Finding Your Folks: The Grays of Line Creek, Part 1

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

When I was doing the stories on the Line Creek families over the past few weeks, I received an email from Carol Hoyt who lives in Kansas. Carol had been reading the stories on the Internet and said that she was from another Line Creek family - the Grays. Well, the Grays were no strangers to me. It seemed that everywhere I went searching for information on those four Line Creek families, I stumbled across a Gray who married into one.

So, here is Carol's story (Part 1), beautifully written, about her Line Creek family:

"The Gray family came to Coweta County from the Dutch Fork area of South Carolina (Old 96th District, now Laurens County) between 1828 and 1832. According to the biography of Hosea Gray from Memoirs of Georgia, 1895, Hosea's father, Abraham Gray, moved his family from South Carolina to Fayette County, Ga. in 1832. They resided in Fayette County for one year before moving to Coweta County which has since been their home. The Coweta County Chronicles lists James and Hosea Gray among the names of many families moving into Coweta County in 1828. (James Gray was a brother of Abraham Gray). The Grays had received a grant of land from the state of Georgia* and the deed shows that the land was surveyed in 1827. It is possible that a few members of the family came in 1828 followed by the rest of the family in 1832.

"The biography goes on to say that life was hard at first for the Grays: 'For some time their main dependence for food was wild game and they ground their own corn in a hand-mill. Later a mill was started on Line Creek to which they carried their corn to be ground.'

"Abraham's parents may have come to Georgia, also. Family tradition has it that in the cemetery of the County Line Christian Church there is an unmarked grave next to Abraham's which is the grave of his father. The story goes that Abraham's father was called Jerry or Jeremiah and that he fought in the Revolutionary War. He was a soldier in Washington's army and was caught by the Tories while spying on the British Army. For punishment and to "mark" him for his crime, the British cut off both his ears.

“In Memoirs of Georgia, Abraham's parents are listed as William and Sarah Gray, so more research needs to be done on the name of Abraham's father.

"Abraham's mother, Sarah Gray, died in Fayette County about 1837. In her will she lists nine children: Abraham Gray (executor), Lydia Gray, Isaac Gray, Mary Cain, John Gray, Sarah Johnson, Robert Gray, James Gray and a deceased daughter, Naomi Bonds. Naomi was born in 1804 and married William Turner Bonds at the tender age of 15. She and her husband moved from South Carolina to Alabama after 1820. Naomi died in 1829 - six months after the birth of twin daughters. She had five children.

"Abraham was born in 1790 in South Carolina. He married Jane Wilson and they had five children. Jane died before 1830 as she was not enumerated with the family in the 1830 census. In Abraham's will only two of the children were named: Benjamin Gray and Nancy Sansom formerly Nancy Gray. The will states that one-fifth of his property should be held by Benjamin Gray for the sole and separate use and behoof of his daughter Nancy and the balance of his estate should be equally divided among his other four children. This was a verbal will that was delivered from his deathbed. William Westmoreland, James Jones and Richard Bridges were witnesses.

“From census and other records the following is what I know about the births and deaths of Abraham's children: (1) Unknown Gray female, born before 1816; (2) Nancy Gray, born 17 March 1816, died 30 May 1862; (3) Hosea Gray, born 31 Aug. 1817, died 13 Dec. 1902; (4) Benjamin Gray, born 13 Aug. 1819, died 13 Dec. 1864; Unknown Gray female, born after 1819.

"According to his obituary, Abraham was a Presbyterian, a Sabbath School teacher and was very active in the life of the church until he moved to Georgia. Moving to Georgia placed him beyond the reach of the church of his choice. He died 5 Aug. 1856 and is buried at County Line Church. Many members of the Gray family have wondered why Abraham and so many of his descendents are buried there since they were never members. I recently ran across some information that may explain it. The Grays and the Westmorelands were apparently very close friends. Members of the Westmoreland family have signed every legal document I've come across pertaining to the Grays. Members of the Westmoreland family are listed among the charter members of County Line and Robert Westmoreland provided the land on which the first church was built.”

I'm going to stop Carol's part of the story here and make reference to the asterisk I interjected above when she mentioned the “grant of land.” It wasn't really a ”grant,” and it certainly wasn't free, as a grant implies. It was a lottery win. A list of fortunate drawers in the 1827 Land Lottery for Coweta County shows both Hosea and Abraham Gray as winners but they drew fractional lots, all in the First District. Hosea drew Land Lot 329, 185 acres; lot 342, 5.5 acres; and lot 343, 84 acres. Abraham drew lot 330, 194.5 acres. It is interesting to note that Robert Westmoreland drew fractional lots 334, 338 and 339, John Westmoreland drew lot 333, and Reuben Westmoreland drew lot 344. They were all neighbors.

Next week, more on Abraham's children and grandchildren.

Family histories about your ancestors who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send them to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and emails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

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