CLINCH GRAY — 1775 - 1823

Clinch Gray was born February 21, 1775, in Duplin County, North Carolina. He was the son of Charity (Goodwin) and Thomas Gray an attorney from Surry County, VA, who was Council for the Crown of England, and later, a delegate to the First Constitutional Convention of North Carolina during the American Revolution. Thomas was descended from Thomas Gray, Ancient Planter, who arrived in Jamestown, Virginia between 1608 and 1616.

Clinch was educated at Grove Academy, a school in Duplin County, of which Thomas was a founder and trustee. He moved with his family to Jefferson County, Tennessee in late 1795, when President George Washington appointed his father District Attorney for the Tennessee District.

Clinch came to Wayne County, Mississippi Territory by 1805 as a Federal surveyor, settling near the Indian village of Yowanny (Hiwannee) beside the Chickasawhay River, as one of the first three settlers in the county. Clinch was responsible for much of the surveying in Southeastern Mississippi, running the range, township, and section lands across the entire state. In 1809, he surveyed part of the Choctaw Purchase west of the Pearl River. The U. S. Government appointed him Surveyor General for the Mississippi Territory in 1811.

On September 26, 1811, Clinch married Margaret "Peggy" Evans, the daughter of Captain John "Jack" Evans, a planter from South Carolina. Margaret was born 1792 in Kershaw District, South Carolina.

On December 19, 1811, he was commissioned Clerk of the Court of Wayne County. On January 11, 1812, he was commissioned Assessor and appointed clerk of Wayne County. On Dec. 27, 1815, he was commissioned Justice of the Peace of Wayne County, but declined to serve. Later, he was commissioned Justice of the Quorum for Wayne County in 1818. In 1818, he was a member of a committee responsible for conducting a lottery to raise funds for improving the navigation of the Chickasawhay, Leaf, and Pascagoula Rivers.

Attending the First Constitutional Convention in Washington (Adams) Mississippi, he signed the First Mississippi Constitution as a delegate from Wayne County on August 15, 1817.

They were the parents of six children, all of whom were born and died in Boice, Wayne County, Mississippi.

  1. Mary "Polly" Gray - Born April 26, 1813 , died July 14, 1888.
  2. Thomas Evans Gray - Born May 24, 1815, died October 13, 1822.
  3. John Larkin "Major” Gray - Born October 21, 1816, died July 28, 1900. He married (1) Caroline Salter on September 19, 1852. Caroline was born December 1832, and died March 18, 1856. He married (2) Mary Ann McLeod January 08, 1857. Mary Ann was born December 27, 1836, and died November 17, 1901.
  4. Henry “Harry” Gray - Born October 08, 1818, died March 20, 1905, married Mary "Dollie" Harrelson November 25, 1847. Dollie was born February 07, 1824, died April 19, 1907.
  5. Chellie Gray - Born August 15, 1820, died July 11,1887. Chellie married (1) Archibald "Archie" Taylor, born 1825, died September 1849. She married (2) Thomas Washington 'Tom" Norsworthy in 1853. Tom was born June 01, 1832, and died September 22, 1905.
  6. Clinch Gray, Jr. – Born January 25, 1823, died August 19, 1823.
Clinch’s career came to an untimely end when he contracted malaria while out surveying, and he died on March 20, 1823 at his home in Boice, Wayne County, Mississippi. For the next 36 years, Margaret was admired as a Christian mother, a successful planter and a shrewd businesswoman. Margaret died on April 22, 1859 at her home in Boice. Margaret and Clinch, along with all of their children and spouses, are buried in the Gray Family Cemetery at their old home site beside the Chickasawhay River.

Descendants of Clinch Gray
Irma Gray (Miss)
Susan Kathleen Gray Henry (Mrs. George Mark)
Mary Alice Gray Lee (Mrs. Daniel McKinnon)
Anita Newsom Nail (Mrs. Steven Ford)

Submitted by Anita Newsom Nail, Great Great Great Granddaughter of Clinch and Margaret (Evans) Gray

The Order of the First Families of Mississippi:  1699-1817
P. O. Box 821  —  Natchez MS  39121  —  601.442.0018