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William Lafayette McCray
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Birth: Aug. 14, 1848
Mercer County
Missouri, USA
Death: 1938
Alameda County
California, USA

William L. McCray was a ranchman, and the proprietor of the Old Homestead, a well-known summer resort in Cloverdale township, located in Oat valley, about a mile from the village.

William Lafayette's (he used both names from time-to-time as first names). Great-grandfather, Daniel McCray, emigrated to the United States from Scotland in colonial days. He was also of patriotic blood, his grandfather, William McCray, a native of Tennessee, having served as captain of a company in the War of 1812. He was a man of fine physique, jolly and good-natured, and after his removal to Missouri, where he took up government land, he improved a farm from the wilderness. He was a strong Democrat and a man of considerable prominence.

At the age of sixteen years, William Lafayette McCray came with his parents to California, driving three yokes of oxen across the plains.

Being the eldest of a large family of children, he began life for himself in 1865. Going to Solano county (he's listed in the 1870 US Census at Rio Vista working as a farm laborer on the large farm of Edwin Forest), he took two of his sisters with him as far as San Francisco to be treated for sore eyes, earning enough money as a day laborer to pay their expenses. After working in the harvest fields and on the farm for a year he became foreman of a heading and threshing machine outfit, doing the harvesting on large ranches for four years, and receiving $250 a month in summer and $80 per month in the winter seasons.

He subsequently herded hogs for a time, then bought and sold horses, in which he met with financial success.

Coming back to Cloverdale, Mr. McCray established a stage route from this town to Bartlett Springs, running it for four years. Subsequently pre-empting one hundred and sixty acres of fine timber land in Humboldt county, he remained there a year, when he disposed of his land at $50 per acre.

The following fourteen years he made money as a butcher and meat dealer, but going into the mines of Mexico, Arizona and Nevada, he continued his mining operations from 1886 until 1894, and lost all that he had accumulated.

Locating in Fresno county, Mr. McCray started a stock ranch in partnership with a friend, but not meeting with success in the venture gave it up at the end of four years on account of the drought. Renting his present ranch from his mother-in-law in 1898, he carried on general farming. Twenty-six acres of this ranch were devoted to the raising of grapes, and forty-five acres to hay, both profitable crops. Politically he was a steadfast Democrat, but never cared to hold office.

November 21, 1872, Mr. McCray married Mary A. Elliott, who was born in Santa Rosa township [Sonoma Co., CA], April 26, 1851. Her parents were Emsley and Rachel (Cyrus) Elliott, the latter a daughter of Enoch and Rebecca (Cook) Cyrus. The Cyrus's traveled to California in 1846, ahead of the Donner Party. Rachel's brother, John Cyrus, married a survivor of the Donner Party tragedy, Lovina Graves.

Mr. and Mrs. McCray had one child, Arthur Lafayette McCray, who was secretary and manager of the Producers' Packing Association, at Fresno, Calif. as of 1904.

Note: He registered to vote on 27 July 1869 in Cloverdale, Sonoma Co., CA; 25 Aug 1873 & 1877 in Kelseyville, Lake Co., CA; and 6 Mar. 1879, 20 Aug. 1886, 3 Aug. 1892 in Alameda Co., CA.
Family links: 
  William Henry McCray (1825 - 1900)
  Macedonia Arcada Williams McCray (1830 - 1897)
  Mary Ann Elliott McCray (1851 - 1942)
  William Lafayette McCray (1848 - 1938)
  Cestius Florus McCray (1855 - 1931)*
  Minerva Narcissa McCray Shaw (1856 - 1943)*
  Armond Winn McCray (1858 - 1899)*
  Amanda C. McCray Buffett (1858 - 1905)*
  Delilah McCray (1862 - 1902)*
  David Munroe McCray (1863 - 1877)*
  Lawrence Franklin McCray (1865 - 1946)*
  Logan McCray (1871 - 1919)*
  Bertha A McCray Williams (1874 - 1964)*
*Calculated relationship
William does not have a stone or marker within the plot; however, burial confirmed via Cloverdale Cemetery burial records
Cloverdale Cemetery
Sonoma County
California, USA
Plot: Lot 452
Created by: J.D. Larimore
Record added: Nov 21, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61956751
William Lafayette McCray
Added by: Kathleen Clemence
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