Col. Thomas Bray

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Col. Thomas Bray

Also Known As: "Capt. Thomas Bray"
Birthplace: Virginia
Death: Died in New Kent County, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Son of Col. James Bray and Angelica Bray
Husband of Sarah Claiborne - Bray
Brother of Margaret Booth; Ann Booth-Temple-Inglis; James Bray, II and Colonel David Bray

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Col. Thomas Bray

Painting from the website of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, New Kent County, Virginia:

The church was built in 1703, after the death of Thomas Bray, but perhaps he was part of the initial planning stages for the new church. The old church was referred to as the "lower church" or the "broken back'd church."

Thomas Bray I bequeathed his lands at Middle Plantation to David Bray II, his nephew. (PRO/ CO 5/1389 ff 66-68.) This was a part of 290 acres formerly owned by his father, James Bray I. He left the Black Creek lands to Thomas Bray II, son of James Bray II.

From 1698-1700 he was a Vestryman of St. Peters Parish, New Kent County.

His will was dated 21 May 1700, but has been lost.


James Bray I died in 1691, survived by his wife and four children. James Bray I's eldest son, Thomas Bray I, was the primary heir to his father's estate and received the bulk of the 290-acre patent at Middle Plantation, while his widow, Angelica, received a 60-acre portion of the estate as her dower share of her late husband's property. In 1698, Angelica Bray also purchased an additional 190 acres of land (Stephenson 1963:2). Patent research suggests that Angelica Bray's 190-acre patent may have abutted her husband's property to the south (McCartney 2001).

Thomas Bray I married Sarah Fenn, the daughter of Samuel Fenn of Middle Plantation; however, the couple never had any children. In addition to the land inherited via his father at Middle Plantation, Thomas Bray I also acquired additional lands in New Kent County. Between 1698 and 1700, Thomas Bray I was a Vestryman of St. Peters Parish, also in New Kent County, suggesting that he probably resided in that county, and not on his late father's estate at Middle Plantation (Stephenson 1963:4).

The fact that Thomas Bray I was likely living in New Kent County, and the fact Angelica Bray was purchasing property adjacent to her late husband's patent in 1698, suggests that, after James I's death, Angelica continued to live in her late husband's Middle Plantation home. However, it is not clear whether the house stood on land included in her dower share, or if the house was on land owned by her son Thomas I.

Archaeological Excavations of the Bassett Hall Waterproofing Project, Williamsburg, Virginia, Block 1 Building 22-A

Mark Kostro, 2002

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Research Report Series - 1688 John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia, 2003

Note: some confusion between multiple Thomas Brays.

Most researchers say that he died in 1730, but the following source shows that there were two Thomas BRAYs in New Kent County. One, "Capt." Thomas BRAY, was a vestryman from Dec 1697 until he died just before 13 Jan 1700/1701, and the other, who was known as "Col" Thomas BRAY, died in 1730....

[The identity of this younger Thomas is unclear. His nephew, son of James Bray II, died 2 Aug. 1751.]

NEW KENT COUNTY, VIRGINIA ST. PETER'S PARISH VESTRY BOOK AND REGISTER, 1684-1786: p. 54: "at a Vestry held at the House of Mr. Gideon Macon this 18th day Dec 1697....(list of those present).....Capt. Thomas BRAY is Elected to be one of the Vestry of this Parish in place and Stead of Will Clopton who was this day chosen Clerk of the Vestry, and Requested to be at the next vestry to take the oath according to law."

p. 74: "At a vestrey held for St. Peters Parrish at the House of Mr. John LEWIS the 14 Feb 1700/1701.....(list of those present: Mr. James BOKER minister, Capt Joseph FOSTER, Capt John LYDDALL, Mr. Thomas SMITH, Mr. John LEWIS, Capt Nicho. MERRIWETHER, Mr. James MOSS, Mr. Gideon MACON, Mr. David CRAFFORD, Mr. John PARK, vestrymen; and Mr. Henr. WYATT and Mr. Wm. BASSETT, Church wardens).....Whereas at a vestrey held for this parrish the 13 Janu last the Clerk was ordered to Sum(mon) Mr John PARK Jr to be one of the vestrey for this parrish in the place and Stead of Capt Thomas BRAY Late dec't...."

Since the above Thomas BRAY was deceased before 13 Jan 1700/1701, it was apparently a different Thomas BRAY who was listed as Justice of the Peace in New Kent County, VA in 1699 and 1729.


"Bray Family", THE WILLIAM AND MARY QUARTERLY, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Apr., 1905), pp. 266-269:

"Col. THOMAS BRAY (son of James) lived in New Kent county, and was dead before 1732 (Hening, STATUTES, IV., 370). He married SARAH FENN, daughter of SAMUEL FENN, of Middle Plantation, Williamsburg (who gave two acres for a church), and widow of Capt. THOMAS CLAIBORNE, of King William county (Virginia MAGAZINE, I, 317; WM & MARY QUARTERLY, III., 77). His wife, SARAH BRAY, founded a scholarship at William and Mary College. "Madam SARAH BRAY departed this life October 18, 1716" (St. Peter's Register, New Kent county). They appear to have left no issue."

From the Rootsweb tree "Shulers and others,"

Historic Roads of Virginia

New Kent County Road Orders 1684 - 1758

Transcribed from the Vestry Book of St. Peter’s Parish

by Ann Brush Miller, Senior Research Scientist

14 June 1698, O. S., p. 27 [renumbered p. 29; Chamberlayne, p. 56]

Stephen Crump aploying him Selfe to this vestry for help to Cleer the Roades in his presints is ordered these tithables following viz Capt: Thomas Bray Step michell Step michell Jur will fforgison will Bourne will Crump Pelham moore and his own family and that with the aforementioned help he Cleer to the new mill Damm upon the Black Creeke

25 November 1700, O. S., p. 40 [renumbered p. 42; Chamberlayne, p. 73]

william Clopton being appointed Surveior of the highwayes in the place and Stead of Stephen Crump and aploying him Selfe to this vestrey for help to doe the work is ordered these tithables ffollowing viz Capt: Thomas Bray Stephen michell Stephen michell Jur Wille fforgison william Crump william Bourne Stephen Crump Richard Crump the widow Crumps tithables Pelham more and John waddell Jur all which did formerly belong to Stephen Crumps prescincts

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Col. Thomas Bray's Timeline

Age 44
New Kent County, Virginia