Legislative Biography: John C. Gray

As we continue our work to research the biographies of California’s elected officials (there have been over 4,300 at this point), we like to occasionally introduce you to legislators who you’re probably not familiar with.

Today, we look at John Carleton Gray, a Republican Assemblyman who represented Butte County in 1874. Gray was born in 1837 and grew up in China. Not the China that Leland Yee hails from, but the small town of China, Maine (whose website declares it “The friendliest town in Maine”).

Gray moved to California in 1863, and settled in Butte County in 1865. He served the county as District Attorney, Assemblyman, and Superior Court judge. In 1886, he started growing olives at his “Mt. Ida Olive Grove”, which today lends it’s name to a handful of locations in eastern Oroville (Hint: near the intersection of Mt. Ida Road and Old Olive Highway).