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household, William Fairfax Gray on March 16, 1839, published a paper calling for the organization of an Episcopal congregation.  A vestry meeting in early April elected him one of the wardens of what would become Christ Church, Houston, and subscribed funding and town lots to build a church and school.  This hopeful beginning ran afoul of many problems, especially the difficulty of attracting a suitable clergyman.  Visiting pastors and lay ministers allowed the Grays to attend services at the Houston courthouse, but much as they rejoiced at hearing the words of the prayer book on those occasions, they still sought a formal church establishment.  In February 1840 the vestry met again in Gray's law office to renew its efforts to get the church started.  Hopes of obtaining a rector in 1841 were dashed when the prospect chose to reside in Galveston over Houston, and Gray died without seeing his organizational efforts yield regular religious services.[33]

The Grays pursued other cultural activities but likewise without attaining the long-term institutionalized successes that had characterized their life in Virginia.  Millie and her husband went to a party with fine music, including "Mr Gray on the flute" in October 1839.  She participated in the effort to set up a Temperance Society chapter, which failed despite a strong and favorable if unlikely speech by former President Sam Houston.  The educational scene represented another institutional shortcoming -- schools operated irregularly.  The Grays employed Rev. Chapman as a private tutor, but he left on June 9, 1839, "to our regret," Millie wrote, "especially as he had been teaching our children & now they are left without."  This situation existed until early 1840, when the younger boys and Kate began attending one of the local private schools that generally lasted only so long as their founder-teachers could persevere.  William Fairfax Gray served as a trustee of the Houston City School in 1840, but schooling remained a deficiency.[34]

The Grays' domestic life was enriched by visits from both Texas and international dignitaries.  These included the admiral who commanded the French fleet that came to the Texas coast, General Henry S. Foote and his wife from Mississippi, former South Carolina Governor James Hamilton, Bishop Leonidas Polk from Mississippi, and financier William Christy from New Orleans.  Government officials who moved to Houston while the capital was located there (until the fall of 1839) often boarded in the Gray household.  Millie enjoyed those instances when wives accompanied their husbands.  She particularly noted the stays of Colonel Bernard E. Bee, Navy Secretary Louis P. Cooke, and Dr. Levi Jones.  Secretary of War Albert Sidney Johnston and President Mirabeau B. Lamar also spent time there.  The year 1840 proved far less exciting because the latter's leadership had removed the seat of government to


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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas