Robert Gray1

b. say 1680, d. 30 January 1771

5th great-grandfather of Ruth Minerva Fairfield.
7th great-grandfather of Laura Jane Munson.
Family Background:
Fairfield and Allied Families
Appears on charts:
Pedigree for Ruth Minerva Fairfield
     Robert Gray was born say 1680 in Northern Ireland.1 He married Jannet before 1720.2 He died on 30 January 1771 in Pepperellborough, York County, Maine, at age 91.3,1,4
     In the early spring of 1718 an agent was dispatched from Ulster (Northern Ireland) to Boston to meet with Governor Shute on behalf of several hundred people with a strong desire to immigrate to New England. He had with him, to give to the governor, a memorial on parchment signed by 319 heads of families:
     We whose names are underwritten, Inhabitants of ye North of Ireland, Doe in our own names, and in the names of many others, our Neighbors, Gentlemen, Ministers, Farmers, and Tradesmen, Commissionate and appoint our trusty and well beloved friend, the Reverend Mr. William Boyd, of Macasky, to His Excellency, the Right Honorable Collonel Samuel Suitte, Governour of New England, and to assure His Excellency of our sincere and hearty Inclination to Transport ourselves to that very excellent and renowned Plantation upon our obtaining from His Excellency suitable incouragement. And further to act and Doe in our Names as his prudence shall direct. Given under our hands this 26th day of March, Anno Dom. 1718.
     The response was favorable, and though nothing was resolved as to where the immigrants would settle, it is clear that the motive of Massachusetts in welcoming them was to plant the families on the frontier of the district of Maine, then part of Massachusetts, as a frontier barrier against the French and Indians of Canada. On the other hand, the Ulstermen were looking to establish homes of their own, and to escape the land lease and the church tithe.

     Thus the wave of Scots-Irish immigration to New England bagan with five small ships carrying about 120 Ulster families, amounting to at least 750 men, women and children, arriving in Boston on 4 August 1718. These five ships furnished the first Scots-Irish settlers of Maine, as well as of New Hampshire and Massachusetts.5

     At least two Gray families were 1718 passengers, but whether Robert was among them, or even related to those families, is not known to the writer. If not in 1718, he came from Ulster soon after and settled first at Berwick, Maine, 6 where his son Robert was baptized in 1720. At that time he was about forty years old, so it is likely he brought a wife and children with him to America. However, John is the only known child not baptized at Berwick, and nothing has been found to prove or disprove that he was the son of Jannet, or where he was born.

     In 1744 Robert Gray bought from Humphrey Scammon the house and 200 acres of land where the latter lived in Biddeford, York County, Maine. Soon afterward he conveyed the premises to his son James, from whom he received a life lease.6

Child of Robert Gray

Children of Robert Gray and Jannet (—?—) (Gray)


  1. [S746] G.T. Ridlon Sr., Saco Valley Settlements and Families (Portland, Maine: the author, 1895), 699.
  2. [S761] The New England Historical and Genealogical Register; (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001), (Orig. Pub. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 148 vols., 1847-1994) 82: 80.
  3. [S1074] Records of the First Church of Pepperrellborough [now Saco], Maine, online <>, (Unpublished transcription by Edgar Yates, "First Book of Records of the First Church in Pepperrellboro (Now Saco, Maine)," 1914). Bill of Motality.
  4. [S869] Charles Thornton Libby, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire (Portland, Maine: The Southward Press, 1928), 284.
  5. [S1073] Library Ireland, online <…>, "Scotch-Irish in New England."
  6. [S1072] George Folsom, History of Saco and Biddeford, with notices of other early settlements, and of proprietary governments, in Maine, including the provinces of New Somersetshire and Lygonia (Saco, Maine: A.C. Putnam, 1830; reprint Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1984).
  7. [S761] NEHGR, 82: 85.
  8. [S761] NEHGR, 82: 87.
  9. [S761] NEHGR, 82: 89.
  10. [S761] NEHGR, 82: 91.