Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Susannah Wright

This story was orginally published on December 30, 2008. It concerns two pictures which have been identified as Sarah Waldrup and Susannah Wright. I got my first copy of the picture most often identifed as Sarah Waldrup from Nadina Osborne. She gave me a xerox copy. I didn't know enough at the time to get who gave it to her and who identified it. Unfortunately, Nadina isn't around for me to ask. I have seen this picture on the internet for decades identifed as Sarah.

When I got copies of the picture again, and a second picture which came from Devil John's home from his grandson, they were identified over and over again as pictures of Susannah Wright. It made me go back and try to see what the sources were first of the picture of Sarah. I couldn't find anything on where the people who had it posted as Sarah had been given their identification. Personally, I would like for it to be Sarah so I would have pictures of two grandmothers rather than one. But my sources -- which I name -- have told me that they are both of Susananah Wright, the wife of Joel Wright and mother of Joel Ellis Wright.

I have been told that the second picture is Susan Wright. Her granddaughter gave me a copy of the ONLY picture ever taken of Big Susan, the daughter of Joel and Susannah. She has original copies of Betsy and Thaney Houston, Annie Houston Mullins and many other old family pictures which are now all over the web. And so far, the identification that I have seen has pretty much stayed with them. I hate to see things mislabeled and misidentified.

Recentley I have seen many of my family on ancestry.com trees who are totally wrong. They are even folks not generations and generations back, but ones I knew myself who are attached to wrong parents, or pictures which have had the names changed on them even though they show that they were taken from family trees where the identification was there and correct.

You can't make people change things that you know are wrong. You can't stop information that is incorrect from being posted. What it proves is that you always have to do your own investigation and make your own decisions about the information that you put in your family tree.

In the case of these pictures, I have lost a relationship with a cousin over their identification. He thinks I am on par with the devil for posting this story and spreading wrong information. I have just posted whatI learned and my sources. He has never been able to give me his sources which would change my mind. He told me one source and then backed off of it. He identified the picure first as Charity Wright, then as Big Susan -- both of which I know are wrong. I even have on tape the woman he says who identified the pictures for him saying he visited her home but she gave him no pictures. She gave them to another cousin who then shared them with him. Later, he said that the picture is Mattie Humphrey Wright, wife of Devil John. He uses another family website as a source -- one in which he told me was incorrect and not to be trused. Now I am in that category for him. And this has made him so mad he asked me to take any pictures I had taken of him off my stories and to not mention or imply that we had ever worked together. The pictures I removed. And it is easy to say we didn't work together because we didn't. We visited some graves together which I enjoyed very much, but they were ones I had general directions to and would have visited eventually. We never wrote anything together. We obvisoulsy couldn't have even a discussion about these two pictures. I am just posting what I found from my research. I am not bothered that he disagrees. I haven't been able to change my mind about who the pictures are because he has changed his identification at least three times and he hasn't been able to say who identified them.

So, look at the pictures. Read why I say they are who they are. Make your own decisions. I haven't had my cousin Almy ever steer me wrong on my identifications. This is my work. If you disagree, more power to you. Here is the original article:

We have always been told that there was Indian in the Wright family. The story that I did on Mary Wright and her Indian doll, plus her looks in some of the pictures her granddaughter, Daisy, had would support that. The story that Mary handed down to Daisy was that Joel went from Virginia to North Carolina for an apprentiship. He met an Indian woman and married her. She was given the English name of Susannah. She had no English name of Bates or Bentley as is sometimes given to her.

In another version of the story she was an Indian who was in or near Letcher county, but basically the same story.

Her daughter, Margaret, only spoke the Indian language. That is why she was termed "idiotic" by the census takers, who could not understand her.

Others say she was Dutch.

Jesse Wright, Bad John and Kinky Haired Sam were brothers. Their paternal grandparents were Joel Martin Wright and this Susannah. Their maternal grandparents were John Wallis Bates and Sarah Waltrip.

This picture has always been identified to me as Sarah Waltrip.

When Bad John died, one of his grandsons moved into his home. There was a bag of pictures left which belonged to John. In it, two were identified as Susannah Wright -- one a little older than the other. One of them is the picture I had previously been told was Sarah Waldrup. The grandson positively identified this picture as Susannah.

Here is the second picture of Susannah.

For myself, I have had the Sarah Waldrup picture ID for 40 years. I can't account for its source except from the internet and those who posted it in books which I had purchased.

Alma Meade Bolling, a great granddaughter of the first Susannah, also identified the two pictures as both being Susannah Wright. She is the daughter of Rhodes Meade and Lavina Houston. Rhodes was the son of James Madison Meade and Letitia Wright. Letitia was the daughter of Susannah "Big Susan" Wright. Her father is unknown. Big Susan was the daugther of Susan and Joel Wright.

Alma said her grandmother, Big Susan, looked just like the first Susannah. She said the pictures were not pictures of Sarah Waldrup and that they were not pictures of Big Susan.

So, from Alma, Mary, the grandsons of Devil John and names on the pictures themselves, these are two pictures of Susannah, the wife of Joel Wright.


  1. I don't think these two pictures are the same woman. They have their hands placed alike but photographers did that. They both have scarves tied around their neck in a similiar fashion but the two women have different ears and the mouth is definitly different. Tbe second woman looks more Indian than the first. The second woman has a symetrical face while the first woman has a fuller face on one side. The foreheads are also different. The eyes are deep set with a prominent forehead. I believe that if each feature was enlarged and studied you would see the difference but I could be wrong.

  2. Delete that last comment, I don't know what I am talking about...my husband says that they are the same woman. Linda

  3. Your comments are fine. I have had others who have told me that it is absolutely the same woman because they looked at the pictures and saw 'acne' scars on the face in the same place. Later, that person changed their minds at least three other times. I just provided why I have them as I do and I will continue to look at anything anyone else brings up which might help.

  4. I know it's a little late adding to this post, but you might see this. Joel and Susannah are my 3rd great grandparents. I downloaded both of these pictures and scrutinized them with photo shop. In my opinion, they definitely look like two different persons. The woman in the second picture has a more symetrical face. Her cheek bones are set much higher than the first woman. The lips on the second woman are also fuller and the brow is more pronounced. Also the hairline is much higher. I wish I had a better resolution photos to work with. My mother insisted that there was indian blood on her mother side of the family.

  5. I only wish that any of the people who identified the one picture as Sarah Waldrup had said who told them that. I am happy if it is Sarah because it would be a picture of another grandmother instead of two of one, but the story is still what has been told to me by who provided the pictures.

  6. Do you have higher resolution of the second photo? I would like to enhance the photo. I have seen the first photo on other web pages. This is the first time I have seen the second one. I am in looking for photos of family on my grandmother's side of the family. My grandmother name is Clarissa "Dester" Wright Gross. George W. is her father. It seems that a lot of photos have been throw away after people have passed away, so I keep hitting dead ends in trying to get photos for my tree.

  7. I am always amazed when I get asked if I have a better picture. I put out the best I have. If the resolution is too high for a web site, I have no idea how to make it less, so you get what you get.... LOL. I have pictures of George Washington Wright and Harriet Elizabeth Addington and Andrew Jackson Wright. You probably have all of them, but just in case I have one you don't, write me at Karenchat@aol.com and I will send you pictures I have. I would like to know about Clarice's family since all I have on her so far was just that she married John Daley Gross. I would love to fill in your line.