William Gray

???? - 1788


Biography

Slave-owner in Jamaica. Bought Richmond estate in Jamaica in 1775; the estate went into receivership in 1782. The presence of Richmond estate in the Accounts Produce suggests Gray was absent from Jamaica from 1775 to at least 1782. In 1782 he was reportedly in Skibo in Sutherland, Scotland. Died in Jamaica in March 1788. An online source gives him as the son of Patrick Gray of Easter Lairg in Sutherland. NB the association of him with the William Gray of the Blackheath and Rhine estates is highly tentative.

  1. There are conflicting accounts about the relationship of William Gray of Jamaica to Skibo Castle. Stephanie Barczewski shows William Gray of Jamaica purchasing Skibo in 1777; other secondary sources such as John Evans, supported by the Historic Environment Scotland portal, show William Gray, Provost Marshal of Jamaica, rebuilding the house and dying at Skibo in 1760 [sic]. There is broad agreement that the estate was sold by the Grays c. 1786.

  2. William Gray and John Mead jointly contributed £35 to the University of Pennsylvania following Dr John Morgan's fundraising tour of the West Indies in 1772-1773.

  3. William Gray Esq., Member of Assembly for the parish of Port Royal, was buried in "vault of Old Churchyard", St Andrew, Jamaica, 31/03/1788. Death "At Jamaica, William Gray, Esq; formerly Provost Marshall General of that island, and a representative in the assembly for the parish of Port Royal."

  4. William Gray of Richmond estate was probably the man of the same name who appeared in the will of Humphrey Morice (q.v.) as the seller to Morice of an annuity of £500 p.a. secured on an unnamed property in Jamaica.

  5. Reportedly married to Dorothy Cammack. However, another source gives his wife as Janet Sutherland, daughter of Major George Sutherland of Mid Garty (Sutherland County). "For the payment of L6542. In 1773 (some say 1775, it seeming likely that there was a delay pending Ann Sinclair's settlement) the estate of Langwell passed into the Gray family of Skibo, then represented by two brothers named William and Walter Gray. William was at this time Provost Marshall of Jamaica and married to Janet Sutherland, daughter of Major George Sutherland of Mid Garty (Sutherland county), this George being a brother of Robert Sutherland late of Langwell. It is probable that William Gray was one of the creditors of Robert Sutherland's - if not the principal. Apart from his appointment of provost Marshall of Jamaica, he indulged in various enterprises, one notably lucrative, being his joint ownership of a successful privateer."


Sources

Vere Langford Oliver, Caribbeana being miscellaneous papers relating to the history, genealogy, topography, and antiquities of the British West Indies (6 vols., London, Mitchell, Hughes and Clarke, 1910-1919) vol. 3 pp. 156-159; David Dobson, Scots in the West Indies, 1707-1857 (Baltimore, Maryland, 2006) vol. 2 p. 45; Scots Magazine vol. 50 p. 310 (June 1788). http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/CARIBBEAN/2000-10/0971370496 [accessed 01/07/2016].

  1. Stephanie Barczewski, Country houses and the British empire, 1700-1930 p. 269; John Evans, The Gentleman Usher: The Life and Times of George Dempster 1712-1818 p. 180; http://portal.historicenvironment.scot/designation/GDL00343 [accessed 29/06/2018].

  2. William Smith, Joseph Hopkinson, and Plunket Fleeson Glentworth, Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania Minute Books, Volume 2, 1768-1779 p. 73, entry for 13/12/1773. Note amounts are in Jamaican currency.

  3. "Jamaica, Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939F-8X5V-W?cc=1827268&wc=M6GL-TPD%3A161383101%2C161383102 : 20 May 2014), St Andrew > Baptisms, marriages, burials 1664-1807, Vol. 1 > image 186 of 194; Registrar General's Department, Spanish Town; Scots Magazine 01/06/1788.

  4. Will of Humphry Morice PROB 11/1139/132.

  5. Michael Ashcroft, 'Robert Charles Dallas - author of anonymous book on Jamaica', Jamaica Journal issue 44 p. 96 (June 1980); email from Christina Baldwin 09/06/2020 sourced to an unpublished document by Alan Roydhouse, 'The Heritors of Langwell 1775-1788' ch 4 p. 2. Note that Walter Gray's daughter Wilhelmina married Hugh Walker (q.v.) of Carron Hall.

We are grateful to Michael Rhodes and Christina Baldwin for their assistance with compiling this entry.


Further Information

Absentee?
Transatlantic?

Associated Estates (3)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1773 [EA] - 1773 [LA] → Trustee

William Gray was shown as 'late trustee' in 1773 but was separately shown as selling the estate, possibly as assignee or himself as a recent purchaser, in 1774. NB the association by LBS of William Gray of Richmond estate with the William Gray of Blackheath and The Rhine estates is highly tentative but is supported by the presence of Jacob Israel Bernal in transactions on both sets of estates and by evidence of financiai distress and receivership across all three c. 1782.

1782 [EA] - 1785 [LA] → Joint owner

NB the association by LBS of William Gray of Richmond estate with the William Gray of Blackheath and The Rhine estates is highly tentative but is supported by the presence of Jacob Israel Bernal in transactions on both sets of estates and by evidence of financiai distress and receivership across all three c. 1782.

1775 [SY] - 1784 [EY] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

Benefactor
University of Pennsylvania...... 
notes →
William Smith, Joseph Hopkinson, and Plunket Fleeson Glentworth, Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania Minute Books, Volume 2, 1768-1779 p. 73, entry for 13/12/1773. Note amounts are in...

Physical (1)

Country house
Skibo Castle 
description →
There are conflicting accounts about the relationship of William Gray of Jamaica to Skibo Castle. Stephanie Barczewski shows William Gray of Jamaica purchasing Skibo in 1777; other secondary sources...

Relationships (1)

Grantor → Annuitant

Addresses (1)

Skibo, Clashmore, Sutherland, Highlands and Islands, Scotland