When I was growing up, my maternal grandfather used to tell me that he had relatives that fought in the American Revolution, some came on the Mayflower, some fought in the French and Indian Wars and even more uniquely some were settlers at Jamestown. Those points always made me curious and I finally got a chance to research all of those remote conversations with my maternal grandfather and with much surprise...they are true. With the assistance of bibliographical resources, Ancestry.com, and other resources I tracked down each long lost ancestor and discovered names such as Babb, Bischoff, Gray (my maternal great-grandmother was a Gray.), Hancock, Wharton and even some Reeds. On a mission I finally found one connection to the American Revolution, Captain James Gray. Shocked, he was from Vermont, and his son James Jr. also was a Patriot and fought for American Independence. Now really determined, I continued research and called the local president of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR is a hereditary membership society, that traces the roots of modern Americans to colonial Patriots in the fight for American Independence.) The results staggered me, not only had I found 2 past Patriot relatives, but 24 that fought from Bunker Hill to Yorktown. My story is not unusual, and is quite common for most of the people that lived in Gray's Ferry prior to the American Revolution, they just don't know it, or have never believed the stories their grandparents and other relatives have told them throughout their lives.
Now I am trying to convince all of my first cousins to join the Sons of the American Revolution, the Daughters of the American Revolution & Children of the American Revolution. While we in America do not have titles of nobility, we are indeed a nation, city and neighborhood of rich histories that have many stories to tell, and show clearly that the fabric of America was woven in part in Gray's Ferry. When describing the SAR membership, I joked with one cousin that it was easier to believe that we had colonial ancestors, the larger question was how the heck did we end up in Gray's Ferry? In my case it was through marriage, as was common for 18th century natal Americans.
Now most of the people that grew up in Gray's Ferry, now live in Washington Township, New Jersey, especially in Sewell. Often I say that if Saint Gabriel Parish could be transported to Sewell, all of the parishioners would already know each other.
The next time you think about growing up in Gray's Ferry, try asking relatives the question: How did we come to settle in Gray's Ferry? I am sure the answer will surprise you, inspire you and make you proud that your family's roots are deeply rooted in the area from pre-Revolutionary America up to the 21st century. History is important, Gray's Ferry's history is important and each Gray's Ferry family in some manner is quite honestly related to each other through marriage, through faith and through American ancestry.