Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Shooting of "Chigger Jim" Wright

Joel Martin and Susannah Wright had a sons named Samuel, William and Andrew.

Samuel was married to Elizabeth "Betsy" Adams. They had a son, James Wright, who was known as Chigger Jim. Sam and Betsy had another son, Andy, who was married to Nancy Bates. They had a daughter, Martha Josephine, who was married to John Ellison.

Joel and Susan's son, Andrew, married Harriet Adams. They had a son named Ike who married Elizabeth Mullins. Ike and Liz had a son named Andy.

John Ellison sold liquor. William was one of his customers. One day John Ellison went to Andrew's house looking for Andy. Andy was not home being out with Harriet. Chigger Jim came out and hollered at John. He said, "I want to talk to you." John asked, "What do you want?" Jim said, "I want you to quit going up and drinking and taking that rot-gut whiskey to Uncle William." He told John he was causing trouble.

John told Chigger Jim that he did as he pleased. He was a man of his own way. "I'll sell my whiskey to whom I please." Chigger Jim said, "That's alright, by God." and set his hand up on the top of the porch railing with his pistol sticking straight out. John Ellison reached over for his gun and began shooting. He shot Chigger Jim in the face, killing him.

A posse led by Andy Cook went after John Ellison, but did not find him. His wife, Martha Josephine, joined him in exile.

Andy Cook paid Martha Josephine's brother Joel Martin Wright for information on where the Ellisons were. When Cook came in to the Ellison home, Martha was so startled that she dropped a pot of beans on the floor. John was able to make a getaway. Martha never knew that her brother had supplied the information to locate them.

John assummed the name of Miller and he and Martha settled in West Virginia. They used the Miller name for the rest of their lives. The children used the Miller name also.

Late one night John was on his way home. He was found the next morning on the side of the road in a ditch where there was about two inches of water. He had drowned. It was said that the Wrights never forget.

Ben Adams, a grandson of Charity Wright and Booker Mullins who was one source for this story, believed that John Ellison would have beaten the case if it had gone to court. He thought any man would have shot under those circumstances.

John Ellison must have decided beating the case in court would not save him from the wrath of the Wright family.

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