Freeman C. Gay

FREEMAN C. GAY. The death of Freeman C. Gay, October 11, 1900, removed from the town of Greensburg, Westmoreland county, one of its leading and substantial business men. He was born in Donegal township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1838, a son of William B. and Martha (Spear) Gay, and grandson of Peter and Elizabeth (Hayes)Gay. 

Peter Gay (grandfather) was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania. He started with his father and two brothers, William and Joseph, to emigrate to Indiana county, but in their westward journey, when they reached the Ligonier valley, Mr. Gay admired the country so much that he remained there and engaged in merchandising and stock dealing. He was a prosperous, business man, of broad and liberal views, and was one of the founders of the Lutheran church of Donegal and a supporter in all religious causes, although he was not a member of any church. He was good scholar and an accurate surveyor. He was an old line Whig and served as justice of the peace for thirty-five years. By his marriage to Elizabeth Hayes, daughter of Lewis Hayes, an early settler of the county, five children were born, two sons and three daughters, fall of whom married and settled in their native county. 

William B. Gay (father) was born September 3, 1815. He followed throughout his active career the quiet but useful calling of agriculture from which he derived a goodly livelihood. He served his township as justice of the peace for fifteen years, fulfilling his duties to the satisfaction of all concerned. In his political belief he was a Jeffersonian Democrat. He married, in March 1835, Martha Spear, a daughter of William Spear, of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Mr. Gay died April 4, 1864; he was survived many years by his wife, who died January 7, 1883. 

Freeman C. Gay, son of William B. and Martha (Spear) Gay, acquired a liberal education in the common schools, Stahlstown Normal school and Sewickley Academy. The firsts years of his active life were spent on the farm, and in 1865 he engaged in merchandising, continuing the same until 1873. He entered into partnership with Edward H. Bair in 1884 , and they were engaged in a very successful business up to the time of Mr. Gay's death. The firm represented the German-American, Liberty, Niagara, Orient, Girard, Union, German Travelers, and Home Insurance Companies of the United States. The North-British, Lancashire and London, and Lancashire Companies of Europe, and the Fidelity Plate Glass Company. At the age twenty-three years. Mr. Gay enlisted in Company K, Eleventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, was appointed corporal, and in 1862 promoted to second lieutenant. He participated in all the battles in which his regiment was engaged until the first day's fight at Gettysburg, where he was wounded and taken prisoner by the Confederates. He was one of the one hundred and nine men who escaped through the rose tunnel, and likewise was among those unfortunates who were recaptured. After twenty months in various southern prisons, where he suffered untold agony in mind and body, he was paroled March 1,1865. For five years he served as superintendent of the County Home. He was an adherent of the principles of Democracy. He married, March 30, 1865, Harriet Louise Jones, who was born in Jonesville, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, January 31, 1846, a daughter of Robert and Sarah (Hubbs) Jones. Their children are: Elizabeth, Charles, and James. 

Source Pages 75 and 76 History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N. Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906 
Transcribed March 24, 2001 by Marilynn Wienke for the Westmoreland County History Project 
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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