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Joseph Bray & Alice M. Beckwith family


Posted By: Barbara Drummer (email)
Date: 12/12/2011 at 11:09:39

Death of Alice Marie Beckwith Bray
Wright County Monitor, Wednesday, December 14, 1892, page 1

Last Thursday morning Mrs. Joseph Bray bid farewell to husband, children and friends. She was 39 years two months and ten days old. The funeral services were held Friday at her residence seven miles north east of town, Rev. Luce officiating. The interment was at Mount Hope. There is seldom a death exciting greater sympathy and more profound sorrow. The deceased had hardly reached the noon of life when death came, blind and deaf to the tearful eyes, and prayers of eleven children, “Oh, don’t take dear mother from us. Leave her for a few years longer,” and the petition of husband that his dear companion, the mother of his children might live the allotted time, three score and ten years, availed nothing. The father’s care, watchfulness and love exerted to the uttermost will fall far short of a mother’s. Eleven young and motherless children are left. Christian friends, you must not rely on a relay of angels to take the mother’s place or for a higher power than yourselves to provide, care and protect the needy, helpless and unfortunate offsping [sic] of the human race.

Alice Marie Beckwith Bray was born in Illinois about 1853.  Alice died Dec 8, 1892 at age 39 years, 2 months and 10 days, leaving 11 children, the youngest of which was my Grandmother who was less than two months old.  Her parents, Horace and Prudence (Collins) Beckwith, also had a son, Fremont W. Beckwith.
Alice married Joseph Bray on Nov 22, 1873, Lincoln Twp, Black Hawk County, IA at the home of her father.  (Joseph was born Sept 28 or 29 sometime between 1840-1846 in England, and died Feb 8, 1906, Galt, Iowa.)

Joseph and Alice were still in Iowa, Black Hawk County, Lincoln Twp. In the 1880 census with the three oldest children. 
Children are: Horace W., William H., Paulina  (AKA Lena and Ruby), Bessie (AKA Bess and Betsey), Clarence, Grant C., Joseph C., Charles K., Clara, Cora and Marie.

Though Joseph and Alice moved to and lived in Wright county sometime after the 1880 census, they are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, Dows in Franklin County.  Their son Will H. Bray (July 12, 1876 - May 26, 1961 ) and his wife Mattie Bauge Bray (Sept 5, 1882 - March 24, 1955) are buried at Fairview Cemetery.  I have those obits as well as death certificates.  Both died in Mower County, MN.

Death of Joseph Bray
JOSEPH BRAY DEAD (photocopy of 1906 obit from an unknown newspaper)

Passed Away at his Home at Galt Yesterday. Funeral Serelces (sic) Sunday

Joseph Bray, whose continued illness has been mentioned in these columns from time to time, passed away at his home at Galt at an early hour yesterday morning.  He had been in poor health for some three years having at that time suffered a paraletic (sic) stroke, and the end drew nearer and nearer until yesterday morning when he fell asleep to waken on the other shore.
The deceased was born at Wallhurst, England September 28, 1840.  At the age of twenty five years he came to America and settled in Black-hawk county, near the town of Waterloo.  In 1874 he was married to Miss Alice Beckwith.  Eleven children were born to them—six boys and five girls.  In 1879 he moved his family to a farm near Clarion where they resided until 1892, when they moved to a farm south of town, and from there to the Glle? Farm west of town and the past three years he has lived with a daughter at Galt.
The life of Father Bray has been well spent.  At an early age he left his home and successfully battled with the world and reared a large family.  He was a devoted husband and a loving father, and gave up much of his own happiness for the sake of his family.
There are left to mourn eleven children, five grandchildren, and a host of friends.  The children are all here to attend the funeral, including Miss Carrie, of Whitten, and Miss Marie of Marshalltown.
The funeral services will be held in the Methodist church at Galt Sunday morning at eleven o’clock, and the remains will be laid to rest in Mount Hope cemetery besides his good wife, who preceeded (sic) her husband to the better land thirteen years ago.


Birthdate of Joseph Bray
The 1880 Census Iowa, Black Hawk, Lincoln shows Alice and Joseph are still in that county with the three eldest children. The 1900 census gives Joseph’s birth as Sept 1841 and the year that he immigrated as 1869, in this country 31 years, and naturalized. I believe that to be the correct birth month and year as Joseph was likely the one to have given the information.
Daughter Betsey’s birth info gives father’s place of  birth as Woodbridge, England. Those familiar with England say Wallhurst is a working farm, not a place where someone would be born. The Woodbridge I believe is Wadebridge, Cornwall, England either transcribed or heard wrong.

His age at his marriage to Alice Beckwith differs from both the 1840 and 1841 birth year:
Marriage Register, Black Hawk County, Iowa Record D, p 109, #1009 License application - 29 Oct 1873
Joseph Bray, 28, of Lincoln Twp.
Application signed by Joseph Bray
affidavit of Joseph Bray and the age of Alice M. Beckwith being confirmed by the statement of W. A. Cottrell.
Certificate of marriage
22 Nov 1873 at the Bride’s Father’s in said county…”  “Given under my hand the 13th day of January A.D. 1874” signed
by Geo Pirach (?) Minister
That would mean he was born in 1845.

Joseph Bray's Immigration and Naturalization
National Archives and Records Administration (B600)
Family name BRAY  Given name or names JOSEPH
Nothing under Address
Certificate no. (or vol. and page) Vol. I P. 480
Title and location of court  Iowa Dist. Black Hawk Co.  Waterloo.
Country of birth or allegiance England 
X under When born (or age),
X under Date and port of arrival in U. S. 
Date of naturalization Oct. 2, 1877
Names and addresses of witnesses X

A gentleman went to the clerk's office in Dows and found:
Joseph Born Sept 28, 1840, passed away Feb 8, 1906 and Buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery.
He also found that the Brays had a Drey Service in Dows, but no year was given.

I hope that someone might be privy to information about that to tell more of Joseph's family's life story.

I do have a lot of information on this family, marriages, and something on the families for most of the families that the Bray kids married into, census, deaths, burials, the adopted names of some of the younger children raised by other families after the death of Alice, but I need to discover some clue that will lead to finding Joseph’s parents, siblings. Even a middle initial for him might help, so that I can take this tree back into England. 


Update: October 2006
I was contacted by granddaughters of Joseph and Alice's son Horace W. Bray, and one believed Joseph's birth year to be 1846 and his middle initial was E., but wasn't able to remember her source for that. My question of what name Horace's middle initial stood for went un-answered as I felt that could be an important clue. The only source that I have come across pointing toward a birth year close to 1846 is the marriage record. I've never found evidence of a middle initial for Joseph. Just because I haven't found it, doesn't mean that she is wrong. I haven't sought a death certificate for Joseph. It might tell more than I think but I suspect that it would probably have no more or different information than the obituary.


Joseph's English Family
I do believe that a cousin and I have discovered Joseph's English birth and family. Everything we found always led to Cornwall County, England. I felt that the place on Betsey's birth record was actually Wadebridge, not Woodbridge, England. We had also discovered by this time something about all of Joseph and Alice's kids and that their daughter Cora, my great aunt, though always known as Cora was actually named Peggy Corine.
Here is what we believe to be Joseph Bray's English family, based on census records. William Bray and Margaret (aka Peggy PERRY) Bray were his parents.
1841 Births for Oct/Nov/Dec qtr
BRAY, Joseph - Bodmin - IX - 39 Provided from a generous lookup on the 1837 online.com (Note: Sept birth would be reported in that quarter.)
William Bray. B. 1810, England, Cornwall, Wadebridge, Egloshayle. D. Mar 7 1892, Greenhill, Egloshayle, England.
Margaret (Peggy) Perry. B. 1814, England, Cornwall, Helland. D. Sept 20 1904, England, Egloshayle. Married Dec 1840 England, Bodmin (Bodmin being the registration district. )
1. Joseph Bray B. Sept 1841, England Corwall, Egloshayle (Bodmin registration district. D. Feb 8 1906, Galt, Iowa
2. Betsey Perry Bray B. 1845, England, Egloshayle. D. Sep 1888, England, Bodmin.
3. Isabella Bray B. 1850, England, Egloshayle
4. Paulina Bray B. 1854, England, Egloshayle
5. Charles J. Bray b. 1857, England, Egloshayle
1841 England, Cornwall, Egloshayle, Treewarder Lane finds
William Bray 65 Ag Lab, wife Rebecca 70 with a young William Bray 5 and right below them is William Bray 30 Ag Lab and Peggy 20.
1851 Egloshayle Village
BRAY, William, Ag Labourer, Male, 40 yrs, married, Peggy, born Egloshayle
BRAY Peggy, female, 37 yrs, wife, born Helland
BRAY, Joseph, male, 9 yrs, son, born Egloshayle
BRAY, Betsey, female, 6 yrs, daughter, born Egloshayle
BRAY, Isabella, female, 10 months, daughter, born Egloshayle
At 2, Cold Rock, Church Town, Egloshayle
William BRAY, Head, Married, 51yrs, Labourer, b. Egloshayle
Peggy BRAY, Wife, Married, 44 years, b. Egloshayle
Joseph BRAY, Son, 18 yrs, Apprentice Carpenter, b. Egloshayle
Isabella BRAY, Daughter, 11yrs, Scholar, b. Egloshayle
Paulina BRAY, Daughter, 7yrs, Scholar, b. Egloshayle
Charles BRAY, Son, 4 yrs, Scholar, b. Egloshayle
NOTE: After 1861 Joseph is not found in England.
In 1881 Greenhill, Egloshayle, Cornwall, England ages are way off
William Bray Head M male 60 Egloshayle, Cornwall, England, Roadman (Lab)
Peggy Bray wife M Female 56 Helland, Cornwall, England
William S. Crook Boarder U Male 68 Egloshayle Retired Carpenter
In 1891, on UK Cornish census
Bray William Head M M 83 Retired Farm Labourer born Cornwall-Egloshayle
Bray Margeret Wife m F 74 Cornwall-Helland
Crook William Boarder S M 83 Retired Painter born Cornwall-Egloshayle
Local Preacher in Wesleyan Church for 67 years. Husband of Margaret
IGI Familysearch
William Bray, Male, Christening: 18 Mar 1810 Egloshayle, Cornwall, England
Father: William Bray
Mother: Rebecca
Cornwall registers of marriages at Egloshayle 1600 to 1812 Vol 2 has Cornwall England William Bray & Rebecca Tom 02 Apr 1807

I do have spouses for what we believe to be Joseph Bray's siblings and census and other information; also for Alice Marie Beckwith Bray family, her parents Horace W. Beckwith and Prudence Collins Beckwith; her brother Fremont Woodworth Beckwith whose twin brother died days after they were born. If someone out there has different information I would certainly love to see it!


Children of Joseph Bray and Alice Marie Beckwith Bray:

1. Horace W Bray-Sep 1874 Waterloo, IA-d. 1948 WI, buried Washburn, Earl, WI -- married Mary Abby Vantossel b. April, 1877, Webster City, IA, d. 1964 WI, burial Washburn, Earl. 8 kids, all b. Iowa but one. Most of the male Brays and their families have obits and/or burials posted on the Washburn Co., WI GenWeb site. Married May 10 1897 Hardy Iowa

2. William Harvey Bray, July 12 1876, Black Hawk County, IA, d. May 26, 1961, Mower County, MN, married Mattie Bauge b. Sep 5 1882, Cambridge, Story, Iowa, d. Mar 24, 1955, Mower County, MN. Will H. Bray (July 12, 1876-May 26, 1961) and Wife Mattie Bauge Bray (Sept 5, 1882-March 24, 1955) are buried at Fairview Cemetery, Dows, IA. No children. Married Nov 24 1903 Clarion, IA

3. Paulina Bray, Feb 12, 1879 Black Hawk Co., IA-d. Jan 9, 1968, also called Mrs. Roy Kern, Ruby Kern and Lena Kern in various siblings obit's. -d. Los Angeles, Long Beach. Her death certificate extraction says she was divorced. Informant was Office of Public Administration L. A. CA, Burial 1-22-1968 Verdugo Hills Cemetery, gave cause of death etc. md. Roy Kern. To the best of my knowledge there were no children. I think Paulina aka Lena and Ruby must have been buried in an indigent grave.

4. Bessie (aka Betsey/Bess/and Mrs. Bessie Neely). b. Feb 21, 1882, Wright Co., IA-d. Mar 25, 1966, Napa, California. Married. UNKNOWN Neely. (I'd love to find his name). She had been at the Napa State Hospital the last 3 + years of her life and was buried in an indigent grave site at St Helena Public Cemetery. A very kind man decorated, photographed and described the area where Bessie is buried. No stone of course. Bessie's death certificate extraction proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is Bessie Bray as it names my Grandmother as the informant. There are sources that argue on Bessie's year of birth as well. I feel 1882 is the correct one.

5. Clarence Bray b. Mar 25 1885, Dows, Iowa-d. 1964 Duluth, MN, md. Louella Sophia Hagenson, b. Jun 9, 1890, Cylinder, IA-d. Dec 31, 1964, Shell Lake Hospital, WI. Burial Earl Cemetery, Washburn Co., WI. I have one child for them. Married May 9, 1909 Dows, Iowa

6. Grant C. Bray b. Apr 10, 1886, Dows, IA, d. May 30, 1972, Washburn Co., WI. Married Nellie Josephine Hagenson b. Feb 2, 1892, d. Nov 27, 1978, Washburn Co., WI. Burial Earl Cemetery, Washburn Co., WI. I have one child for them. Married June 10, 1919.

7. Joseph C. Bray, April 18, 1889, Wright Co., IA. D. July 24, 1947, Shell Lake Hospital, WI. Never married. There is other info about Joseph. He is also buried Earl Cemetery, Washburn Co., WI.

8. Charles K. Bray Dec 18, 1881 Reinbeck, Black Hawk County, IA, D. Sept 6, 1936, Iowa, Hardin Co. Burial, Union Cemetery, Hardin County, IA. NOTE: Cemetery record confirms the date on Charles' tombstone to be Dec 18, 1889 and death Sept 6, 1936. Census records however say otherwise, as does his marriage record. Charlie is age 4 in 1885 state census. 1895 state census Charlie is 14. Marriage record naming parents of both the groom and the bride indicate that Charles Bray is 22 making it abt 1880. His WWI Draft Registration says he was born Dec 18, 1880, which agrees with parents and older siblings still being in Lincoln, Black Hawk, IA in 1880 census rather than moving 1879 as stated in Joseph's obit. Married Pearl Rubendall. b. Mar 11 1886, Fremont, IL. Children in 1910 are Gladys 7, Ruby 5, Harvey 2. In 1920 children are Gladys 16, Ruby 14, Harvey 11, Lawrence 6 and Russel 2. (Harvey died in 1925). Charles and Pearl divorced before the 1930 census. Married Oct 29 1902 Clarion, IA

9. Clara Bray 18 Agu 1890, Dows, Wright, IA, d. Aug 1953, Michigan City, Indiana. Md. Oscar G. Johnson b. July 13, 1890, Marshalltown, Iowa, d. March 25, 1993, Michigan City, Indiana. Yes, he was well over 100. Clara was adopted, formally or informally I don't know, sometime after the death of her mother by Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Landis/Landes. There were two sons born to Oscar and Clara, one of whom is still living. Clara's obituary gives her parents as Mr. and Mrs. William Bray BUT William was her brother but was 14 yrs her Senior and the family really didn't know much about Clara's Bray family at the time her son said. Married 20 May 1914 Whitten, Iowa NOTE: Wedding article can be found in the Marshalltown Iowa Times Republican newspaper and it is Clara Landis.

10. Cora Bray (Actual name according to her granddaughter is Peggy Corine). b. Sept 1, 1891, Wright County, Iowa, d. Sept 1958, Marshalltown. Burial Riverside Cemetery, Marshalltown, Iowa. Married Benjamin Franklin, (Frank) Spears. b. Mar 1, 1887, Garwin Iowa area, d. Sept 30, 1952, Tama, Iowa. There were four children. Cora's now deceased daughter In-law told me that Cora was placed with a family for awhile too but that her father didn't like the way that she was treated so brought her back home. Married Nov 5 1913 Dows, Iowa, NOTE: Someone sent me a newspaper clipping.

11. Marie B Bray (Beulah) b. Oct 20, 1892. Have to assume that grandma was born Wright Co., IA., d. Mar 20 1976, Asheville, NC and is buried at Riverside Cemetery, Buncombe County, NC. Grandma (Marie Beulah) was adopted, again, formally or informally I don't know, by Reverend William Jasper and Mary I. (Carpenter) Hadley's daughter Lillie and husband Alfred Ware. Since grandma was less than two months old at the time of her mother's death she was probably adopted fairly soon? I've never figured out how to find out more about that. Grandma was mentioned in all of the obituaries of her siblings that have been found, but they were not mentionedi n her obituary. At the time the family didn't know much about the Brays and considered the Wares to be her parents. I did find obituaries on her adoptive parents and there is no mention of grandma in those at all. Grandma is never found in a census with her adoptive parents. When they were expecting their first-born child, Grandma went to live with her adoptive maternal grandparents and remained with them until she married. Grandma Marie was a concert pianist for the Rev. Billy Sunday as a young girl. She was a grand musician as was her son, my Dad. On 8 Sept. 1911 in Marshalltown she married Floyd Bryant Spencer, who was b. Oct 2, 1883 in Nevada, Story County, Iowa, and d. Feb, 1961 in Jackson County, Maquoketa, IA. He is buried at Rose Hill Memorial Gardens, Marshalltown, Iowa. They had seven children.


I've always wondered what that name is for the farm they moved to so that I could find that family in census. "In 1879 he moved his family to a farm near Clarion where they resided until 1892, when they moved to a farm south of town, and from there to the Glle? Farm west of town" Hopefully someone can tell me what that name actually is.

I keep hoping that someone will be privy to information on the Drey Service that was said to be operated by the Bray's.

We've learned so much considering when starting this some 10 years ago all I knew was what I knew my grandmother by, Beulah Marie Bray, Ware, Hadley, Spencer and from notes a deceased Aunt had made that gave her mother's siblings names and that her father was ? Bray and her mother's name might have been Alice. I'd love to be able to see a photo of Alice, Joseph, and am jealous of whoever ended up with the family bible that my Great Grandmother used as proof of age for daughter Bessie for school records.

I would love to hear from anyone with an interest in this family.


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