Sea Stories in Stone
Gardner Gray (1823-1861) - Off Rte. 128, South Dresden
Go West Young Man
Gardner Gray, born October 1823, was the second of nine children in the family of a Dresden farmer and his wife.
October 24, 1845, Gardner applied for his Seaman's Protection Certificate at the Bath Customs House. He was 22 years old, 5' 10 1/2" tall, of dark complexion with black hair and dark eyes. Samuel Carter, also of Dresden, swore testimony that Gardner had been born in the United States and thus was eligible for a Certificate of Protection. Gardner would need this document to join the crew of any ship voyaging to foreign ports.
Only one Gardner(or Gardiner) Gray was recorded in both the 1850 and the 1860 Census.
In the 1850 Census, "Gardiner" , age 26 and a mariner, was listed along with his nine siblings in the household of Amos and Mary Gray in Dresden, Maine. Amos and his oldest son David were farmers.
By 1860 Gardner was a miner living in Township #2 (Columbia), in California's Toulumne Co. Listed in the Census as 34 years old with a birthplace of Maine, he shared his residence with a C.H. Killgord, age 30 and a trader, also born in Maine.
Columbia, California, is three miles northwest of Sonora, at an elevation of 2100 feet in the Sierra Nevada mountains. In 1858, a gold nugget weighing 33 pounds had been found in near Columbia, and from 1853 to 1857 the camp's gold shipments averaged $100,000 per week.
Consider these census statistics for California in 1860:
According to his gravemarker, Gardner died in May of 1861, age 37 years 7 months.
The mining camp of Columbia has been preserved as a State Historic Park since 1945 and is considered the finest extant example of a mining community from the Gold Rush Era.
Sources: Gravemarker; US Census: 1860; Dixon's Index; 1873 Lippincot Gazeteer; California Gold Camps
NEXT: Mary Drummond (1819-1861)
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