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Introduction / Westray Grays / George Gray and Margaret Seatter / George Gray and Jean Reid / Robert Gray and Christian Harcus / George Gray and Ann Thomson

George Gray and Catherine Hewison

George Gray, son of George Gray and Ann Thomson, was born on 8th of November 1844 at Nether Garth on Westray. He was the sixth child and the youngest son.

George's father was a stonemason and by tradition, it is said that his father built the long stone dyke at Breckowall. If George Sr. did construct the dyke, this would surely have brought his son George into the acquaintance of a daughter of the Breckowall residents, Catherine Hewison.

George Gray and Catherine Hewison were married on 1st of February on 1871 at Breckowall. They resided at Breckowall until their emigration to the United States. Also living at Breckowall in 1871 was Catherine's father Murdoch Hewison and his wife Jean Mowat and Catherine's sister Elizabeth Hewison. There were a total of six servants and guests at Breckowall. Jessie Gray, George's aunt, is employed there.

The next documentation we have of George Gray is that he and Catherine are living in upper New York State. The Gray family descendents have 43 letters received by Catherine, and the earliest letter, dated January 25, 1872, explains that George is apparently a mason on the building or maintenance of the new canals in the region of Oneida.

In January 1873 we read from father George Gray at North Hammer that his son John Gray has emigrated to America. This will reunite brothers John and George for the first time in possibly 20 years.

Children to George and Catherine included:

  • Silas Gray b. 7th January 1873 in New Amsterdam, New York married twice: (1) Abigail Parker of Iowa and in 1906 they moved to the city of Puyallup Washington near the Puget Sound. The Gray family consisting of Silas's parents and younger brothers and sisters also moved at this time, having sold their Manly farm. Following Abigail's death, George remarried. His second wife was (2) Clara Bingham. They had three children
  • Lois Bell Gray b. 25th October 1874 in the state of Iowa near Mason City who married Seth Bryant.
  • Phoebe Gray b. 28th March 1877, Marshall County, Iowa; d. 14th June 1878, Iowa.
  • Lily Ann Gray b. 17th April 1879 in Mason City who married Frederick R. Koehler
  • Stephen Robert Gray b. 30th August 1881 also in Mason City, Cerro Gordo Iowa. His birth document confirms that Stephen is the fifth child of George and Catherine. He married Rachel Reynolds.
  • Lydia May Gray b. 4th May 1884 in Manly, north of Mason City, Iowa.
  • Daniel George Gray b. 22nd January 1887 in Manly>
  • Jessie Jane Gray b. 2nd October 1891 in Manly

We know from those letters that the Grays shared news from home with other Westray folks in that area, many men working as boatmen or fishermen on the Great Lakes.

The 1880 Iowa census reveals that only three children survived at that date: Silas Gray, Lois Bell Gray and Lily Ann Gray.

Before 1883, the Grays have moved to a farm north of Mason City in a town named Manly. The letters indicate that John Gray was also in Mason City.

On June 10 1883, Catherine's sister (Elizabeth Hewison) and her husband William Leask and their small child arrived from Portsmouth, England. The Leask family remained in the Mason City area. After Elizabeth's early death in 22 June 1902, her youngest child, age two, lived for several years with George and Catherine Gray in Manly.

In 1906 the Gray family sold their Manly farm and moved to the city of Puyallup, Washington near the Puget Sound. Lois Gray had married Seth Bryant and remained in the Mason City area. Daughter Lily had married Frederick R. Koehler of a Manly farming family and had relocated with several other Manly farming families to the agricultural valley in northern California.

In Puyallup, George Gray's sons became carpenters, contractors and property owners. Stephen married Rachel Reynolds and had two children Vivian and Robert. Daniel married Amanda Baker and had twins Jean Lydia and George Steven. George's daughters married in Puyallup and lived in several locations in the West and returned to Puyallup later in their lives. Daughter Lydia married Ralph Raudebaugh and had one daughter Jessie Jane. They lived for some time live in Canada before their return to Puyallup Lydia died on 09 May 1929. Jessie married Mr. Montgomery and had no children.

Daughter Lily Ann Gray Koehler lived near Gridley California and had two children, George and Olive. Olive died at age 13 and George Koehler remained on the ranch raising a family of four. The descendents of Lily Gray Koehler continue to live and farm on that property today.

George Gray died in Puyallup on 22 March 1919 of a cerebral hemorrhage. His remains were buried in Mason City Iowa. Catherine died of pneumonia on 14 August 1923 in Puyallup and she is also buried in Mason City, Iowa.

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