John Gray Master c.1830

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John Gray Master c.1830

Post by Rowe » Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:41 am

Dear Folks

I'm hoping someone will be able to help me shed some light on this fellow and his family. The information below was supplied by a descendant of his son in South Africa. I don't know how to find if there would be any records of his apprenticeship or training, or of his death. And of course, I'm hoping to find where he came from, his marriage, and parents.

John Gray married a Margaret (maiden name possibly Threadgold). They had 3 children: Margaret bapt. 10 Sep 1824 Sth Africa, Mary (known as Elizabeth) bapr. 30 Apr 1826 Sth Africa, and John (changed his name to Jan Grey) bapt. 22 Oct 1828, Sth Africa.

John Gray was a ship’s master and visited the Cape between 1819 - 1838. In 1818 the barque Amity (368 tons) was built and registered by Clyde Shipping Co. Ltd. Whitby, with a John Gray listed as Master.

From the Cape Town (Gazette) Archive: 5 September 1828, arrived in Simons Bay 31. 8. 1828, Amity, John Gray, Master, from Portsmouth 7th June, bound to Ceylon with troops 184 men, 16 women and 19 children. Late August 1828 he visited the Cape leaving his wife and daughters for the birth of third child John. John (snr) returned on 23 January 1829. The last time Amity visited Cape Town was 2 to 18 April 1834: April 2, Amity, J. Gray, from Mauritius 12 March, to this port in ballast. April 18, 1834: Sailed from Table Bay, Amity, J. Gray, to Quebec. He visited Cape Town three times more with the Minerva (October 1836), the Pero (August 1837) and the Mary Sharp (November 1838) from Calcutta to Liverpool. According to family oral history, both Master John Gray and his wife Margaret died in an accident onboard a ship (likely the Mary Sharp) during a hurricane, when they were burnt by pitch.

The three children who were onboard returned to Cape Town where John (jnr) aged nine years, was placed in foster care with the Stagman family. The two daughters went back to the UK. One of the daughter Elizabeth was recorded marrying in Cape Town in 1852. She and her husband William Shugg emigrated to Australia where they had their family, in Sydney. I will also post this on a genealogy section of the forum.

Hoping someone can shed some light, or direct me. I'm limited to searching online.
Kind regards,
in Melbourne

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Re: John Gray Master c.1830

Post by Currie » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:27 pm

Hello Rowena,

There’s a bit more about this in a previous thread

Some of the items I mentioned that are in the Australian and British newspapers may fill in gaps as far as his voyages are concerned.

The story that both husband and wife were burnt by pitch in a hurricane makes you think a bit about how such a thing could happen. It sounds almost as if enough boiling tar or pitch was spilled over both of them to cause fatal burns. I don’t know what a captain and his wife would be doing together in the middle of a hurricane that could give that result.

There’s a story from 1838 on page 82 of this book about a boy who fell over and both arms went into boiling pitch. He healed up okay, at least according to the Doctor who wrote it. They used to dip the stumps of amputated limbs in boiling pitch or tar to seal them. ... 22&f=false

My guess would be that there was a fire fuelled by pitch or tar. Both items are inflammable and were use for various things on board ship. Here’s a story about an accident with boiling tar causing the loss of the “William Nelson”. ... ip&f=false

But I’m only guessing,

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Re: John Gray Master c.1830

Post by carnick » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:51 pm

Hi Rowena
Regarding John Gray & Margaret Threadgold:
Both appear to have been born at Wapping, London.
John Gray 1786 in Nightingale Lane, Wapping. Margaret Threadgold 1797 7th Aug Wapping St, Wapping.
They married 27th May 1815 according to the Middlesex & London marriage Index.
Jannet Gray born 02/01/1821 Wapping, London before the move to Cape Town.
Margaret Threadgold was a daughter of Charles Threadgold and Jannet Threadgold. (her maiden name not found)
Charles died age 71 in 1840 Mar Qtr Stepney 2.314 (buried 26th Jan 1840 Tower Hamlets, Wapping).
Jannet Threadgold appears in 1841 Census as born Scotland, but is recorded dead age 79 1845 Jun Qtr Stepney 2.299.
Cannot find anything earlier about them in official records.
If you look on the Geni website some records for the Gray family can be found that may or may not help.
Regards Nick

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Re: John Gray Master c.1830

Post by carnick » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:16 pm

Hi again Rowena,
Have been able to check on the marriage of John Gray and Margaret Threadgold.
As Margaret was only 18 yrs old, her father Charles and John Gray had to obtain a licence for the marriage costing then £200.
John Gray was 21 and a Shipwright. The licence is dated 27th May 1815 and gives St John Wapping as the intended Church.
Have found a baptism record for Charles Gray son of John and Margaret Gray on 29th June 1817 at St John Wapping it says Charles was born 29 June 1816.
Also a baptism record for Janet Gray daughter of John and Margaret Gray on 2nd March 1821 at St George, Middlesex, its says Janet was born 1 Feb
For information - on checking records for ships sailing to the Cape in 1817:
Moodies Party sailing on the Ships Clyde and Garland included John Gray Cabinetmaker (wife did not embark). could be your John Gray?
Moodies Party sailing on the Ship Brilliant included William Gray Carpenter. (? brothers)
I hope this helps, Nick

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