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