Lynch Gray, President of the Farmers’ & Traders’ Bank of Owensboro, was born in Nelson County, Kentucky, May 28, 1828. His father, Patrick L. Gray, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1800. After obtaining a good education in the schools of Baltimore he removed, in 1820, to Nelson County, Kentucky, and became interested in farming, an occupation in which there was a wholesome rivalry among the early settlers of Nelson County. He removed to Hardin
County in 1841 and followed agricultural pursuits until 1854, when he died. He lived in the exciting political times of Henry Clay and was a Whig to the last. His religious faith was strong and he was an honored member of the United Baptist Church.
James L. Gray (grandfather), a native of Baltimore and a captain at sea, was killed in the War of 1812, when defending his city at the time the British soldiers landed at Chesapeake Bay. The Grays were of English and Irish extraction.
Mary Hewlett Gray, mother of Lynch Gray, was born in Baltimore in 1798. She received a fine education in that city before coming to Kentucky. She died in 1861.
John Howlett, a native of Baltimore, accompanied a colony of people who made the journey to Nelson County in wagons, bringing their teams, servants, furniture and other equipments for life in the new country. He married Drusilla Johnson. The Howlett family originally came from England.
Lynch Gray was educated in Nelson County and, having removed to Hardin County, he learned the trade of a wagon and buggy maker, in which business he was engaged at West Point from 1847 to 1851, when he removed to Daviess County and continued in the same line of business for three years. From 1855 to i860 he was engaged in farming and stock trading and, retiring from this in i860, he removed to Owensboro. He took no part in the Civil war, but was in strong sympathy with the south.
He was interested in various enterprises in the city and county until 187.6, when, with the co-operation of others, he organized the Farmers’ & Traders’ Bank. Dr. Alfred Dodd Hill was elected president and on his death December 23, 1878, Mr. Gray was elected president, a position which he has held and ably filled for twenty years. The capital stock of this bank is $100,000, and it is one of the most substantial banking houses in the Ohio valley. Mr. Gray is ably assisted in the management of the affairs of the bank by his cashier, G. A. Williams.
Mr. Gray is also interested in a number of other enterprises; is a stockholder and director in the City Savings Bank; director in the Gravel Road Company of Daviess County; and, among other helpful enterprises, is a stockholder in the Female College. He is not in politics, but votes the Democratic ticket and wishes his party success. He is a leading member of the Baptist Church and a member of the Masonic Fraternity.
Mr. Gray was married October 24, 1854, to Louisa Shoemaker, daughter of Price Shoemaker of Daviess County. She was a native of that county and was born in March, 1830, and died October 22, 1870. She was the mother of two daughters: Mary Sephrona Gray, born July 4, 1855; married A. J. Mitchell of Owensboro, February, 1878, and they are the parents of two children, Louis A. Mitchell and A. J. Mitchell, Jr. The second daughter, Cynthia Gray, born January 6, 1857, married James M. Haynes, a dry goods merchant of Owensboro, February, 1879, and they have one child. Gray Haynes. Mr. Gray was married a second time to Mary Frances Haynes, daughter of Frank Haynes of Daviess County, February 24, 1877.
He has risen by his own efforts from a position in the wagon shop of his employer to the presidency of a bank which owes its existence to his enterprise, and its excellent standing among the financial institutions of the country to his wise counsel and ability as a financier. There are few self-made men of to-day who have succeeded by honest means in accomplishing as much as Mr. Gray has done.
Source: Biographical Cyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. John M. Gresham Company, Chicago, Philadelphia, 1896.