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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part V - Biographies
William Henry Gregg


WILLIAM HENRY GREGG was born in Palmyra, N. Y., March 24, 1831. His father, John Gregg, having settled in that town, was married to Anne, daughter of William Wilcox, and grand-daughter of Gideon Durfee, one of the first settlers of Palmyra, who had emigrated from Tiverton, R. I. He is of Scotch ancestry, being descended from the Greggs of Aberdeenshire. His original American ancestor was Captain James Gregg, who in 1690 emigrated from Ayr, Scotland, to Londonderry, Ireland, and in 1718 to New Hampshire, being one of the sixteen heads of families who settled at and founded the town of Londonderry, N. H. Major Samuel Gregg of Peterboro, N. H., his great-grandfather, was born in Londonderry, N. H., served in the Colonial Army during a part of the French War, and took part in the Revolution as a major in the New Hampshire militia. His brother, Colonel William Gregg, was also an officer in the Continental Army, and held an important command under General Stark at the Battle of Bennington.

Mr. Gregg first came to St. Louis in 1846, and since 1849 has permanently resided in that city. He was a clerk for Warne & Merritt in the hardware, woodenware and house-furnishing business from 1850 until January, 1854, when he was made a partner. In 1856 he retired from that firm and became a member of the firm of Cuddy, Merritt & Company, owning and operating the Broadway foundry and machine shop, one of the largest concerns of the kind in the country. In 1858, he retired from that firm, and formed a copartner-ship with John S. Dunham in the steam bakery business, and later, with Mr. Dunham and Mr. Charles McCauley, in the commission business, under the name of C. McCauley & Co., both firms being operated from the same office.

In 1866, Mr. Gregg retired from business, and in 1867, with other parties, organized the Southern White Lead Company, of which he was elected President, holding the office until 1889, when the company was sold out to parties transferring it to the National Lead Company. The Southern White Lead Company was a very successful one, owning a factory in St. Louis and one in Chicago, and selling its product in every state and territory in the Union. Since 1889, Mr. Gregg has been out of business, devoting himself to travel and social life. During his business career he was a director in the Mechanics’ Bank, the Mound City Mutual Insurance Company, and a member of the boards of arbitration and appeal, in the Merchants’ Exchange of St. Louis. He is a member of the Scotch-Irish Society, Sons of the Revolution, and Society of the Colonial Wars. In 1855, he was married to Orian Thompson, who is a descendant in the maternal line of the Lawrences of Groton, Mass. They have five children.

Mr. Gregg, though an energetic and successful business man, has been a voluminous reader, and has for a number of years contributed valuable articles to periodicals. Some twelve years ago he wrote on The Fishes of Florida, a book which had an extensive sale, and is considered a standard. work. But the great work of his later years is Controversial Issues in Scottish History, a book of six hundred pages, which is a library in itself. During the last thirty years he has searched all libraries for books bearing upon Scotch history, and he has republished the salient points of the early historians from whom some of the Anti-Celtic writers differ, especially as to the origin of the name Gregory and his reign. The summary which Mr. Gregg gives ol the writings of these ancient historians is invaluable to those who have not access to these books.

Mr. Gregg is of a very genial and social disposition and is very entertaining, especially on any subject bearing upon Scotland. In spite of his more than four-score years he is hale and hearty and greatly respected by a large circle of friends. His Controversial Issues in Scottish History is a monument to his energy and studious habits.

Since approving this biography, Mr. Gregg has passed away, January 14, 1916, having survived his wife by about fourteen months.


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