Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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GRAY, ARCHIBALD (1805-1866)

GRAY, ARCHIBALD, principal of the County Grammar School, 1827-33, and assistant Anglican missionary; b. Halifax, 1805 (bap. 22 May 1805), s/o the Rev. Archibald Gray, DD, and Martha Ann Head; m. 1833, Maria Gardiner, of Halifax; d. Windsor, N.S., 7 Apr 1866.

Archibald Gray's father, a native of Morayshire, and a graduate of King's College, Aberdeen, was a Presbyterian minister of the Church of Scotland connection and pastor for thirty years of St Matthew's, in Halifax. Gray himself was baptized at St Matthew's, but his mother belonged to the Church of England, and after his father's death he entered the Anglican ministry.

Gray was educated at King's College, Windsor (BA 1825, MA 1833). He came to the Miramichi in March 1827 to take charge of the County Grammar School, after it had been without a teacher for approximately a year. He was a serious schoolmaster who followed an uncompromising curriculum. When his ordination as a deacon required him to spend most of the months of October and November of 1828 in Halifax, he stated that he would make up the lost time by teaching during "the usual vacation at Christmas and other customary holidays."

Among the many able students who sat in Gray's classroom were Allan A. Davidson Sr, Joseph R. Hea, John M. Johnson, John Pallen, John Vondy, and Edward Williston. At the time, the grammar school stood just east of Clarke's Cove, where it had been built for the convenience of students from the north side of the river, who could take a ferry from Douglastown. The location satisfied nobody, however, and the year before Gray's period of teaching ended a competitive school opened in Chatham under Presbyterian auspices, with James Millar as teacher. A few years later, the grammar school was relocated in Chatham, and the residents of Newcastle erected their own school.

Being a deacon and later a priest of the Anglican church, Gray acted as pastoral assistant to the Rev. Samuel Bacon as well as a schoolteacher. He had particular responsibility for the church at Bay du Vin and was well-received there. When a vacancy occurred in the church at Sackville, N.S., in 1833, however, he resigned from both of his positions and accepted a transfer to be close to his widowed mother. Later that year, he was married at Sackville, and he retained his posting there until the early 1850s. He was then appointed rector at Digby, N.S. The date of the termination of his ministry is given as 1866, but when he died in April of that year he was described as "the late rector of Digby." He died in Windsor, N.S., but his funeral was conducted from 44 Spring Garden Road in Halifax.

In the 1840s, Gray had a number of poems published in the Church Times in Halifax, and in 1852, a volume of his verse entitled Shades of the Hamlet and Other Poems, was issued by a publishing house in Woburn, Mass. His correspondence reveals a lifelong interest in educational questions, as well as in the welfare of the Black population of Nova Scotia. He and his wife, Maria Gardiner, had several children who died in infancy and at least two who lived to maturity.


[b] Francis research [bap] Gray biog. data [m] Acadian Recorder 23 Nov 1833 [d] Provincial Wesleyan 11 Apr 1866 / Gleaner 29 Jan 1833, 9 Jul 1833 (re. MA degree); Gregg; Mercury 6 Mar 1827; Morgan (BC); Spray (ENC); Wilson