Genealogy: Bray Family had many grandchildren

Published 12:25 am Saturday, March 26, 2016

Today’s story will be a continuation of the Bray family, which was introduced in last’s week’s column. The children of John Henry C. Bray and Nancy Caroline (Morgan) were identified, so some of their descendants will be outlined in this writing. This couple had migrated from Chattahoochee County, Ga., with years spent in Russell County, Ala., and Bullock, Crenshaw County, Ala., until they settled in the Fairfield community of Covington County in the late 1800s.

Little is known of the oldest two children, Tomas James Bray and the daughter named G.L. Bray. The third child, Ellen V. Bray, was born circa 1871 and was married to William C. “Wiley” Prescott who had previously been married to Ellen’s sister, Ada “Adder” or “Sis” Bray. Ada and William C. “Wiley” Prescott had five children before her early death. The dates of Ada’s birth and death are not known, but at her death circa 1999 she left the following five young children: Minnie, b. ca 1891; Mary D., b. ca 1893, m. Lewis Cooper; Ada Bell, b. ca 1895, m. Franklin Cooper; Evie, b. ca 1897; and Willie Caroline, b. 1898, d. 1977, m. Joel Chesley Suggs, b. 1883.

Following Ada Bray Prescott’s death, her husband, William C. “Wiley” Prescott, married her sister, Ellen V. or W. Bray, circa 1900. That year there were five Prescott children in the home of Ellen and Ada’s parents, John Henry C. and Nancy Caroline Bray. These appear to be their daughter, Ada, and Wiley Prescott’s children. They were listed as follows: Minnie, 9; Mary D., 7; Ada B., 5; Evvie, 3; and Willie C., 10 mos. Ellen was able to help care for her sister’s children, and she and Wiley then had four children of their own: Laura Green “Shug,” b. 1901, d. 1986; Nettie, b. 1906, d. 1991, m. ? Cooley; George, b. 1908; and Clarence E. “Buster,” b. 1915, d. 1995.

Some family data are available for Ada and Wiley Prescott’s grandchildren: Their oldest daughter, Mary D. Bray, and her husband, Lewis Cooper, had at least one son, Collis. The second daughter, Ada Bell Bray, and her husband, Franklin Cooper, reared the following children: Jack, b. 1914, m. Claudia Medley (b. 1915); Burnard, b. 1918, m. Ann ?; Bernice, b. ca 1920, m. ? Bearden; Bonnie, b. 1922, m. Loyce Barfield; Claudia, b. 1925, m. Roy Lambert; Ellen Estelle, b. 1932, m. Wilson Henry “Bud” Parker; and Jeanette, b. 1936, m. Thurston “Bert” McCart .

Ada and Wiley Prescott’s daughter, Willie Caroline Prescott, and her husband, Joel Chesley Suggs, reared the following children: Bessie, b. 1914, d. 2004, m. Charlie Cooper; Buck, b. 1916, m. Katie Medley; James Clyde, b. 1911, d. 1974, m. Margaret McMillan; Skinner, b. 1923, m. Ethel ?; Allie Victoria, b. 1927, m. Clifford Rabren; Willie Mae, b. 1932, d. 2012, m. Glenn Casady; Margaret, b. 1934, d. 1975, m. John Maust; and Alice, b. 1941, m. Claude Grantham.

In the 1880 Federal Census John Henry C. and Nancy Caroline Bray had a daughter listed as M.A. or M.T. who was six years old, so she would have been born circa 1874. Another record shows she died in 1963. This does not appear to be Ada, but no more is known about this child.

The next child, Henry Green Bray, who was born circa 1876, was first married to Bama Marler with whom he had six children: Frances, b. ca 1902, d. 1956, m. Joseph Ward Swan; John D., b. 1903, d. 1973, m. (1) Rachael Kirkland (1911-1959) (2) Arlene (Thomas) Powell; Edlow L., b. 1906, d. 1998, m. Gladys Donaldson (1913-1987); Luna Virginia, b. 1909, d. 1954, m. Johnny Mack Fuqua (1909-1978); and Ruby Lee, b. 1913, d. 1976, m. Augustus Reid Merrill (1910-1986); and Archus McHenry “Max,” b. 1920, d. 2012, m. Mary E. Sims (b. 1927), daughter of Louis Sims and Bessie (Ledlow). The oldest son, John D. Bray is believed to have been mayor of Jay, Fla., at one time and to have worked at the Alatex in Andalusia at another time. He had a son named Rudolph Bray who has a son that is a pulmonologist specialist in Pensacola, Fla.

The oldest daughter, Frances, and her husband moved to Oregon, and she talked her youngest brother, Archus, into moving out there where she could look after him. Frances and Joe Swan had two children: Joe Frances, b. 1944, d. 1964; and Jimmie Kathryn, b. 1948. Archus and Mary had one daughter, Sandra, b. 1947, who married John Lovelady. A tragedy for this family occurred in Andalusia in 1956 when Frances Swan and her brother, Archus Bray, were here visiting relatives. Frances fell shortly before they were to return home to Oregon and died from the fall, so she was buried in the Magnolia Cemetery.

Luna Victoria and Johnny Mack Fuqua, son of John and Eveline (Wishum) Fuqua, had one son, Harold Fuqua, who married (1) Barbara Martin (2) Brenda Thompkins. Harold and Barbara had three children: Danny Harold, m. (1) Ginger Hassell (2) Becky Pittman; Jackie Belinda, m. Benny Bass; and Janet Lynn, m. (1) Wayne Bush (2) Tim Cooper. Harold and Brenda had one daughter, Marlee Michelle, m. Brian Bass. John D. and Rachel Bray had two children: Randolph who has a son who is a pulmonologist specialist in Pensacola, and Carolyn.

The next daughter, Sophia Della Bray, who was born in 1881, was married to William Henry “Bill” Palmer Sr., son of Gazaway W. and Mary Ann Palmer Jr. Della and Bill Palmer reared the following children: Gussie Lou, b. 1898, d. 1996, m. (1) Riley Bass (2) James Henry Greathouse (3) H. M. Blackwell; Jessie Lee, b. 1901; Sanford Dozier, b. 1903, d. 1987, m. 1924 Ruth York; Luna Bell, b. 1906, d. 1998, m. ? Ott; Archie Gray, b. 1908, d. 1988, m. Mary Elizabeth Colvin; Lelia Mae, b. 1913, d. 1997, m. ? Gilbert; and Claude Ray, b. 1917.

Della and Bill’s daughter, Gussie Lou Palmer, and her husband, Riley Bass, had one son, Ralph, m. Hazel Petersen. Gussie and Henry Greathouse had the following children: Collis G. “Red;” Tiera, m. Glen Knight; Grady B., m. Bobbie ?; Mary, m. Glen Brown or Barnes; Howard; Donald L., m. Patricia ?; and Curtis. Della and Bill’s son, Sanford Dozier, and his wife, Ruth York, resided in Andalusia and had three children: Martha Lavenia, b. 1925, m. Jack Edwin Clower; Sara Frances, b. 1927, m. Harlan Leigh Ptomey; and Sanford Dozier Jr., m. Jean Gibson. Sara Frances and Harlan Ptomey reared three children: Nancy Leigh, b. 1953, m. Richard Edward Jones; Sara Ruth, b. 1955, m. (1) Nathaniel “Buddy” Waller II (2) Claude Boone; and Joseph Harlan, b. 1959, m. Vickie Lynn Newton.

Della and Bill’s son, Archie Gray Bray, was married to Mary Elizabeth Colvin (1910-2001). They resided in Andalusia and reared two children: Alice Eloise, b. 1934, m. Amon James Owens (1931-2016), son of John Thomas Owens and Clydie Ruth King; and James Archie, b. 1946, m. Debbie Rowe. Eloise and James reared three children: James Michael “Mike,” b. 1954, m. Debbie Allen. Tina Elizabeth, b. 1957, m. Adrian Dyess and has two sons, Dustin and Dylan; Melissa Ruth, b. 1966, m. Dan Gantt and has a daughter, Megan. Della and Bill’s daughter, Lelia Mae Bray, was married to ? Gilbert, and they had four children: Betty, m. Mitchell McNiece Wallace; Sally, m. Jackson Simpson; Ann, m. Paul Robbins; and Myron Earl, m. Shelia ?.

The contents of next week’s column will be a continuation of the grandchildren of John Henry C. Bray and Nancy Caroline (Morgan). The sources for today’s writing include the family records of Hazel (Goodman) McClain and interviews with several descendants and relatives of this Bray family lineage including Mary (Sims) Bray of Klamaff, Ore., who was contacted by Norma (Worley) King.

Anyone who might discover an error in the above or who has additional information on any descendants of the Bray family is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420: 334-804-1442; or Email:




The Franklins of Covington County, Ala., will hold a family reunion on Sat., May 28, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Please bring a covered dish side item or dessert (meats will be provided) and join us for fellowship and reminiscing. For more information contact Lisa R. Franklin, 251-423-4568 eMail:

The Covington Historical Society will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., March 31, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. George and Brenda Gantt of Hickory Lodge will be presenting the program. Guests are welcome.