Mary Buntin was born on 18 December 1741 in Surrey County, North Carolina, to Robert Buntin and his wife, Martha Diterson.
She married first John Ray, Sr., in 1760. They had three sons: Gen. James Buntin, William, and John Ray, Jr. Mary was widowed when her husband died in 1764.
She married second Col. Hugh McGary, Sr., 1766, in North Carolina. He raised her three boys as his own and fathered three or four more children with her: Robert, Maj Daniel, Mary Ann, and possibly Rosanna McGary.
Mary shares the distinction, along with Rebecca Boone, of being one of the first white women to settle in Kentucky. She brought the first Bible into the state when they migrated in the fall of 1775.
Hugh, who was an officer in the American Revolution, was known as "a headstrong man of fierce passions" but his wife was an equally strong-minded widow woman, who, it was said, "could manage McGary where a whole army couldn't."
After the death of her 14-year-old son, William, who was scalped by Indians, Mary Buntin Ray McGary retired to her bed until her death in the spring of 1780, aged 39. She was buried at the cemetery on the hill above Shawnee Springs in Mercer County, Kentucky.
Sources: Harrodsburg Herald, Letter from John Ray to L.C. Draper