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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

Christian Gray and John Harcus

Christian Gray (b. 10th November 1842) was the fifth of the seven children of George Gray and Ann Thomson. She first appears in census with the family at Nether Garth in 1851. By 1861, she was a domestic servant at Booth with the family of merchant George Hewison.

Christian must have left Orkney shortly thereafter for she married John Harcus (b. 1st April 1840) in Leith on 25th May 1865. John was also from Westray, being the son of Timothy Harcus and Margaret Rendall. Christina (as she was called) and John were to have three children in Leith before returning to Westray, presumably around 1871 or 1872.

They had a large family:

  • Ann Harcus b. 25th March 1866. She came to Orkney but was to die in Edinburgh in May 1925 at the age of fifty nine. Her death in commemorated on the same gravestone in Westray as her younger sister Isabella Harcus Gray who had died four years previously
  • Margaret Harcus b. 29th June 1868. She died of tuberculosis in Westray on 24th July 1877 at the age of nine.
  • Timothy Harcus b. 2nd September 1870 who married Margaret Jean (Jemima) Hewison (b. 27th December 1877) in March 1899. She died on 19th August of that year. She was the daughter of Thomas Harcus and Margaret Rendall from Wasbest. Timothy worked as a joiner and died on 13th March 1936 at East Chapel, aged sixty five.
  • George Harcus b. 24th December 1872 and died 26th January 1936
  • Catherine Harcus b. 23rd December 1874 who married John Stout in 1904. He was the son of John Stout and Stewart Seatter. They had family in Westray. Catherine Harcus died at Kirkbrae on 20th October 1952 at the age of seventy seven. John Stout died on 9th August 1957. He was eighty seven.
  • John Harcus b. 9th January 1877
  • Stewart Harcus b. 3rd February 1879
  • Robert Harcus b. 6th February 1880
  • Christina Gray Harcus b. 6th February 1882 who married George Mason (b. 29th June 1872), a farmer from East Thorn. George was the son of James Mason and Ann Allan. They had family in Westray. George died on 3rd December 1954, aged eighty two. Christina Harcus died on 8th February 1960, aged seventy eight.
  • Murdoch Hewison Harcus b. 19th September 1884. He died of tuberculosis at East Chapel, Westray on 23rd June 1890 age the age of five.
  • Isabella Gray Harcus b. 26th October 1886. She died of tuberculosis at North Hammar, Westray on 19th August 1921 at the age of thirty four. She never married.

John worked as a blacksmith and the family first appear in the Westray census of 1881.

1881 - Eastchapel, Westray
Relation Status Age Occupation Born
John Harcus Head Married 41 years Blacksmith Westray
Christina Harcus Wife Married 38 years Westray
Ann Harcus Daughter 13 years Scholar Leith
Timothy Harcus Son 10 years Scholar Leith
George Harcus Son 8 years Scholar Westray
Catherine Harcus Daughter 6 years Scholar Westray
John Harcus Son 4 years Westray
Stewart Harcus Son 2 years Westray
Robert Harcus Son 1 years Westray

Christina Gray was to die at the age of forty seven on 18th January 1890. John Harcus is with five of his children at Old Chapel in 1891, these being: Timothy, George, Catherine, Stewart and Christina. George who was then eighteen was an apprentice blacksmith to his father while his elder brother Timothy was a boatman.

John Harcus stayed there. By 1901, he only had the two children with him, George and Christina. George was a cartwright while his father was still the blacksmith. Christina acted as housekeeper.

John Harcus died on 27th January 1916 at the age of seventy five. A gravestone records the passing of him and Christina Gray as well as a number of their children who died at an early age.

Memory Of Christina Gray
Wife of John Harcus
Who Died 18th Jany 1890 Aged 47 Years
Also Their Children
Margaret Died 24th July 1877
Aged 9 Years
Robert Died 26th Feby 1890
Aged 10 Years
Murdoch Died 22nd June 1890
Aged 5 Years
The Above John Harcus
Died 27th Jan 1916 Aged 75 Years
Also Their Son George
Died 26th January 1936 Aged 63 Years

Their son George Gray retired as a Blacksmith and is also included on the gravestone. He died at Kirkbrae on 26th January 1936, aged sixty three. He didn't marry.

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