Descendants of Samuel Wright (1722-1789) of Lenox, Massachusetts

Title:History of the Wright family, who are descendants of Samuel Wright (1722-1789) of Lenox, Mass., with lineage back to Thomas Wright (1610-1670) of Wethersfield, Conn., (emigrated 1640), showing a direct line to John Wright, Lord of Kelvedon Hall, Essex, England
Authors:William Henry Wright and Gertrude Wright Ketchum
Publication date:1913
Publisher:Denver CO : Williamson-Haffner Co.
Digitizing Sponsor:MSN
Contributor:Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center
Repository:Internet Archive
History of the Wright family, who are descendants of Samuel Wright (1722-1789) of Lenox, Mass., with lineage back to Thomas Wright (1610-1670) of Wethersfield, Conn., (emigrated 1640), showing a direct line to John Wright, Lord of Kelvedon Hall, Essex, England
History of the Wright family, who are descendants of Samuel Wright (1722-1789) of Lenox, Mass., with lineage back to Thomas Wright (1610-1670) of Wethersfield, Conn., (emigrated 1640), showing a direct line to John Wright, Lord of Kelvedon Hall, Essex, England

Our great-grandfather, Andrew Wright, was a soldier of the Revolutionary War, and came from Lenox, Mass., to Shoreham, Vt., in 1785. There was a tradition that his father or grandfather was a sea-captain, named Samuel Wright, and that he died at sea. This tradition was handed down in several branches of the family.

Learning that the Addison County. Vermont, records showed that Andrew Wright had applied for a pension in 1832, we wrote to the Bureau of Pensions, Washington, D. C, asking if the birth-place and parentage of Andrew was given in his application, and received answer, dated July 20th, 1903, giving his military record, and these remarks : “Soldier’s birth-place is not given, but he states that before coming to Vermont, he had always lived in Lenox, Mass.

We then wrote to the Town Clerk of Lenox, asking for a record of birth, together with names of his brothers and sisters, also of his father and mother. We received answer, Aug. 15th, 1903, Which gave the names of Andrew’s father and mother as Samuel and Mary Wright, and the names and dates of birth of their children from 1757 to 1765, and of the children born to Samuel and Mehitabel (second wife) from 1769 to 1780. A search for the record of Samuel’s death at this time was unsuccessful, but later we found from other sources that he died Oct., 1789, aged 67 years.

Mary, his first wife, died Aug. 18th, 1767, no age given. There is no record, as far as we can find, of the death of Mehitabel.

We learned that Samuel Wright of Lenox formerly lived in Goshen, Conn., and the births of several of his children are recorded there, some of whom are also recorded in Lenox. We account for this double record by the fact that Samuel assisted in the organization of the town of Lenox and was appointed its first Town Clerk, and naturally made a record of his children’s births there.

Now began a search for the parentage of Samuel of Lenox. One Samuel Wright, eldest son of Capt. Samuel Wright, was born in Wethersfield, Conn., in 1722, but there was no further record of him in that town and he was believed to have settled elsewhere.

The town of Lebanon, Conn., gave us the records of three Samuel Wrights, none of whom seemed to fit our case; and for a number of years the search yielded small returns. Then, remembering a visit to our family, about the year 1863, by some of the relatives from Ohio — and having lost all trace of them — we determined to get into communication with them if possible. Finally, in the fall of 1908, after making inquiries among the nearest relatives, we found there was an old photograph of one of these cousins in the possession of our uncle Freeman Wright’s widow, with the address, Sidney, Ohio, on it. We then wrote the City Clerk in that place, inquiring about the family. Through him we were soon in communication with them. They gave us much valuable information about their branch of the family but were unable to give Samuel Wright’s parentage as their old records and valuable papers had some of them been lost in moving and some destroyed by fire, but a “Short Memorial of My Life,” written from memory by Gideon Wright (son of Samuel Wright of Lenox and the ancestor of the Ohio branch), gave us some interesting history, and a letter written by his brother Josiah in 1865 gives a good account of the children in their father’s family.

Our uncle, Freeman G. Wright, visited the cousins in Ohio in 1849 and brought home with him a record — copied apparently from the one which was lost or burned — of the earlier generations of our family. He died in 1900, before we began our search, and his family thought the record had been loaned and lost. However, in the summer of 1909 they found it in an old pocketbook which had been stowed away in an old trunk containing letters and papers of bygone years. Fortunately, this furnished the “missing link” in our history, and reads literally as follows:

“The family of Jno. Wright taken for one, or the first generation.

“The sixth or seventh generation back was three brothers that came from England in the time of persecution. (Proof) A bed-staff retained by the oldest son.

“The fifth generation was a sea captain, the oldest of the family. (Proof) The retaining of the bed-staff. He died at sea, was brought to New London, Conn., and buried. He had five children, two sons and three daughters. His name was Samuel.

“The fourth of the generation by the name of Samuel, the oldest son of the sea captain, lived first in Wethersfield, Conn., then moved to Lenox, in Mass. Had twelve children; eight boys. Died and was buried in the latter place sixty years ago next month, aged sixty-seven. Was ten years old at the death of his father. His oldest son was called Samuel. He was a farmer.

“The third in line by the name of Andrew, was the fifth son. Was born in Lenox, Mass., March 11th, 1763, and went to Shoreham, Vt., in the 23rd year of his age, in May, and came back in the fall, and moved with his next younger brother, Ebenezer, the next spring, to Shoreham, Vermont.”

The second “link” is from the town records of Wethersfield, Connecticut: “Capt. Samuel Wright, Jr., son of Sergt. Samuel Wright, was born 1692/1693. Married Abigail, dau of Jonathan Goodrich, 2d Jan’y 1718. Their children were:

  1. Samuel, born May 28th, 1722.
  2. Abigail, born March 11th, 1724.
  3. Rebecca, born Sept. 7th, 1726.
  4. Lucy, born Jan. 26th, 1729.
  5. Moses, born July 3rd, 1731.”

The third “link” comes from the “Diary of Joshua Hempsted of New London, Connecticut,” in which we have this item: “Capt. Samuel Wright, from Barbadoes, brought in dead, June 7th, 1732.”

A comparison of these records establishes the fact that our Samuel of Lenox was the son of Samuel the sea captain, and that he was born in Wethersfield, Conn., in 1722. Referring to the memorandum made by F. G. Wright during his visit to Ohio in 1849, we find: “The fourth of the generation by the name of Samuel died and was buried in the latter place sixty years ago next month, aged sixty-seven.” Sixty years prior to 1849 would give us the year of his death as 1789, and as he was sixty-seven years old when he died, the date of his birth must have been 1722, which agrees with the Wethersfield record given above. There is also the statement in the Ohio record that he was ten years old at the death of his father, which agrees with the New London account of the captain’s death in 1732.

We found that his mother, Abigail Dickinson, and sister, Miss Rebecca Wright, were buried in Lenox, Mass. Their grave-stones are still standing. The will of Miss Rebecca, recently found, shows that she made her home with her nephew Samuel. In Gideon Wright’s “Memorial,” he gives his birth as April, 1775, and states: “My father died in October and the spring I was fifteen (i. e., 1790) I went to Shoreham, Vermont, to live with my brother Andrew.” The probate records give the date of settlement of Samuel’s estate as January 5th, 1790. Samuel Wright, Jr., Administrator.

Thus one account verifies the other, and from this point we can trace our line back to Thomas Wright, the emigrant, 1639-40, by the Wethersfield Town Records, Stiles “Ancient Wethersfield,” and from other sources.

Records from England give a direct lineage from John Wright (died 1551) to the birth of Thomas, 1610, and this, in connection with the records in America to the present time, completes our family history for a period covering about four hundred years.

The following is a tradition that has been handed down in the Wright family {Thomas Wright was doubtless one of the sons referred to) :

“Once upon a time, away years in the past, three strong young men were about to emigrate to America. Their old father in bidding them ‘good-by’ said: ‘I am too old to go with you, but I am glad my sons can go.’ Then he took a shillalah and cut it into three equal parts, or lengths, and gave one to each of his sons. ‘Keep these,’ he said, ‘in remembrance of the old home. When you grow old let each give to his oldest son, and let him give to his oldest son, and so on. If there be no son, give to oldest daughter.'”

Mrs. Stewart of Ohio, a descendant of Thomas Wright and a grand-daughter of Gideon Wright, to whom we are indebted for this tradition, has one of these pieces of wood in her possession, of which she writes as follows: “When my father (son of Gideon Wright) was on a visit to his kin in Vermont, in the year 1852, or about that time, he received from his aunt, Mary Hawley, one of these pieces of wood. He brought it home to my grandfather, who would have nothing to do with it, so it was given to the oldest daughter, Albina; now she is gone I have it in my possession. I do not know the wood, it is dark red in color, about one foot long and two inches in diameter. It has been used as a rolling pin.” We do not understand how it happened to be handed down among the younger children of Samuel of Lenox, instead of the family of Samuel, Jr., the oldest son, but give the story as it came to us.

We beg the kind indulgence of our readers, knowing there are many imperfections in our work, and possibly inaccuracies have crept in, but the records have been verified and as far as we know are correct. We have done all in our power to make it interesting as well as instructive, and hope future generations will be benefited by our labors. By the Editors.

Notes About the History of the Wright family

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Surnames Featured

Anderson, Bail, Cox, Davis, Eighmy, Ellis, Foster, Gates, Guthrie, Hubbard, Ketcham, Luddington, Mason, McDaniel, Mudge, Pinchin, Platt, Prussia, Rich, Sheldon, Shelton, Slayton, Sloan, Soper, Stewart, Stickney, Treadway, Wheeler, Williams, Wilson, and Wright.


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