The Political Campaign of Caroline Gray

Present officers of Grant County are conspicuous for their youth.  County Judge Harrison is 30, and was only 28 when elected to office.  County Attorney Ackman was born on Washington's birthday, 1890, and is 33.  The administration is notable, too, because of the fact that it contains a girl, Miss Caroline M. Gray, who holds the office of Circuit Court Clerk.  She undoubtedly is the youngest of all.  Most of the other officers except County Superintendent Harrison are considered mere youngsters by the people of Grant County, who, however, are confident and proud enough if them to elect them to office.  Miss Gray comes naturally by her political capacity.  Her great-grandfather held the political position of postmaster of Berne, Switzerland, while both her grandfather and her father have held political office in Kentucky.

 Miss Gray received the largest majority in the primary, winning the democratic nomination by 400 votes, in spite of the fact that she did not signal her intention of running until a few days before the polls closed.  Miss Gray was born and reared in Williamstown, Kentucky.  She is the daughter of M. D. Gray, former Commonwealth's Attorney of this district.  Her grandfather was sheriff and assessor of Owen county.  She comes of a family prominent in politics in both Owen ad Grant counties.

 She was formerly a teacher in the city schools of Middlesboro, Pineville and Hazard; later held a clerical position in the State department of education at Frankfort in the Stanley administration; following that was secretary to Judge E. S. Clark of the Court of Appeals of Kentucky.  She was elected secretary and treasurer of the State Association of County and Circuit Clerks for year 1922-1923.

A Stroke of Ingenuity 

Here are some incidents describing Miss Gray's prowess as a campaigner.

As a barbecue given by the Farmer's Union the candidates arrived with large placards and bills - the proper ammunition for big advertising.  When they reached the grounds they were informed that no placards could be posted on the trees, sheds or any place, so it looked as if there would be no big advertising done.

 Miss Gray had about three hundred small cards to be handed out, and, having found a paper of pins in her “Kampaign Kit,” as she called a rusty leather bag in which she carried pencils, cards and advertising, she decided she could advertise if others couldn't.  So she called some loyal women supporters and pinned on them her small announcement cards on which her name was printed in large letters.  To each she gave a package of cards, and, together with these few women, she went through the crowd asking the women to wear her cards pinned to them.  She distributed several hundred of them in this way and in a crowd of five thousand people her cards were posted on the women.  How better could she have advertised herself?

Wins Old Man's Vote

“While driving through the country during the campaign,” says Miss Gray, “I saw an old man breaking rock for the turnpike.  I stopped the machine, ran to him with one of my cards extended, and told him I was a candidate."  He said, looking up: "Are you the lady candidate?' I replied: "Yes and may I have your vote?' 'Well, you are only tolerably pretty.” I thanked him and rode off, believing I had lost his vote.  Later he told several men on the street that he voted for me, but that he never intended to vote for airy woman, out 'that there was one women who didn't get mad 'cause a man didn't think she was pretty.'

 “An old one-legged Negro called 'Peg Leg' kept a little shoe repairing shop in one of the small towns of the county.  He was a Democratic Negro and because my father had kept him out of the penitentiary at one time he closed up his little shop and stood on the streets electioneering for 'the little lady' as he called me.”


 Excerpted from the Louisville Post, February 24, 1923.