John Wright

John Wright

John Wright, my grandfather John Taylor Wright's maternal grandfather, was born about 1787 or 1788, in Maryland or Virginia. The identity of his parents is not known. But he was a brother to David Wright, Sr. and Matthew W. Wright, who was born April 14, 1789, in Maryland. David was the oldest of the 3 brothers, and Matthew was the youngest.

John was married December 26, 1814, to Elizabeth Lindley, at Bristol, Tennessee. But they were living in southern Virginia at the time. Probably just across the state line in nearby Scott County or Washington County, Virginia. Elizabeth was born about 1797, in Maryland or Virginia. The identity of her parents is not known. The children of John and Elizabeth were as follows: Elizabeth Jane Wright, b. about 1817; John C. Wright, b. about 1919; Nancy Wright, b. Sept. 24, 1822; Elkana Delaney Wright, b. Oct. 20, 1826; David F. Wright, b. 1829; Elihu Wright, b. 1834; and Lemuel C. Wright, b. 1837. Elizabeth Jane and John C. were born in Virginia; Nancy, E.D., and David F. were born in northeast Tennessee (Greene County, perhaps?); and Elihu and Lemuel C. probably were born in what is now Pickett County, Tennessee; but was part of Fentress County at the times of their births. Their marriages were as follows: Elizabeth Jane Wright married Mathias Austin Wright, a first cousin, s/o Matthew W. Wright and Margaret Ann (Ritchie) Wright; John C. Wright married Mary somebody; Nancy Wright married Riley Matthew Wright, a younger brother to Elizabeth Jane's husband; Elkana Delaney Wright married Phoebe Reagan, d/o Charles and Anna (Grimsley) Reagan; David F. Wright married Judith Huddleston, d/o Fielding Huddleston; nothing is known about Elihu Wright, except that he is listed in the 1850 Fentress County census records with the John Wright family; and Lemuel C. Wright married Permelia Huddleston, d/o Jarriott A. and Caroline (Brock) Huddleston. John Wright was a miller by trade; as were his son David F., his brother Matthew W., and his nephew Mathias Wright, part of the time.

During September and October 1936, I worked for James Barnes in Pickett County. He had 5 other men working for him. Among them was James Poore, b. 1911. Mr. Barnes told me that James is a 3rd cousin to me; that his mother had been a Wright. That is all that I knew about them at that time. Then, in April 1981, I began corresponding with Thomas Edward Mackey in Wilmington, Delaware. He was a 4th cousin to me. We corresponded and exchanged genealogy information for 3 years. He was a great-greatgrandson of David Wright, Sr., a brother to my great-great-grandfathers, Matthew W. Wright and John Wright. Tom and I thought that the John Wright who had lived in Pickett County was a brother to David and Matthew, but we were not sure. Then, I learned about the "History of Pickett County, Tennessee," by Tim Lee Huddleston, and ordered it; about January 1982. John Wright's son, E.D. (Elkana Delaney) Wright, his wife, all their sons and daughters, and all, or most, of their grandchildren are listed in it. Also, a group picture of them, which was taken in 1896. And a group picture of one of his granddaughters, Ada (Wright) Rains, and her family, which was taken in 1953. Among those in the 1896 picture, were 2-year-old Ada and her 18-year-old sister Arvia Wright, who became the mother of James Poore. After I saw the book, I was still more convinced that John Wright was a brother to David and Matthew Wright.

Then, by August 1982, I had learned that Matthew's son, Mathias, had married a Wright first cousin, who almost had to have been John's daughter; as David Wright had no daughter who had lived in the Fentress County area. Also, I had Learned that Mathias Wright's wife Elizabeth Jane's "people" had lived "between Double Top Mountain and Byrdstown." Which was exactly where John Wright and his family had lived. And that Elizabeth Jane's granddaughters at Little Crab knew Elkana Delaney Wright's nickname - "Kane" Wright - and called him "Uncle Kane" Wright. And the book states that Lemuel C. Wright's wife, Permelia, had been post mistress, 1883-1889, at Permelia, Tennessee, 5 miles southeast of Byrdstown. Which would have been at, or near the present village of Moodyville.

In August 1982, I visited the Byrdstown, Etter and Moodyville areas and located Ada (Wright) Rains, who gave me some more information about John Wright and his descendants. Also, I learned that James Poore lives in Byrdstown now, and I visited him. But I still was not absolutely certain that John Wright was a brother to Matthew W. Wright, until July 1983. When my 2nd cousin Judy Moulton, who lives in Indiana, sent me copies of the 4 pension application papers of John's widow Elizabeth, which definitely proves that John and Matthew were brothers. No less an authority than Matthew's widow, Margaret Wright, herself, stated under oath, in plain English, that this John Wright was a brother to her husband, Matthew W. Wright, or Mathias, as he sometimes was called. John served in the War of 1812.

Which reminds me of 2 humorous incidents that 1 witnessed in North Carolina during World War 2. I was in the Headquarters Squadron of the Technical Training Command of the Army Air Force, at Knollwood Field, near Southern Pines, N.C., where I was stationed for over a year. We lived in The Mid Pines, a big fancy 5-story country club hotel building, that the Air Force had taken over, in the famous Sandhills golfing area. Our 1st Sergeant was a very intelligent young man from Illinois, named Chambers, who was about 23 years old. One day, we went out to the rifle range for target tests in shooting. And Sgt. Chambers said to me, "Roscoe, let's show them how they shoot back in Kentucky." I am not one of those straight shooting squirrel hunters that he had heard about, who spend a lot of time with rifles. I am more fond of books, poetry and music than I am of guns. And I knew that he was in for a big disappointment. But, I didn't say anything. Most of my shots hit near the outer edge of the target. Some of them probably missed the whole target. Then Sgt. Chambers turned to me, with a disgusted expression on his face, and said, "Wright, you are a disgrace to the State of Kentucky!" Some of the soldiers would lie in bed just as long as possible, in the mornings, then rush into their clothes and run outside to stand in line for inspection. One morning, the Squadron Commander and Sgt. Chambers walked slowly along the 4 or 5 long lines of men and stopped in front of a soldier with long beard stubble on his face. Sgt. Chambers gave him a sour look and asked him, "Where did you go after you shaved?"

John Wright died May 17, 1864, at the head of Hurricane Creek, near Moodyville. But I don't know where he and his wife, Elizabeth, are buried. Their son Elkana Delaney Wright, his wife Phoebe, and several of their descendants, are buried in Mt. Era Cemetery, at Moodyville. Ada (Wright) Rains died Feb. 18, 1984, 18 months after I met her, at age 90. She is now buried beside her husband in the cemetery at Etter, between Byrdstown and Moodyville, Tennessee. E.D. Wright's son John Wright, his wife Jennie (Coe) Wright, their son Aubrey G. Wright, and their daughter Phoebe Dee Wright are buried in the Cookeville Cemetery.

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