In 1896 George Bray (c1873-1941) and his brother William (Willie) Bray (c1876-1937) purchased the farm from Lucy White Taylor for $400. The brothers actively worked the farm until they died. Willie was at one time an officer in the Yarmouth Grange. They may also have been carpenters since there is a 1920's reference to the brothers dismantling a house in Yarmouth Port.
While we have little other information about the brothers, we do have this photograph with a description and one anecdote about the Bray brothers' eccentric behavior.
According to an account in the Register from 1987, this is a picture of George and Willie Bray with Mrs. Leslie (Ruth) Pfeiffer. When the story was published, it seems that it was seen by Mrs. Pfeiffer who was then living in Wellesley. She provided the following background for the photo.
In the 1940s, Ruth Pfeiffer and her husband Leslie moved to a home on eight acres on Mill Lane in Yarmouth. In the process of gardening on the property, they discovered "buried arrowheads and Indian stone artifacts". Brad Clark, an antique dealer and local historian, suggested that the Pfeiffers show their finds to the Bray brothers who had an extensive collection of Indian artifacts of their own. The Pfeiffers did and decided to donate their finds to the larger Bray collection.
Mrs. Pfeiffer said, "My husband took the picture. It was to be a picture of the donor." She said it was her understanding that in later years the Brays' Indian relics were donated to the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth."
While Mrs. Pfeiffer says the picture was taken in the 1940s, she must be mistaken since Willie Bray died December 15, 1937. Records show the Pfeiffers bought their home on Mill Lane on July 2, 1936. The Pfeiffers found Native artifacts while gardening, so it seems they approached the Bray brothers, and the photo was taken, either in the fall of 1936 or in 1937.
It seems that the Bray brothers were a bit eccentric as is indicated by this account in a Cape Cod Compass magazine article over 30 years ago:
Still another case of isolated living involved the Bray brothers of old Yarmouth, a pair of elderly brothers who dwelt by themselves in a home some distance on the seaward side of Cranberry Highway. Perhaps they would have been granted isolation even if they had not sought it, for as the years went on their house developed gaps and sags, and they cultivated an ominous-looking companion that took advantage of the holes in the floor boards. He was a sizeable snake, long and fat, and when the Bray brothers would sit down to eat, they would place a platter of milk on the floor beside their chairs and rap on the wood with their heels. And up would come the snake, slithering through the floor, to join the Brays for dinner.
There is some corroboration for this story. A gentleman in town said he accompanied a carpenter friend to the 'farm house'. The owners wanted a wall opened because of a terrible stench. What they found was the remains of a rather large snake. When this occurred is not clear, but a reasonable guess would make it in the '50s or '60s. The carpenter had a shop on the second floor of a building in Yarmouth Port village.
Please, if you have or know of information about the Bray brothers or about the Farm during the time of their ownership, we want to hear from you. Contact us..