Ala Farmer R
----- Jannie Wife F W 21 M1 4 3 3 Tex Tex Tex None  
----- Thelma Dau. F W 3 S       Tex Ala Tex None  
----- Ruby L. Son M W 2 S       Tex Ten Tex None  
----- Lillian B. Dau. F W 6/12 S       Tex Ala Tex None  
Gray William S. Brother M W 40 S       Tex Ala Ala Farmer  
----- Modena Mother F W 64 Wd       Tex U.S. U.S. Own
On 10 Mar 1924, Modena McCorkle Gray filed for a widow's pension since her husband William Charles Gray had served in the Confederate Army.  The note at the bottom of the application says, "Too Much Prop(erty)".

Application for Confederate Widow's Pension


Memories from Mildred G. Anderson, 14 July 2007

Modena flew to California to visit her son (and her daughter) who lived there. While she was there, a portrait was made of her in a chair with a book in her lap.

Modena McCorkle Gray

The 1930 Census shows Modena living with her son William Simpson Gray and his family.  Modena's age was 83.  The Census shows that she married W.C. Gray when she was 20 years old.
William Simpson Gray (age 60) had married Claudie (Unknown) at the age of 51 and had a 7-year-old daughter named Willie Louse Gray.  William owned his home and it was valued at $750.
Modena's son, John Elbert (age 52), was living at the next farm with his wife Jannie (Unknown) and his children: Lois (age 22), Beatrice (age 19), Dana (age 17), Mildred (age 16), son John Elbert Jr. (age 14), Jessie (age 12) and Izella (age 10) - six daughters and one son.  John Elbert had married Jannie when he was 27 years old and she was 21.

1930 Jack County, Texas, Census

Name Relat. Home *
Age S
Birth Occup
Last First O/R Val Self Fat Mot
160 Gray William S. Head O 750 M W 60 M 51 Ala Ala Ala Farmer
  ----- Claudie Wife     F W 45 M 36 Tex U.S. U.S. None
  ----- Willie Louise Dau.     F W 7 S   Tex Ala Tex None
  ----- Maudenia Mother     F W 83 Wd 20 Ala Ten Ala None
161 Gray John E. Head R   M W 52 M 27 Ala Ala Ala Farmer
  ----- Jannie Wife     F W 46 M 21 Tex Ala Ala None
  ----- Lois Dau.     F W 22 S   Tex Ala Tex None
  ----- Beatrice Dau.     F W 19 S   Tex Ala Tex None
  ----- Dana Dau.     F W 17 S   Tex Ala Tex None
  ----- Mildred Dau.     F W 16 S   Tex Ala Tex None
  ----- J.E. Jr. Son     M W 14 S   Tex Ala Tex None
  ----- Jessie Dau.     F W 12 S   Tex Ala Tex None
  ----- Izella Dau.     F W 10 S   Tex Ala Tex None

Memories from Mildred G. Anderson, 14 July 2007

The family thought Grandmother Modena Gray was an angel. They all loved and respected her mightily. Modena used to pin yellow roses on the grandchildren before they left for school in the mornings.  Grandmother Modena Gray used to say 'gee-ho' when she was excited about something! Uncle Johnny Gray asked his mother if she wanted anything in town. She said, "YES, gee-haw - I want an ice cream cone and a red soda pop". Uncle Johnny took her to the drugstore in Jacksboro, Texas, and bought her an ice cream cone and a "red sodee pop", and she sat in the truck and ate the ice cream and drank the soda pop before he took her on to stay with daughter Zura.

Memories from Iva Hopper Johnson

Grandmother Modena Gray was an expert quilter and always quilted for her children and grandchildren. She loved her Grandchildren very much and often made cookies for them when they visited, and told them jokes and talked and played with them. She said that her Grandmother had had to work very, very hard, thus had a hunched back.  Possibly her hunched back was also due to osteoporosis, which her daughter Ada Isabell also had in her latter years.  Modena kept the kitchen, gardened, canned, and cooked large meals for her large family. She also created fabric from cotton and wool, and made clothing for her family. She was a talented quilter. 
Modena McCorkle Gray died on 26 Jan 1933, in Jack County, Texas, at the age of 88 years old.  On 23 Jan 1933 Modena had fallen on the steps of her home and fractured her thigh.  That and "Hypertension", or abnormally high blood pressure, led to her death on the 26th.  The Death Certificate lists her date of birth as 24 Jan 1845 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. It also states that her father, William McCorkle, was born in Alabama and her mother, Matilda Phillips, was born in Virginia.
Modena McCorkle Gray Death Certificate

Modena was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas. She had been staying with daughter Zura and was 88 years old.  After Modena fell on the back steps at Zura's house, she died several days later. She had been in declining health for some time. According to granddaughter Mildred G. Anderson, Modena chose not to be buried beside her husband because of flooding in that particular cemetery. Instead, she chose to be buried with the Grays in Oakwood in Jacksboro, in Jack County. 
Modena McCorkle Gray Headstone



Ada Gray Smith, Lillian Gray Ellis, Estella Gray Hopper, Zurah Gray Anderson

Mary Lillian Gray married William Isaiah Ellis on 30 Dec 1883 in Collin County, Texas.  William was the son of Issac Ellis and Julianne Anderson.  Their marriage produced 17 children.
Children of William Isaiah Ellis and Mary Lillian Gray
Name Birth Death Spouse
Minnie Lee Ellis 30 Nov 1884 28 Dec 1885 (Died in Infancy)
Charles Caswell Ellis 30 Nov 1885
Collin Co, TX
26 Dec 1960 Mayme Hunter
m. 06 Sep 1921
Lum Lee Ellis 17 Feb 1887
Collin Co, TX
04 Jan 1956 Augusta Mahler
m. 03 Nov 1910
Edgar Ernest Ellis 03 Oct 1888
Grayson Co, TX
09 Jan 1956 Nancy Ann Lena Chowning
m. 22 Jan 1914
Mannie Mae Ellis 09 Feb 1890 17 Dec 1962 Mary Callis
m. 27 Jun 1912
Delphia Della Ellis 18 May 1891 27 Apr 1892 (Died in Infancy)
Annie Mae Ellis 19 Jan 1893 06 Jan 1961 Charles C. Henderson
m. 22 Sep 1913
Julianne Ellis 03 Mar 1894 11 Jul 1895 (Died in Infancy)
William Isaiah Ellis, Jr. 22 Jul 1895
Jack Co, TX
02 Sep 1981
Grainger Co, Tenn
Effie Sensabaugh
m. 08 May 1927
Hazel Alee Ellis 10 Sep 1896 27 Jul 1897 (Died in Infancy)
Finis Cecil Ellis 10 Jan 1898 16 Jun 1899 (Died in Infancy)
George Dewey Ellis 12 Aug 1899 23 Jun 1900 (Died in Infancy)
Ranzie Ray Ellis 14 Feb 1900 11 Apr 1904 (Died in Infancy)
Zona Zelder Ellis 18 Oct 1902 02 Feb 1972  
Alvin Alabama Ellis 19 Apr 1904 30 Jul 1957 Leska Whitaker
Standley Sterling Ellis 12 Apr 1906 24 Apr 1907 (Died in Infancy)
Dean Gray Ellis 03 Oct 1907 19 Mar 1992 Leta Shunks Martin
m. 08 Mar 1956
"W.I. Ellis (William Isaiah Ellis) - 2nd Generation"
By Olive Ellis Rumage

Leaving their first born buried in Collin County, they (William Isaiah Ellis and his wife Mary Lillian Gray Ellis) moved to Grayson County, then to Old Vineyard in Jack County (Texas) in late Oct of 1888.  There they lived in a tent while waiting to get a house built.  They dipped water from up-stream of Miles Spring to avoid dipping near a dead bear that lay down-stream all winter.

Living in a tent must have been harrowing at times.  One Day Bill went to town on horseback and did not get home until after dark.  Lillie and the boys were inside the tent when their dog, Queen, was disturbed by something.  She growled and charged into the night but promptly retreated through the open flap.  Lillie hissed her out again and being faithful, she went.  Then Lillie tied the flap and sat down by it with a stick of stove wood in her hand.  Queen charged again and retreated, this time landing on top of the tent.  The boys thought it would be crunched by her weight.  This was repeated several times when Lillie untied the flap and let her in.  She bristled, whined and walked the floor.

Finally Bill rode up and called, "Lillie, bring me the Winchester, there is a big panther out here."  Before she got the gun to him, the panther had gone.  It is easy to understand how the Ellis boys thought old Queen to be the finest dog in the world, not to mention the mother who stood between them and a wild animal, armed only with a stick of wood.

In November 1888, Bill entered into partnership with H.M. Bunnell, selling Ladies Laundering Machines.  These were bought at $4.35 and sold at $12.00.  Lillie must have suffered through this venture since she never believed that a machine could clean clothes as well as rubbing on a rub-board and boiling in a wash pot.  Family records show sales for six machines in 1889.

The first property bought by the Ellis family was in partnership with J.C. Smith, lot 4, block 39 in Vineyard City, later changed to Wizard Wells.  Ellis soon bought Smith out, bought other lots and built a house.  He opened the first bath house by a mineral well dug by G.W. Vineyard who was responsible for the establishment of Vineyard.  This was a family business. the boys cut wood with a cross-cut saw to keep the fires going for the steam tubs.  Baths were 25 cent each.  Patients wore steam robes that would almost stand alone if dried without washing.  100 gallons of water were boiled down to 1 gallon, making a substance the consistency of oil or salve.  This was rubbed on arthritic joints.  Sometimes patients were brought in on stretchers and walked out after 30 days of mineral baths.  In the spring, the valley by Bean's Creek was dotted with covered wagons of people waiting for baths.

In about 1902 the Ellis family sold their holdings and moved to Hollis, Oklahoma, traveling through parts of New Mexico, looking for land to buy.  Bill worked as a farm laborer until they moved back to Jack County in about 1906.

They bought a farm 2 miles north of Jacksboro where they lived until Bill's death from a stroke on Jan. 12, a909.  Lillie then relied on her older sons for help with the younger children.  She faced her widowhood bravely, until her death from a stroke Dec. 3, 1942.

The Ellis boys were industrious, ambitious and popular.  At Saturday night square dances, Lum and Ed, along with John and Norm Lowrance, were the first to hit the floor when a set was called.  Sometimes they danced all night.  During the week, Charles, Lum and Ed worked for the J.S. Rumage Tank and road crew.  Charles was cook and Lum and Ed were teamsters.  They built the G.T. & W. Railroad from Jacksboro to Seymour in 1909.  In 1911, they worked on the T.H. Cherryhomes Ranch whis is a stones throw from Cundiff.  This is where Ed met the W.A. Chowning family and his future wife, Nancy Anna Lena, who wa born to the Chownings, Feb. 22, 1886.  Lum had already married Augusta Hahler, Nov. 3, 1910.  Mannie married Mary Callis, June 17, 1912.

In 1913, Lillie sold the farm and bought another one at Union Point from W.R. Johnson, paying $2,200 for 202 3/8 acres.  She built a four room house, paying Mr. Comstock of Silver Hill, $1.50 a day for carpenter work and W.C. Bowman Lumber Company $327.10 for materials.

By now Charles had gone to make a life for himself in California, where he married Mayme Hunter, Sept. 6, 1921.  This left Ed and the younger children on the farm.  They worked together and farmed cotton, corn, cane, fruit and vegetables.

Life was never easy for Lillie, though she never burdened other people with the sorrows of her life and was often heard singing as she went about her work.  There were times when she sewed until midnight by a kerosene lamp to make 3 changes of clothes for each member of her family; one to wear, one clean, and one to wash.  She worked her garden by moonlight after the little ones were asleep. The work went on and on, but she found time to plant flowers in the yard to brighten her surroundings.

Annie married Charles C. Henderson, Sept. 22, 1913.  Edgar married Nannie, Jan. 22, 1914.  They stayed on at the farm.  Bill Jr. served a stretch in the Army during World War I, then went to Tennessee where he married Effie Sensabaugh, March 8, 1927.

The younger Ellis boys were as popular as their older brothers.  They were good students, studied music, and joined other young people of the community for sing-songs. 

Alvin became a carpenter and married Leska Whitaker of Chico, Texas.  Zelder became a butcher and never married.  Dena worked at various sales positions and was in the grocery business with Zelder in Jacksboro for a while. He was inducted into the Navy, October 16, 1942; trained at Camp Bradford and Camp Allen, Norfolk, VA, and other camps in the states before sailing for the Pacific in September 1943; spent 25 months overseas with the 74th Construction Battalion; discharged Nov., 18, 1945.  On March 8, 1956, he married Leta Shunks Martin in Jacksboro.

William Isaiah Ellis and his wife, Mary Lillian Gray Ellis
with sons (Left to Right) Charles Casell, Edgar Ernest, Lum Lee and Mannie Mae

Mary Lillian Gray Ellis died 03 Dec 1942 in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas, at the age of 55.  The cause of death was "Apoplexy" or "Stroke".  Mary was widowed at the time of her death and was buried in the Wizard Wells Cemetery, in Jack County, Texas.



Zura Modena Gray married Clark Barton Anderson.  Clark was the son of James Anderson and Elizabeth Scroggins.  Their marriage produced six children.
Children of Clark Barton Anderson and Zura Modena Gray
Name Birth Death Spouse
William Cassie Anderson Dec 1884 1950 Ida Brummett
Mattie Alcester Anderson 22 Jan 1886 1953 Thomas Neal Rhoades
m. 27 Dec 1902
Ella Elmira Anderson 16 Feb 1888
Collin Co, TX
02 Jul 1966
Bridgeport Co, TX
Warren Abernathie
m. 20 Jul 1904
Riley Jenkins Anderson 17 Nov 1889
Jack Co, TX
31 Mar 1949
Jack Co, TX
Zada Robbins
Ada Della Anderson Aug 1893 1971 (1) James Frank Kilpatrick
(2) Frank Johnson
Ivy Jewel Anderson Aug 1896 1981 (1) Carl Shawver
(2) Glen McDowell

Three Generations:  Jewel Anderson, Zura Gray Anderson and Modena McCorkle Gray

"Anderson, Clark Barton" - F8
By Mildred Rhoades, Wife of A Grandson

Clark Barton Anderson was born 10 Apr 1859 to James Anderson and Elizabeth Scroggins Anderson.  When Clark was four years old, his father James died and was buried in Arkansas.  After James' death, his mother Elizabeth brought her little children to Collin County, Texas.

Clark Barton Anderson married Zura Modena Gray.  Zura was born 16 Jan 1868, died 02 Dec 1942.  She is buried in the Jacksboro Cemetery in Jack County, Texas.

Clark Barton Anderson and Zura Gray (Anderson) lived in Collins County, Texas, until their children were all born, then moved to Jack County, Texas, between Joplin and Wizard Wells.  Their children were:

1. William Cassie Anderson (1884-1950) married Ida Brummett.  Children are: Ora, Thelma, Eurela, Juanita, Wayne, Louise.  All lived in Altus, Oklahoma.

2. Mattie Alcester Anderson (1886-1953) married Thomas Neal Rhoades on 27 Dec 1902, in Groveland, Texas.  Their children are: Lura Mae Rhoades (married Fred Jones), Clarice Barton Rhoades (married Beulah Hamilton), Eura Jewel Rhoades (married Reuben Jackson), Nealie Rhoades (married William Ernest Bentle), R.B. Rhoades (married Mildred Ulala Smith), and Armelia Rhoades.

3.  Ella Elmira Anderson (1888-1966) married Warren Abernathie.  Children are: Everett Bentley Abernathie (married Ruby Lee Ballow), Robert Rayman Abernathie (married Ruby Helen Smith), Beulah Mae Abernathie (married Wallace Boling), and Warren Drew Abernathie (married Doris Franklin).

4. Riley Jenkins Anderson (1889-1949) married Zada Robbins.  Children are: Ila Anderson (married Robert Boling), Winnie Anderson (married John Price), Ruth Anderson (married Ralph Perkins), and R.J. Jr. (married Dorothy Myers).

5. Ada Della Anderson (1893-1972) and first married James Frank Kilpatrick.  Her second marriage was to Frank Johnson.  Ada & Frank Johnson's children are: Ima, Doyle, Donnie, Freida, Franks Jr, Barton, Mildred, Billy Joe, Lera and Evelyn. 

6.  Ivy Jewel Anderson (1896-1981) married #1 Carl Shawver, married #2 Glen McDowell.  The couple had no Children.
Zura Modena Gray Anderson died 01 Dec 1942 in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas, at the age of 74.  The cause of death was "Hypertension" or "Abnormally High Blood Pressure".  She was widowed at the time of her death.  Zura was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Jack County, Texas.


William Simms Gray married Claudia Johnson about 1922 when he was about 52.
Children of William Simms Gray and Claudia Johnson
Name Birth Death Spouse
Willie Louise Gray      
William Simms Gray died on 11 Nov 1933 in Jack County, Texas, at the age of 64.  Cause of death was listed as "Burned to death when house was destroyed by fire."  The Death Certificate also says he was the divorced husband of Claudie Gray.  He was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Jack County, Texas.


Ada Isabell Gray married John Tatum Smith on 01 Oct 1897 in Princeton, Collin County, Texas.  John was the son of John Smith and Martha Seay.  He was born 19 Jul 1866 in Cass County, Texas, and died 03 Feb 1928 in Denton, Denton County, Texas.  Their marriage produced two sons.
Children of John Tatum Smith and Ada Isabell Gray
Name Birth Death Spouse
Edgar Lee Smith 11 Jan 1898
Collin Co, TX
22 Jul 1939
Oklahoma Co, Oklahoma
Edith B. Dellis
William C. Smith 18 Oct 1908
Denton Co, TX
06 Jul 1961
Denton Co, TX
Eva Joe Carmichael
m. 10 Mar 1934

Ada Isabell Gray Smith

Ada Isabell Gray was the fourth child born to William Charles Gray and Modena McCorkle Gray.  Ada was born 19 Oct 1870 when the family still lived in Tuscumbia, Colbert County, Alabama.
Ada married John Tatum Smith on 01 Oct 1897 in Princeton, Collin County, Texas.  John was the son of John and Martha Seay Smith.  He was born 19 Jul 1866 in Cass County, Texas and died 03 Feb 1928, in Denton, Denton County, Texas.
Ada and John had two children: Edgar Lee Smith, born 11 Jan 1898, in McKinney, Collin County, Texas and died 22 Jul 1939, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  A second son, William Charles Smith was born 18 Oct 1908 in Denton, Denton County, Texas, and died 06 Jul 1961, in Denton, Denton County, Texas.
Ada Isabell Gray Smith died 23 Aug 1967 in Denton, Denton County, Texas.
OBITUARY for Ada Isabell Gray Smith from the Denton Record Chronicle:

"Mrs. Ada Isabell Smith, 96, of 614 N. Elm, died at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Flow Memorial Hospital after a short illness.  Mrs. Smith was born Oct. 16, 1870 in Alabama. She had been a resident of Denton since 1907. She married Mr. John Tatum Smith in 1897 in McKinney. She was a member of the First Baptist Church. For several years, she made her home with her daughter-in-law, Mrs. W. C. Smith of 2515 N. Locust.  Survivors include: Sister Mrs. J. T. Hopper of Tolar: brother J. E. Gray Sr. of Jacksboro; four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.  Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday in the Goen Funeral Home Chapel with burial in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery. The Rev. Dr. L.L. Armstrong will officiate. Goen Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

OBITUARY for John Tatum Smith from  Denton Record Chronicle:

John T. Smith, 62 years, six months and 19 days of age, died suddenly at his home, 614 North Elm Street, at 7:30 Friday morning.  While he had been seriously ill for about two weeks, his death was entirely unexpected, as his condition was considered Thursday to be much improved.  His death was caused by aortic stenosis, the attending physician said.  Funeral services will be held at the residence Saturday morning at 10 o'clock with Rev. W.C. McClung, pastor of the First Baptist Church, of which Smith was a member, in charge. Smith is survived by his wife and two sons, Edgar L. Smith, superintendent of the Marietta, Okla., schools, and W. C. Smith of Denton. He is also survived by his father, J. H. Smith of Mineral Wells and three sisters, Mrs. C. C. [Lucy] Watson of McKinney, Mrs. J. H. [Janie] Dickson(Dixon) of Santa Anna and Mrs. S. C. [Mattie] Webb of Nevada.  He was born in Cass County, July 19, 1865. He was married at McKinney 35 years ago to Miss Ada Gray, and they later moved to Lake Dallas, where they lived several years before coming to Denton to make their home 20 years ago. He had been employed by the city since.  The city offices will be closed during the funeral Saturday morning.

FROM the Baptist Church Bulletin - for John Tatum Smith:

In Memoriam:  J. T. Smith.  Our church and the community will feel greatly the loss of brother J. T. Smith who died last Friday morning February 3rd, after a short illness.  Funeral services were conducted by the paster at the home on Saturday morning. In the home-going of Brother Smith our church has lost one of its most loyal and consecrated men.  He lived a life above reproach. To the bereaved family we extend our tenderest love and sympathy.


(Left) William C. Smith, age 4,  in an outfit made by his mother, Ada Isabell Gray Smith
(Right) Brothers: Edgar Lee Smith & William C. Smith at the Smith Home in Denton, Texas


William C. Smith and his wife Eve Joe Charmichael Smith


The William C. Smith Family: 1946
(Left to Right) William C. Smith, Sterling Lee Smith, Stephen Neil Smith,
Jill Carmichael Smith and Eve Joe Carmichael Smith


Grandchildren of John Tatum Smith and Ada Isabell Gray Smith
(Left: from 1942) Sterling Lee Smith, Age 2, with brother Stephen Neil Smith, Age 5 1/2
(Right: About 1946) Jill Carmichael Smith, Age 3

Ada Isabell Gray Smith died 23 Aug 1967 in Denton, Denton County, Texas, at the age of 96.  She was widowed at the time of her death.  Cause of death was listed as "Congestive Heart Failure" or "a weakness of the heart that leads to buildup of fluid in the lungs and surrounding body tissues."  Ada was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Denton, Denton County, Texas.


John Tatum Smith, the husband of Ada Isabell Gray, died on 03 Feb 1928 at the age of 62 in Denton, Denton County, Texas.  Cause of death was listed as "Aortic Stenosis".  The aorta is the main artery carrying blood out of the heart. When blood leaves the heart, it flows through the aortic valve, into the aorta. In Aortic Stenosis, the aortic valve does not open fully. This decreases blood flow from the heart.


Charles Wesley Gray married Josephine Pierce White.  Their marriage produced three children.
Children of Charles Wesley Gray and Josephine White
Name Birth Death Spouse
Rosalee Gray 1916
Charles Wesley Gray 1921
Edwin P. Gray 1925

Charles Wesley Gray

From Jill Jobe:
Charles Wesley Gray, lived in Paul's Valley, Oklahoma.
Charles Wesley Gray was 44 years old at the time he registered for the draft during World War I.  At the time, he was was working at the Chickasha Cotton Oil Company in Mince, Grady County, Oklahoma.  The Registration Card shows that he had brown eyes and dark hair.  It also said that he had a "Crippled Hand".


Charles and Josephine were buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Pauls Valley, Garvin County, Oklahoma. He was 63 years old at the time of his death.

John Elbert Gray married Janie Hensley on 09 Nov 1905 in Vineyard, Jack County, Texas.  She was the daughter of William Hensley and Mattie Worthington.  Janie was born 11 Aug 1888 in Jack County, Texas, and died 10 Jul 1984 in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas.  Their marriage produced twelve children - 9 girls and 3 boys.
Children of John Elbert Gray and Janie Hensley
Name Birth Death Spouse
Thelma Alene Gray 17 Oct 1906   Elmer Welch
Ruby Loise "Dock" Gray 04 Oct 1907
Jack Co, TX
18 Feb 1953
Jack Co, TX
Celia Cheeves
Lillian Beatrice Gray 27 Sep 1909   Ernest Soper, Jr.
Iris Irene Gray 19 Mar 1911   James B. Stevens
Dena Edith Gray 24 Sep 1912    
Mildred Decima Gray 03 May 1914
Jack Co, TX
03 Nov 2013
Wise Co, TX
James Dear Anderson
John Elbert Gray, Jr. 28 Dec 1915    
Jesse William Gray 22 May 1918    
Marcia Izella Gray 20 Mar 1920    
Virginia Nell Gray 09 Sep 1921    
Ted Gilbert Gray 21 Jun 1923    
Wilma Jean Gray 09 May 1934    
"Gray, John Elbert" - F409
By Mrs. Ingram Gafford

John Elbert Gray was born to Alabama and Modena Gray on November 27, 1877, in Alabama.  He eventually took as his wife, Janie Hensley, who was born August 11, 1888, in Jack County (Texas).  The two were married at Vineyard, Texas, on November 19, 1905.  Their honeymoon was a trip to West Texas in a covered wagon drawn by a span of mules.  They spent the next few years on the Milliron Ranch near Willington, Texas.  Due to the ill health of his parents, John and Janie returned to spend most of their productive lives in Jack County.  They lived on the Gray farm 3 miles west on Wizard Wells, Texas, where all except their first two of twelve children were born.

(Left)  An older John Elbert Gray with his sister Ada Isabell Gray Smith

(Above) Thelma Gray, Daughter of John Elbert Gray, with her aunt Ada Isabell Gray Smith

John Elbert Gray was 40 years old at the time he registered for the draft during World War I.  He was self-employed, working as a "Trader" in Wizard Wells, Jack County, Texas.  His nearest relative was his wife Janie.  He had grey eyes and brown hair with medium Height and build.  There was a disability listed on the card, "Break of Muscles across Abdomen".


John Elbert Gray's Draft Registration Card for World War I

John was 64 at the time that he registered for the draft during World War II.  He was retired and his next of kin was daughter Iris Gray Stevens, even though his wife Janie was still living.


John Elbert Gray's Draft Registration Card for World War II



John Elbert Gray died 07 1970 in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas, at the age of 92.  At the time of his death he was living at 407 W. Archer Street, Jacksboro, Texas.  Cause of death was listed as "Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease Grade III".  Both John and wife Janie were buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas.



60th Wedding Anniversary for John Elbert Gray and Janie Hensley

Robert Edgar Gray married Earlden Pruitt on 14 Nov 1900.  Their marriage produced three daughters.
Children of Robert Edgar Gray and Earlden Pruitt
Name Birth Death Spouse
Myrtle Gray Abt. 1902    
Cleo M. Gray Abt. 1906    
Carolyn Gray Abt. 1911    

(Left) Robert Edgar Gray; (Right) Earlden Pruitt Gray & Robert Edgar Gray - 14 Sep 1914


Robert married Earlden Pruitt on 14 Nov 1900.
Charles married Josephine White.


Robert Edgar Gray

Robert Edgar Gray was 37 years old at the time he registered for World War I.  He was living at E. A Street, Ontario, San Bernardino, California.  His occupation was "Laborer" for Co-Operative County Co.  He was medium height and build with brown eyes and black hair.  A disability was also listed on the card, "Last 3 fingers & part of hand gone; left hand".

Robert Edgar Gray's Draft Registration Card for World War I

From Jill Carmichael Smith Jobe:
Robert Gray, traveled to California after selling out his portion of the Gray Farm to Uncle Will.  Myrtle and Cleo were killed young, along with their mother.  Only the youngest daughter, Carolyn, survived.
Sallie Estella "Stella" Gray married James Thomas Hopper on 02 Jan 1901 in Jack County, Texas.  James was the son of George Dallas Hopper and Louisa Boyd.  Their marriage produced four children - three boys and one girl.
Children of James Thomas Hopper and Sallie Estella Gray
Name Birth Death Spouse
Iva Mae Hopper 08 Apr 1902
Jack Co, TX
  Lindsey Pinkney Johnson
m. 16 Sep 1924
Ira Alabama Hopper 22 Dec 1905
Jack Co, TX
25 Jan 1982
Lampasas Co, TX
Marjorie Dale Grammer
m. 02 Feb 1934
James Thomas Hopper, Jr. 25 Sep 1908
Jack Co, TX
24 Jun 1984
Hood Co, TX
Clarice Fitzhugh
m. 06 Oct 1929
Dallas Carvel Hopper 27 Nov 1911
Jack Co, TX
23 Feb 1997
Clifton, TX
Bonnie Lee Watkins
m. 13 Aug 1932

Stella Gray with brother, Robert Gray, and Mattie Anderson (sister Zura's daughter)


Stella Gray Hopper and Mattie Alcester Anderson, about 1890


Jim Hopper wins the Jack County, Texas, marble championship, 1889



James "Jim" Thomas Hopper, husband of Sallie Estella "Stella" Gray



James Thomas Hopper and wife Sallie Estella "Stella" Gray Hopper

Children of James Thomas Hopper and Sallie Estella Gray
Name Birth Death Spouse
Iva Mae Hopper 08 Apr 1902
Jack Co, TX
  Lindsey Pinkney Johnson
m. 16 Sep 1924
Ira Alabama Hopper 22 Dec 1905
Jack Co, TX
25 Jan 1982
Lampasas Co, TX
Marjorie Dale Grammer
m. 02 Feb 1934
James Thomas Hopper, Jr. 25 Sep 1908
Jack Co, TX
24 Jun 1984
Hood Co, TX
Clarice Fitzhugh
m. 06 Oct 1929
Dallas Carvel Hopper 27 Nov 1911
Jack Co, TX
23 Feb 1997
Clifton, TX
Bonnie Lee Watkins
m. 13 Aug 1932

Jim & Stella's Family - Christmas 1947


Iva Mae Hopper - daughter of James Thomas Hopper & Sallie Estella Gray Hopper



50th Wedding Anniversary for Lindsey Pinkney Johnson and Iva Mae Hopper Johnson
with their grandchildren, Jamie, John and Carol Johnson (Children of Sonny Johnson)  


James Thomas Hopper, Jr.


Sons of James Thomas Hopper and Sallie Estella "Stella" Gray Hopper

(Left to Right) James Thomas Hopper Jr., Ira Alabama Hopper and Dallas Carvel Hopper


Son of James Thomas Hopper and Sallie Estella "Stella" Gray Hopper

Dallas Carvel Hopper and wife, Bonnie Lee Watkins, on their Wedding Day


(Left) Dallas Carvell Hopper with son, Robert Carl Hopper
(Right) Dallas Carvel Hopper - World War II



Dallas Carvel Hopper and wife, Bonnie


Dallas Carvel Hopper on the Farm


50th Wedding Anniversary
Dallas Carvel Hopper and Bonnie Lee Watkins Hopper

James Thomas Hopper, husband of Sallie Estella Gray, was 45 years old when he registered for the draft during World War I.  He was working as a "Farmer" and his nearest relative was his wife "Stella Hopper".  He was medium height and build with blue eyes and black hair.



Letter from James Thomas Hopper to his sister, Lela Ann Hopper Hammitt

  Tolar, TX
July 16 - (19)30

Dear Sister,

Will write you a few lines.  We are all well.  Hope you all the Same.  I am in the grocery business at Tolar, TX.  Times is awfull dull here and dry.  We are getting along very well for the times.  Write me where the rest of the folks is.  I and Stella is by our selves most of the time.  Iva (Iva Mae Hopper Johnson) lives in Big Springs, TX.  Ira (Ira Alabama Hopper) is in Dallas & J.T. (James Thomas Hopper, Jr.) is married and lives in Granbury about 9 miles from here.  Carvel (Dallas Carvel Hopper) is at home most off(of) the time.

J.T. Hopper

Sallie Estella "Stella" Gray died 23 Jun 1969 in Tolar, Hood County, Texas, at the age of 83.  She was widowed at the time of her death.  Cause of death was listed as "Cerebral Thrombosis" or "a blood clot in a cerebral artery or vein.  She was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas.

James Thomas Hopper, husband of Sallie Estella "Stella" Gray, died 04 Dec 1967 in Granbury, Hood County, Texas, at the age of 95.  His parents were George M. Dallas Hopper and Louisa Smith (actually Louisa or Lizzie Boyd).  Cause of death was listed as "Cerebral Hemorrhage" or Stroke.


From Jill Jobe:
Modena told her grandchildren that she was "Black Dutch" - and Iva (Iva Mae Hopper Johnson) said she laughed a little when she said it. I still don't know if she meant she was part Indian, OR if she knew part of her ancestry came from the Germany/Netherland area.



(Left) Jack County, Texas
(Right) Collin County, Texas

Not too far from Dallas & Forth Worth, Texas


From Jill Jobe:
My Grandmother Ada Isabell Gray Smith left us a wonderful number of tin types, and these are a few of them. The one on the left is the one I mentioned. If you look closely, the three gents have torn flags and are wearing them wrapped around their bodies. I have been immensely intrigued with it since the day I first saw it. I cannot TELL who the gent in the middle is!!!!! He could be almost anyone, but since it was in Ada's photo album, I suspect either a Smith or a Gray.
The gent on the right is Eddie Smith, my grandfather John Tatum Smith's brother, who died young.

(Left) Unknown Gents; (Right) Eddie Smith

From Jill Jobe:
On the other scan (Left Below), you see Martha Elizabeth Seay Kite Smith, my grandfather Smith's mother. The woman on the right is definitely my ancestor. I believe she is my 4th great grandmother, Susanna Byrd Tatum Smith.

(Left) Martha Elizabeth Seay Kite Smith; (Right) Susanna Byrd Tatum Smith

From Jill Jobe:

Mahala Ann Gray, (1868-1941).  She was the daughter of John Simpson Gray (brother of William Charles "Alabama" Gray) and Mary Epps McCorkle (who was the daughter of William Waddel McCorkle and sister of Modena McCorkle).


The gent on the right has always been in my mind - either Cicero Smith, my grandfather's uncle, or a McCorkle - the photo was made in Tennessee.


(Left) Mahala Ann Gray; (Right) Cicero Smith

From Jill Jobe:

I am including a bad quality Xerox copy of Mahala, her husband John Richard Underwood (1863-1950) and four of their ten children. It was given to me by Ida Hopper Johnson.


John Richard Underwood and wife Mahala Ann Gray Underwood

A special thanks to Jill Jobe (and her research partner of many years, Richard Austin Bain), who shared photos and information about W.C. & Modena McCorkle Gray.  Without her years of genealogy research, this page on the McCorkle/Gray family would not be possible.  You can contact Jill at .

If you have additional information on Modena McCorkle Gray or her family, please contact me.