WRAY, James

Born 3 February 1822, Sandal Magna, Yorkshire. Died 3 February 1886, Lydenburg, Transvaal.

Farmer, joiner and builder, sawyer, wheelwright.

1822.02.03      Born and baptized at Sandal Magna, Yorks. (Moss). His parents were William Wray and Hannah Laud/Land. William’s parents were George Wray and Susannah Saxton. His siblings were John, Joseph and William. (Moss)

1845.05.25      Married at Silkston, Yorks., Amelia France, dau. of William France. William had a sister Amelia who was married to a John Gibson. (Ib.)

1846.02.00      Son William b. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1847.11.00      Son Walter b. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1850.07.31      Sailed from London on the barque Emily with wife Amelia and two sons William and Walter. (Clark, pp. 209 & 255)

1850.10.10      The Emily arrived at Port Natal after a “fast passage of 77 days for which the passengers were grateful as the old hull was swarming with rats”. Allocated 60 acres. (Ib., pp. 253 & 255). A wheelwright, came at the age of 27 with Amelia 23, William 4 and Walton [sic] 2. (MP vol.21). [Moreland Papers – Moreland, John Swales* was Byrne’s agent in Natal]. Was allocated Lot 6 (60 acres) of Little Harmony, Illovo, and 1 Block F, Richmond. (MP vol 21)

1850.10.18      Jas. Wray and family included on the Emily passenger list. He was a wheelwright. (NW 18.10.50)

1853.04.00      Son John Gibson b. (R. Wes., Pmb.)

1853.08.00      Of Ashley [SW of Howick] when John Gibson baptized in the residence of Mr Pain, Ashley. (Ib.)

1854.01.00      Farmer, Ashley, when sons William and Walter baptized. (R. St P., Pmb)

1854.08.08      Farmer, Shooter’s Hill [NE of Howick] renter. (NGG 08.08.54)

1854.12.00      Methley [Methley, James Erasmus*] wrote to his father in England saying that Wray had been working for him for a few months, wanted to stay on the farm [Shafton, E of Howick] for life, but wouldn’t do so unless the land became his own. He was an honest and good workman and a pleasant neighbour whom Methley wanted to keep, so he had sold him the land – 40 acres for 17/6d. an acre. Methley also said that Wray was b. in Shafton Green [sic] and had come to Natal with E. Parkinson [Parkinson, Edwin*]. (JEM to father 00.12.54). According to Professor Hattersley, James Wray, a joiner and wheelwright from Burton, came out with Edwin Parkinson, son of a West Riding surgeon, on the Emily, Wray had been b. in Shafton Green [sic], the village home of Parkinson and his wife, Mary, cousin of James Erasmus Methley. (BSN pp. 214 &215)

1855.02.00      Dau. Elizabeth b. (R.Wes., Pmb.)

1857.00.00      Joiner and builder, Shafton, County Pmb. (GHLIP)

1857.05.00      Of Shafton when dau. Elizabeth bap. ( R. Wes., Pmb.)

1857.08.00      Dau. Frances [France] Amelia b. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1857.10.30      Joiner and builder, Shafton, Co. Pmb., applied for emigration for Joseph Wray [his brother] of Ossett Low Common, near Wakefield, Yorks., agricultural labourer, 37, his wife Martha, 36, with  children George, 14 (a farm servant), John, 11 and another child, 2. (EI vol. 1, p. 238)

1858.07.00      Nominated as immigrants Joseph Wray, 37 (an agricultural labourer), Martha, 36, George, 14 (a farm servant), John, 11, Joseph 2 and Joshua an infant. They came from near Wakefield as passengers on the Phantom. (GHLIP)

1858.07.28      The Phantom, a schooner of 210 tons, arrived at Port Natal having sailed from Plymouth on 25.04.1858. Among the passengers were Mr & Mrs [Joseph] Wray and four children; Mr & Mrs [John] Wray [brother of James] and 3 children; George Wray [no details known], Mary Wray [no details known] and Mr & Mrs [William] Redshaw and four children. (William Bell [William Douglas Bell*], Port Capt.).  James Wray stood surety for Joseph Wray and family. (EI 65). John Methley* [cousin of J.E. Methley] nominated and stood surety for the John Wrays. (Ib.) John Wray, 39, agricultural labourer, Barnsley, came with his wife Hannah, 39, Mary, 14, Ann, 11, Susan, 6, Thomas, 7 and Emily 4. (Ib.)

1859.09.00      Dau. Eleanor b. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1860.01.00      Place of residence Dingley Dale, Riet Vlei [16 miles by road N of Shooters Hill],

as given in Eleanor’s bap. details. Father a farmer. (Ib.)

1860.04.00      Of Shafton stood surety for passage money of John Gibson, 26, a teacher from Barnsley, Yorks, who came on the Lady of the Lake. (EI 65)

1860.07.23      J. E Methley wrote that in July 60 people had stayed at Shafton to celebrate the opening of the Methodist chapel there#. He had been working for the establishment of this chapel for some years and among his protégés who worked on its construction was Jim Wray. (JEM to father 23.07.1860)

1864.04.00      Did they have a son Charles who d. aged 15 years? (Tomb St Mark’s, KK)

1864.04.10      Mary Milner Shaw, nèe Greathead [dau. of Thomas Greathead*], recorded in her diary that Charles Wray d. on this date. (MMG 10.04.64)

1864.04.12      Fred [Frederick Edgar Shaw, son of Mrs Ann Shaw* and husband of Mary Milner Greathead] went to Shafton with the funeral. (MMG 12.04.64)

1867.06.25      Son Edwin b. (R. Ang. H.)

1868.01.13      Edwin bap., father a sawyer, Karkloof [E of Howick]. (R. Ang. H.)

1869.03.08      At Spitzkop, to Mrs J. Wray a dau. [Spitzkop is a hill in the Karkloof. Dau’s name Margaret]. (NM 00.04.69)

1869.12.29      Margaret bap., father a sawyer, Karkloof. (R. Ang. H.)

1871.03.13      Son Benjamin b. (R. Ang. H.)

1872.03.09      Benjamin bap., father still a sawyer, Karkloof. (Ib.)

1873.04.00      Son Walter took out licence to m. Mary Ann Redshaw [dau. of William Redshaw above]. (CSO 2286)

1876.03.09      Son John Gibson m. (Moss)

1880.09.20      Dau. Eleanor, m. in Pretoria, her parents were witnesses. (Moss)

1885.04.00      Dau. Margaret and Owen McDonald Ryder took out licence to marry. (CSO 2288)

1886.02.01      Died at Lydenburg [Eastern Transvaal, gold discovered near there in the 1870s]. (RSC IV/8/1 no. 2/1892)

1886.02.03      Died at Lydenburg, age unknown, b. in Yorkshire, parents unknown, carpenter, married, children unknown. Death notice signed by C.A.B. Lovegrove who certified that he was present when James Wray d. (MHG 0/7425 Tvl.)

1890.05.18      Widow Amelia living at Lennoxton, Newcastle [Northern Natal], when son William d. on this date. William’s siblings were listed as Walter, James, John, Harry, Edwin, Benjamin, Mrs E. Button, Mrs Hughes, Mrs Potter, Mrs Redman and Mrs Ryder. Benjamin Wray filed in the death notice. (MSCE 7/362)

1892.03.02      Amelia Wray b. France, widow of James Wray who d. Lydenburg 01.02.1886 intestate and leaving 11 children, declared that all the children are majors except the youngest who turns 21 on 14.03.1892. She gives P/A to agents in Pretoria to appoint executors for her husband’s estate. She signed with an X. Signed at Newcastle. (RSC IV/8/1 no. 2/1892)

1892.12.15      Widow Amelia Wray, defendant in James Sivewright vs James Wray, was represented by an attorney at meeting of next-of-kin to appoint an executor in the estate of James Wray. Assets in the estate included the Remainder of ½ the farm Honingnestkrantz, Lydenburg district and Erf 865 Pretoria. The Cape Commercial Bank held a promissory note and money was owed to the Natal Bank. Proceeds of the sale of the Pretoria Erf went to Sivewright. Honingnestkrantz went to Natal Bank who held the bond. ( MHG 0/7425 Tvl.)

1902.07.28      Widow Amelia (nèe France) d. at Newcastle. (Moss)



William (b.00.02.1846, Barnsley, Yorks. – d. 18.05.1890, Lennoxton, Newcastle, Natal)

1846.02.00      b. (R. St P., Pmb.). Barnsley, Yorks. (MSCE 7/362)

1850.10.10      Arrived at Port Natal with his parents, passengers on the Emily. (MP vol. 21)

1854.01.00      bap., father a farmer of Ashley. Sponsors: parents and George [Duly] Greaves* (R. St P., Pmb.)

1890.05.18      Of Lennoxton, transport rider, b. at Barnsley, d. at Lennoxton aged 44, unmarried. (MSCE 7/362). Aged 44, farmer, d. at Lennoxton, Newcastle. (N/CGRD)

Walter (b.00.11.1847, Barnsley, Yorks. – d. 14.02.1908, Umbogintwini, Natal)

1847.11.00      b. (R. St P., Pmb.). Barnsley, Yorks. (CSO 2286)

1850.10.10      Arrived at Port Natal with his parents, passengers on the Emily. (MP vol. 21)

1854.01.00      bap., father a farmer of Ashley. Sponsors: parents and George [Duly] Greaves* (R. St P., Pmb)

1873.04.00      Aged 25yrs 4 mths, b. Barnsley, Yorks., took out licence to m. Mary Ann Redshaw, 22yrs 3mths, b. Kilham, Yorks. They were m. in Pmb. (CSO 2286). Mary Ann was the dau. of William and Mary [sic] Redshaw. (MSCW 1307/1927 via Moss). The Redshaws were passengers on the Phantom, see above. Jonathan Redshaw* stood surety for their passage money. (EI 65)

1873.04.02      m. (R St J. Pmb.)

1908.02.00      Killed at Umbogintwini [Natal South Coast] aged 60. (Tomb WSC). In a train accident. (Moss)

1908.02.14      d. aged 60, platelayer, at Umbogintwini, b. Eng, m. Mary Ann in Pmb. (MSCE 32/119).

1908 03.17      According to the Death Notice signed by his widow in Dbn, Walter d. at the platelayer’s cottage, Umbogintwini, leaving widow Mary Ann and children Gertrude Mabel, Mrs Alice Gweneth Spencer, James Walter, William Joseph (in America), Herbert Leonard (all majors) and Cedric Edwin b. 20.10.1896. (MSCE 32/119 via Moss)

1927.11.00      Widow Mary Ann d. aged 77. (Tomb WSC)

1927.11.03      Mary Ann , 77, b. Eng., d. at Red Hill [N. of Dbn]. (VGRD)

?Charles (b.1849c. – d. 10.04.1864, Karkloof, Natal)

1849c.             b. (calculated from date of death)

1864.04.00      d. aged 15. (Tomb St M., KK)

1864.04.10      d. (MMG 10.04.64)

1864.04.12      bur. (Ib.)

John Gibson (b. 00.04.1853, Ashley, Natal – d.17.03.1906, Enkeldoorn, Rhodesia)

1853.04.00      b. at Ashley, Natal. (R. Wes., Pmb.)

1853.04.23      b. (Moss)

1853.08.00      bap. in Mr Pain’s Residence, Ashley. (R. Wes., Pmb.)

1856.00.00      Johanna Petronella Grobler b. Zoutpansberg, Transvaal. (Moss)

1876.03.09      m. Johanna Petronella Grobler at Marabastad, Zoutpansberg, Tvl. (Ib.)

1892.00.00      John Gibson Wray registered in the Rhodesian Prospecting Licence Book. (Gird)

1895.04.16      His prospecting licence renewed. In this year the whole family went to Rhodesia. (Gird)

1897.00.00      John Gibson and his two sons P.J. and J.W. Wray were awarded medals for fighting with the Victoria Rifle Corps during the Mashona Rebellion. (Gird)

1906.03.17      d. at Enkeldoorn, Rhodesia. (Moss). Wife Johanna also d. at Enkeldoorn. Date not given. (Ib.)

Elizabeth (b. 00.02.1855, Howick – d. 26.09.1924. Newcastle, Natal)

1839.06.00c.   Second husband William Hughes b. in Essex, England. (Moss)

1840c.             First husband George Welch, b. c. 1840. (Moss)

1855.02.00      b. (R. Wes., Pmb.)

1857.05.00      bap., parents of Shafton. (Ib.)

1875.06.07      m. George Welch at Marabastad, Tvl. (Moss)

1890.12.19      Widow, m. William Hughes of Newcastle. She was of Lennoxton. (N/CGR)

1924.03.30      William Hughes d. at Newcastle. (Moss)

1924.09.26      Elizabeth, widow Hughes, d. aged 72, b. Howick. (N/CGRD)

France Amelia (b. 00.08.1857 – d.)

1851c.             Husband H.W. Potter b., London. (Moss)

1857.08.00      b. (R. St P,. Pmb.)

1860.01.00      bap., father a farmer of Dingley Dale, Riet Vlei. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1878.04.18      m. at the Pretoria Wesleyan Church. (Moss)

1882.01.16      Henry William Potter of Newcastle, saddler, b. London, son of Henry William Potter, d. Newcastle aged 31, m. in Pretoria. (MSCE 5/296)

1882.01.17      William Henry [sic] Potter, 31, buried. (R. HT., N/C)

Eleanor (b. 00.09.1859 – d.)

1859.05.16      Du Boys [Du Bois?] Redman [son of HenryRedman*] b. Pinetown, Natal. (Moss)

1859.09.00      b. (R. St P., Pmb.)

1860.01.00      bap., father a farmer of Dingley Dale, Riet Vlei. (Ib.)

1880.09.20      Helena [sic.], 21, m. in Wesleyan Church, Pretoria, Du Boys Smith Redman, 21, saddler, both b. in Natal. Her parents were witnesses. (Moss)

1938.02.28      Du Boys Redman, saddler, d., Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. (Moss)

Mary (b. 10.07.1861 – d. 15.03.1950, Krugersdorp, Transvaal)

1836.05.23      Edward Button [son of James Clark Button*] b., Brundish, Suffolk. (DSAB vol. 4, p. 73)

1861.07.10      Mary b. (Moss)

1880 post        m. Button, a widower. There were no children by this marriage. (DSAB vol. 4, p. 73)

1900.05.24      Button d., Pmb, (Ib.)

1950.03.15      Mary d. and was buried in the Sterkfontein cemetery, Krugersdorp. (Moss)

James (b. 00.05.1865             – d. 21.09.1946, Glencoe, Natal)

1865.05.00      b. (Moss)

1870c.             Emily Selina Mathews b. (Ib.)

1893.11.17      m. Emily Selina Kitchen (b. Mathews), widow, at Glencoe. (Moss)

1946.09.21      d. aged 81, retired butcher of Glencoe, d. at Glencoe. (D/DGRD)

1952.08.07      Emily, b. England, d. at Dundee. (Moss)

Edwin (b. 25.06. 1867, Karkloof, Natal – d.)

1867.06.25      b., Karkloof. (R. Ang., H.)

1868.01.13      bap., father a sawyer of Karkloof. No sponsors, bap. privately, son of Amelia and James. (R. Ang., H)




Margaret (b. 08.03.1869, Karkloof, Natal – d. 24.05.1906, Newcastle)

1869.03.08      b., Karkloof, Natal. (R. Ang., H.). On 8th March at Spitzkop, Mrs J. Wray, a dau. (NM  00.04.69)

1869.12.29      bap., dau of Amelia and James, sawyer, Karkloof. No sponsors, bap. privately. (R. Ang., H.)

1885.04.00      Licence taken out for Margaret Wray aged 16, b. Howick, to m. Owen McDonald Ryder, 31, b. Yorks. [Son of Robert Ryder*]. Father James Wray consented. (CSO 2288)

1885.04.10      m. in Pmb. (MSCE 26/205)

1890.05.18      Owen Ryder a transport rider of Lennoxton, Newcastle. (MSCE 7/326)

1906.05.24      Margaret d. aged 37. She was of Paradise, Newcastle. (N/CGRD)(Tomb N/CGC). Margaret b. Karkloof d. aged 37yrs 2mths at Newcastle. Husband a transport rider. (MSCE 26/205)

1933.11.29      Owen Ryder, 81, painter of Paradise, Newcastle, d. He was bur. at Paradise. (N/CGRD)

Benjamin (b. 13.03.1871, Karkloof, Natal – d. 31.05.1920, Grey’s Hospital, Pmb.)

1871.03.13      b. (R. Ang., H.)

1872.03.09      bap., son of Amelia and James, a sawyer of Karkloof. Sponsored by parents. (R. Ang., H.)

1878.05.00      Elizabeth Walker, 24, b. Hutton Sessay (Yorks.) and John Edward Vinnicombe [son of George Vinnicombe*], 28, took out licence to marry. (CSO 2286). She was the dau. of Charles and Ann Walker and came to Natal with her parents on the Cataraqui in November 1861. (EI 65)

1878.06.04      Elizabeth Walker and John Edward Vinnicombe m. in Pmb. (R. Wes., Pmb.)

1888.09.00      John Edward Vinnicombe d. (MSCW 67/1888). He d. in Newcastle. (Moss)

1890.05.18      Was overseer of prisoners, Newcastle, when he filled in the Death Notice of his brother William. (MSCE 7/362)

1893.00.00      ANC signed between Benjamin Wray and Elizabeth Walker. (ANC no. 102/1893)

1893.09.03      Aged 22, guard, m. Elizabeth Vinnicombe, widow, 38. (R. Wes., N/C)

1920.05.31      b. in the Karkloof, son of James and Amelia, road overseer, Newcastle, m. to Elizabeth Walker at Newcastle, d. aged 49yrs2mths at Grey’s Hospital, Pmb. Children: Annie Elizabeth Amelia and Charles Benjamin France, both majors. Death Notice filled in by widow Elizabeth at Newcastle. (MSCE 5399 via Moss)

1925.02.03      Elizabeth Wray, née Walker, 72, b. York, of Paradise, Newcastle, d. (N/CGRD)









*After a surname indicates that person as the head of a family and therefore qualified for an

entry in Shelagh Spencer’s biographical register.

#The Methodist congregation in the Karkloof dwindled and in1864 the building was offered to

the Anglicans for their use. In 1869 it was dedicated to St Mark and is still in regular use.

(Burnett p. 90)



Books and Directories

Burnett – Burnett, B.B. Anglicans in Natal. Durban: St Paul’s Churchwardens, 1953.

Clark – Clark, John. Natal settler-agent: the career of John Moreland agent for the Byrne

emigration-scheme of 1849-51. Cape Town: Balkema, 1972.

DSAB – Dictionary of South African biography. Vol. 4. Durban: Human Sciences research

Council, 1981.

BSN – Hattersley, Alan F. The British Settlement of Natal: a study in imperial migration.

Cambridge: University Press, 1950.


Tomb KK – Tombstone St Mark’s Cemetery, Karkloof.

Tomb N/CGC – Tombstone Government Cemetery, Newcastle.

Tomb WSC – Tombstone West Street Cemetery, Durban.

Church Registers

  1. Ang., H. – Register Anglican Church, Howick.
  2. HT., N/C – Register Holy Trinity, Newcastle. Anglican.
  3. St J., Pmb. – Register St John’s, Pietermaritzburg. Presbyterian.
  4. St P., Pmb. – Register St Peter’s, Pietermaritzburg, Anglican.
  5. Wes, N/C – Register Wesleyan Church, Newcastle.
  6. Wes., Pmb. – Register Wesleyan Church, Pietermaritzburg.


NMNatal Mercury.

NWNatal Witness.

Personal Communication

Moss – Mrs Beverley Moss

Gird – Mrs Marge Gird

Private Source Material

JEM – James Erasmus Methley. Letters to his father. (Killie Campbell Library, Durban)

MMG – Mary Milner Greathead. Diary. (Killie Campbell Library, Durban)

MP vol. 21 – Moreland papers, vol. 21. (Archives Repository, Pietermaritzburg)

Shipping Lists

Phantom list – Bell, W.D., Port Captain


Unpublished Official Papers (Archives Repository, Pietermaritzburg except MHG)

CSO – Colonial Secretary’s Office

D/DGRD – Dundee Government Register of Deaths

EI – European Emigration

GHLIP – Government House Land and Immigration Papers

MHG – Meester Hooggeregshof, Transvaal

MSCW – Master of the Supreme Court. Wills

MSCE – Master of the Supreme Court. Estates

N/CDRD – Newcastle Government Register of Deaths

NGG – Natal Government Gazette

RSC – Registrar of the Supreme Court

VGRD – Verulam Government Register of Deaths.


2 680 words


Compiled from Shelagh Spencer’s records on the British Settlers of Natal 1824–1857.