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Introduction / William Gray and Mary Robertson

David Gray and Ann Harcus

David Gray (b. 2nd November 1828) was married to Ann Harcus (b. 19th November 1819), the daughter of William Harcus and Jean Foulis, on Papa Westray in 1849. He was a farm servant at Holland and lived at Bolisbel at the time of the 1851 census.

They had at least six children:

  • Jane Gray b. 1st May 1853 who married John Smith
  • Ann Gray 2nd June 1855 who married James Foulis
  • David Gray b. 15th July 1857 who married Isabella McDonald
  • John Gray b. 17th June 1860 who married Eliza Rosie

In the next two censuses, David is described as an agricultural labourer and ploughman, respectively, and living at the Newhouses, for the servants of Holland.

Ann Harcus died at Newhouses on 24th December 1874. David moved to Quoyola, Papa Westray sometime between then and 1881.

He was one of the crofters to appear before the Crofters Commission, resulting in a significant reduction in his rent.

David Gray, Quoylie, said he had eight acres arable, and over an acre of outrun. His rent was 8 pounds, and arrears of 20 pounds. He had reclaimed about half an acre, and rebuilt some of the houses.

Decision - The rent was reduced from 8 pounds to 3 pounds 14s. Of the 20 pounds arrears, 13 pounds was cancelled, and the balance of 7 pounds ordered to be paid up in one instalment of 1 pound, and two of 3 pounds each.

The Orkney Crofters - Their Evidence And Statements By Agents As Given Before The Crofter's Commission 1888, Ed. W R Mackintosh

David stayed on at Quoyola with his daughter, Isabella, and they can both be seen there in the 1901 census.

1901 - Quoyola, Papa Westray
Relation Status Age Occupation Born
David Gray Head Widower 72 years Farmer Papa Westray
Isabella Gray Dau Unmarried 37 years Papa Westray

David Gray died on 1st September 1907 and was laid to rest alongside his wife in St Boniface churchyard, Papa Westray.

Erected By David Gray,
In Memory of His Beloved Wife,
Ann Harcus,
Who Departed This Life, Dec 24th 1874,
Aged 57 Years -
Also The Above, David Gray,
Who Died Sept 1st 1907,
Aged 78 Years.

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