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John Gray Jr. (abt. 1660 - abt. 1739)

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John Gray Jr.
Born about in Aghadowey, Londonderry County, Province of Ulster, Irelandmap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married 1694 in Agedowey, Tyrone, Ulster, Irelandmap
Descendants descendants
Died about in Worcester County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, British Colonial Americamap
Profile last modified 11 Nov 2019 | Created 31 Jul 2014 | Last significant change: 11 Nov 2019
03:56: Patricia Roche edited the data for John Gray Jr. (abt.1660-abt.1739). (Merged Gray-13373 into Gray-7698: Clear duplicate.) [Thank Patricia for this]
This page has been accessed 2,310 times.


John Gray was granted a lot "very early" in settlement of Worcester, Massachusetts.[1]

He was among those seated in the Worcester orthodox church in 1724 and 1733,[2] and in 1739 it seems his son is still being referred to as John Gray Jr. in regards to the settlement of lands in Pelham,[3] suggesting that John lived at least until 1739.

Charles K. Bolton finds his children to be Robert, Samuel, William, Matthew, John, Mary, and Sarah.[4]

Ruth T. Ravenscroft's manuscript, "John Gray and His Descendants of Worcester and Pelham, Massachusetts," Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1986, may have much more information.

John Gray Jr was born in 1660 in Aghadowey, Londonderry County, Province of Ulster, Ireland. [1]

He married Elizabeth Parssons on 3 Apr 1691 in Wilford Parrish, St. Nicholas Church, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England. [2]

According to historian Charles Bolton, John and Elizabeth arrived in Massachusetts Colony, British Colonial America, and settled in Worcester, Worcester County, where he "had land laid out to him by the town's committee [on] November 26, 1718." They were accompanied by sons Robert (age 21) and Matthew (later, Sr., but at the time only age 8), as well as Samuel, William, John, Mary, and Sarah (pp. 187-88). [3]

John Gray Jr. was born and grew up in the region where state-sponsored settlements were part of the Plantation (colonization) of the Province of Ulster in Ireland, which had begun in 1609. This scheme, instituted by James VI of Scotland when he became King of England, was intended to confiscate all the lands of the Gaelic Irish nobility in Ulster and to settle the province with Protestant Scottish and English colonists on confiscated land. [4]

Several generations of both Ulster-Scots and resettled English weathered the turbulent relocation and colonization, but throughout the 18th century, considerable numbers of Plantation settlers began immigrating to the North American colonies. This immigration trend is consistent with John Gray Jr’s arrival in the Americas in 1718. [4]

John Gray Jr's grandfather, Robert Richard Gray, had relocated no later than 1640 as part of the Ulster plantation settlement from Essex, England, to Londonberry, Province of Ulster, Northen Ireland, where John Gray Sr was born. [5]

It was John Gray Jr who later immigrated to colonial Massachusetts. [2]

Since the new royal land charter of 1692, voting in colonial Massachusetts had shifted from church membership to land ownership, and created the Province of Massachusetts (succeeding the previous Massachusetts Bay Colony charter of 1629, which had run as a theocracy). In effect, this political change shifted authority from exclusive control by Puritans and allowed others – i.e., non-Puritans of other religious persuasions – to settle in the colony. [6]

According to Bolton, "Cotton Mather had in mind very early that the emigrants from Ulster would be useful settlers on the frontier. In 1718 the village of Worcester could claim a position on the Massachusetts frontier, although it lay only forty miles from Boston. First settled in 1674, it was deserted in King Philip 's war, 1675, and again in Queen Anne 's war, 1702" (p 178). [3]

But the Ulster Presbysterians "came to act as a buffer against the Indians, and instead of welcome they received surly conversation from the few inhabitants who turned out to meet them (p. 179). [3]

The Presbyterian "orthodox church [in Worcester] was built in 1719 in front of the site of the present city hall. At this period it was plain, without steeple, and at first filled with benches. The committee on seating in 1724 had no Scotch Irish members, nor did they grant any places for private pews to these new settlers. In the fore seat or bench was John Gray" (p. 182). [3] Other Scotch Irish settlers sat in benches behind Gray's family.

By 1733, "there were in the 'fore seet' John Gray with five English sitters," and again, other Scotch Irish settlers sat behind his family on other benches. Bolton continues, "It will be seen that in 1733 there was a considerable Scotch Irish colony within a church-going radius of the Worcester church.... In 1737 the Irish petition had been voted down. The lands now included in the town of Pelham were being opened for settlement, and on the 21st of January, 1738-39, John Stoddard arranged to settle a number of families ' ' such as were inhabitants of the Kingdom of Ireland or their descendants, being Protestants.'" John Gray and his family were among those who resettled. (pp. 183-84). [3]

John maintained standing and relations in Worcester, some 30 miles from Pelham. His grandson Matthew Gray Jr had married the daughter of Worcester's wheelright, Hugh Kelso, and when Hugh made out his will close to the time of his death in 1737, John Gray was present as a witness and was named as co-executor of Hugh Kelso's estate. [7]

John Gray Jr passed away on 4 Apr 1739 in Pelham, Worcester County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, his remains now buried in the Worcester Common Graveyard. [1]

John Gray of Londonderry landed in Boston Aug 4, 1718, and settled in Worcester, Mass., and is supposed to be the father of Robert, Matthew, William, Hugh, Samuel and John.


  1. Lincoln, William, and Charles Hersey. History of Worcester, Massachusetts, from Its Earliest Settlement to September 1836: With Various Notices Relating to the History of Worcester County. Worcester: Charles Hersey, 1862 ( : accessed 3 January 2016).
  2. Leavitt, Emily W. The Blair Family of New England. Boston: D. Clapp & Son, 1900 ( : accessed 3 January 2016).
  3. Leavitt ( : accessed 3 January 2016).
  4. Bolton, Charles K, and Ethel S. Bolton. Scotch Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America. Boston: Bacon & Brown, 1910 ( : accessed 3 January 2016).

1. Biographical vitals, John Gray, [1]

2. "England & Wales Marriages, 1538-1988,", database. Collection: St. Nicholas, Film Number 503803 [2]

3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America. Boston: Bacon and Brown, 1910. Reprint. Heritage Books, Bowie, MD, 1989. p. 187. Full digital text [3]

4. “Ulster-Scots” Wikipedia. [4]

5. Robert Richard Gray (John Gray’s grandfather), biographical details, [5]

6. “Massachusetts Bay Colony.” Wikipedia [6]

7. "Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991 for Hugh Kelso," Worcester Probate Records, Vol 1, 1731-1739, 1778-1814 and 1863-1870. database, with original image of the will [7]

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with John by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with John:

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On 28 Aug 2019 at 22:48 GMT Bill Wise wrote:

Gray-13373 and Gray-7698 appear to represent the same person because: Both from Londonderry, Ireland and both had a son named Robert (although in Gray-7698 Robert is only listed in the biography).

On 17 Apr 2019 at 16:32 GMT Michael Gray wrote:

How strong is the evidence that all three of his children emigrated to Massachusetts in 1718? Because the record for the oldest son John (Gray-7697) has him getting married in Ulster in 1719 and having several children in Ulster before emigrating (likely to Pennsylvania) around 1737. As much as I hate to loose my connection to British royalty (haha), strong evidence that John Gray Jr (7698)'s son (7697) was on the boat in 1718 would bring us a step closer to disconnecting the parents of Deacon John Gray (7697). The biographies for Deacon John's siblings strongly suggest that they all traveled together.

On 21 Nov 2018 at 14:53 GMT Al Adams wrote:

Gray-18517 and Gray-7698 appear to represent the same person because: same

On 25 Aug 2018 at 04:54 GMT Mark Todd wrote:

Gray-18517 and Gray-7698 are not ready to be merged because: Hi, Dave.

Rick Pierpoint has proposed the merger of your managed profile Gray-7698 and my manged profile Gray-18517.

They're clearly the same individual, but I'd like to see our respective biographies and sources combined to create a more complete portrait and collective sources. I was also interested in preserving the death place I included in my profile since it describes the name of the death place in terms consistent with what my own research found to be how the community described itself at the time.

I'm going to approve from my end as an "unmerged match" while we hammer out the details of the final merged version, if that's okay by you.

Best, Mark

John is 18 degrees from Carroll Shelby, 24 degrees from Joan Whitaker and 12 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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