Go to Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Diana, Goddess of the Hunt for Ancestors!
 
Go to Every-Name Index
Every-Name Index
 
William Lafayette McCRAY (1848- )
Source:  J.M. Guinn.  1904.  History of the State of California and Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California.  Chapman Publ. Co., Chicago.
Comments [in brackets] by transcriber.  (See also footnotes below.)
1199
-
WILLIAM LAFAYETTE McCRAY. The township of Cloverdale is a rich agricultural and horticultural center, grain and hay being raised in abundance, and the magnificent vineyards and orchards yield bountiful harvests of delicious fruits.  Numbered among the enterprising and self-reliant men who are conducting its farming interests is William L. McCray, a ranchman, and the proprietor of the Old Homestead, a well-known summer resort in Cloverdale township, being located in Oat valley, about a mile from the village.  A son of the late William Henry McCray, he was born August 14, 1818, in Middlebury, [Mercer Co.,] Mo., coming from Scotch ancestry, his great-grandfather [Daniel McCray] having emigrated to the United States from Scotland in colonial days.  He is also of patriotic blood, his grandfather, William McCray, a native of Tennessee, having served as captain of a company in the war of 1812.  He was a man of fine physique, jolly and good-natured, and after his removal to Missouri, where he took up government land, he improved a farm from the wilderness.  He was a strong Democrat and a man of considerable prominence.

William Henry McCray was born March 21, 1825, near Nashville, Tenn. [Footnote 1], where he spent the earlier years of his life.  Removing with his parents to Livingston [Footnote 2] county, Mo., when a young man, he assisted in the hard labor of clearing a farm.  When the land office in St. Joseph was opened, he took up government land, and in addition to farming was engaged in mercantile business for a number of years.  On the breaking out of the Civil war he served for ninety days as first lieutenant of a company of Missouri militia and had his horse shot from under him while hunting Quantrell's guerrillas.  Coming to California in 1864, he took up two hundred and fifty acres of land on Russian river in Cloverdale township, about a mile and a half south of the town, and resided there until 1873.  Selling his property, he bought the Hopper place, at Coon Hollow, Washington Township, where he was employed in mixed husbandry until 1899.  Selling out in that year, he took up his residence in Cloverdale, remaining here until his death, which occurred June 6, 1900, after an illness of only three days. He was a self-made man in the strictest term, a stanch Democrat in politics, and an active member of the Christian Church.  He married Macedonia Williams, who was born near Richmond [Footnote 3], Va., a daughter of Royal Williams, and of English ancestors, her paternal grandfather having emigrated from England to Virginia. Royal Williams was born, reared and married in old Virginia, the name of his wife being Delilah Gauldem [Gaulding].  He became a pioneer settler of Missouri and for many years was an extensive farmer, and a prominent merchant of Middlebury.  He died about 1865, at the age of eighty years, being survived by his widow, who spent her last years in California, and one child, Macedonia [Footnote 4].  Of the union of William Henry and Macedonia (Williams) McCray, fourteen children were born, namely:  William L., the subject of this sketch; Jennie Ann, widow of A. Thompson, who resided in Santa Rosa; Louisa, widow of G.V. Davis, of Santa Rosa; Cestius Florus, assisting in the management of the home ranch; Minerva, wife of I.E. Shaw, of whom a sketch may be found elsewhere in this work; Amanda, wife of C.F. Buffett, of Los Angeles; Lawrence, a Christian preacher at Valley Junction, Iowa; Armond Wynn, for several years a clerk in Cloverdale, who died in 1899 in Washington; George, a farmer in Cloverdale; Monroe, who died at the age of fourteen years; Delilah, who died in 1903; Logan, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Cloverdale township; Katie, widow of the late John Winter, formerly owner of a ranch in this township; and 

1200
-
Bertie, wife of Oliver Williams. Mrs. McCray died May 15, 1897.

At the age of sixteen years, William Lafayette McCray came with his parents to California, driving three yokes of oxen across the plains.  Being the eldest of a large family of children, he began life for himself in 1865.  Going to Solano county, he took two of his sisters with him as far as San Francisco to be treated for sore eyes, earning enough money as a day laborer to pay their expenses.  After working in the harvest fields and on the farm for a year he became foreman of a heading and threshing machine outfit, doing the harvesting on large ranches for four years, and receiving $250 a month in summer and $80 per month in the winter seasons.  He subsequently herded hogs for a time, then bought and sold horses, in which he met with financial success.  Coming back to Cloverdale, Mr. McCray established a stage route from this town to Bartlett Springs, running it for four years.  Subsequently pre-empting one hundred and sixty acres of fine timber land in Humboldt county, he remained there a year, when he disposed of his land at $50 per acre.  The following fourteen years he made money as a butcher and meat dealer, but going into the mines of Mexico, Arizona and Nevada, he continued his mining operations from 1886 until 1894, and lost all that he had accumulated.  Locating in Fresno county, Mr. McCray started a stock ranch in partnership with a friend, but not meeting with success in the venture gave it up at the end of four years on account of the drought.  Renting his present ranch from his mother-in-law in 1898, he has since carried on general farming.  Twenty-six acres of this ranch are devoted to the raising of grapes, and forty-five acres to hay, both profitable crops.  Politically he is a steadfast Democrat, but has never cared to hold office.

November 21, 1872, Mr. McCray married Mary A. Elliott, who was born in Santa Rosa township, April 26, 1851.  Her parents were Emsley and Rachel (Cyrus) Elliott, the latter a daughter of Enoch and Rebecca (Cook) Cyrus.  They all came to California with the Donner party in 1846 [Footnote 5] and settled in Sonoma county.  Mr. and Mrs. McCray have one child, Arthur Lafayette McCray, who is secretary and manager of the Producers' Packing Association, at Fresno, Cal.

Transcriber's Notes:

1.  William Henry McCray was born in Washington Co., TN, probably in Jonesborough (place of residence of his parents).

2.  The family was known to have lived in Middlebury, Mercer Co., MO.  Mercer Co. was formed from Grundy Co. in 1845 and Grundy Co. from Livington Co. in 1841, so the reference to "Livingston" Co. would almost certainly be to Mercer Co. today.

3.  Macedonia Williams was born in Prince Edward Co., VA, probably in Fairview (place of residence of her parents).

4.  Royal T. and Delilah Sampson (Gaulding) Williams had at least eight children, at least four of whom outlived their father. 

5.  None of these individuals is listed in the Donner Party Roster [link died].   The Cyruses were in a wagon party just days ahead of the Donner Party, and they passed the summit safely.   At the Donner Party web site [link died], see entry for Lovina Graves [link died], who was a member of the Donner Party.   Lovina/Lavinia Graves married John Cyrus, son of Enoch.

Family Group Sheet of William Lafayette McCRAY and Mary A. ELLIOTT

Family Group Sheet of John CYRUS & Lavinia GRAVES

Contact Home
Page
Table of
Contents
DNA
Hub
Biddle
DNA
Carrico
DNA
Corbin
DNA
Cupp
DNA
Danish
DNA
Ely
DNA
Lyon(s)
DNA
Rasey
DNA
Reason
DNA
Rose
DNA
Straub
DNA
Pedigree
Charts
Census
Records
Every-Name
Indices

"The Cloud" is double-speak for "dumb terminal on a main frame." Been there; done that. Never again.
You are giving away not only your privacy, but control of your data, your apps, and your computer to a corporation. Is that really where you want to go?
The IT guys on the big iron hated the Personal Computer because it gave users freedom and power; now they've conned you into being back under their control again.
Table of Contents
Go to Table of Contents
 
Privacy Policy ______
Every-Name Index
Go to Every-Name Index