James David Wright

James David Wright

James David Wright, my father, was born June 7, 1872, at Little Crab, Fentress County, Tennessee. He died March 12, 1928, on Tennessee Ridge, in Casey County, Kentucky. His father, John Taylor Wright, was born Mar. 13, 1849, at Little Crab, Fentress County, Tenn., and died Jan. 22, 1917, on Tennessee Ridge, in Casey County, Ky. His mother, Elizabeth Ann (King) Wright, was born Feb. 27, 1854, in Fentress County, Tenn., and died Apr. 16, 1911, on Tennessee Ridge, in Casey County, Ky. His paternal grandfather, Mathias Austin Wright, was born in 1815, in Virginia; and died Aug. 3, 1899, at Little Crab, Fentress County, Tennessee. His paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Betsy (Wright) Wright, was born in 1820, in Va., and died May 18, 1999, at Little Crab, Fentress County, Tenn. His paternal great-grandfather, Matthew W. Wright, was born Apr. 14, 1789, in Maryland; and died Nov. 7, 1865, in Fentress County, Tenn. His paternal great-grandmother, Margaret Ann (Ritchie) Wright, was born July 5, 1790, in Va., and died Mar. 11, 1882, in Fentress County, Tenn. His maternal great-grandfather, John Wright, (a brother to Matthew W. Wright), was born in 1787, in Md., served in the 4th Regiment of the Virginia Brigade, during the War of 1812, and died May 17, 1864, at "head of the Cane," (Hurricane Creek), near Moodyville, in what is now Pickett County, Tenn. And his maternal great-grandmother, Elizabeth (Lindley) Wright, was born in 1796, in Va.; and died after 1876, in Fentress County, Tennessee.

About 1894, James David Wright married Martha Isabel "Whited," a illegitimate daughter of Matilda Emiline Scott. She was born July 8, 1878, in Fentress County, Tenn. She died Feb. 15, 1920, at Riffe Creek, in Casey County, Ky. Her mother, Matilda Emiline (Scott) Whited, was born Oct. 25, 1843, on Dry Creek, in Fentress County, Tenn., and died July 10, 1943, on Tennessee Ridge, in Casey County, Ky. Lacking exactly two and a half months of being 100 years of age. Her maternal grandfather, James Tunis Scott, was born about 1821, in North Carolina; and died about 1864 or 1865 -just before the Civil War ended - on Dry Creek, in Fentress County, Tenn. He and his oldest son, David Anderson Scott, both were Union soldiers during the Civil War. The identity of her father, paternal grandparents, and maternal grandmother is not known.

In May 1899, James David Wright, his wife Isabel, and their two daughters, Maude Ann and Eva Ellen, migrated here to Casey County, Ky.; arriving on the 18th the day that his paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Wright, died. In 1901, he bought 100 acres of land on Tennessee Ridge. It was located on the east side of the road, (which is now highway 1615). It extended along the road, on both sides of the Canoe Creek Road intersection, from the George Rodgers line to what was later the Bee Monday line; and reached down the south side of Canoe Creek Road to the top of the hill; to about the Mitchell Buck road, or to about the present Charlie Davis house. It adjoined the farms of Napoleon Scott, Ace Rodgers, George Rodgers, Mitchell Buck, the Sanders or Monday farm, and the land on the of the hill. Dad built his house on the present site of the Clay Taylor home, and set out some maple trees in the front yard. Seven of his 16 children, (Tholet, Roe, Al, Velma, Mossie, Roscoe and Carl), were born there. My mother, Martha Isabel Wright, was postmaster (or postmistress) of the Ridge post office there, from Feb. 15, 1901 until Nov. 30, 1912. And my father, James David Wright, built the first room of the Ridge School. About 1903, his parents, brothers and sisters, and their families, moved up here. And, in 1905, Dad sold 60 acres of his land to his father; who sold portions of it to his other 4 sons, Robert, Alfred, Peter and Joe.

The children of James David Wright and Martha Isabel Wright (of which the first 5 were born in Fentress County, Tenn.) were: Cora Bell (Jan. 5, 1895-died as an infant); Maude Ann (Jan. 17, 1896-May 18, 1984); Raymond (Jan. 10, 1897-died as an infant); Unnamed son (1898-died as an infant); and Eva Ellen (Mar. 20, 1899-still living). And, born in Casey County, Ky., were: Chester (Sept. 14, 1900-still living); Tholet (1902 or 1903-died as a child); Roe, named after Theodore Roosevelt, (Apr. 22, 1905-May 7, 1964); Al (June 17, 1907-still living); Sarah Velma (Apr. 19, 1909-still living); Mossie Delma (Jan. 8, 1911-still living); Roscoe Hollis (July 25, 1914-still living); Orion Carl (Apr. 14, 1916-Dec. 9, 1931); and Ruby Mae (Jan. 4, 1919-still living). The marriages were as follows: Maude married Jasper Granville Scott, Dec. 20 , 1912; Eva married John Corbett Buck, April 28, 1914; Chester married Zehna Wethington, May 4, 1937; Roe married Opal McDonald, Mar. 30, 1935; Al married Edith Spears, Dec. 27, 1928; Velma married John William Dean, May 28, 1932; Mossie married Riley Brown, July 28, 1928; and Ruby married Herbert Lemmon, Oct. 27, 1937. Roscoe is unmarried.

Just before he died in 1917, my grandfather Wright sold his farm to James Davis; and my father sold his to Clay Taylor's father. After that, Dad moved around, all up and down Tennessee Ridge. On the following years, he lived at the following places: 1917-at Caney Fork, across from the church in the old Halker Brown house; 1918 and 1919-on Wilson Ridge, at the Brown Road intersection, Ruby was born there, in the Tan Edwards house; 1920-at Riffe Creek, Mom died there, of t.b.; 1921-at Creston, in the Galen Brown house; 1922-on Woods Creek, in Riley Pile house; 1923- on Nubbin Ridge, in the Will Lee house; 1924-on Nubbin Ridge, in Clell Evens house, till April 14; 1924 to April 22, 1926-in Floyd County, Indiana; 1926-after April 22, at Riffe Creek, in Clint Propes house; 1927-first part, at Ridge, in Della Farris house; 1927-last part, and 1928, first part, at Ridge, in the old Charlie Monday house. Dad died March 12, 1928, while living there.

In 1923, Dad married Fanny Carman (b. May 11, 1896) and had 2 children by her: Dorothy Ann (b. Sept. 7, 1924) and Omer Richard (b. May. 30, 1927). Dorothy married Albert Blackburn. Omer married Mary Ellen Pennington. Both live in Woodford County, Ky.

After Mom died, Dad seemed to go from bad to worse, financially and health-wise. He died broken down and almost a pauper at age 55. Like the proverbial rolling stone, he did not gather much "moss" -- greenback, that is. He taught his children to obey him. And he didn't take much "sass" from his children, grandchildren, nephews or nieces. He seldom whipped, but he whipped hard. But I adored my father. As I said in the 4O-line song poem, "My Dear Old Dad", that I wrote about him -- "He left me no heritage, no riches, no start; hut he left something better -- 'way down in my heart." Dad was not a great farmer. But he was a fine blacksmith, carpenter and wheelwright. He also worked around sawmills and gristmills a lot. Once, I saw him rebuild a whole 5-horse farm wagon. Using just the hubs and iron from an old wagon, and buying new strips of iron for the tires. He built all new wood -- the spokes, rims, axles, bed everything. And it looked great -- almost like a brand new one. He died March 12, 1928, from a 3rd paraletic stroke. He and Mom are buried in the Austin Cemetery at Riffe Creek, Casey County, Ky. On the last farm that they ever owned.

by Roscoe Hollis Wright
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Posted with permission from Curtis Media Corporation
This page was last updated on 09/19/98.