Mr. Bryce Gray was a son
of Robert Gray and Margaret Cherry, and was born on the 29th November,
1827, at Glasgow, Scotland, and died on the 29th June, 1897, at his
residence on Fifth Avenue, New York City.
His early school days
were spent in his native city, but it became important that he should be
launched on his commercial career as soon as possible, and he
accordingly set sail from Glasgow for Halifax in 1843. He was then only
sixteen years of age, and at once entered the employ of his cousins’
firm of William and James Murdock, transacting a wholesale dry goods
Here he remained for some
years and then sailed for the City of New York in 1850, bearing a letter
of recommendation from William Murdock to Richard Irvin. Through the
influence of Mr. Irvin, Mr. Gray entered the house of White & Thunger,
as head bookkeeper. He conducted the financial affairs of this firm
until the retirement of Mr. Thunger in 1854. The house was then
reorganized under the title of ‘'James F. White & Co.," and Mr. Gray
became a member of the new firm, which position he retained until his
death. Mr. James F. White, the senior partner, retired to live in Dundee
in 1855 and Mr. Gray then became the active manager of the business in
New York. When the great commercial panic of 1856 occurred this firm was
one of the few, if not the only one, engaged in the importation of
linens that was not forced to suspend.
From the day of his
election as a member of Saint Andrew’s Society on the 30th November,
1864, Mr. Gray took the greatest interest in the work of the Society and
was a constant attendant at all the meetings. He was a Manager,
1867-1869; 1870-1879; Second Vice-President, 1879-1882; First
Vice-President from 1882-1887, and President, 1887-1889; also serving on
the Standing Committee in 1869-1870; and from 1889 to the date of his
death. Mr. Gray was also a member of the Committee on the Amendment and
Revision of the Constitution in 1895, although he died before the final
report of the committee was filed, and thus did not live to see the
practical application of the Constitution under which the Society now
flourishes. The fidelity and zeal he gave to the cause of Saint Andrew,
the ability and uprightness which marked his successful career as a
merchant, and the genial good-fellowship he lent to every social
gathering, won for him the affection of a host of friends.
He married on the 31st
May, 1860, at New York City, Andrewetta Josephine Mount, daughter of
Andrew Mount and Jane C. K. B. Perry, and had issue the following
children, all born at New York City: (1) Bryce, Jr., born 5th November,
1861; (2) George Mount, born 11th October, 1863; (3) Josephine Mount,
born 4th April, 1866.
The portrait of Mr. Gray
is reproduced from a photograph now in the possession of his son, Mr.
George M. Gray.