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Hayden & Anna May GRAY
Logan County, Oklahoma
Hayden & Anna May GRAY
Hayden Gray was born in Madison, Indiana June 16th 1863. His family homesteaded in Oklahoma in the 1889 Land Run. He worked on his family farm and through the grace of God he met Anna May Canning and they married June 14, 1899 in Burwick, Oklahoma in the William and Mary Etta Canning home. Soon after Hayden moved his family to Guthrie to take a job with the stagecoach company that is now the Stables Restaurant. He drove the stagecoach from Chickasha, Oklahoma to Lawton, Oklahoma. Hayden could drive a four or six team coach. It was difficult enough to drive a two horse team, but it took a real man to drive six horses. He could crack a 30 foot whip over the horses and never touch them, but the crack without any doubt sent a message to the lead horse. Hayden owned a Colt, double barrel 10 gauge shot gun. He brought his shotgun with him when his family came for the Land Run of 1889. When he drove the stagecoach he always had the 10 gauge shotgun at his side. On one of his trips to Lawton, he was carrying some important passengers when he saw a drunken native charging from the side of the stagecoach. The would be stagecoach robber was swinging his gun in the air randomly shooting at the coach. Hayden raised his shotgun, shot, and the impact took the attacker off his horse to fall dead, never to try to rob another stagecoach. Hayden never missed a step, he maintained his speed and arrived in Lawton on time, as usual. Later, Hayden became an insurance salesman of "Home and Farm Insurance Company". He sold insurance to most of the farmers in and around Meridian Oklahoma. Hayden and his wife Anna May Canning Gray were close friends to Mr. and Mrs. George Pollard as well as other community leaders.
One of Hayden's customers was the Heaths who owned and operated the Meridian Bank. the Heaths lived in their home above the bank, as did most store owners at that time. The bank was located on the corner of an intersection about two blocks from the middle of town. Hayden learned that the Heaths did not possess a gun of any protection from bank robbers, so he loaned them his prize 10 gauge shotgun. Mrs. Heath went upstairs to fix her husband his lunch; however while in the kitchen she thought she heard a commotion from downstairs. She walked to the front room to listen through the floor and decided her husband was being robbed. Mrs. Heath grabbed Hayden's shotgun and thrust it through the screen in one of the side windows. As the two robbers came out and stepped into the intersection, she pulled each trigger and shot both robbers dead. Later the Heaths bought their own gun.
Don Conant of Guthrie, Oklahoma owns the Colt 10 gauge shot gun that was his grandfather's, Hayden Gray.
July 20th 1940 Hayden Gray died, in the back bed room of his house, the victim of a heart attack. His widow, Anna May Canning Gray assumed his insurance duties, and later passed it them to her sister Della Canning, the family historian who died 1977.
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Updated: Friday, 08-Aug-2008 10:09:07 CDT
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