Select Wright Miscellany
accounts over the years:
- The Wrights and the Gunpowder Plot
- Wright Estates in the Northeast
- James Wright, Drunk in Wheathampstead
- Wrights in the 1891 Census
- James Wright the Quaker
- Philemon Wright’s Trek to Canada
The Wrights and the Gunpowder Plot
in the 1530’s John Wright of Kent, a steward to
Henry VIII, moved to Holderness in the North Riding of Yorkshire and
acquire land there. He and his wife
Alice made their home at Plowland Hall.
It is significant that John Wright was Catholic.
His will of 1540 made mention of a number of
well-known recusant families in the Yorkshire area.
eventually became Sheriff of Yorkshire and was granted a coat of arms. He reached this position despite being
Catholic. His second wife Ursula was in
fact was incarcerated for a total of fourteen years, chiefly in Hull
with a number of other recusant wives.
generation. John Wright was described as
one of the finest swordsmen of his day, but was hot-headed. He had formed part of the entourage of the
Earl of Essex along with his friend Robert Catesby and, after the
uprising in 1601, had spent time in solitary confinement for his crime. He was one of Robert Catesby’s first recruits
for the Gunpowder Plot. His younger
brother Kit was later brought into the plotting.
conspirators escaped north from London, eventually holing up in a house
Staffordshire. There, after a series of
skirmishes, Catesby and the Wright brothers lay dead.
The Wright line in north Yorkshire continued
through their half-brother William.
Wright Estates in the Northeast
|1535||John Wright||Plowland Hall||Holderness, Yorkshire|
|1601||Rev. Francis Wright||Bolton-le-Swale||near Richmond, Yorkshire|
|1771||Richard Wright||Bradbury||Sedgefield, Northumberland|
|1851||Sir William Wright||Sigglesthorne Hall||near Hull, Yorkshire|
|1869||Samuel Wright||Brattleby Hall||Brattleby, Lincolnshire|
James Wright, Drunk in Wheathampstead
in 1838 James Wright, extremely inebriated, sat in his cottage armed
with a pig
knife and threatened to do dreadful things.
His daughter, fearing the worst, ran out onto the common and
assistance of a clergyman who was passing by in his carriage. The Reverend, who was the curate of
Wheathampstead, went to assist and was injured by the knife.
Up before the
Hertfordshire magistrate, James Wright was sentenced to 15
years transportation. He
did spent some time in Hertford jail.
But sanity prevailed. Following a
recommendation from the prison surgeon, he was pardoned – because of
(he was 72 years old!) and because of his poor health.
Wrights in the
James Wright the Quaker
Wright name was well-known along frontier
settlements in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia in the early 1700’s. Perhaps the best-known and most recounted of
these Wrights at that time was the Quaker minister James Wright.
was said to have come to Pennsylvania with
Penn’s fleet in 1682, although that may have been too early a date. The Quaker community at East Nottingham in
Chester county was not formed until 1702 and James Wright was first
there in 1716.
1735 James Wright moved with his family to the Opeckon settlement in
the Shenandoah valley in Virginia. This
colony was situated along what was known as the Great Wagon Road, the
wound its way through the Shenandoah valley into the Carolinas. James Wright was an elder at the Quaker
Hopewell monthly meetings there. He was
described as follows:
“A sober honest
man, grave in manners, and solid and weighty in his conversations. He was diligent in the attendance
of religious meetings, exemplary in humble waiting therein, and of a
and judgment. He was cautious of giving
just offence to any one and was earnestly concerned for the unity of
brethren and the peace of the church.”
to show more concern about matters of the church than about his own
landholding (which remained relatively modest).
was an old man by the time
the French and Indian War broke out in the 1750’s.
Wave after wave of
well-armed Indian warriors came into the Shenandoah valley,
massacring men, women and children in their way. In
1759 the Quaker colony where the Wrights lived was attacked. Some reports had James and his wife Mary
fleeing their home for sanctuary elsewhere; others had them being
scalped during the attack. In any event
Wright was dead by the end of the year.
afterwards, his son John Wright and wife and children, in frustration
and in grief,
moved to the Quaker colony in Bush river, South Carolina.
Wright’s Trek to Canada
Wright was a
descendant of the Puritan John Wright who had come with Winthrop’s
1630 and settled in Woburn, Massachusetts.
the winter of 1800, he set out from
Woburn by sleigh with his brother Thomas, Elijah Allen,
and Solomon Childs, Daniel Wyman, Henry Kendrick, Harvey Parker,
Hadley and Joel Adams, their women and children and enough household
tools to take up life in the wilderness.
They had in fact left Woburn in February so that they
advantage of the frozen rivers where no roads existed.
Progress was slow as it was necessary that
men should go ahead with axes to try the strength of the river ice over
the party would be travelling; the fear being that the loss of animals
sleigh with all its valuable load of humans and settlers’ effects would
disastrous in the extreme.
eventually came to the north side of the Ottawa river.
Wrightstown, now part of the new city of
Gatineau, was chosen as a better locale than the south side of the
portage route past the Chaudiere Falls was better on the north side as
was more sun and a longer stretch of favorable shoreline.
arrived Philemon Wright established his
Utopian agricultural settlement. His
group comprised the first permanent settlers in the Ottawa area. They received the land grants to what became
Hull township in 1802.
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