John Gray

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John Gray

Post by vorsterelsie » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:16 pm

I am looking for more information on my second great grandfather: John Gray (snr)
The information that I got:
He was a ship’s captain and visited Cape Town between 1819 till 1838. From 1919 he visited with the bark Amity (369 ton).
He was married to Margaret _______.
They had two daughters. The daughters were baptised in the Cape. Margaret on 10 September 1924 and Mary (not Elizabeth as was told) on 30 April 1926.
According to the Cape Town Archive written on 5 September 1828: “Arrived in Simons Bay 31.8.1828 Amity, John Gray, Master, from Portsmouth 7th June, bound to Ceylon with troops 184 men, 16 women and 19 children.”
At the end of August 1828 he visited the Cape and left his wife and two daughters in the Cape for the birth of their third child John Gray (later he became Jan Grey) on 22 October 1828. Some baptised document stated that John (jnr) was born on the 3 October 1928 but his death certificate mentioned he was born on 22 October 1928. During December John (snr) was not back yet for the baptizing of John (jnr). He returned on 23 January 1829.
The last time Amity visited Cape Town was 2 to 18 April 1834. According to the Cape Town Archive written in April 1834: “April 2, Amity, J. Gray, from Mauritius 12 March, to this port in ballast. April 18, 1834: Sailed from Table Bay, Amity, J. Gray, to Quebec.”
Later he visited Cape Town three times more with the Minerva (October 1836), the Pero (Augustus 1837) and the Mary Sharp (November 1838). This last ship was on the way from Calcutta to Liverpool with a load “sundries” and passengers. I suspect that the John Gray onboard of Pero is not our John Gray, because he was stil alive after 1839.
According to family stories both Captain John Gray and his wife Margaret died on board of a ship. We think on of Mary Sharp.
The three children return to Cape Town where John (jnr) was placed in foster care of the Stagman family in South Africa. The two daughters went back to the U.K.
John Gray (jnr) later became Jan Grey. He stayed in South Africa and married Anna Maria Vrey.
I hope you can help me

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Re: John Gray

Post by SarahND » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:06 pm

Hello, Elsie and welcome to [talkingscot]

Do you know where John was born, or is that probably one of your questions?! Any reason to think he was Scottish rather than English, or is there no hint of his birth place?

Sorry, more questions rather than answers!

All the best,

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Re: John Gray

Post by Currie » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:09 pm

Hello Elsie,

I checked the 19th Century British Library Newspapers available here

For the Amity Gray combination there are over 50 results over the period from 1815 to 1835. These are mainly in shipping news and generally have only departure or arrival to or from wherever, occasionally mentioning cargo or any problems encountered.

Minerva Gray seems to crop up about a half dozen times between 1831 and 1843. Pero Gray about five times from 1837 to 1842, and Mary Sharp Gray just a few times between 1838 and 1840

In Parliamentary Papers there’s mention in 1844 of a Mary Sharp of 328 tons and in 1837 of a Pero of 217 tons, but it doesn’t say who was master. There’s an 1823 trade report regarding the West India docks, in London, that reads “You have spoken of the high charges on pepper at the East India Docks, is it within your knowledge that a ship from India called the Amity (Gray), belonging to James Hunter and Company, of this city, gave, only on Saturday, an additional premium of ….. etc” also in google Books ... 22&f=false

Also see these results and try the same with the other ships names ... ddaf69cc1d

There are various references to the ships you mentioned in the Australian newspapers which may give useful info about the ships and maybe help clarify which John Gray was which.

For the Barque ‘Pero’ ... ro%22&s=20

For the Barque ‘Mary Sharp’, but it’s earlier than your period of interest ... y+sharp%22

For the Barque ‘Minerva’, there are scattered references to a Captain Gray. ... e*&sortby=

Hope that helps a bit,

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Re: John Gray

Post by vorsterelsie » Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:39 pm

The book "The grey family in South Afcrica" by Alida Grey mention that John Gray was Scottish. She also mention that there is no proof fo this.

I found the following but is not sure that the John Gray mention as captain is the correct one.

Thanks Elsie

I will check those references you mention. Maybe I can find something usefull.

Thanks Elsie

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Re: John Gray

Post by Rowe » Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:55 am

Hi Elsie

Rowena in Australia here. We were corresponding about John Gray and his family recently. The John Gray born in Whitby can't be the correct one as he is born too late.

John's first child was born 1824, so he and Margaret (maiden name possibly Threadgold from daughter's death certificate) must have married c.1822, and if you presume him to be about 28 when married then he was born about 1794. I think the next thing to do is to search for a marriage between 1820 - 1824, for any John Gray's to any Margaret/Mary/Elizabeth's.

Kind regards,
in Melbourne

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Re: John Gray

Post by carnick » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:59 pm

Hi Elsie
Originally I found Rowena's post under "seafarers", have found yours now regarding John Gray.
A John Gray age 21 (born 1786 in Wapping, London), married Margaret Threadgold (born in Wapping 1797), by special licence as Margaret was only 18.
They married in 1815 probably at St John, Wapping as that is the church stated on the licence issued 27th May 1815.
They had a son Charles Gray born 29th Jun 1816, bapt 27th Jun 1817 at St John, Wapping.
A daughter Janet Gray born 1st Feb 1821 bapt 2nd Mar 1821 at St George, Middlesex.
Two John Gray's may have been mixed up as the one above is given as a Shipwright not Ships Master.
This shipwright probably sail as part of Moodies Party in 1817 to the Cape, he is listed as a Cabinetmaker? and it is noted that his wife did not sail.
Also sailing with the group on another vessel was William Gray a Carpenter - may be related.
At that time 1816/17 a John Gray was given in Lloyds listing as Master of the Ship Amity 323 Tons built Whitby, owner Chapman.
This John Gray remained Master of the Amity for many years. These two may have been related, but could have confused researchers into the Gray family.
Margaret Threadgold's mother Janet was Scottish according to the 1841 Census, she died age 79 registered at Stepney in 1845.
Margaret's father Charles Threadgold died Jan 1840 age 71 registered at Stepney, buried at Tower Hamlets, Wapping.
Hope this is of some help
Cheers Nick

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