John Taylor Wright

John Taylor Wright

John Taylor Wright, my paternal grandfather, was born March 13, 1849, at Little Crab, Fentress County, Tennessee, and died January 22, 1917, in Casey County, Kentucky. His father was Mathias Austin Wright, born 1815, in Virginia; died August 3, 1899; Little Crab, Fentress County, Tennessee. His mother was Elizabeth Jane "Betsy" (Wright) Wright, born 1820 in Virginia; died May 18, 1899; Little Crab, Fentress County, Tennessee. His paternal grandfather was Matthew W. Wright, born April 14, 1789, in Maryland; died November 7, 1865, in Fentress County, Tennessee. His paternal grandmother was Margaret Ann (Ritchie) Wright, born July 5, 1790, in Virginia; died March 11, 1882, in Fentress County, Tennessee. His maternal grandfather was John Wright, born 1787, in Maryland; died May 17 1864, at "head of the Cane," (Hurricane Creek), near Moodyville, in what is now Pickett County, Tennessee. He was a soldier in the War of 1812; served in the 4th Regiment of the Virginia Brigade. John T.'s maternal grandmother was Elizabeth (Lindley) Wright, born 1796 in Virginia; died after 1876, in Fentress County, Tennessee. Matthew W. and John Wright were brothers; so, John T.'s parents were first cousins. Mathias and "Betsy" are buried in Bailey Bowden Cemetery at Little Crab; while Matthew and Margaret are buried in Wright Cemetery near Manson. The burial place of John and Elizabeth is not known.

About 1869, John Taylor Wright married Elizabeth Ann King, who was born February 27, 1854, in Fentress County, Tennessee, and died April 16, 1911, in Casey County, Kentucky. Her father, Robert King, was born in March 1819; and died November 3, 1900; in Fentress County. Her mother, Nancy Agnes (Beaty) King, was born November 14, 1824; in what is now Clinton County, Kentucky; and died June 28, 1904; in Fentress County, Tennessee. Her paternal grandfather is thought to have been Robert King, Sr. or John A. King. Her maternal grandfather, Thomas Beaty, was born in 1801, in Clinton County, Kentucky; and died about 1880, in Fentress County, Tennessee. Her maternal grandmother, Jane (Mullinix) Beaty, was born in 1804, in Barren County, Kentucky; and died January 7, 1893, in Fentress County, Tennessee. Robert and Nancy are buried in King Cemetery; while Thomas and Jane are buried in Joel Beaty Cemetery in Riverton, in Fentress County.

John Taylor Wright and Elizabeth Ann King grew up and married in Fentress County, and all their children were born there. They were: Nancy Jane (Nov. 1869-Apr. 1892); James David (June 7, 1872-Mar. 12, 1928); Robert Richard (Oct. 5, 1875-Dec. 13, 1967); Matilda E. (July 1877-after 1903); Alfred Mathias (Dec. 5, 1879-Oct. 23, 1950); Emiline (b. about 1882-d. about 1901); Peter John (June 1986-Jan. 22, 1967); Frances "Frankey" (Mar. 1889-Feb. 18, 1932); Joe Green (Sept. 1890-June 12, 1973); and Effie (b. Aug. 1996-d. about 1903).

In May 1899, the oldest son, James David Wright, my father, migrated here to Casey County, Kentucky, with his wife and two oldest daughters, Maude Ann and Eva Ellen, arriving on the 18th - the day that his grandmother Wright died. And, about 4 years later, his parents came here with most of the other sons and daughters; some of which were already married and had from 1 to 3 children each of their own. The marriages were as follows: Naney Jane died unmarried in Fentress County; James David, my father, married Martha Isabel "Whited," daughter of Emiline Scott, about 1894, in Fentress County; Robert Richard married Emma "Ledbetter" daughter of Bertha Ledbetter, about 1897, in Fentress County; Matilda E. married Dick Reynolds, about 1894, in Fentress County; Alfred Mathias married Easter Hancock, about 1900, in Fentress County; Emiline married Elan Beaty, about 1900, in Fentress County. She died giving birth to their first child, (still-born). So, she didn't come to Casey County. Three of the other four married later, here in Casey County. Peter John first married Betty Grant, January 23, 1906; then Janie Peck, April 12, 1909; Frances (called "Frankey") married Claude Rodgers, September 19, 1913; and Joe Green married Ida Lay, May 5, 1912. Effie died soon after arriving here, as a child, about 9 years of age.

I never saw my father's mother, as she died before I was born. And I don't remember my grandfather Wright, as he died when I was only two and a half years of age. But, apparently, he was not as prominent, nor in the limelight, as his father, Mathias Austin Wright, had been. I suppose that he was sort of a quiet, studious type. An acquaintance of mine - Granville Emerson - who died recently, who had known my grandfather when he, himself, was, a teenager, paid my grandfather what I regard as a great compliment. To me, he said, quote: "Your grandfather, John T. Wright, was a fine man highly educated." Unquote. He also paid my father a nice compliment. Quite often, people would tell me and my younger sisters that our mother was a fine woman. And, although most people seemed to have a lot of respect for my father, (and most of the other Wrights too), about all that they'd say to us about Dad was that he had a temper. He used to help keep order at the church near our home when Granville (who was a 4th cousin to him) was a teenager. And some of the rowdy young men would come around with pistols and knives, drinking and disturbing church services, and Dad would sorter quiet them down. Apparently, he sorter impressed Granville. He told my youngest sister's husband, quote: "That Jim Wright wasn't afraid of anybody!" Unquote.

About 7 miles west of Liberty, and running parallel with Green River, is a ridge about 10 or 12 miles long. So many Fentress County families settled along it and the nearby creeks, that it was named "Tennessee Ridge." There were people of all, or most, of the following Fentress County surnames: Barlow, Beaty, Bryant, Buck, Carter, Choate, Conatser, Cooper, Crockett, Evens Fletcher Garrett, Gunter, Hayes, Helm, Hughs, King Lay, Lee McFarland, Mullinix, Murphy Norman, Patron, Peavy(house), Pile, Scott Taylor, Whited, Wood and Wright. In 1901 my father bought 100 acres of land along the Tennessee Ridge road, near the upper end. In 1905, he sold his father (John Taylor Wright) 60 acres of it. His father sold each of his other 4 sons small tracts of it, totaling 46 acres. He kept 14 acres for himself He worked around sawmills and gristmills some during his life time; as did his father, uncles, and 4 of his 5 sons. He also farmed some. His youngest son Joe farmed all his life; and was quite successful at it. He had, and has, a lot of descendents; probably between 200 and 500, in all. He, his wife Elizabeth Ann, their son Joe, their daughters Matilda, Frances and Effie and several other relatives and friends, are now buried in Whited Cemetery; about one and a half mile up the road from where he lived, near the upper end of Tennessee Ridge. James and Alfred are buried in Austin Cemetery, at the lower end of the ridge. And Robert, Peter and some of their folks are buried in Indiana. Some North Carolina families, and some Swiss families also settled on Tennessee Ridge.

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