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Bray-Seabrook-Whitlock families

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Working through primary and reliable secondary sources to mediate some different views of how these people are related in late 17th century/early 18th century America.


John Bray


Must have died before 21 Feb 1716/17 when an inventory of his personal estate is taken


(1668 1684 settled in Monmouth County as early as 1684 (but no source given for this date)[1]

1686, 29 May, received 50 acres of land on the Hop River from the Governor and Council (this date is out of order).[1]

1686, 24 Aug, registered his eare marke[1]

1688 - purchased land, near the present village of Holmdel, where he lived for the rest of his life.[1]

1689, 31 Aug

c.1693 Must have married whomever was the mother of his eldest known son, perhaps Susannah at the latest in late 1693.

1700 - one of signatories to a petition to King William, asking for a competent governor[1]

1700, 22 Aug - involved in riotous assembly and attack on John Stewart and Henry Leonard, on 17 July and presented to the Grand Jury on 22 Aug[1]

1701, amongst group who traitorously seized Governor and others and kept them prisoner from Tuesday 25 March to Saturday 29 March

1704 - with his wife Susannah, gave land at Holmdel to Middletown Baptist Church where The Upper Meeting House was built, and services were held there alternately with Middletown[1]

1705, 17 Dec - John Bray and Susanna his wife conveyed to Obadiah Bowne and Jarret Wall, land in Middletown, signed John Bray, ƒusanna Bray, witnesses - John Watƒson, Andrew Bowne, Jr [1]

1707 (1706/07) 18 March - Mr John Bray, Minister of Baptist of County of Monmouth

1707, 7 May, witness to the will of Governor Andrew Bowne[1]

1707, 3 Sept, at court qualified himself as Minster of Baptist of County of Monmouth, as presented by several members of the congregation on behalf of rest of their brethren.[1]


1716, 23 July, gives 2 cows and their calves, a bed and bolster, platters and kettles (valued at £8.16.0, to his stepsons, Nehemiah and Peter Bowne, sons of his wife Anne by her former husband Andrew Bowne, (this is included in the inventory of his personal estate on 21 Feb 1716/17)[2]

1717 (1716/17) 21 Feb, Inventory of personal estate of John Bray of Middletown, valued at £91.12.6, which included items given to his stepsons on 23 July 1716, valued at £8.16.0.[2]

1717 (1716/17) 25 Feb, Anne Bray, widow renounces right of administration to son-in-law (stepson) John Bray.[2]

1717 29 March, John Bray Jnr, administrator swears to inventory.[2]

Marriages and children

See timeline above - Documents of 1704 and 1705 name his wife Susannah or Susanna, and documents concerning the inventory and subsequent administration of his personal estate mention a wife Anna or Anne, previously the wife of Andrew Bowne (see below for further discussion of her birth name).

He is not known to have any other wives.

He apparently had four sons, and the first two are thought to be with his first wife, but it is not clear what sources confirm this, particularly the mother of his eldest son.

  1. John Bray, born 20 Aug 1694, buried 5 Feb 1765, married Elizabeth Bowne, daughter of John Bowne, cordwainer, and his wife Elizabeth;[3]
  2. James Bray, born 24 October 1707, died before 5 May 1758, married twice, second wife named Elizabeth;[4]

The mother of his two youngest sons is thought to be Anna, based on the birth dates of the two sons with Andrew Bowne, but it also not clear what source/s confirm the dates of birth of these two sons or the two Bowne brothers -

  1. Andrew Bray, born 1 July 1713, died July 1789, married twice, 1) Margaret Watson, 2) Sarah Stout;[5]
  2. Daniel Bray, born 28 March 1716, died circa 1778, married Miss Martin[6]

In about 1724-25 Mary Whitlock, widow, left a sum of money to her grandsons, Andrew and Daniel Bray, which with money belonging to Peter Bowne, was lent to Thomas Cox.[1]

Minster of Baptist Church

In several records of 1707 he is named as Mr John Bray, Minister of ye Baptist of ye County of Monmouth, and in 3 September of that year, he made application that the Court of Sessions that he might be permitted to qualify himself as such, with support of several members of the congregation representing their brethren.[1]

However it seems likely that he was never actually consecrated as such by the church, and although he is called Reverend in secondary sources,[1] he is always referred to as Mr John Bray in primary documents.

Anna Seabrook


Proposed by Stillwell, that her parents were Mary Whitlock, widow of Thomas Whitlock, and Thomas Seabrook her first husband.[7]

Marriages and children

She first married Andrew Bowne and had two sons (though the primary source for the birth dates of these two sons is unknown);

  1. Nehemiah Bowne, born 6 July 1708, married widow Fisher;
  2. Peter Bowne, born 30 October 1710, married Deliverance Holmes[8]

In the inventory of the personal estate of her second husband, John Bray on 21 February 1716/1717, it is noted that he had given 2 cows and their calves, a bed and bolster, platters and kettles (valued at £8.16.0), to his stepsons, Nehemiah and Peter Bowne, sons of his wife Anne by her former husband Andrew Bowne.[2]

Andrew must have died sometime between 1710 and 1712 and Anna married secondly John Bray, and had issue two more sons (again the primary source for the birth dates of the sons is unknown);

  1. Andrew Bray, born 1 July 1713;
  2. Daniel Bray, born 28 March 1716.[9]

The will of Nehemiah Bowne, dated 10 Jan 1736, mentions brothers Peter Bowne, Andrew and Daniel Bray confirming their relationship to each other.[10]


John Bray, died before 21 February 1716/1717 when the inventory of his personal estate was taken, and Anna was known to still be alive shortly after that date, as she renounced the administration of his estate on 25 February 1716/1717 in favour of her son-in-law (actually stepson) John Bray.[2]

There don't appear to be any further records that mention Anna Bray.

Thomas Whitlock


1700, 1 Nov - Will of Thomas Whitlock of Sholeharber, Middletown, yeoman, wife Mary, children William, John, Susanna Pew, Sara, Abigail, Rebecca, wife executrix, proved 11 Nov 1703.[11]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Stillwell, John E., Historical and Genealogical Miscellany: Early Settlers of New Jersey and their Descendants, vol. 3, New York: n.p., 1914. pp. 109-110. Digital image, Internet Archive, (https://archive.org/stream/historicalgeneal03instil#page/217/mode/1up : accessed 27 February 2021).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Nelson, William, (Ed.), Documents relating to the colonial history of the State of New Jersey, vol. 23: Calendar of New Jersey wills, vol 1. 1670-1730, Paterson, New Jersey: Press Printing and Publishing, 1901. p. 59. Digital image, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/calendarofnewjer00newj#page/59/mode/1up : accessed 26 February 2021.
  3. Stillwell, Historical Miscellany, pp. 110-111.
  4. Stillwell, Historical Miscellany, p. 111-112.
  5. Stillwell, Historical Miscellany, p. 112.
  6. Stillwell, Historical Miscellany, p. 112.
  7. <ref>Stillwell, ''Historical Miscellany,'' p. 110.</li> <li id="_note-5">[[#_ref-5|↑]] Stillwell, ''Historical miscellany,'' p. 110</li> <li id="_note-6">[[#_ref-6|↑]] Stillwell, ''Historical miscellany,'' p. 110</li> <li id="_note-7">[[#_ref-7|↑]] Van Doren Honeyman, A., ''Documents relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, vol. 30: Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Administrations etc, vol 2. 1730-1750,'' Somerville, New Jersey, Unionist Gazette Assoc, 1918. p. 55. Digital image, ''FamilySearch International,'' (https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/300863-documents-relating-to-the-colonial-history-of-the-state-of-new-jersey-vol-30?viewer=1&offset=0#page=55&viewer=picture&o=info&n=0&q= : accessed 27 February 2021).</li> <li id="_note-8">[[#_ref-8|↑]] Nelson, ''Calendar of New Jersey wills, vol. 1,'' p. 508.</li></ol></ref>

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