Introduction / Eday and Papa Westray Grays / John Gray
Peter Gray and Margaret Taylor
Peter Gray was born in the island of Eday in Orkney. It is not known how he came to be in Kincardineshire. His parents were John Gray, a fisherman, and Janet Reid. At the time of the 1871 census, he was a lodger at the Railway Gatehouse, Glenbervie, described as a railway labourer born in Kirkwall, Orkney rather than the island of Eday in the North Isles of Orkney. The registration of the birth of his children, his death registration and other census all indicate his birth in Eday.
He was married twice, first to Margaret Taylor and second to Mary Jane Warden.
His first marriage was on 8th June 1871, when he was 27 years old. Margaret Taylor was a domestic servant at Mains of Barras, Kinneff, the daughter of William Taylor, a ploughman, and Margaret Melvin. Peter and Margaret were married according to the Free Church of Scotland at Douck Lane, Stonehaven, Dunottar.
Margaret Taylor already had a son, John Symmers Taylor born on 9th March 1864.
Peter and Margaret were to have six children:
Peter left the railways where he worked as a surfaceman to go to the land. The birth registrations of the children indicate that by 1873, he was a ploughman at New Mains of Ury in the parish of Fetteresso, Kincardineshire. The family moved around although Peter remained on the land. Subsequent births indicate agricultural labourer or ploughman. On the birth of their son Peter Gray in 1883, his occupation is given as cattleman.
The information on the place of birth for the children in the 1881 census indicates that the family were moving quite frequently over their married life.
Each of these places is within a small number of miles of each other. They were at Auchcairnie of Fordoun at the birth of their son, Peter Gray, in 1883. Fordoun is slightly south of Stonehaven.
Margaret Taylor died of pneumonia at the age of 39 on 27th December 1885 at Tewel, Fetteresso.
Peter Gray was to remarry on 1st December 1888, his second wife being Mary Jane Warden.