Photo of University Hall

View Profile Page

Faculty/Staff Login:

Robert Cray

Professor, History

Dickson Hall 417
BA, SUNY at Stony Brook
MA, SUNY at Stony Brook
PhD, SUNY at Stony Brook
Download vCard


A Notable Bully: Colonel Billy Wilson, Masculinity, and the Pursuit of Violence in the Civil War Era, Kent State University Press, 2021


This book is clever, well researched, and the subject―Billy Wilson―is unquestionably an interesting one. Immigration historians, historians of 19th-century US politics, historians of New York City, and Civil War historians will all find A Notable Bully: Colonel Billy Wilson, Masculinity, and the Pursuit of Violence in the Civil War Era to be a welcome addition to their bookshelves.”―Timothy J. Orr, coauthor of Never Call Me a Hero: A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway

“Billy Wilson came straight out of the cauldron of antebellum New York City street life. A boxer and political thug, he was anything but a sensitive soul. In A Notable Bully: Colonel Billy Wilson, Masculinity, and the Pursuit of Violence in the Civil War Era, Robert Cray has ferreted out, in the most creative fashion, details of the fascinating life of this New York tough. A great read that tells us much that is new about Gotham’s history.”―Shane White, author of Prince of Darkness: The Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street’s First Black Millionaire

A Notable Bully: Colonel Billy Wilson, Masculinity, and the Pursuit of Violence in the Civil War Era, Kent: Kent State University Press, 2021.

Lovewell's Fight: War, Death, and Memory in Borderland New England, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2014.

Paupers and Poor Relief in New York City and its Rural Environs, 1700-1830, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988

Mark Twain, Olive Logan, and the Wickedest Man: Religious Sensationalism in Gilded Age New York, Mark Twain Quarterly, 59 (Spring, 2021): 43-60

The Most Valiant in Defense of His Country: Andrew Jackson's Bequest and the Politics of Courage, 1819-1857, Journal of the Early Republic, 38 (Summer 2018): 231-259

The Congregational Way Assailed: The Reverend Thomas Goss in Revolutionary Massachusetts, Historical Journal of Massachusetts, 43 (Winter 2015): 124-153

The Reverend John Murray and the Eighteenth Century Presbyterian Church, Journal of Presbyterian History 88 (Fall/Winter, 2010): 59-67

Weltering in their own Blood: Puritan Casualties in King Philip's War, Historical Journal of Massachusetts, 37 (Fall, 2009): 106-123

Explaining Defeat: The Loss of the USS Chesapeake, Naval History, 21 (August, 2007): 56-62

Remembering Richard Somers: Naval Martyrdom in the Tripolitan War, The Historian, 68 (Summer, 2006): 267-284

Remembering the USS Chesapeake: The Politics of Maritime Death and Impressment, Journal of the Early Republic, XXV (Fall, 2005): 445-474

The Death and Burials of Captain James Lawrence: Wartime Mourning in the Early Republic, New York History, 83 (Spring 2002): 133-164

Commemorating the Prison Ship Dead: Revolutionary Memory and the Politics of Sepulture in the Early Republic, 1776-1808, William and Mary Quarterly, LVI (July, 1999): 565-590

Major John Andre and the Three Captors: Class Dynamics and Revolutionary Memory Wars in the Early Republic, 1781-1830, Journal of the Early Republic, XVII (Fall, 1997): 371-397

The John Andre Memorial: The Politics of Memory in Gilded Age New York, New York History, 77 (January, 1996): 5-32

Congregational Autonomy and Presbyterian Discipline: The Immoral Ministry of Luther Gleason in Early Republic New York, 1789-1808, Mid-America: An Historical Review, 78 (Fall, 1996):303-324.

James Davenport's Post Bonfire Ministry, 1743-1757, The Historian, 59 (Fall, 1996): 59-73

More Light on a New Light: James Davenport's Religious Legacy, Eastern Long Island, New York History, 73 ((January, 1992): 5-27

White Welfare and Black Strategies: the Dynamics of Race and Poor Relief in Early New York, 1700-1825, Slavery & Abolition, VII (December, 1986): 273-289

Current Research:

Gilded Age Religious Sensationalism in New York City


Early American history with a concentration in social history, approximately 1607 to 1830 and Civil War Era New York City.

Office Hours


8:00 am - 9:30 am
8:00 am - 9:30 am


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
7:25 am - 8:25 am