Gray, Georgia, was named for James Madison Gray, regarded as Jones County's most outstanding citizen. He clothed the Gray Infantry, Company F, 45th Georgia Regiment, C.S.A. and during the Civil War fed soldiers and homeless families from his own smokehouses. At death he left the bulk of his estate to Mercer University, the "Gray Fund", to provide a better college for local boys. The railroad ran through the center Gray's property surrounding the present town. Though he never married he was liked by all, slaves, sharecroppers and plantation owners alike.