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Coray, Baby William

Headstone for Baby William Coray, San Carlos Cemetery in Monterey California

The Mormon Battalion reached San Diego in 1847. Two women, Lydia Edmonds Hunter and Melissa Burton Coray, made the journey with their husbands, Jesse and William Coray. In April, after their arrival in San Diego, Lydia Hunter gave birth to her first . Lydia died soon after the birth of little Diego Hunter. This unfortunate event was very troubling for members of the Battalion and would have been especially traumatic for nineteen- year-old Melissa Coray. By that time, Melissa would have known that she was about three months pregnant.When the Battalion members were discharged in July 1847, some members headed to Salt Lake City as soon as possible. Others, like the Corays, stayed in California longer, working their way up the California coast with hopes of eventually going to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.Melissa and William were in Monterey, California when their firstborn arrived. The baby was reportedly born October 2, 1847. In a letter dated October 11, William wrote to a  friend in San Francisco, telling him about the baby and adding that as soon as they were able to travel, they would be going to San Francisco. Some time after October 11, but before they left for San Francisco, baby William died. Melissa and William buried their infant son in a cemetery in Monterey.The Corays eventually went on to Salt Lake City, where their second child, a daughter, Melissa, was born in February 1849. William Coray died a month, later in March 1849. Melissa married again after William’s death.Melissa reportedly returned to Monterey many years later, looking for the grave of her firstborn. Monterey would have changed greatly in the 40 or 50 years. She was unable to find where she and William buried their infant son.Anne J. Miller, and her husband, David Elliott, of Murrieta, California, are not descendants of Melissa Coray, but they felt very strongly that there should be a memorial marker for little William Coray. The question was where to put a memorial. Having done the research to determine where  the baby was most likely buried in San Carlos Cemetery in Monterey; a cemetery established in 1834. In December 2009, Anne and her husband went to Monterey and arranged for the headstone. It was placed in San Carlos Cemetery in January 2010. It is in a small area of the cemetery designated for babies. This area is only about 63 feet long (roughly east to west) and 11 feet wide. The latitude for this section is 36.595817 and the longitude is 121.885526. This should help with your GPS or Google Map or Google Earth search.

For any information relating to the Corays or this grave site, contact Anne J. Miller at