ISAAC P. GRAY, Indiana’s eighteenth and twentieth governor, was born in Pennsylvania on October 18, 1828. His early education was limited and attained in the common schools in Ohio. In 1855, Gray moved to Indiana, settling in Union City, where he established a dry goods business and studied law. He also co-organized the Citizens Bank and became a major stockholder and president. During the Civil War, he served as colonel of the 4th Indiana Cavalry and the 106th Regiment (minute men), and organized and recruited the 147th Regiment. Gray entered politics in 1866, as an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress. Two years later, he won election to the Indiana State Senate, an office he held until 1872. In 1872, Gray changed parties, first joining the Liberal Republican Party, and then switching to the Democratic Party. He won his first election as a Democrat, becoming lieutenant governor of Indiana in October 1876. On November 1880, Governor James Williams died in office, and Gray, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He served in this capacity until January 10, 1881. He was elected to his own gubernatorial term in 1884. During his tenure, funding was secured for the renovation of the soldiers’ orphan home in Knightstown, as well as for the construction of a school for the feeble-minded in Fort Wayne, and for the building of the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors’ Monument in Indianapolis. After leaving office in January 1889, Gray retired from public service until 1893, when he was then appointed the U. S. Minister to Mexico. He served in Mexico City until his death. Governor Isaac P. Gray died on February 14, 1895, and was buried at the Union City Cemetery in Union City, Indiana.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.