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The Glasgow Orkney and Shetland Benevolent Society
Introduction / William Gray and Mary Robertson / David Gray and Ann Harcus

William Gray and Catherine Garson

William Gray was the oldest son of David Gray and Ann Harcus, and was born 6th April 1851 at Bolisbel, Papa Westray. He was recorded in his parents' house in the census of 1861, when he was 10 years old. His whereabouts at the time of the 1871 census, when he was 20 years old, has not yet been discovered, but when his older half-brother James Foulis died the next year, on 6th May 1872, William was the person who signed the Death Registration form.

William married Catherine Garson in Edinburgh on 21st December 1877. She was the daughter of Andrew Garson and Mary Aitken, and was born in Birsay, Orkney, in 1849. William's occupation at that time was "seaman". The couple had 2 sons:

  • David Gray, born 24th September 1878. He married Jemima Moir in Leith on 29th June 1906. She was the daughter of James Moir and Isabella Wells, and had been born about 1877. David died in Leith on 18th November 1950; his occupation on the Death registration was "dispatch clerk". Jemima died in 1960. No indication was found that the couple had any children.
  • William Johnston Gray, born 29th July 1880. In the 1916 Canadian census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, he was listed in Winnipeg, in the household of James and Mary Macdonald. His occupation was blacksmith, and the record includes the information that he immigrated to Canada in 1912. He enlisted in the Canadian Over-seas Expeditionary Force and signed the attestation form on 4th July 1916. His occupation there was "iron chopper", and his date of birth was given as 29th of July, 1885. In the 1921 census he was again living with the Macdonalds, and his age was given as 30 years. The Winnipeg city directories show him living the rest of his life in Winnipeg, working mostly in the railway maintenance facilities. He died in Winnipeg on 31st December 1955, and is buried in Kildonan Cemetery, Winnipeg. He had remained close to James and Mary Macdonald, and is buried in the same plot as they. His will indicates that he was a bachelor, with occupation "machinist's helper".

In the 1881 census the family was living in Leith, and William's occupation was labourer in a paint factory. At the time of the 1891 census, the family was living at 20 Ferrier St. in Leith, and William's occupation was "sailor (unfit for sea)". In the 1901 census the parents and two sons were still together at the same address.

1901 - 20 Ferrier St, South Leith
Relation Status Age Occupation Born
William Gray (1) Head Married 49 years Sailor Papa Westray
Catherine Gray Wife Married 51 years Birsay
David Gray Son Single 22 years Clerk Leith
Wm Johnston Gray (2) Son Single Engineer's Lab Leith

(1) Beside William Senior's name, in the column headed "Whether deaf ... " there is the note "paralyzed".
(2) William Johnston's age was unreadable, but he was 20 at this time.

William died in the house on Ferrier Street, Leith, on 2nd February 1916. Catherine died at the same address on 24th January 1924.

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