Calvin Gray

Full name

Calvin Gray

Alternative names

Calvin Grey

Presence at Shimer


Presence on Earth



Seminary period trustee

Reverend Calvin Gray was a member of the first Board of Trustees of Shimer College during the early Seminary period. He also served for a time in 1853 as the chairman of the board, and was a member of the Examining Committee until the Crisis of 1857.

Born in Chenango County in central New York in 1805, Gray married Abigail Spaulding Gray in 1842. They had a total of six children: Lyman Calvin (1843), Carlton Rinewalt (1847), Linus Shepard (1849), Henry North (1851), Howard Edmund (1853), and Roscoe Spaulding (1857). Lyman appears to have been the only one to attend Shimer.

Gray was the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Mount Carroll, and was supported by the American Home Mission Society. The Presbyterian church, where the first Shimer classes were held, took the form of an addition built onto his home.

Gray took a leading role in the anti-Seminary side of the Crisis of 1857, which was precipitated by claims that the Seminary was indoctrinating students into the Baptist faith. He either left or was removed from his Mount Carroll posting in the same year.

Shimer connectionsEdit


  • in the Congregational Year-Book of 1886
    Gray, Calvin, son of Nathaniel and Sarah (Butler) Gray, was born in German, N. Y., 1805, Sept. 1. Studied theology with Rev. Timothy Stillman. Ordained, Presbyterian, Friendship, N. Y., 1838. Acting pastor, Arcade, 1840-2; Aurora and Wales, 1843; Savannah, Ill., 1844; Mt. Carroll and vicinity, 1845-57. Without charge, 1857-67. Acting pastor, Congregational Church, Geneva, Kan., 1868, until installed there, 1869, June 30; dismissed, 1872, Oct. 1. Without charge there, 1873-6; Fort Dodge, Iowa, after, until death. Married, 1842, June 17, Abigail North, daughter of Jacob and Sarah (North) Spaulding, of Franklinville, N. Y. Of six sons, three are living, one the Rev. Lyman C. Gray, of Fort Dodge. Died of brain disease, 1885, March 20, aged 79 years, 6 months, and 19 days.
  • in History of Carroll County, Illinois (1878):
    Presbyterian.—In the latter part of 1845, or beginning of 1846, the Presbyterian Home Missionary Society sent Rev. Calvin Gray to labor in this county. He first stopped in Savanna, but subsequently removed to Mt. Carroll. They built a very handsome brick church edifice, which was dedicated November 7, 1861.
    The organization of the Presbyterian Church dates from the 30th of August, 1844, when Rev. Aratus Kent, of Galena, came here to assist Rev. H. G. Warner in the organization. Eight persons united themselves together under the name of the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Carroll. The first services, and until about 1852, were held in the old court house. In the latter year, Rev. Mr. Gray built an L addition to his residence, when their meeting place was removed there, where services continued to be held until about 1858. For two years, about that time, no regular services were had in consequence of want of a pastor.
  • in Gray Genealogy (1887):
    Rev. Calvin Gray, son of Nathaniel Gray, and grandson of John Gray (4), was born at German, N.Y., Sept. 1, 1805, and June 7, 1842, married Abigail North Spaulding, at Franklinville, Cattaraugus Co., N. Y., she having been born at Lisle, Broome Co., N. Y., May 14, 1815. He had consecrated his life to the Christian Ministry, taking a private course of study with Dr. Stillman of Dunkirk, his health not permitting him to enter upon a regular classical course. His first preaching was at Ripley, N. Y., and from thence he went to Arcade, Wyoming Co., and was then a Home Missionary at South Wales and West Aurora, Erie Co., N. Y.
    In 1844 he went to Carroll County, Ill., as a Home Missionary, where after several years of hard, incessant labor his health giving out, Mrs. Gray then engaged in teaching as the support of the family. In 1867 he removed to Geneva, Kansas, where he preached as pastor for five years, and for five years as a self sustaining Missionary. He then went to Fort Dodge, Iowa, to spend his remaining days with his eldest son, Rev. Lyman C. Gray, then pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, of that place, and there he continued to reside until his decease, which took place Mar. 20, 1885, in his 80th year. And so this veteran of the church militant, after nearly half a century of faithful service laid down his well worn armor, than which none knightlier was ever worn by man. Mrs. Gray, who still survives, writes, date of Mar. 18, 1886, " My dear husband was a great sufferer for years, but a murmur never escaped his lips. He often used to say, ' What should I do without the Bible?' and when his eyes became dim so that he could not read, it was daily read to him."


About ShimerEdit

This page is part of the Shimer College Wiki, an independent documentation project. Shimer College, the Great Books college of Chicago, is not responsible for its content.

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.