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Dr Alexander Gray - Summary Biography

Last Updated 1st March 2019

2nd April 1754, born in Elgin. Some sources mention White Horse Inn Close, but this seems unlikely from subsequent research, as it was not a 'respectable' address at that time, and other references suggest it may have been one of the houses opposite the Cathedral. His father was a wheelwright and watch/clockmaker who rose to be a Deacon and town councillor, and his mother’s brother was a Dr Sutherland, a well known (and wealthy) physician in England, who had vaccinated the King of Prussia’s family against smallpox and later lived with the family in Elgin​​ in his final years

Apprenticed to Dr Thomas Stephen, local physician, subsequently attends Marischal College Aberdeen 1774-75 and Edinburgh University Medical School 1777 -79

Serves as Royal Navy/Army surgeon for 4 years

In 1783 appointed assistant Surgeon, East India Company, Bengal station. Promoted to Surgeon 1799

Marries relatively late in life to a much younger woman, but they prove incompatible, and separate some time before his death

Amasses a significant fortune of nearly £40,000, most likely from a combination of a legacy from his maternal uncle (see above) and investing in the company’s ventures, equivalent to approx. £3.5 million today

March 1807. Makes his will, leaving £20,000 pounds “for the establishment of an Hospital in the town of Elgin”. His wife is described as “the most abandoned and deliberately infamous wife that ever distinguished the annals of turpitude”, and he also complains about his sister, “whose foolish marriage to a man who never had the prospect of supporting a family has landed me with her charge these 20 years past and thereby obliged me to remain in India ten years longer than I intended”, but he does make some provision for both as well as his sister’s children. He also leaves £2,000 “for the relief of reputed Old Maids in the town of Elgin, the daughters of respectable but decayed families”. It is believed that there were still a few benificiaries of this in the 1970s

26th July 1807. Dies in Calcutta

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