Gray, Edwin Fairfax (1829–1884)

By: Andrew F. Muir

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 2, 2017

Edwin Fairfax Gray, military officer and railroad engineer, son of Milly Richards (Stone) and William Fairfax Gray, was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on March 15, 1829. He moved to Texas in the winter of 1838 and in 1841 obtained an appointment as midshipman in the Texas Navy. As such he participated in the Tampico expedition aboard the flagship Austin. Upon the annexation of Texas, Gray was transferred to the United States Navy. He graduated with honors from the Naval Academy at Annapolis in June 1852 and accompanied Commodore Matthew Galbraith Perry to Japan in 1853. In January 1858 Gray resigned his commission. On September 16, 1858, he was appointed Texas state engineer, a position that entailed supervision of river improvements and inspection of railroad properties. In 1860 he became secretary and treasurer of the Houston Tap and Brazoria Railway Company. He served throughout the Civil War in the Third Texas Infantry and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the war Gray returned to engineering and often acted as inspecting engineer to certify railroad construction as qualification for land grants. On June 8, 1857, he married Rosalie Woodburn Taylor; they had two sons and one daughter.Gray died in Houston on August 14, 1884, and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery.

Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861–1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965).

Time Periods:
  • Republic of Texas
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Civil War
  • Reconstruction
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Andrew F. Muir, “Gray, Edwin Fairfax,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022,

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December 2, 2017

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