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Title: John Gregory
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The power for good of a righteous life is truly exemplified in the record of the doings of John Gregory. His was a heritage of service and usefulness. Before him his father and his grandfather had set for him the example of lives devoted to the service of mankind.

Benjamin F. Gregory, the father of John Gregory, was the son of James and Elizabeth (Lee) Gregory, Elizabeth Lee being the half-sister of Gen. Robert E. Lee. James Gregory was born in Buncombe county, South Carolina, in 1783. He was married at an early age, and removed to Kentucky, where he remained three years. In 1813 he came to Washington county, Indiana, during the Indian trouble. He built a log cabin and lived a true pioneer life. In 1816 he ran for the Legislature and was defeated. Later, he having removed to Shelby county, he was elected senator from a district composed of eight counties, Hamilton, Madison, Jackson, Decatur, Shelby, Ruch, Henry and Marion. At this time he became a colonel in that militia. Colonel Gregory was responsible for the law which was enacted in 1824, moving the state capitol to Indianapolis. He was made the target of abuse by some of the people who lived near the old capitol, but the leading men of those days were heartily in accord with Colonel Gregory's law. He was in the Senate until 1831. He then moved to Warren county, whence he was again sent to the Legislature. He later was defeated for election to Congress, and in 1842 failed of election as lieutenant-governor of Indiana. He then removed to New Orleans and set forth upon a trading expedition to Yucatan, from which he never returned, losing his life from tropical fever. His son Benjamin was born in Warren county, Indiana, in 1818.

John, son of Benjamin F. and Hannah E. Gregory, was born in Williamsport, Indiana, January 19, 1844. In his native town he grew to manhood, and early entered the busy avenues of life. He first entered the mercantile business, and later studied law in his father's office. In 1870 he became editor of the Warren Republican and with this event his life work began in real earnest. His first issue of this paper came out February 24, 1870, and with that issue the personality of John Gregory entered the public life of Warren county. He was a man of strong mind and deep convictions and with this leverage upon the public mind and conscience, he found the place that suited his genius. He was a fearless man in public life and possessed eyes that saw straight to the heart of a question or a situation, and without hesitation he lived his life with the right, and let his voice speak out and his pen express what he felt was right, at any cost. He was a champion of righteousness, wherever it needed one to stand for it, whether in politics or religion. He could not understand how men could do the low thing, or the mean thing, or take advantage of another by foul or unjust means. He was himself always so certain in his position that the conniving and deceit of men was to him the unbearable. Integrity was written in every fibre of his brain and soul. Men who were wrong, and planned the prosperity of the cause of evil, felt they must reckon with that pen, and answer at the court of that conscience, when they contemplated evil. He was, as an editor, a former and wielder of the public conscience, and public life is purer and stronger because of his life and expression of his convictions.

Mr. Gregory was a member of the state Legislature in 1881, and 1882 of two sessions, one regular and one called session, representing Warren and Fountain counties. He became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church in 1859, being received by Thomas Bartlett. He followed his father in the life of the church. In 1874 his father's health failed, and the son was called upon to take his father's place in the church, and was elected Sunday school superintendent and a member of the official board of the church. During all these years his life has been woven into the very woof and warp of the Methodist church. He loved the church as he loved his home, and made himself felt, not only within the religious life of his own town, but in that of his conference. He was a delegate to the lay conference for the last twenty-five years of his life, always making friends and holding positions of honor on committees which gave him recognition before the eyes of the church. Though we may say he was a public man, he was pre-eminently a church man and as such took his stand and was recognized by the world.

As superintendent of the Sunday school he found the joy of his soul. For thirty-four years he stood in that capacity before the church. He lived and rejoiced in his work. The Sunday school was dearer to him than the apple of his eye. He prayed always for it, and talked, and planned, and sacrificed, amid disappointments and achievements. It lived in his heart. He passed away on November 10, 1908, leaving to mourn his life a wife, seven children and a host of friends.

Mr. Gregory was editor and proprietor of the Warren Republican for nearly forty years, and was perhaps the oldest editor in point of service in the state. In every way he was a strong man among men, a natural and effective leader.

On May 29, 1866, Mr. Gregory was married to Lila Florence Chandler, the daughter of Robert Chandler, a native of New Jersey. The latter studied by the light of pine fagots and educated himself as an attorney. In 1832 he came to williamsport, Indiana, with his wife and four children, Margaret, Lydia, Andrew and Sarah. He was the father of twelve children by his first wife, Mary A. Dodd, who was descended from an old Eastern family of English descent. Lila Florence was the eleventh child. The children born in Indiana, who grew to maturity, were Augustus, who was drowned when ten years of age, Carry, Laura, George and Lila. The rest died in youth. Robert Chandler was again married to Deborah Bryant, who bore him six children, four of whim lived to maturity, namely, Dorcus Josephine, Robert A., Ella R. and Henry B.

Mary A. Dodd Gregory was descended from Daniel Dodd who came from England in 1646 to Branford, Connecticut, and was one of five who chose the site of Newark, New Jersey, in 1660, and of Daniel Dodd, Jr., who was given large tracts of land embracing Orange and East Orange, New Jersey, for surveying and laying out Newark. Mary A. Chandler's father's name was David Dodd. His wife's name was WArd and her mother's name was Farrand, a daughter of Betsey and John Farrand of Revolutionary fame.

Mr. and Mrs. John Gregory are the parents of seven children, namely: Benjamin F., who married Lucile Carlin, is the father of three children, Vivian, Rupert and Constance; Florence Ethelynd, at home; Winona Bertha, the widow of Arthur Jackson; Grace Blanche, at home; the twin sister of Winona Berth; Manona Pearl, who married H. B. Cartlidge, of Oregon; John Rupert, who married Daisy Haughton and has two children, John Charles and Martha Janet; Sarah Ruth, at home. All the children are graduates of high school and college.

Mrs. Gregory is a woman of intelligence and culture, who has throughout her life been active in all good works. She was a true help-meet to her husband during his career, and has been a devoted mother to her children whom she sees occupying places of honor and usefulness in the world. She has always been active in church work and charities. Young for her years, she is now enjoying the fruits of a well spent life, marred only by the absence from her side of him who was her partner for so many years.


[Page 776-778.]

Date: 1/1/1913
Origin: Past and Present of Fountain and Warren Counties Indiana
Author: Thomas A. Clifton, Editor
Record ID: 00001086
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Collection: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Entered By: Leslie J. Rice

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