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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 502-504 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The family name of Gray is said to be an adaptation of the title of a town in Burgundy, France, on the banks of the Saone river. Rollo, chamberlain to Robert, Duke of Normandy, received from him the castle and honor of Croy, in Picardy, whence his family assumed the name of De Croy (afterward changed into De Gray) and migrated into Scotland, descendants of whom later came to this country. The Gray arms: Shield: gules, a lion rampant, argent, holding between two paws an anchor azure, environed with an adder proper. Motto: Secura quae prudentes.

(I) Archibald Gray, born in Scotland, was respected highly as a member of a family of education and refinement, being land owners in good circumstances. He died in Dunoon, Scotland, 1803. Among his children was Daniel Gray.

(II) Daniel, son of Archibald Gray, was born in Dunoon, Scotland. His occupation was that of instructor in navigation. He married Agnes, daughter of Niel and Agnes (Turner) Campbell, of Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Niel Campbell died in Dunoon, Scotland, 1763. Daniel Gray, with his wife and four children, came to America in 1793, and settled in New York City, where he died of yellow fever in 1803. Among his children was a son, Niel.

(III) Niel, son of Daniel and Agnes (Campbell) Gray, was born in Dunoon, Scotland, in 1789, and came to America with his parents in 1793. He resided in New York City where he engaged in the insurance business, and died January 30, 1852. He married (first) Janet Mellis, who died when only twenty-one years old, by whom he had two children, both born in New York City;

  1. James Archibald, in 1815, see forward; and
  2. Daniel Alexander, in 1817 (see Reynolds family).

Niel Gray married (second) Janet Macpherson, born in Albany, in 1796, died there June 22, 1872, daughter of Charles and Isabella Macpherson (maiden name the same as her husband's), who were married in Albany, May 20, 1828. Children of Niel and Janet (Macpherson) Gray, all born in New York City:

  1. Mary, born May 24, 1830; died in Oswego, New York, October 22, 18——; married, in New York City, September 4, 1848, Hon. Charles Timpson Adee; children:
    1. Niel Gray Adee, born July 2, 1852, died March 18, 1887; and
    2. a daughter, Janet Gray Adee, died in infancy.
  2. William Niel, born November 4, 1832, died in Colorado, December 18, 1880.
  3. Martha, born July 15, 1834, married, in New York City, June 4, 1857, Rowland Timpson, of New York City. He was born in New York, in 1823, and died at Ausable Chasm, New York, July 24, 1898. Children:
    1. Rowland, born in New York City, December 17, 1858, died August, 1859.
    2. Allan Gray (Timpson), born in New York City, July 27, 1861; married, November 13, 1900, at Ausable Chasm, Anna Maud, daughter of Clark and Dora (Bridges) Wells, by whom he had
      1. Niel Gray, born January 4, 1905; and
      2. Justine Adee, born May 18, 1908, at Ausable, New York.
  4. Charles Mercer, born in 1836, died unmarried, in Cornwall, New York, July 31, 1876.

(IV) James Archibald, eldest son of Niel and Janet (Mellis) Gray, was born in New York City, in 1815; died in Albany, New York, December 11, 1889. He served a regular apprenticeship with the firm of Firth & Hall, New York City, and became thoroughly familiar with the construction of pianos. In 1835 he came to Albany and for two years was employed as superintendent by William G. Boardman, who through the non-payment of notes on which he was indorser, had taken over the stock of a small piano-making firm of Albany. William G. Boardman was a wholesale grocer of that city and incapable of conducting a business with which he was unfamiliar, and having found that the manufacture and sale of pianos under Mr. Gray's able management was more lucrative than the grocery business, he persuaded his clever superintendent to form a partnership, and the firm of Boardman & Gray was established in 1837. This partnership was continued until 1866, when James Archibald Gray became sole owner of the business by purchase from Mr. Boardman of all his right, title and interest therein. In 1877 he admitted his eldest son, William James Gray, to the firm as partner. He continued his successful career as a manufacturer until his death, December 11, 1889. He was known all over the United States as one of the oldest piano manufacturers in the country, and the business he founded in 1837 and personally conducted for nearly half a century is still in successful operation and controlled by his sons. As one of the oldest business houses of Albany, its various locations may be noted with interest. Originally located at the corner of Broadway and Dewitt streets in 1837, removed to the "old elm tree corner" (northwest corner of State and Pearl), then to the corner of Broadway and North Ferry. In 1866 removed to the brick building, No. 239 North Pearl street, where a disastrous fire drove them finally to their present location at the corner of Broadway and Steuben streets. The product of Boardman & Gray is well known throughout the musical world and continues in favor.

Mr. Gray was a Unitarian in his religious belief, courteous and dignified in his demeanor, kind-hearted and generous in his nature, and of the strictest integrity and highest principle in his business life. His mechanical skill, inventive genius and executive ability, were all employed in making "Boardman & Gray," a synonym for piano perfection. The employees of his factory and offices attended his funeral in a body, and at a meeting called for the purpose, passed resolutions of appreciation and sympathy. "A man ennobled by the highest instincts and practices of true manhood, beloved by those with whom he associated, respected wherever he was known for his integrity, kindness and charity, we who knew him so well, desire to express the poignant sorrow we feel at his death."

He married (first) in Albany, in 1851, Elizabeth McCammon, daughter of Enoch and Lydia (Sturtevant) McCammon; (second) December 4, 1856, Matilda Annesley. Children of first marriage:

  1. Alice Elizabeth, born in Albany, New York, May 2, 1852, died in Syracuse, New York, April 3, 1875; married William Thurston Searles, in Albany, October 30, 1873, and had a son Archibald James Gray Searles, born March 16, 1875, died July 22, 1875.
  2. William James, see forward.

Children by second marriage:

  1. James Stuart, see forward.
  2. Frank Lovet, born in Albany, July 20, 1859, died November 10, 1860.

(V) William James, son of James Archibald and Elizabeth (McCammon) Gray, was born at Dobb's Ferry, New York, at the home of his paternal grandmother, June 13, 1853. He was educated at Albany at the "Boy's Academy." When a young man he entered the piano factory of Boardman & Gray, continuing six years. Here he became thoroughly familiar with practical construction and factory requirements. In 1877 he was admitted a partner of Boardman & Gray, continuing until the death of his father in 1899. This, while involving a reorganization, in no way interfered with the business, William J. Gray becoming the senior member of the firm, which continues as "Boardman & Gray." His years of practical factory experience, coupled with his long years of official management and office experience, render him eminently capable of assuming this trust. The high standing which Boardman & Gray attained in their first half century is being fully maintained and improved under present management. Mr. Gray is a supporter of Republican principles, and a member of the First Reformed Dutch Church. His social clubs are the Fort Orange and the Albany Country Clubs. He is a member of the Alumni Association of the Boys' Academy, an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, and interested in all that pertains to the welfare or development of his city. He married, November 9, 1881, Maria Sabina, daughter of Robert and Martha Eliza (Searles) Bogardus (see Bogardus IX). Children, all born in Albany, New York:

  1. Alice Elizabeth, born October 9, 1882; educated at St. Agnes' School in Albany, finishing at "Rosemary Hall," Greenwich, Connecticut. She married, January 12, 1910, Charles Foster Lovejoy, born in Lynn, Massachusetts, November 19, 1882. He is a Harvard man, class of 1904; finished his course at Harvard Law School in 1907, and is now attorney at law in Boston, Massachusetts. Charles Foster Lovejoy is the only son of Charles Averill Lovejoy, a prominent physician and surgeon of Lynn, Massachusetts, where he was born in 1845, and where he married in 1881, Alice Louise Foster.
  2. Florence Bogardus, born October 20, 1884; educated at Albany Female Academy, the "Misses Fenimore Cooper School" at Albany, New York, and at Dana Hall, Wellesley, Massachusetts.
  3. Ruth Bogardus, born in Albany, New York, June 7, 1887; educated at Albany Female Academy and under private tutors.

The family residence is in Washington Park, 461 State street, Albany, New York.

(V) James Stuart, son of James Archibald and Matilda (Annesley) Gray, was born in Albany, New York, September 7, 1857. He was graduated from the Albany Academy, class of 1874. He then entered the firm of Boardman & Gray, later becoming a partner. He is Republican in politics, and attends St. Peter's (Episcopal) church. He is a member of the Fort Orange and Albany County [Country?] clubs, Albany Academy Alumni Association, and of the Chamber of Commerce. He married in Albany, January 16, 1881, Cornelia Briggs Emerson, born in Albany, January 16, 1859; educated at the Albany Girls' Academy; daughter of James Bradley and Cornelia Hyde (Briggs) Emerson. James Bradley Emerson was born in Alstead Center, New Hampshire, in 1820; died at Albany, New York, November 17, 1882. Married at Albany, September 29, 1857, Cornelia Hyde Briggs, born at Albany, December 24, 1838; died in that city, February 1, 1859. Children of James Stuart and Cornelia Briggs (Emerson) Gray:

  1. Cornelia Emerson, born November 3, 1882, educated at St. Agnes' school, Albany; married in the house of her birth, February 7, 1907, Maurice Sherman Damon, born in Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, January 19, 1882, son of Edward Chenery and Cornelia (Beckwith) Damon and grandson of Samuel Chenery Damon, D.D., LL.D., of Holden, Mass., better known as "Father Damon, the seaman's friend." Dr. Damon married Julia Sherman Mills. He was a student of Princeton Theological Seminary and graduate of Andover. A regularly ordained minister of the Gospel, he chose missionary work, and with his bride went to Honolulu, under appointment of the American Seaman's Society, as chaplain for Honolulu. Maurice S. Damon was graduated from Yale University, class of 1904.
  2. James Coats, born November 25, 1888, died in Albany, November 13, 1892.
  3. Emerson Coats, born March 25, 1894, educated at Albany Boys' Academy.
  4. Helen Annesley, born March 25, 1894 (twin with Emerson C.), died at birth.
  5. Niel Annesley, born December 11, 1895, student at the Boys' Academy.
  6. Bradley Cary, born December 13, 1897, student at the Boys' Academy.

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