Wright family ancestors settled in Monroe County Ala.

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 14, 2019

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There are records of different Wright family lines who live or have lived in Covington County. This writer has not yet reviewed all the data thoroughly enough to correctly distinguish or relate them to each other. Today’s story will be an attempt to present some genealogy of a couple of these Wright families.

First, a Wright family came to Covington County from South Carolina during the early 1900s. The earliest ancestor found for this group was James Hiram Wright who was born in 1849 in South Carolina. He was married there in 1873 to Susan Byrd (1854-1923). By 1880, the couple was settled in Richland County, S.C., where James was farming, and their children were born. They were the parents of William James “Will,” b. ca 1882, m. Minnie L. Murphy; John H., b. 1884, m. Mollie Williams; Mary Lou “Mamie,” b. 1890, m. Hiram Overstreet; and Ora Belle, b. 1895, m. Levy Frazier.

The couple migrated later to Kershaw County, S.C., where James began to work in the timber and turpentine industry. As the oldest son, William, was old enough, he began to help his father in that industry, while the younger son, John, took care of the farm. Shortly after 1900, William Wright, traveled to South Alabama to scout out the potential for working with timber and turpentine stills. When he returned home with a favorable report, the family prepared to make the move to South Alabama. On February 28, 1911, William was married to Minnie L. Murphy (1890-1971), daughter of Thomas Orrin and Mary Brake Murphy. He continued his work in turpentine stills in Roberts, Ala., and Blackmon and Escambia Farms, Fla.

Circa 1923 when the turpentine industry was fading, William settled his family in Crestview, Fla. He left them there while he attended a barber training school in Jacksonville, Fla. Upon completing that, he returned to Crestview and established a shop near the courthouse. In 1926, William purchased land in the southern area of Crestview where he and Minnie finished rearing their children. They were the parents of the following three children: Ruby Jewel, b. 1912, d. 1994, m. Joseph Farr Wilson (1901-1996); Kenneth Keith, b. 1915, d. 1944 during WW II; and Chelan who died in infancy.

There is no known relationship between the above Wright family and another one which had descendants to settle in Covington County. It is hoped that someone may discover a connection and share it with others. The earliest ancestor to be identified for this second Wright family is George Wright who was born in 1770 in Richmond, S.C. There is some uncertainty as to where he died in 1849, which was either at Old Mexico, Monroe County, Ala., or Rockdale, N.C.

George was the father of Daniel Pate Wright who was born in 1795 in Marion County, S.C., and died in 1850 in Monroe County, Ala. He was married in South Carolina in 1809 to Ellender or Eleanor Godbold (1802-1871). The couple had migrated to Monroe County, Ala. by 1822. It appears they were the parents of the following 18 children: Stephen, b. 1816, d. 1867; John Washington, b. 1818, d. 1907, m. Eliza Ann Solomon (1812-1903); Stephen, b. 1820, d. 1897; Samuel, b. 1822, d. 1907; Matilda, b. 1824, d. 1857, m. ? Stacey; Carter, b. 1825, d. 1880; George Washington, b. 1827, d. 1880; Christopher, b. 1828, d. 1894; Mary Ann, b. 1831, d. 1903, m. ? Gray; Emily C., b. 1833, d. 1882; Daniel, b. 1837, d. 1871; Wade, b. 1835, d. 1864 in New Orleans during W.B.T.S., private in Company G, 21st Ala. Infantry Regiment; Duncan, b. 1836, d. 1870; Robert W., b 1842, d. 1900; Jefferson, b. 1838, d. 1863; Nancy, b. 1843, d. 1926; Eli, b. 1845, d. 1871; and Rebecca A., b. 1846, d. 1892.

The line of one of the younger sons, Robert W. Wright, will be followed in this story. He was born in 1838 in Monroe County, Ala. He resided in that area where he became a farmer. In 1864, he was married to Narcissa Andrews (1843-1883), daughter of James “Jim” N. Andrews. The records of his wife and children on Ancestry.com are somewhat confusing. The first two children were born before the given date for Robert’s marriage to Narcissa: Susie, b. 1860, d. 1955; and Malissa A., b. 1862. The third child listed was John W. Andrews, b. 1863, d. 1944, was identified as a step-son. The next children are listed on Robert’s grave marker as his children: Darling L., b. 1866, d. 1943; Minnie, b. 1876, d. 1949, m. ? Cook; Edward L. “Eddie,” b. 1878, d. 1951; and Thomas L. “Lucky,” b. 1879, d. 1926.

Robert W. Wright’s oldest son for certain, Darling L. Wright, was born in 1866 in Old Mexico, Monroe County. In 1892, Darling was married to Loney “Lou” Smith (1878-1933), daughter of Appleton B. Smith (1848-1903) and Permelia Hancock, b. 1851. Lou Smith was born in Georgia and died in Monroe County. Darling and Lou Wright were the parents of the following children: Bobbie, b. 1893; James Robert, b. 1893, d. 1945, m. Missie Mae Mason (1887-1969); Susan, b. 1896, d. 1955; Eddie Eugene, b. 1897; Susie, b. 1898, d. 1955; Oliver Orentes, b. 1901, d. 1932, m. Lucy Littles,  b. 1903; Claude Ceny/Cinny, b. 1905, d. 1972, m. Sarah Rallie Johnson (1909-1980); Orestis Buck, b. 1906, d. 1932; Howard Lee, b. 1908, d. 1990, m. Barbara Eloise (1920-2009); and Jimmie Lou, b. 1910, d. 1989, m 1928 William “Willie” Wright (1901-1994, son of Daniel Samuel (1859-1928) and Mattie Wright.

According to some record, Darling L. Wright’s son, Claude Cinny Wright, was born in 1905 in Wilcox County, Ala. His family was back in Monroe County by 1908 where he was later married to Sarah Rallie Johnson, daughter of John Thomas Johnson and Lula Helass Snowden. They were the parents of the following children: Claude Cinny Jr., b. 1932, d. 1997; Garvin Haygood Sr., b. 1934, d. 2008, m. Evelyn Cora Roberts; Clifton Lamar, b. 1936, d. 1997; Albert and Alford, twins, b.&d. 1941; and Charles Wayne, living.

The son, Garvin Haygood Wright Sr. and his wife Evelyn Cora Roberts became he parents of two sons, Garvin Haygood Jr. and Tommy Dean. Tommy Dean Wright became a well-known coach and teacher in the Andalusia City Schools.

Several additional Wright descendants have been citizens of Covington County, but their relationship to each other and the above families is not known. A Claude Wright was a prominent citizen in the early years of Gantt, Ala., where he served as one of the agents for the Central of Georgia Railroad. J.S. Wright was an early operator of a saloon in Opp, and he served as a councilman during the second term (1912-1918) of Opp Mayor W.W. Champion. Math Wright was owner of a store early on in Brantley. Mildred V. (Cowart) Wright served as an early post mistress for Gantt. In 1921, W.R. Wright was one of the owners of the Horseshoe Lumber Company Commissary at River Falls. Lois Wright was a graduate of Opp High School in 1925. Jessie Corine Wright became the wife of Dr. Henry Elton Battle, who came to Andalusia to practice medicine circa 1900.

The sources for this story included Ancestry.com, Gus and Ruby Bryan’s Covington County History, 1821-1976, The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama, and the family records of Tommy D. Wright.

It is hoped that at some point the relationships of these early citizens of the area will be determined. Anyone who has additional information on the genealogy of the Wright families is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL, 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.