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Introduction / Westray Grays / George Gray and Margaret Seatter / George Gray and Jean Reid / Robert Gray and Christian Harcus / William Gray and Margaret Hewison

Robert Gray and Mary Tulloch

Robert Gray (b. 21st May 1841) from North Hammar was twenty six when he married Mary Tulloch in August 1867. The occupation of both Robert and his father in the marriage register is given as mason. The 1861 census had shown him as a miller's assistant.

His father had died some ten years previously leaving him with seven younger siblings, the youngest being just over a year old at the time.

Mary Tulloch from Pierowall was the daughter of fisherman John Tulloch and Sophia Sandison and born on 31st July 1847.

They had twelve children between 1867 and 1888:

  • William Gray b. 19th December 1867. He was with the family and aged thirteen at the time of the 1881 census. He emigrated to the United States, and in the 1920 census was found in a boarding house in Tacoma, Washington, single, age 52, working as a labourer in a warehouse. His great-nephew reports that he died in Tacoma about 1925.
  • James Gray b. 12th March 1869. Both James and his elder brother, William Gray, were with their family at Mill House at the time of the 1881 census. He also emigrated, and farmed in Alberta, Canada, for a few years. He then moved to Burnaby, British Columbia, where he died on 28th April 1938. He married and had one daughter Ellen Gray (1912-1997), who has living descendents.
  • Robert Gray b. 24th February 1871 who married Ellen Stout
  • Jean Gray b. 26th May 1873 who married Matthew Harcus (b. 9th February 1874), the son of mill wright Stewart Harcus and Margaret Pottinger from Ouseness, in 1899. Jean Gray and Matthew Harcus had a son Stewart Harcus who was born on 26th December 1908 in Pierowall, Westray. Matthew was a farmer at the time of his marriage to Jean Gray but was a seaman when their son Stewart Harcus was born.
  • Thomas Gray b. 9th December 1876 who was with the family at Breckaskaill up to the 1891 census.
  • Mary Gray b. 14th January 1879 who married James William Sandison (b. 5th October 1882 in Kirkwall), the son of William Sandison and Willimina Muir. They had three of a family. Mary Gray died at Seaview, Westray on 11th August 1952 at the age of seventy three. James Sandison died ten years later on 28th October 1962.
  • Elizabeth Gray b. 16th April 1880 who was with the family at Breckaskaill at up to the 1901 census.
  • John Gray b. 2nd January 1883 who married Margaret Jane Gilmour and had family
  • Jessie Ann Gray b. abt 1885 who married Thomas Bain, a grocer in Pierowall in 1905. He was the son of Alexander Bain and Robina Pottinger. They had a son born in Westray.
  • Helen Gray b. 21st December 1886 who was with the family at Breckaskaill at the time of the 1901 census.
  • George Gray b. 3rd January 1888 who died seven days later. This was at Brandies.

Robert's occupation is mason up until the birth of their daughter, Mary Gray, in 1879 from when it is given as meal miller.

In the 1871 census, the family were still at North Hammar although Robert Gray's occupation is given as farmer. They were working eight and a half acres. The family had moved to Mill House by 1881 by which time miller must have been his primary occupation. John Drever, the husband of Robert's sister Jane Gray, was also a miller at a Millhouse in 1881 but this one was in Rapness.

The family moved to Breckaskaill where Robert's occupation appeared in subsequent censuses as farmer again. Mary Tulloch died at Breckaskaill on 8th July 1889 at the age of forty one. The death register indicates that she was "in confinement".

Robert Gray died on 19th December 1917 at the age of seventy six of possible epilepsy and exposure. The gravestone for Robert Gray and Mary Tulloch indicates that two of their sons died in infancy: "Erected By The Family In Affectionate Rememberance Of Mary Tulloch, Their Mother, Who Died 8th July 1889, Aged 41 Years And Two Brothers Who Died in Infancy. Also Robert Gray, Their Father, Who Died 17th Dec 1917, Aged 76 Years. Until the Day Break and The Shadows Fee Always."

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