Andersons of Colonial N. Carolina

meant what they said, said what they meant

John Gray… mystery merchant…

with 7 comments

My main interest in this character is him buying some land from James Anderson in March 1721/22…

Colonial Bertie Co., NC Deed Books 1720-1757  Mary Best Bell  Deed Book A

pg. 19. James ANDERSON of Bath County to John GRAY (Capt.) March 3, 1721/22. 400 a. NS Morattock River in Occoneeche Neck. Part of 640 a. surveyed by Coll. William MAULE for William BRASWELL then sold to Matthew CAPPS, and by CAPPS sold to James ANDERSON. Adj. William BOON, John NELLSON. Wit: Patrick MAULE, Mau. MOORE. April 20, 1722. C. GALE, C/C

Here’s the mystery part… sorry for not having an exact deed book reference…I grabbed this among some stuff and did not get a proper citation but definitely a Chowan deed book…

Chowan Deed  book #?   page 436(crossed through) 414, then on same page #25:

Rbt. Hammilton to Gray

Mr John Gray Sr. [Sir]  If you deale so by others

as you have done by me you will get but few commissions

from London  I am sure you have not acted the fair

part by me Nither was it ever my dising [design]

that you should hade ye disposal of my 1/4 of

Lueas? Cargo. the trifeling Excuses you have

mead about delaying to sending Effects because of

a deference betwixt Mr. Cockburn & me is as

unacconable as your declining to win me about

my affaires & not to tel me my Effects is turned

to pitch & you have Kyred? yt. Pitch this 6 or 7 years

in yr? possession, hade you disinged my advantage you

hade sent me Returns 5 years agoe  I Expect you will

allow me Intrest for the time you have kept me

out of my Effects & if Mr. Stenton has not gote

them already I disayer you may give Mr. John Maul

drest deer skins or money yt all may be sent me yr

first opertunity & send me some Snake ru__? [root?]

for the books I give you, I am Sr your humble Sert

P Hamilton  Land ye 23 dink?  1723

[Endorced] (sic)

To Mr. John Gray in North Carolina America

North Carolina  I the within John Maul Grant me

to have Received from the wtin named John Gray

Eighty Nine Barrels of Pitch on the account of

and by the Order of the within Robert Hamilton Mert.

in Capt Hall Court London be in full of all

accots. twine the said Robt Hamilton and the sd

John Gray of the afored. Sum I Eaerer?

& discharge the said John Gray and having Sevll

orders besides the wtin Letter to receive the same

and os all debts proceeding the date of the within

Letter, as witness my hand this ninth day of

February 1724/5 Jo Maule


Some misc. notes I’ve gathered…

1377 2 Sep 1721 William Boon of Albemarle Co and Elizabeth Boon to Robert Sims of same, 10L 200 a NS Morattock Riv upon the SS of a Cypress Br, joining William Powell and the Br now in the actual possession of the sd. Sims, part of a Patent granted to William Boon 5 Mar 1711/2, Wit Joseph Boon, Nicholas Boon. Ack 5 Sep 1721 by John Bryan by virtue of a Power of Atty from William and Elizabeth Boon.

1378 2 Sep 1721 William Boon of Albermarle Co and Elizabeth Boon to Henry Sims of same, 15L, 200 a joining the Beaverdam Br, William Powell, William Brasswell and John Pace, now in the acutal possession of Henry Sims, part of a patent for 600 a granted to William Boon 11 Nov 1720. Wit Nicholas Boon, Joseph Boon, ack 5 Sep 1721 by John Bryan by virture of power of atty from William and Eliz Boon.

1431 19 Dec 1721 William Gray of Chowan to James Turner of IOW VA, 15P 320 a SS Morattoke Riv, joining the River Pocoson, Goose Meadow, John Bryan and the River. Wit John Gray, William Comrie, Seth Hatcha, 25 May 1722 C1-220)

1432 18 Dec 1721 William Gray of Chowan to John Bryan of Isle of Wight VA, 320 a SS Morattoke Riv, joining John Nairn and the River. Wit John Gray, William Comrie, Seth Hatcher. 25 may 1722 (c1-221).

Ann BRYAN is a daughter of Lewis BRYAN SR and married John GRAY, identified as follows:

C 163 6 Apr 1729 John Gray and wife Ann to John Bryant, 200 acres on the South Side of Morratuck River at Round Pond and Broad Meadow, adjoining Nicholas Smith. Wit John Perritt, John Hacher, Nov Ct 1729.

John GRAY leaves the following will:
#81 – Will of JOHN GRAY – 20 Sept 1745 – Nov Ct 1750 – surveyor – wife ANNE – beds, furniture in the lower rooms except desk, pewter, and brass pots etc also the use of my plantation where I now live adj Aunt Sarah’s Branch containing 400 acs as well as the use of my Negroes Charles and Sarah; eldest son, JOHN – all my lands in Northhampton and Edgecombe Counties, also a desk in the north room;
son WILLIAM plantation where I now live containing 800 acres adj Broad Branch, Aunt Sarah’s Branch, ROBERT HICKS, Cashia River, but if he dies before the age of 21 or without issue this land is to be sold by my executors with the consent of my daughters ANNE and BARBARA and their husbands if they have any and the proceeds to be divided between my daughters, BARBARA, ANNE, LUCRETIA, AMELIA, and LOUISA;
son WILLIAM – Negro James and Negro Sarah after his mother’s death; daughter JANET McKINZIE – one shilling sterling as I have already given her portion;
grandson JOHN McKINZIE – breeding mare;
daughter BARBARA – 500 (400 ?) acs in Bertie Co on the upper west side of Cashia River adj her brother WILLIAM and Broad Branch, THOMAS TURNER, also Negro Thomasin;
daughter ANNE – residue of land in Bertie on WS of Cashia River adj her sister BARBARA, THOS. TURNER, WILLIAM GREGOREY and the river – also Negro Moll;
daughter LUCRETIA – 200 acs in Craven Co adj Maules Branch – also six cows etc;
daughter AMELIA – 250 acs in Bertie Co in Indian Woods, also Negro Cooper;
daughter LOUISA – Negroes Marke and Ande.
Six months after my wife’s death, all my negroes not mentioned, cattle etc to be divided into 6 parts for my 6 youngest children – BARBARA, ANNE, WILLIAM, LUCRETIA, AMELIA, and LOUISA – JOHN and JENET are not to have any share of the Negroes left to their mother for her lifetime.

A-150 Copied deed. 13 aug 1723 John Bryan of Bertie to Lewis Bryan of Bertie 37P 12Sh 6p, 640 acres, St. johns Neck, beg at a gum on Chinkapin Swamp Brays corner tree then along his line S45W260P to a pine another of his corner trees then along his other line N45W203P to a pine then S30W312P to a pine in William West line then along his line N80E300P to a maple his corner tree on Chinkapin Creek swamp thence the meadndors of the swamp to the first station.
Signed: John Bryan.

Of course I would be remiss if I leave out this little tidbit…

Minutes of the North Carolina Governor’s Council

North Carolina. Council

October 08, 1736 – October 15, 1736

Volume 04, Pages 223-225

Read the petition of Sr Richard Everard Bart in behalf of Dame Susanna Everard Executrix of Sr Richard Everard Bart Deceased setting forth that the Tuskarrora Indians are indebted to the said Susanna £203 in Drest Deer Skins and praying that they may be compelled to discharge the same referred to the Indian Commissioners

Ordered that a Commission issue appointing Robert West Esqr—Speirs Jno Gray and Thos Whitmel Gent Commissioners for Indian Affairs

Ordered that for the future the Indian Traders do not presume to trust or give any credit to the Indians and that the aforesaid Commissioners take care to see this Order observed.

 That’s about all I have… that merchant deed raised my curiosity up a notch… Gray was dealing with some heavy hitters in the 1720s involving Bath Town and the Cashy River merchants including the Maules, Christopher Gale, several Bryan(t)s, and others…
update Apr, 2022
   This map show what appears to be a father and son (Wm Gray) near the Nottoway River and Three Creeks area of Virginia in 1714 or so… it is speculated they may have traded aroune Occoneechee Neck, NC in that era…

Written by anderson1951

May 4, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Responses

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  1. From the same Mary Best Bell book of Bertie deeds, you will find records to prove that John Gray and brother William Gray were from Surry Co, VA. Henry Jones (Sr) and (son) Frances (Francis) Jones witnessed two of his earliest deeds in 1723. Some of John Gray’s land adjoined the land of Henry Jones Sr and wife Catherine Judkins in the Oconeechee Neck on the N side of the Roanoke. Henry was an Indian trader who was first granted land in the neck in 1711/12 but didn’t move his family from Surry Co until 1725. Catherine’s father was Samuel Judkins Jr, son of Samuel Judkins Sr and Lydia Gray, daughter of Thomas Gray Sr the immigrant to Jamestown. You will not find this in published sources, but it has been proven and is on file with the Jamestown Society. When Henry Jones Sr and Catherine Judkins left Surry Co in 1725, they sold her inherited share of the 800 acre Thomas Gray grant to William Gray Jr. Her nephew, William Dennis, and cousin James Judkins also sold their inherited shares to William Gray Jr at the same time. Purse and Person misquoted the will of John Gray concerning this land which created a lot of confusion. Boddie confused a later Lydia Gray with the earlier Lydia Judkins which created even more confusion. No one ever checked the actual records and discovered these mistakes. William Gray Jr did leave a will. He did not name a son John but did have a son John who predeceased him and left a will of his own. So this John Gray that you found and his brother William Gray could not be the children of William Gray Jr. Perhaps they’re from the next younger generation. Robert Hicks was an Indian trader, and Henry Jones Sr was also an Indian trader, so I’m guessing this John Gray was probably involved in the Indian trade business at some point too.


    Frances Cullom Morgan

    August 28, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    • I believe there were two John Gray’s who are frequently confused. My 5th GGF “migrated from Chowan” with the Suttons/Aldridges/Hardy’s to Dobbs/Lenoir in 1769 (first appearance in the census). He was reportedly a Captain in the Third Regiment of the NC Continental Line and resigned in 1778. He held the rank of second Major in the Camden Militia. Upon review, you will find that John (Surveyor) Gray who resided in Bertie, and decended from Thomas Gray Ancient Planter was not a military man. His son William did serve in the Bertie Militia, and held several political positions. His son John died in Edgecombe without children, and left his land to his friend Thomas Hart. My ancestor John Gray was related to Lodwick Gray who also served, but I am not sure how. In the 1790 census you will find two John Grays, and Lodewick. If you read several of the books by the Sutton’s, Aldridge, Hardy, Suggs, Creech, Pridgeon, and Ruffin families, you will find an accounting of your “mystery John Gray. “ This website outlines this great-grandson John (1786) Gray and his wife Edith Mewborn. John (1786) Gray’s father was John Gray, and his mother was Elizabeth, (Family bibles). His father was Thomas Gray, who was also an ensign in the Rev. War, and served in Captain Wood’s regimine. He served in the House of Commons in 1769, and at the 1st Provential Congress in Newbern in 1773/4. His father John, the man in question was a member of the House of Commons in 1724, served on the Commission of Foreign Affaris in 1736, was a Jutice of the Peace, and a member of the Council of War. PS – LOVE YOUR MAPS!


      • Hi Cathy
        Thanks for the input… my thoughts are the Grays I am looking for are a generation before your guys. And more than likely Indian Traders. Note that he was kicking around Occoneechee Neck in 1721 or so. It is speculated he came from Surry County. I’ll try to add a more recent map to the post above…



        April 25, 2022 at 11:47 am

      • I show John Gray son of Thomas; and John Gray who entered through Glouchester in 1651 and died in 1685. 1651 – Col. Richard Lee, born about 1613 in England, sponsored John Gray, who arrived in 1651. Richard Lee “Immigrant” came to the Jamestown colony in late 1639. He settled first in Jamestown. COL. RICHARD LEE Esqr., 500 acres, Gloucester Co., 18 Oct. 1651, p. 338. Upon the head branches of Poropotank Swamp & upon the S. & N. side of Mattapony Path bounded E. S. E. by a swamp and valley called the Spring Valley. Trans. of 10 pers: Mathew Peacock, Eliza. Hurrs (?), Roger Ashby, Robt. Kemp, John Gray, John Smith, John Bright, William Mathews, Edward Howard, John Charles. At his death, he owned more than 15,000 acres of land in Virginia, Maryland, and a large estate outside of London, at Stratford-Langton. His well-known list of distinguished descendants, including signers of the Declaration of Independence, and General Ro Robert E. Lee, Commander of the Confederate Army.

        1651 – On 18Oct1651, Col. Richard Lee, a patent for 500 acres in Gloucester County on branches of Poropotank Swamp on N. and S. side of Mattapony Path, bounded E.S.E. by Spring Valley for transport of ten persons, including John Gray.

        Also, John Gray who survived the Jamestown Massacre, and lived at Weynoack with Sir George Yardley. I cannot find a trace of him after the Massacre; but he is well documented on the survivors lists. Thomas Ancient Planter’s son (John Gray (1627 – 1683) m. Mary Unknown (abt. 1630 – aft 1683) in 1648. Henry Gray arrived in Jamestown in 1650 with Lewis Berwell. He had a son, John, who was listed as a tithable by 1678. In 1704, there was also a John Gray in Accomack County who had 116 acres of land on the Quit Rents. and then…..John Gray, born ABT 1660 in Isle of Wight Co, VA, died bef 27 Mar 1738 in the Isle of Wight married: Elizabeth Davis (1667) on abt 1690 at the Isle of Wight. John Gray & Joseph Ballard on 26 March 1723 purchased 365 acres on the West side of the Chowan river. John Grey was issued 640 acres of land on 09 Mar 1717 in Chowan County, located “In St. Johns Neck”. This was recorded in Land Patent Book 3 page 30 as Chowan County Grant # . and then: F-314 John Gray to Thomas PARKER 10 Feb 1741/42 640a. on WS Chowan River in St. Johns Neck adj John Bryan on Cypress Swamp at Tumbling Branch and Femur Branch at Chinkapen Creek. Wit: John Freeman, jurat. Feb Court 1741. I have been trying to answer the question of where John came from for 15 years!


      • (I have no doubt you have reviewed this, but you might find it helpful)


  2. I have a John Gray buying land from my guy (James Anderson) in 1722. see the map below for Occoneeche Neck… the land is roughly in the center of the page… this is why the Grays are on my radar. Also just use the search button on my site for “john gray” all my research will appear.

    TTT Occoneechee Neck Indian Traders



    April 25, 2022 at 1:47 pm

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