The Wright Stuff

I’ve recently connected with two new second cousins – daughters of one of my mom’s first cousins. Since their mother had no siblings, they assumed they had no relations on her side. I knew they were there, out there somewhere – but it took me probably ten years to put all the pieces together. So – in celebration of this, a look at some of the physical characteristics of the Wrights of Pennsylvania-Iowa-Montana-Nebraska.

But first – a refresher, for me as well as you:  Jackson Wright was my Great-great Grandfather. Born in 1838 in SW Pennsylvania. He married Nancy Thompson in 1857 – they had a bunch of kids and moved to Iowa, near Winterset, in about 1874. Nancy died in 1882, and Jackson married Josie Chambers the next year. They had three children before Jackson’s death in 1890.

So – on with the show.  I once was presented with a puzzle. I ran across the 1922 class photo from Greenfield High School, just west of Winterset. It was an arrangement of senior portraits and included an alphabetical list of student names at the bottom. The index included Melvin L. Wright, who I knew was the son of William W. Wright, grandson of Jackson and Nancy. But which boy was he? – the order of the portraits did not correspond with the index. I have no photos of William, but it turned out I didn’t need any to make this ID.

Melvin Wright
Pure Wright – and I picked him out of the lineup in maybe 30 seconds. And that happened because…
Lewis Lilley Wright, 1891
Lewis Lilley Wright, Melvin’s uncle, and my great-grandfather. Seems to have an issue with his left eye – which I think my grandfather inherited to some degree.
Kate Wright
Kate Wright Meacham – Lewis’ next elder sister. (Kate)
Myrtle Wright
Myrtle Wright – the youngest daughter of Jackson Wright’s first family. (Myrtle)
Fred Meacham, son of Aunt Kate.

The next gold-strike was meeting a woman descended from Jackson and Josie – she sent me a handful of photos that solidified my opinion.

Della Wright
Della Wright – first child of Jackson’s second family.
Edna Roy
Edna Roy, Della’s daughter.

This series of photos helps me get a real idea of what Jackson Wright must have looked like. First family or second family, this look is consistent. Broadish face, strong jaw line, deep-set dark eyes in a strong brow, short-ish forehead (“Look A”) – and perhaps really bad eyesight, given the prevalence of eyeglasses!

There is a second look among the Wrights, and present in both of Jackson’s two families. I don’t know quite how to attribute it – it’s less prominent, but no less consistent. Narrower, longer face. High forehead (“Look B”). It shows up mostly in Mary Ellen “Ella” Wright’s family – the Foxes. But since her husband, E. E. Fox, was a half-brother of Jackson Wright’s second wife, I’m going to stop with the theories right here, lest my brain explode.

E. E. Fox Family
So this is Ella, with her husband and family.
Fred Fox family, c 1950
Ella’s youngest, Fred’s family. George (back right) carries perhaps a bit more of Look A – but Dad is definitely from the same pool as his Look B cousins…
Cleo Roy
… Cleo Roy, from Della’s brood.
Ed & Lillian c1935
Ed Wright, my grandfather’s brother, and…
Louis Wright, Spokane
… Grandpa Louie!

I LOVE this stuff!

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