Angelica Bray

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Angelica Bray (MNU)

Birthplace: James City County, Virginia, United States
Death: Died in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States
Place of Burial: Unknown
Immediate Family:

Wife of James Bray and Col. James Bray
Mother of Ann Booth-Temple-Inglis; Margaret Booth; Col. Thomas Bray; James Bray, II and Colonel David Bray

Managed by: Private User
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About Angelica Bray

Her maiden name is said to be either Gibson or Burgess. Anyone with documentation of her maiden name is asked to contact the profile managers.


James Bray I

James Bray I, who immigrated to Virginia sometime prior to 1657, patented 1,250 acres of land on the basis of 25 headrights. The following year, he acquired an additional 100 acres, using his wife, Angelica, as a headright. In 1671 James I purchased from Henry Wyatt (the late George Wyatt's son and heir) 290 acres of land in Middle Plantation, near the head of Archers Hope (College) Creek, within James City County. It was acreage he had bought from Henry Wyatt and was part of a 500 acre tract at Middle Plantation that George Wyatt and George Lake had acquired during the 1640s (Nugent 1969-1979:I:161; Patent Book 2:54, 59; Winfree 1971:383; Stephenson 1963:2).

By the mid-1670s, James Bray I and his wife, Angelica, were residing at Middle Plantation. She was one of the women seized by the men of rebel Nathaniel Bacon in September 1676 and used as part of a human barricade. On January 20, 1677, a court martial hearing was held at the Bray home in Middle Plantation where Bacon supporter William Drummond I was tried and sentenced to hang. The following day Governor William Berkeley stopped off at the Bray residence and then continued on to the home of Colonel John Page, where he planned to spend the night. In February 1677 James Bray I was asked to obtain land at Middle Plantation for the king's troops' use in growing food crops. He was named to the Governor's Council in 1679 and in 1688 he became one of James City County's burgesses (McIlwaine 1924:257, 393-394, 454; 1905-1915:1660-1693:72; 1925-1'945:I:284; II:435; Sainsbury 1964:10:341; 17:309; 22:158; Hening 1809-1823:II:546, 549, 569; Stanard 1965:86, 94-95; Leonard 1976:60; Force 1963:I:9:8; Andrews 1967:98).

When James Bray I died in ca. 1691, he still owned the 290 acres he had bought from Henry Wyatt. He also was in possession of some other local acreage and land in nearby Charles City and New Kent Counties. James Bray I was survived by his wife, Angelica, three sons (James II, Thomas I, and David I) and a daughter (Ann). Although his will is not believed to be extant, excerpts of that document are included in a transcript of litigation undertaken in 1732 by some of his heirs. The late James Bray I left to his son, Thomas Bray I, life-rights in all of the entailed land he owned at Middle Plantation, including the family home. At that time it was noted that the property consisted of the 290 acres James Bray I had bought from Henry Wyatt, which origin lay in a 500 acre tract that George Wyatt and George Lake formerly had owned. Bray, as a testator, stipulated that after the death. of his son, Thomas I, his land at Middle Plantation was to descend to grandson David Bray II, the offspring of another son, David Bray I. Through this means, James Bray I's 290 acres at Middle Plantation passed through the hands of Thomas I and then descended to David II. James Bray I specified that if his grandson, David Bray II, failed to produce living heirs, the 290 acre tract at Middle Plantation was to go to.another grandson, Thomas Bray II, the offspring of son James Bray II (Nugent 1969-1979:1:161; Winfree 1971:383; McIlwaine 1924:257, 393- 94, 454; 1905-1915:1660-1693:72; 1925-1945:I:284; II:435; Stephenson 1963:2). Thus, the will of James Bray I, deceased in ca. 1691, determined the descent of the Bray landholdings in Middle Plantation.

Angelica Bray (Mrs. James Bray I)

In 1695 Angelica Bray, James Bray I's widow, patented 190 acres of escheat land, the bulk of which lay in James City County. However, a small portion of Angelica's property extended across the main road, to Yorktown (the boundary line between York and James City Counties) and therefore was in York County. Angelica Bray's 190 acres reportedly lay adjacent to her late husband, which contained the family home (Nugent 1969-1979:III:18). At Angelica's death, her personally-owned acreage descended to one of her sons, David Bray I (Hening 1809-1823:IV:377-378; VI:412).


Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library Research Report Series - 1724

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, Williamsburg, Virginia, 2010


Mrs. Angelica Bray is remembered as one of the "White Aprons" of Bacon's Rebellion:

Then Bacon managed to get some cannon, and in order to place them in position, he sent off and captured the wives of the leading councillors — Madam Elizabeth Bacon, wife of Colonel Nathaniel Bacon, Sr. ; Madam Angelica Bray, wife of Colonel James Bray ; Madam Elizabeth Page, wife of Colonel John Page ; Madam Anna Ballard, wife of Colonel Thomas Ballard, and other ladies, and the next morning he presented them to the view of their friends and husbands in the town, their white aprons fluttering a truce from the top of his small bulwark. This ruse succeeded, and the guns having been placed in position, without a shot from town, the ladies were withdrawn, and the fire of the cannon directed upon the shipping and the works of Governor Berkeley across the neck.

The result was that, in a day or two, the governor, despairing of success, was compelled to take to his ships at night and leave the city to its fate, which the very next night was burned to the ground by Bacon — September 19, 1676.

The Cradle of the Republic - Jamestown and James River, by Lyon Gardiner Tyler, LL. D., Richmond, VA, The Hermitage Press, Inc. 1906, p. 156

Read Ann Cotton's eyewitness account here:

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Angelica Bray's Timeline

James City County, Virginia, United States
Age 12
Age 20
Age 26
Age 32
Williamsburg, Virginia, United States
Age 33
Williamsburg, Virginia, United States
Age 33
James City County, Virginia