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Eliza Jane Willis Gray

The women in the family are so important to me. I wish there was just more information about them. There are a few that I have a terrific collection of stories, but much fewer than I would like. A majority of the information about women is the all about the children they had.

Eliza was born in 1843 in Virginia to Sarah Martin and James M. Willis. Sarah was 44 at the time, while James was 48. When she was 17, she lived in the South Western District of Franklin, Virginia. This is the same year Eliza lost her mother.

When Eliza was 19, she lost her brother (Count Darrell Allison Willis) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On July 3rd, 1863 , a he fought for the South. He was part of  “The Pig River Grays” they were the ones that led “Pickets Charge” – This company was formerly Company B, Keen’s Battalion, and was enlisted on June 29, 1861.
Eliza wasn’t married until she was 26 years old. She was the third wife of Osburn Wilson Gray. The two of them were married on September 11th, 1870 in Franklin County. Osburn, had a daughter named Eliza, so sometimes the information about his wives are wrong.

Did Eliza have to stay at home to take care of her elderly father during the Civil War? I can’t find any sources that say she was married before she was wedded to Osburn. Osburn came to the marriage with at least four children. He would go on to have ten children with Eliza. She died when she was only 56 years old. She had a pretty hard life, having so many children, moving from place to place, the whole family worked since Osburn never had an everyday job after the Civil War. He and the family were “day laborers”. They would do whatever they had to do to make it to the next day. 🙁

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