Howell Gray Whitehead Sr. was born 1790 in Pitt County, NC, son of Joseph Whitehead III. His mother is often reported to be Sarah "Sally" Gray, however, her DOB and date of marriage (1804) does raise some questions as to whether she was his birth mother or stepmother.
He was the paternal grandson of Joseph Whitehead II and Pheraby Applewaite/Applewight who removed to Halifax County from Isle of Wight. He was the gr-grandson of Joseph Whitehead Sr. (ca. 1705-1752) and his unknown first wife, who later married Faith Lane of Edgecombe Co. (Faith married 2nd William Bynum of Edgecome.) The Whitehead family dates back to before 1645 when Arthur Whitehead was known to be in Isle of Wight, VA. His grandson, Col. William Whitehead first came to Edgecombe County in the early 1700's.
Howell married Elizabeth Clark, daughter of James Sampson Clark of Pitt County and they farmed in the Pactolus area of Pitt County. The couple became parents of 7 known children (4 boys/3 girls): William B. Whitehead (ca. 1823), Susan Whitehead (1826-1882), Olzie Eliza Whithead (1831-1896), John Whitehead (ca. 1833), Maj. James Samuel Whitehead, CSA (1836-1862), Capt. Howell Gray Whitehead, Jr., CSA (1839-1887), and Penelope Euphrasia Whitehead (1842-1899).
Howell was widowed in 1844 when his wife died, and the 56-year old widower married (2nd) on September 1, 1846 to 48-yr old Annie (Anna) Ward, the widow of Miles Brittain (also found as Britton) of Pitt County. The marriage was short lived, as the couple divorced in 1849.
Howell Gray Whitehead Sr. died in 1883 at the advanced age of 92. Four of his children are known to be buried here.
His (1st) wife is reportedly buried in Pitt County. His (2nd) wife, is buried near her sister, Nancy Ward (Mrs. Lemuel Britton), in the James Speight Cemetery, Pitt Co, NC