Saturday, May 17, 2008

William Jesse Wright

I have never heard anything but kind things said about Jesse Wright. His daughter, Gertrude, said that he was soft spoken and very kind to them. She didn't always get to live with him. Her mother was Jesse's fourth wife, Nickotie Vanover. Gertrude said her mother would chase him away until she needed something and then she would let him come home. She would cry when he left and beg her mother to "let Daddy come home".

I only have one picture of Jesse which I posted with the story on J. D. Mullins birthday on April 28th. In it he is standing with Cora and her family, James Mullins and their children Jesse, J.D. and Vera.

Jesse was the son of Joel Ellis Wright and Elizabeth Agnes "Eliza" Bates. He was married four times. I will cover each wife individually in the next four blogs. Jesse was the brother of Bad John Wright. My Aunt Vera recalls Uncle John visiting their home once and staying overnight. She said that she ended up sharing her bed with him. What she remembered was that he wore scratchy wool socks. Dad remembered the visit, too, and said that he was afraid of him and his mother made him sit in his lap and give him a kiss. Neither of them remembers how old they were to try to date the visit.

Jesse was the fifth of seven children.

The first son was Solomon "Sol" Wright who was murdered during the Civil War. I don't know the details as to why this was considered a murder rather than just a casualty of war, but I have never seen his death spoken of in any other terms than murdered.

Bad John was the next son.

Sarah "Sally" Wright married Abraham Potter after the death of his first wife, Margaret "Peggy" Newsome.

Susan was the next daughter. I have an entire blog for her in another series, so I don't want to give away her story.

Jesse was next.

The sixth child was Joel Martin Wright. He married Jane Venters. Joel and Jane are buried in the same cemetery as Jesse. This is where James and Cora Wright Mullins are buried, too. Jesse is buried alone. None of his wives are with him.

The last child was Sam J. "Kinky Haired Sam" Wright. He was married to Martha Jane Reynolds. Sam was killed in a gunfight with Alvin "Dabber" Bentley. He was a policeman for the city of Neon at the time of his death. He got involved in a dispute over an election and was in a shootout on the street with Dabber. Both men were mortally wounded. I haven't been able to place this "Alvin" yet although I do have five Alvins in my work. Two of them are without any dates of birth or death. What I find odd about this is I couldn't find a death certificate for either Sam or Alvin. A lot of times when someone died and the family buried the body in their home cemeteries there were no official records. In this circumstance you would think both would have had an official death certificate. So far, I haven't found them.

Jesse first married Elizabeth Moore. A daughter named Florence Belle is attributed to them. Florence was born on May 6, 1878, but I cannot find her in the 1880 census. I pick her up in the 1900 census when she is a new bride of George Washington Hall living with her inlaws, Enoch Mahlon and Nancy Hampton Hall. George was the brother of Joe Hall my great grandfather. On her death certificate her parents are listed as William Wright & Elizabeth Wright. I would almost be willing to discount her as their child except that my grandmother hated my name. She said everytime she heard Karen she would think of Kyarn and wanted my mom to name me Florence after her sister. She is a mystery I haven't solved yet. I have her in all the census records of her life except for 1880.

Next Jesse married Mary Brummett. They had a daughter named Susan. Susan married a Houston and was known as "Ma Houston" in Fleming. Susan has her own story, too.

Next Jesse married Maggie Perdue. She had two children with Jesse: Eliza and my grandmother, Cora. The story I grew up hearing was that one day Maggie left Kentucky and walked to Viriginia to her family leaving the two girls behind for Jesse to care for. I heard she married an Adams. Later, I heard there were three other half siblings, Myrl, Maude and James, who had been a barber but had died in a train accident where his head was nearly cut off before Maude & Meryl met their sister Cora. Still later I heard that Maggie was in West Virginia. I didn't know her parents names, where in Virginia or West Virginia the family was or anything else. She was my brick wall for over forty years.

Last, Jesse married Nickotie Vanover. They had at least six children: Calvin, Newton, McKinley, Wilburn Ballard, Elizabeth Alice and Gertrude. I still haven't pulled my notes from storage where Aunt Gertrude gave me all the details of their children. Eleven seems to stick in my mind. I grew up with mom having 20 siblings so at first thinking dad had only three his seemed quite a small family.

Jesse was listed in the census records as being a carpenter. I asked about this and Aunt Vera said that she remembered going into the woods with him to pick up wood. She said that he made chairs and things like that.

Jessie died of pneumonia in 1935. He is buried at Hemphill.

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