Saturday, April 22, 2017

Surname Saturday ~ BRAY of Salem, Massachusetts


There were two BRAY families living in Essex County at the same time period in the early 1600s.  I don't think they are related at all.  The first BRAY family I wrote about lived in Gloucester, descendants of the immigrant Thomas Bray (1614 – 1691), probably from Wales.  You can read about this BRAY family at this link:  

Robert Bray is my other 9th great grandfather.  He lived on “The Neck” in Salem, Massachusetts near the land owned by my WEBB, BECKET, HILLIARD, and CLOUTMAN ancestors.  I don’t know his origins, or even the maiden name of his wife, Thomasin.  According to the History of Salem, by Perley, he was the captain of a ketch, which was lost at sea in 1692 with all onboard. 

His son, Robert Bray, Jr., is my 8th great grandfather.  He married Christian Collins in 1685.  Robert’s sister, Priscilla, married David Hilliard in 1689.  David Hilliard is the brother of my 9th great grandmother, Elizabeth (Hilliard) Peters (b. 1658).  Robert Bray, Jr. was also a master mariner, and he lived near the Salem Common.

My 7th great grandmother, Priscilla Bray, married Jonathan Webb in 1714. He was “cordwainer” (shoemaker), a deacon of the East Society parish church, and they lived on the corner of Derby and Hardy Streets.   In 1720, 1721 and 1722 Jonathan Webb was listed as the master of the sloop Eagle.  Priscilla and Jonathan Webb were ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne, too.

For more information:

The Driver Family: A Genealogical Memoir of the Descendants of Robert and Phebe Driver of Lynn, Mass. by Harriet Ruth Waters Cooke, 1889, see page 251 for a sketch of Robert Bray, Senior, page 252 for Robert Bray, Jr, and page 475 for Priscilla Bray and Jonathan Webb. 

“Descendants of Robert Bray of Salem”, The Essex Antiquarian, Volume XI, 1907, page 105.  

My BRAY genealogy:

Generation 1:  Robert Bray, died 1692; married Thomasine Unknown.  Four children.

Generation 2: Robert Bray, died after 1692; married on 5 November 1685 in Salem to Christian Collins, daughter of Francis Collins and Hannah Cockerill.  Five children. 

Generation 3: Priscilla Bray, born 11 March 1690 in Salem, died after 4 February 1767; married on 23 March 1714 in Salem to Jonathan Webb, son of John Webb and Susannah Cunliffe.  He was born about 1690 and died before 1765. Nine children. 

Generation 4: Mary Webb m. Joseph Cloutman
Generation 5: Joseph Cloutman m. Hannah Becket
Generation 6:  Mary Cloutman m. Abijah Hitchings
Generation 7:  Abijah Hitchings m. Eliza Ann Treadwell
Generation 8:  Abijah Franklin Hitchings m. Hannah Eliza Lewis
Generation 9:  Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 10:  Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Surname Saturday ~ Bray of Salem, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 22, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 


  1. Do you think the Braybrook line had any relationship to the Brays? My ancestor is Richard Braybrook/Brabrook/Braybrooke who arrived around 1630 in Ipswich.

    1. I'm not familiar with this surname at all. You would have to compare your BRAYBROOKs to both BRAY families and look for clues to possible kinship.

  2. The Hathorne's that settled in that area of Salem came from Bray, Berkshire, England. I wonder if your Bray's did?

    1. Oh, that's a great point! I don't know their origins, but it is worth investigating!