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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM BRAY, a prominent business man of East Bangor, and Superintendent of the East Bangor Consolidated Manufacturing Company, is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in Chapmanville August 1, 1858. His parents, Joseph and Louisa (Preston) Bray, were natives of England, his father a Cornishman, and his mother a native of Devonshire. The grandfather, William Bray, for whom our subject was named, was a farmer by occupation, and died in his native land.

Joseph Bray emigrated with his family to this country in 1855 and located first in Chapmanville, where he engaged in the slate business, in which occupation he continued all his life. He remained in Chapmanville for a short time, and then went to Pen Argyl and found employment in the quarries of that place. In 1857 or 1858 he came to East Bangor, engaging in the same business, and in 1864 located here permanently. At this time, in connection with Henry Short, he purchased the old Delp farm and opened up a quarry, which is now known as the East Bangor Consolidated and is owned at present by a stock company, with a paid-up capital of $257,500. The quarry was operated by Messrs. Bray and Short until 1882, when the present stock company was formed. Mr. Bray was a stockholder and Director of the Bangor & Portland Railroad, and was influential in getting the right of way and pushing the project to its completion. He was the originator of the slate-mill business; a process for the manufacture of steps, platforms, billiard beds, hearths, etc. This was a new departure in the slate business, and from this initial movement the great mill slate industry of this section was developed. The largest plant for this kind of work in this country is found in connection with the Consolidated Quarry. In politics Mr. Bray was a Republican, and held many offices of trust, being public spirited and taking a deep interest in all projects for the welfare of his home locality. A member of the Methodist Church, he helped organize the first church of that denomination in East Bangor, and was its first Sunday-school Superintendent, remaining in that capacity for over twenty years.

Four children were born to Joseph and Louisa Bray, all living: William, our subject; Hannah M.; Joshua, who married Frances Reichard, and is now living in East Bangor, being a member of the firm of Bray Bros., general merchants; and Milford, who married Mabel Mack. William Bray, the subject of this sketch, was educated in the public schools of his vicinity, and early learned the trade of slate-making, going into the quarry and learning all the details, both as to getting out the raw material and also its manufacture. When the company was first organized he was made Assistant Superintendent, but previous to that time had charge of the books of the company. He continued in the capacity of Assistant Superintendent for five of six years, and then became General Superintendent, in which office he has continued until the present time. His duties are to look after the interests of the quarry and mills, and also the sale of the manufactured products.

In addition to other interests Mr. Bray is President of the Merchants’ National Bank at Bangor; is interested in the Slate Belt Electric Railroad Company, of which he is Vice-President; is a member of the East Bangor Land Improvement Company; is Director of the Bangor & Portland Railroad Company, and senior partner in the firm of Bray Bros. He is also Treasurer of the Electric Light Company of Bangor.

July 5, 1879, Mr. Bray was joined in the holy bonds of matrimony with Miss Mary E., a daughter of Isaac and Catharine Ackerman, of Bangor. They have three children, William P., Randolph Foster and Anna Mary, all bright and interesting children. Mr. and Mrs. Bray are consistent members of the Methodist Church, and are always found at their post of duty. The former, who is Secretary of the Board of Trustees and also Superintendent of the Sunday-school, is actively interested in all church and educational work.

In politics our subject is a stanch Republican, and is interested in local and national government. He is not in any sense of the word a politician, but, doing his duty at the polls and assisting in matters of local enterprise, is accounted a substantial citizen and a public-spirited man. He has served as School Director and member of the Council, and takes an active interest in public affairs. Socially he is identified with the Knights of the Golden Eagle. He is widely known as a business man of ability and sterling integrity, who commands the esteem of his fellow-citizens and wins the confidence of all who know him.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the book, Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company. 

View additional Northampton County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Northampton County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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