"old Billy Gray"

After Elias Hasket Derby died in 1799, William Gray (1750-1825) succeeded him as Salem’s foremost shipping merchant. Prior to the War of 1812, he owned a fleet of 60 vessels, employed around 300 men annually and was New England’s richest citizen. He was among the first American merchants to trade with India, China and Russia, and served as the ninth lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts. A detailed biography is available here.