[A320.rtf ; last modified 21 February 2003]

Bits and pieces toward a biography of JOHN GRAY, Senior, and his wife ELIZABETH ROUNDY, of Harmony, Maine. Compiled by Stephen L. Robbins in 1983. Any information recorded or received after 1983 still needs to be added. Except for the published and private sources cited, most of this information came from communication with L. Austin Gray, Junior, of Wesley, Maine. Electronic text version prepared by Stephen L. Robbins during February 2003- .

Residences of John Gray, Senior: Sheepscot (now Newcastle), Maine; Marblehead, Mass. before August 1769; possibly Falmouth (now Portland), Maine about 1771; Sebasticook (later known as Sevenmile Brook, Hancock Plantation, and Clinton, Maine -- probably that part of Clinton which is now Benton), Maine before September 1772; possibly Lynn, Mass. by September 1774, then returning to Clinton, Maine before November 1778; Harmony, Maine before 1805.

John Gray, Senior’s birth date: "February 1742," in "Sheepscot" [Clinton Maine Town Records: 1799 census].

John Gray, Senior’s burial: probably in Gray Family Cemetery, Fox Hill Road, Harmony, Maine (unmarked grave).

Residences of Elizabeth (Roundy) Gray: Marblehead, Mass.; possibly Falmouth (now Portland), Maine about 1771; Sebasticook (later known as Sevenmile Brook, Hancock Plantation, and Clinton, Maine -- probably that part of Clinton which is now Benton), Maine before September 1772; possibly Lynn, Mass. by September 1774, then returning to Clinton, Maine before November 1778; Harmony, Maine before 1805.

Elizabeth (Roundy) Gray’s burial: probably in Gray Family Cemetery, Fox Hill Road, Harmony, Maine (unmarked grave).

A family tradition, according to Roger A. Gray of Wesley, Maine (1895-1972), is that Captain John Gray, Senior, had a son named Merrill or Morrill. Stephen L. Robbins believes that this is actually the Merrill Gray who was born 22 April 1802 in Clinton, Maine, the son of Joseph Gray and Elizabeth Brooks.

 

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CAPTAIN JOHN GRAY, SENIOR

Captain John Gray, Senior, according to the Clinton, Maine Vital Records, was born in February of 1742 in Sheepscot, an early Maine settlement.

Family tradition concerning the origins of our Captain John Gray, Senior is explained in a letter written by John Harrison Gray to his niece Lola (daughter of Granville Clifford Gray), dated 08 February 1905:

“Dear Lola,

“Today I received a letter from my 2nd cousin James E. Gray in Harmony [Maine], and he said that the parents of Capt. John his and my Great Grandfather, were killed by Indians in Massachusetts when Capt. John was a small boy, and that he was hit by an arrow which severed the most of one ear, while his sister was running with him in her arms, to a secret hideout in the woods where she cared for him until the Indians had left and help arrived, and that he was adopted by a Sea Captain by the name of Gray, who raised and educated him, and he became a Sea Captain.

“He [i.e., James E. Gray] further stated that his Parents, Grandparents and Great Grandparents, lived and died and were buried there [i.e., Harmony, Maine], and he expected to do the same, and that he was age 67.”

The foregoing account does not state that Captain John’s original surname was Gray, only that “he was adopted by a Sea Captain by the name of Gray.” But if we assume that his parents’ name was Gray, and that the man who adopted him was a relative, then perhaps we may examine several possibilities concerning his progenitors.

Possible Parentage of Captain John Gray, Senior.

The parentage of John Gray, Senior is not known with certainty. However, research suggests two possibilities: (1) He may be a son of John and Elizabeth (Winslow) Gray of the Wiscasset area; or, (2) He may have been the son of one Mrs. Gray who was killed by the Indians at Sheepscot (now Newcastle) sometime during the period 1754-1759.

Miss Ruth Gray, a genealogist, wrote in 1973 to L. Austin Gray, Junior:

“I have with great care perused all the early deeds and probate records of the Wiscasset area, as well as those in York County and Kennebec County. And I have quite thoroughly searched the cemeteries in many areas to try and find accounts of Grays. There are very few cemeteries with any signs of early Grays in the Wiscasset area.

“The only Gray definitely associated with Sheepscot is John . . .”

[Ruth Gray, 70 North Fourth Street, Old Town, Maine 04468, letter to L. Austin Gray, Junior, Wesley, Maine, 17 March 1973.]

This John Gray of Sheepscot was born 10 June 1707 in York, Maine, son of Robert Gray and grandson of George Gray; he married Elizabeth Winslow, daughter of Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Holbrook) Winslow. He had one known son, James Gray, born February 1742-43.

[E. S. Stackpole, Old Kittery and Her Families (Lewiston, Me. : Press of the Lewiston Journal, 1903), p. [ ]. Will need to verify the page number(s).]

Many settlers arrived in Wiscasset in 1734, and afterwards.

“. . . John Gray, in a deposition taken in 1784, stated that Robert Hooper had ‘a camp made under a Rock at Wiscasset Point,’ that he, Gray, ‘built the third house that was built near Wiscasset Bay, & that Mr. William Groves and Robert Lambert built the other two, & lived in them before I came to the Eastward,’ i.e. 1734.”

[Fannie S. Chase, Wiscasset in Pownalborough : a history of the shire town and the salient historical features of the territory between the Sheepscot and Kennebec rivers (Wiscasset, Me. : [The Southworth-Anthoensen Press], 1941, p. 548.]

Ruth Gray writes that this John Gray

“. . . bought Settlers Lot #7 [in Wiscasset] in 1735, he sold this lot to Mr. Lambert in 1741. He made a Deposition in 1784 saying that he was in Montsweag in 1734. He was ‘of Wiscasset’ in 1739 when appointed administrator of his brother’s estate. I have found only one child born to them and that was a son, James, born in 1743.”

[Ruth Gray, 70 North Fourth Street, Old Town, Maine 04468, letter to L. Austin Gray, Junior, Wesley, Maine, 17 March 1973.]

By 1740 there were 150 persons in 30 families living at what is now Wiscasset. This place was incorporated as Pownalborough in 1760.

[Ava Harriet Chadbourne, Maine Place Names (Portland : Bond Wheelwright Co., 1955), pp. 19-21.]

Ruth Gray states: “. . . I have never found that your Capt. John Gray had both parents killed. The Gray who was killed with children was Dorcas Gray, and six children ‘of tender age,’ not the father of the children.”

[Ruth Gray, 70 North Fourth Street, Old Town, Maine 04468, letter to L. Austin Gray, Junior, Wesley, Maine, 17 March 1973.]

On 19 June 1753 the Massachusetts General Court passed an act “erecting a place called Sheepscot, in the County of York, into a district by the name of Newcastle.” This established Newcastle as a district; it was not incorporated as a town until 1775. The southern bounds were at “Sheepscot Narrows” in Sheepscot River, “at the upper end of Wiscasset Bay,” and extended upriver eight miles. The western bounds were the Sheepscot River, the eastern bounds were the Damariscotta River. On the petition for the incorporation of Sheepscot, dated 25 May 1750, no Gray names appear.

[David Q. Cushman, History of Ancient Sheepscot and Newcastle (Bath, Me. : E. Upton & Son Printers, 1882), p. [ ]. Will need to verify the page number(s).]

In the Fifth Indian War, from 1745 to 17[--?], a number of people, most of their names now not known, were killed in Sheepscot (which later became Newcastle) by Indians in occasional attacks. Wiscasset was likewise harassed by Indians.

From 1754 to 1759 raged the Sixth (and last) Indian War. It was sometime during this war that a Mrs. Gray was killed at Newcastle (formerly known as Sheepscot). David Cushman described this incident in his History of Ancient Sheepscot and Newcastle:

“There were several Garrisons in town; two at Sheepscot; one in the center of the town; another at Damariscotta Mills; a fifth in front of Farley’s mansion where Walter Phillips used to reside; a sixth below where Capt. Samuel Little lived and still another near where Joseph Perkins now [1882] resides, near the brick yard at the shore.”

[David Q. Cushman, History of Ancient Sheepscot and Newcastle (Bath, Me. : E. Upton & Son Printers, 1882), p. [ ]. Will need to verify the page number(s).]

“The Garrison in Major Farley’s field was vacated at one time by the men who had gone across the river to do some work; and the women had also left it, to perform some labor in the field. Three boys were stationed as sentinels to give the alarm, in case of danger. The Indians stole upon them and killed Mrs. Gray and six, some say nine children. The youngest they took by the heels and dashed its brains out upon a stone. The alarm was given -- the men returned -- a fight ensued but several lives were lost on the side of the English. The Indians escaped unhurt. When the men returned, they found one child attempting to draw milk from its dead mother’s breast. It was a harrowing spectacle. The stone bespattered with blood was seen for a long time afterwards. It was finally removed by Mr. Farley about the year 1800. It was ragged, and stood about three feet out of the ground.”

[David Q. Cushman, History of Ancient Sheepscot and Newcastle (Bath, Me. : E. Upton & Son Printers, 1882), p. [ ]. Will need to verify the page number(s).]

Our Captain John Gray, Senior married on 11 August 1769 at Marblehead, Mass., to Elizabeth Roundy. She was born on 22 June 1750 in Marblehead, Mass., daughter of Abraham and Content (Bassett) Roundy. She was baptized at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Marblehead, Mass. on 08 July 1750.

About this time Marblehead was

“. . . the second largest town in the Province, sixth largest in the country, and recognized from one side of the Atlantic to the other for its fisheries, its shipping, intrepid men and daring seamanship”

[Priscilla Sawyer Lord, Marblehead (Philadelphia : Chilton Book Co., 1976), p. 95.]

During 1768 and 1769 a series of powerful storms decimated Marblehead’s fishing fleet, and many lives were lost at sea.

[Priscilla Sawyer Lord, Marblehead (Philadelphia : Chilton Book Co., 1976), p. 92; Samuel Roads, Jr., History and Traditions of Marblehead (Boston : Houghton, Osgood and Co., 1880), p. 78.]

Also during this time, tensions were building between Marblehead’s many smugglers and the British customs officials.

[Priscilla Sawyer Lord, Marblehead (Philadelphia : Chilton Book Co., 1976), p. 92.]

The British were harassing shipping, by searching almost every vessel, and by impressing Yankee seamen onto their ships. Violence erupted in early 1769 when one Marblehead crew killed a British officer with a harpoon, who had boarded their vessel to impress some of them by force.

[Samuel Roads, Jr., History and Traditions of Marblehead (Boston : Houghton, Osgood and Co., 1880), p. 80; Priscilla Sawyer Lord, Marblehead (Philadelphia : Chilton Book Co., 1976), p. 93.]

In 1771 there were even more Marblehead lives lost due to disasters at sea, the town applying for assistance from the provincial government for the large number of widows and fatherless children. At this time, there were “upwards of one thousand men and boys . . . employed in the fisheries besides those who cured fish.”

[Samuel Roads, Jr., History and Traditions of Marblehead (Boston : Houghton, Osgood and Co., 1880), p. 86.]

We do not know why Capt. John Gray, Senior left Marblehead. Perhaps it was because of the British harassment to shipping, or perhaps his wife Elizabeth felt too many mariners’ lives were being lost at sea. We can only speculate.

Captain John Gray, Senior took his family and went up into Maine. They left sometime after the birth of John Gray, Junior (in Marblehead, Mass. on 05 October 1770). Family tradition, passed down to Roger A. Gray of Wesley, Maine, said that the family stopped for a while at Falmouth (now Portland), Maine before going farther north, although no documents have yet been found which would place them in Falmouth.

By September 1772, the John Gray, Senior’s family had already settled in what would later become Clinton, Maine (daughter Elizabeth’s birth occurring in that place on that date). They probably came in the company of Elizabeth (Roundy) Gray’s parents. Abraham Roundy’s family had come to that location before the Revolutionary War and were among the first settlers there.

[For further information on the Roundy family, see: (1) Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971); and, (2) Everett Ellsworth Roundy, The Roundy family in America : from the sixteen-hundreds [Dedham, Mass., c1942]. And for further information on the economy and living conditions of Clinton’s first settlers, see: Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971), pp. 1, 4-5, 11, 15, 21, 50, 123.]

It is likely that John Gray, Senior settled in that part of Clinton which is now Benton, Maine, somewhere south of Benton Falls on the Sebasticook River. Benton Falls was such a barrier to travel on the early settlers’ only highway, the Sebasticook River, that most settlers located south of the falls.

[Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971), p. 1, 50.]

The Gray family may have been in Lynn, Mass. in September 1774. According to an entry in the Harmony, Maine Vital Records, John Gray, Senior’s son Joseph Gray was born in Lynn, Mass. on 14 September 1774.

[Harmony, Maine Vital Records. On microfilm at Maine State Archives, Augusta, Maine.]

Family tradition, coming to Roger A. Gray of Wesley, Maine, said that John Gray, Senior was a Revolutionary War veteran. No records have been found to verify this tradition, but if it is true, perhaps it was about this time that John Gray, Senior served.

By November 1778, the family was back in what is now Clinton, Maine, where John Gray Senior’s daughter Sarah was born on that date.

About 1779, “the settlement became known as Hancock Plantation. It was not, however, formally incorporated as such.”

[Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971), p. 77.]

Twenty-one families were living in Hancock Plantation in the fall of 1781.

[Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971), p. 50.]

In March 1785, John Gray sold two hundred acres of land located at “Read’s Camp on the Sebasticook River about 16 miles above Fort Halifax.” Benjamin Runnels of Winslow bought the lot, located on the east side of the river, north of and adjoining land of Abraham Roundy.

[I believe this quote may have come from: Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971). Will need to verify this source. A better source would be the original deed, which still needs to researched.-- Steve Robbins.]

On 16 May 1792, John Gray of Hancock, “yeoman and Mariner”, for the price of eighty pounds, sold to his son John Gray, Junior of Hancock, two hundred acres “more or Less” of land in Hancock Plantation (which in 1795 became Clinton), Maine,

“. . . on the Northern side of the Sebasticook river in said Hancock and bounded as follows viz, beginning at a pine tree marked and standing on the bank of said river and running West Northwest and bounded Northerly on Land that John Misack formerly lived on and runs the aforesaid course one mile and a quarter of a mile. Thence running South Southwest seventy five rods. Thence turning and running East Southeast to said River. Thence by the Shore of said River to the first mentioned bounds . . . with all the buildings standing and being thereon of all manner and kind whatsoever.

[Note: This was a warrantee deed, dated 16 May 1792 and recorded 23 July 1792 in the Lincoln County Deeds (vol. 5, p. 331 of the Lincoln County Records 1760-1800, housed at Kennebec County Register of Deeds in Augusta, Maine.).]

In the foregoing deed, John Gray, Senior was called “yeoman and Mariner”. Thus his title of Captain seem to have meant seacaptain.

On 06 June 1793, John Gray was named administrator for the estate of the late Henry McKenney, Junior. Both were of “Sevenmile Brook” (Sebasticook).

[I believe the source for this information may be: Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971). Will need to verify this source. A better source would be the original probate record, which still needs to researched.-- Steve Robbins.]

In 1794 Lawrence Costigan sold his last piece of land, part of Great Lot K2 containing 180 acres, to Samuel Read, having previously sold 20 acres of this lot to John Gray.

[I believe the source for this information may be: Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971). Will need to verify this source. A better source would be the original deed, which still needs to researched.-- Steve Robbins.]

The Grays may have first been introduced to Methodism in Hancock Plantation. It is believed that in 1794, Jesse Lee, a traveling minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, made a brief visit to the Hancock Plantation settlement.

[Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971), p. 108.]

Hancock Plantation changed its name to Clinton at the time of incorporation in 1795.

[Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971), p. 78-79.]

John Gray, Senior was elected to several Clinton town offices from 1795 through 1801. In April 1797 he was elected First Selectman, replacing Capt. Samuel Grant who was excused.

[I believe the source for this information may be: Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971). Will need to verify this source. A better source would be the original town records, which still need to researched.-- Steve Robbins.]

The History of Clinton, Maine states that “the family sold its last land holdings in Clinton in 1802 and had left town by 1810,” but seems to contradict this in reporting that “in 1804 George Fitzgerald, Sr. of Clinton sold a small part of Lot No. 8 adjoining his land on the south, to Jacob Eames, and a portion to John Gray.”

[Carleton E. Fisher, History of Clinton, Maine (Augusta, Me. : K.J. Printing, 1971), p. [ ]. Will need to verify the page number(s). A better source would be the original deed, which still needs to researched.-- Steve Robbins.]

A more thorough research of the Gray’s land holdings needs to be done, not only in the records of Lincoln and Kennebec Counties, but also in these of Somerset and Washington Counties. Also meriting research are the court and probate records of these counties. And, evidence of the Gray’s land holdings should also be researched in the Bingham Proprietors land records of Col. John Black, originals of which are in Ellsworth, Maine and a microfilm copy (and handwritten extracts) at the Maine State Archives at Augusta, Maine.

Captain John Gray, Senior finally settled in Harmony, Somerset County, Maine, before 1805. His son Joseph Gray had settled in nearby Township Number 5 (now Ripley, Maine), sometime between 1802 and 1804.

Below is a list of deeds, from the Index of Somerset County Register of Deeds at Skowhegan, pertaining to persons named John Gray who are likely the same person as our Captain John Gray, Senior. However, some of these citations may be for John Gray, Junior, or for other John Grays known to have lived in Somerset County at this time. Further research needs to be done with these deeds. The compiler of this genealogy [i.e., Stephen Robbins] has had time to fully abstract only several of these deeds (which abstracts are included in the list below).

1803 June 27. Jeremiah Chamberlain to John Gray, land in Greenstown. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 13, p. 85.]

1811 April 09. John Gray of No. 5 in 5th Range of Townships N. of the Waldo Patent, Somerset Co., yeoman, for $60 paid by John Davenport of said No. five (the number of said lot being unknown) it being a parcel of land lying directly south of land I lately sold to Moses Bean of Athens and East of Land occupied by Joseph Gray and West of land occupied by Samuel Emery, also thirty six rods in width to be laid off of the easterly side of said land occupied by said Joseph Gray, it being one hundred & thirty rods on the east and west lines, and one hundred & sixty rods on the north and south lines . . . 130 acres more or less. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 1, p. 328. Recorded 20 April 1811.]

[Note: The land described in the deed above may be the same which was referenced in the East Somerset County Register 1911-12: “Moses Bane, who cleared a part of the farm now [1912] owned by Ernest Bane, came [to Ripley] more than 100 years ago from N.H., near Berwick. He bought a partly cleared farm from a Mr. Gray of Harmony. Mr. Bane’s house stood near the large orchard on the side of the hill opposite Ernest Bane’s.” -- East Somerset County Register 1911-12, compiled and published by Chatto & Turner, Auburn, Me., p. 209.]

1811 April 18. Moses Bean to John Gray, land in Athens. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 2, p. 307.]

1811 July 02. Charles Vaughan of Hallowell, Co. of Kennebec, State of Mass., Esquire, for $64 paid by John Gray of No. 5, 5th Range of Townships North of the Waldo Patent in the County . . . a lot of land situated in No. five fifth range of Townships North of the Waldo Patent being numbered seventy one in said Township as laid out by Chas. Hayden Esq. & Hamden Kieth containing fifty one acres as will more fully appear by their plan bearing date 30th Octr 1809. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 2, p. 315. Recorded 30 November 1811. Warrantee deed.]

1812 January 11. John Gray to Moses Bean, land in 5R5 NWP. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 7, p. 14.]

1815 March 20. Elijah Hamilton et al. to John Gray, land in Harmony. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 3, p. 458.]

1815 March 20. John Gray to Ebenezer Wentworth, land in Athens. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 7, p. 364.]

1815 March 20. John Gray to John Wentworth Jr., land in Athens. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 7, p. 364.]

1817 September 02. John Gray to Levi Emery et al., land in Harmony. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 3, p. 459.]

1817 September 22. Charles Leighton to John Gray, land in Harmony. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 3, p. 463.]

1820 April 11. John Gray to James Gray, land in Warren. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 8, p. 525.]

1820 April 11. John Gray of Harmony, for $200. paid by James Gray of Harmony, land in Harmony: bounded on east by land once or now owned by Joseph Gray & south by the north line of Warrens Town.

Witnesses: Enoch Waterhouse, A. J. Hovey.

John Gray (seal)

Washington Ss June 8, 1920 Then personally appeared John Gray & acknowledged the above instrument by signed to be his free act and deed.

Somerset Ss Received June 26, 1820 Entered and compared with the Original by J. P. Bradbury, Register.”

[Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 8, p. 525. This John Gray seems, with very little doubt, to be our John Gray, Junior who had just moved to Washington County. The deed was a quitclaim deed.]

1820 September 04. John Gray to Lemuel Baker (Sheriff’s Sale), land in Harmony. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 11, p. 11.]

1821 March 23. Winthrop Norton to John Gray, land [no location given]. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 12, p. 70.]

1822 May 01. John Gray to N. A. Barrett, land in No. 5. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 13, p. 32.]

1822 May 01. N. A. Barrett to John Gray, land in No. 5. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 13, p. 201.]

1829 April 01. John Williamson 2nd to John Gray, land [no location given]. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 22, p. 300.]

1831 March 04. Fanny Gray to John Gray, land in Fairfield. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 25, p. 180.]

1831 May 02. Robert Thomas to John Gray, land in Canaan. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 24, p. 441.]

1834 March 26. John Gray to Hull Gray, land in Canaan. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 35, p. 355.]

1834 July 25. John Gray to Hallowell Academy, land in Harmony. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 34, p. 418.]

1834, October 25. John Gray of Harmony, yeoman, for $200 paid by Abraham Gray & Joseph Gray Jr. both of Harmony, yeoman, . . . a certain parcel of land situated in Harmony -- Lot 11 in the centre range of lots in Harmony according to the Survey of Samuel Weston Esqr. . . . 106 acres more or less and being the same on which I now live. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 34, p. 79. This John Gray may possibly be our John Gray, Senior. If so, he would be age ninety-two at this time! His son John Gray, Junior was not living in 1834, having died 17 May 1832. Or, this may be some other John Gray; more research needs to be done on this. This was a quitclaim deed, recorded on 29 October 1834.]

1834 December 02. Benjamin P. Rollins to John Gray, land [no location given]. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 34, p. 376.]

1834 December 02. John Gray to Benjamin Rollins, land in Canaan. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 38, p. 68.]

1835 March 18. Hall Gray to John Gray, land in Fairfield. [Somerset County Register of Deeds, vol. 34, p. 201.]

 

Harmony, Maine, Circa 1804-1840.

“Vaughanstown” was surveyed in 1790, and first settled in 1796. “The settlement was rapid from about 1800,” and in 1803 the plantation became the town of Harmony.

[East Somerset County Register 1911-12, compiled and published by Chatto & Turner, Auburn, Me., p. 106-107.]

At least as early as 1805, the town of Harmony voted money for the support of schools.

[Harmony, Maine Town Records. On microfilm at Maine State Archives, Augusta, Maine.]

In 1825 there was much damage done in Ripley, in what is now Cambridge, and possibly in parts of Harmony, when

“. . . a great fire said to be a part of the famous Mirimichi, which burned for hundreds of miles in a narrow belt through both Maine and Canada, did tremendous damage to the homes and property of settlers. The fire came after a long drought and carried every thing before it, so that people were obliged to seek protection in the streams and plowed fields. Most of the houses in [what is now] the town [of Cambridge] were burned . . .”

[East Somerset County Register 1911-12, compiled and published by Chatto & Turner, Auburn, Me., pp. 39-40.]

In the town of Ripley, “the fire in 1825 was followed by a great epidemic of typhoid fever, which was probably caused, it is said, by the pools of stagnant water which collected after the burning of the soil. Whole families were wiped out.”

East Somerset County Register 1911-12, compiled and published by Chatto & Turner, Auburn, Me., p. 203.]

The pioneers in this part of Somerset County were described as “hardy men, strengthened and toughened by constant exposure and struggle with the elements and the wilderness.”

[East Somerset County Register 1911-12, compiled and published by Chatto & Turner, Auburn, Me., p. 221.]

For a long time, travel was difficult in this region:

“. . . For years the people of the town [of St. Albans] got from one place to another on foot or on horseback by means of bridle paths through the woods. In 1840 wagons were introduced, and, although they had no springs, they were considered to be a great improvement over the previous mode of travel. Before that time the only vehicles had been sledges and clumsy home-made carts, the wheels of which were sawn from a round log.”

[East Somerset County Register 1911-12, compiled and published by Chatto & Turner, Auburn, Me., p. 220.]

It is not known when Captain John Gray, Senior or his wife Elizabeth (Roundy) Gray died. If the “John Gray of Harmony”, who sold his home and land in October 1834 to Abraham Gray and Joseph Gray, Junior, is indeed our Captain John Gray, Senior, then he would have been ninety-two years old. Perhaps further research in the Somerset County deeds would shed more light on this subject.

It is interesting that John Gray, Senior and his son Abraham Gray do not appear to be listed in the 1810 census of Harmony, although his sons John Gray, Junior and Joseph Gray do appear in the 1810 census of Township Number 5 (now Ripley). Perhaps the census enumerator did not find them in the wilderness, or perhaps they were living in some other nearby wildland township on this date. Further research may provide an answer.

 

 

It is possible that John Gray, Senior was living on the Gray homestead in Harmony in 1820; in the census of that year, a male aged over 45 is listed in the household of his son, Joseph Gray. There is not, however, a female of a similar age listed in that household.

Family tradition, coming to Roger A. Gray of Wesley, Maine, said that Elizabeth (Roundy) Gray’s great-grandchildren, James Gray and Elizabeth Gray (children of James Gray, Senior) traveled from Wesley, Maine to Harmony to visit their great-grandmother. This was “when they were young”, possibly as late as 1842 or 1843.

Although it cannot be proved, Captain John Gray, Senior and his wife Elizabeth (Roundy) Gray, it is believed, are buried in the family cemetery on the old Gray homestead in Harmony, Maine. In that cemetery are two graves marked only by simple fieldstones as headstones and footstones. These fieldstones have rounded tops but no lettering on them. In this same cemetery are also four inscribed gravestones for other members of the Gray family.

Gravestones in the Gray Family Cemetery, Harmony, Maine.

1. Joseph Gray, d. May 19, 1863 AE 87y 8m [This is Joseph Gray, Senior.]

Betsey his wife, d. Feb. 25, 1863 AE 78y 7m [Her maiden name was Elizabeth Brooks. This stone was upright in 1980.]

2. Joseph Gray, d. Sept. 3, 1893 AE 80y 11m [This is Joseph Gray, Junior. This stone was lying on the ground in 1980.]

3. Hannah L., wife of Joseph Gray, d. Nov. 19, 1870 AE 58y 3m [She was the second wife of Joseph Gray, Junior. This stone was lying on the ground in 1980.]

4. Lydia, wife of [lettering obliterated], Died Jan. 6, 1855 AE 44, Baker & Emery [stonecutters], Skowhegan [She was the first wife of Joseph Gray, Junior. Her maiden name was Lydia Stafford. This stone was lying on the ground, broken into about four pieces, in 1980.]

5. and 6. Two fieldstone headstones with rounded tops but no lettering. Each headstone has an accompanying fieldstone footstone. These stones were upright in 1980. These are believed to be the graves of Captain John Gray, Senior and Elizabeth (Roundy) Gray, although this cannot be proved.