This Gray family is of Scots-Irish heritage and settled in Virginia before moving to South Carolina. John Gray, Sr obtained land on the Enoree River in what later became Laurens County, South Carolina in the early 1770s. He served in the South Carolina militia in the Revolutionary War. A family legend recalls the home of John Gray Sr being burned down by Tories who were searching for him. He had hidden in the woods and his wife and newborn baby were allowed to leave the home before it was torched.
Descendants of John Gray include many successful planters, lawyers, educators and businessmen in South Carolina. One of the most famous was Wil Lou Gray, a highly educated woman for her time, who received her masters degree in political science from Columbia University in New York in 1911. She started teaching in a one room schoolhouse, became a superintendent of schools, and went on to pioneer adult education with the founding of the Opportunity School. She became a consultant on adult education internationally. She received many awards and accolades before her death at 100 years old, including being inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame.
John Gray Sr. was the great-great-grandfather of Ralph B. Swink Sr.
Note: The Grays on the Swink side of the family are not related to the Grays on the Crotwell side of the family who are of German descent.
Highlighted names show the direct ancestor line of Ralph B. Swink, Sr.