Captain Joseph Gray married Bell Inda Crosier in Ireland. Their son Loftus Crosier Gray was born in County Wexford, Ireland on March 13, .

The family immigrated to America and settled in Chicago to raise their growing family. During a cholera epidemic Bell and a daughter, Fannie, both contracted the disease and died. They were buried somewhere in Chicago.

Loftus Gray was a veteran of the Civil War. After the war ended he headed west. He first settled in Humboldt County, but later moved to the Chetco Valley, Oregon. Loftus bought a ranch near the ranch of William McVay, a son of Hutson and Elizabeth McVay.

Loftus and his wife Mary had five daughters and five sons. One of their daughters was Bell Inda Gray, born on May 28, 1854.

Mary Gray died April 4, 1927. Loftus and Mary Gray are both buried in the Smith River Cemetery.

Finch eyes the west

Daniel Finch Sr. was the son of a Methodist minister, John Finch, who had moved from Illinois to Madison County, Missouri.

Daniel Finch Sr. married Lucinda McVay in Madison County in 1846. Lucinda was the daughter of Hutson and Elizabeth McVay. Daniel and Lucinda had four children; Elizabeth, John, Zachariah, and Daniel Wesley Finch.

Daniel Finch Sr. moved to San Francisco in 1849 and opened a blacksmith shop. The Civil War was brewing and he wanted to go west and establish a business and eventually bring his family west. He returned to Missouri in 1853 with the intent of moving his family to San Francisco. That was not to be.

Daniel Finch was killed in 1853 after he returned to Missouri as a result of escalating violence which was brewing, leading up to the Civil War. Lucinda was left with three young children and was also pregnant.

Further west

On November 10, 1853 Lucinda Finch married her second husband Daniel Goby Otto. Daniel Wesley Finch was born to Lucinda Otto on March 19, 1854. Daniel and Lucinda Otto had three children while they were living in Newton County, Missouri.

In 1860 Hutson McVay organized and was captain of a wagon train heading west. All of his children except his oldest daughter Elizabeth also were part of the western move. Elizabeth remained in Missouri with her husband and children.

Daniel and Lucinda Otto also joined the wagon train with their children. They settled in Smith River to raise their family. Daniel and Lucinda Otto had seven more children after they arrived in Del Norte County.

Reach David Gray, a Del Norte Historical Society volunteer, at