My Search for Ancestors

When I first started doing genealogy, the earliest Wright ancestor I could name was my great­grandfather, Joseph Wright. I knew his name because my father, Eldon Jesse Wright, had told me years before that his Grandfather Wright's name was Joseph, and I had written it down. And so the search began.

The 1851 Census for the Parish of Studholm, Kings County showed a Joseph Wright, age 49, with his wife Abigail and seven of their children, including their son John. I knew this was the correct Joseph Wright family because I recognized in the children's names aunts and uncles I had heard my father speak of. The Rings County Marriage Register records the marriage of Joseph Wright to Abigail Parlee on December 4, 1823.

My next step was to search for Joseph Wright's land petitions In this petition, dated December 14, 1822, he stated that he was then twenty years and five months old, that he was born in the Parish of Norton, and that he had lived. in the Parish of Sussex. for fifteen years. (The Parish of Studholm was not set off from the Parish of Sussex until 1840.)

In order to find some clue to Joseph's father's name, I decided to search land records from 1806 to 1809 to see if I could find a Wright who had disposed of land in the Parish of Norton and acquired land in the Parish of Sussex in that time period. I found that on November 21, 1808 William Wright of the Parish of Sussex sold to Ephram Deforest the western half of Lot #38, Parish of Norton. (Kings County Land Records, Book J1, pp.22-23) William Wright had purchased this same properrty from Ralph Hait on July 15, 1801. (Kings County Land Records, Book G1, p. 301) I have just recently learned that on January 23, 1807 William Wright was one of the inhabitants of Norton who signed a petition requesting that a jail be built for Kings County. (Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, RS24, S18, p. 10) We therefore know that a William Wright owned property in the Parish of Norton during the time Joseph Wright would have been born and was still residing there in January of 1807, but that by November of 1806 he was a resident of the Parish of Sussex.

On December 11, 1809 William Wright was granted Lot #41 on the Millstream. I have been told that in the early days of our province, people often homesteaded on vacant land and started to clear it for farming, and then used those circumstances to convince the authorities that the land should be granted to them. If this is true, it is quite possible that William Wright was occupying Lot #41 before it was officially granted to him.

The New Brunswick Courier of January 23, 1841 reported the death of William Wright of the Parish of Studholm, age 77. Major Markham's Scrapbook in the New Brunswick Museum makes note of the death (p. 31) and adds:

Two William Wrights, father and son, came to N. B. with the Loyalists; as this William was born in 1764, he was undoubtedly the son. His father, William Wright, was born in New York Province and settled on the Kennebecasis River in 1783.

My next step, then, was to look at published histories of the Loyalists, and I found that Captain William Wright and his son, William Wright Jr. of Loyalist Company #15 arrived in Saint John on the ship "William" in the summer of 1783. (David G. Bell, Early Loyalist Saint John, pp. 25, 80, and 255; and Esther Clark Wright, The Loyalists of New Brunswick, pp. 80, 245, and 345)

Now, after at least twenty years of genealogical searching, the earliest Wright ancestor I can name with certainty is my great­grandfather, Joseph Wright; however, I have continued to seek information on William Wright Jr. and Captain William Wright because I am convinced that they are my great-great-grandfather and my great-great-great­grandfather. I can't prove it, though!

Vivian Wright
June, 1992

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