John Wright III1

M, #15241, b. circa 1731, d. 30 October 1789
FatherJohn Wright II2 b. c 1707, d. b 27 Feb 1792
MotherElizabeth Bronaugh3 d. Feb 1792

Family

Ann Williams b. c 1735, d. Oct 1825
Child
Last Edited8 Oct 2018
     John Wright III was born circa 1731, son of John Wright II and Elizabeth Bronaugh, in Prince William County, Virginia Colony. "He appears to have been born upon the [thousand-acre] estate of his grandfather, John Wright I, between Powell's Run and Neapsco Creek, near the Potomac River, in Prince William County, about the time that county was formed from Stafford County. His grandfather had moved there from 'the great house' in Westmoreland County eight or nine years previously."4,5

     On 27 November 1752, "The Sheriff pursuant to the Act of Assembly in that case made and provided returns to the Court here the Ensueing Pannell of the Grand Jury . . . John Wright and twenty others, who being sworn and charged as well to Enquire as true presentment make of all Treasons, Misprisions of Treason, Felonies, Murders, and all other Crimes and Misdemeanors committed perpetrated or done with the said County . . . " at Prince William County, Virginia Colony.6

     John married Ann Williams, daughter of Jonas Williams and Honour (--?--), in 1753.4

     After 1753, "he seems to have lived for a while upon the estate of his mother-in-law, Honor Williams, which adjoined the Wright estate and which he managed in Fauquier County, Virginia Colony.4

     On 26 February 1753, "at a Court held [this date] at Prince William County, Virginia Colony. Ordered that John Wright, Joseph Hudnall, John Frogg or any two of them view the most convenient way for a Road from Bevereleys Ford into the Rolling Road that leads from Hedgmans Quarter to the Marsh Bridge and report to the Court their proceedings."

     (Note: a rolling road was one over which tobacco was rolled to a seaport in very large casks having a rim of larger cicumference at each end. The outer edges of which rims served as wheels upon the ground.)

     (No date provided) The report of John Wright and John Frogg, Gent. Being returned upon their Viewing a way from Beverleys' Ford to the Road leading from Hedgman's Quarter to the Marsh Bridge. The Rolling Road commonly called Jone's Rolling Road is hereby Established, and for the Future to be deemed and taken a public way."7

     At the Court on 22 April 1754, Ordered that Augustine Jennings, John Wright, George Wheatly, and Morgan Darnall of any three of them, being first sworn, Inventory and Appraise the Estate of John Smith in Current money and that the Executor return the same to the Court at Prince William County, Virginia Colony.8

     An intense personal rivalry developed between John Wright and Augustine Jennings as to which man should become the major of the Fauquier military forces, prior to which both gentlemen were appoined to act together with the former's brother-in-law, Wheatley, and relative, Morgan Darnall, by the court of which Wright's father was one of the justices.9

     On 14 April 1755, a petition from John Wright the Younger for a Servant Man named Samuel Gray who was sent to the Expedition on the Ohio was presented in Court at Prince William County, Virginia Colony, and ordered to be certified to the General Assembly.10

     On 30 October 1762, John sued his mother-in-law and her other son-in-law, Thomas Withers, in Fauquier County, charging that they were wasting the estate which his wife, Ann Williams Wright, by the will of her father, Jonas Williams, should receive at her mother's death.9

     Before 25 April 1764, "he was again living on his father's estate. On the day before this date, he received a gift of 116 acres from his father. Overnight, he changed his mind and asked for a gift in money instead. The exchange was made to the displeasure of his father, John Wright II, who had wished that his son remain on the land."4

     On 13 July 1766, the law suit against his mother-in-law seems to have been settled out of court and the mother-in-law then sued Thomas Withers with John Wright III as a witness in her behalf. All differences between John Wright III and his mother-in-law seem to have been fully reconciled; and he returned to the Williams estate, devoting himself to its needs until he moved farther north in Fauquier County to land he bought for himself in 1772."4

     "Meanwhile, (he) had engaged in general surveying and in military activities with the hope of being promoted from captain to major in the Virginia militia. He never did attain the majorship."

     However, by 1771, he was Captain of the Fauquier County Militia.11

     On 17 May 1771, "he was commissioned as official surveyor of Fauquier County. At that time William and Mary College was vested with the power of such appointments and commissioned him as follows:      'Under the hands of President and Masters of College of William and Mary, [this date], Surveyor of Fauquier County, Virginia.' His age (40) suggests that he took an examination from its faculty rather than that he attended as a student."4

     On 24 October 1774, "John Wright III sold his Fauquier County estate and departed soon afterwards with his family for their new home in Surry County (now Yadkin county), North Carolina. . . . Since there were no grants of land in Surry County by the State of North Carolina prior to 1778, John Wright III appears to have helped himself to land, entered the fact with the entry take, and applied later for a survey and grant. He acquired large tracts of land in southeastern Surry County which later became a part of Yadkin County. Several of the later acquisitions of land seem to have been for development by members of his large family of eighteen children; but this foresight on the part of John Wright III did not prevent a number of his children from migrating westward as will be seen later. For a number of years John Wright III and his neighbor John Elsberry had control of taxation in Surry County. Elsberry wrote out the lists of taxable property, and John Wright III assessed the estates."

     He became a Baptist. "It's possible that "his leaving the Episcopal church may have had some effect upon his social life even in associations with close relatives and may have contributed to the causes of his removal to North Carolina."12

     John Wright III moved his family to Buck Shoals Township, Surry County, North Carolina Colony, circa 1775 .13,11

     He performed his Military Service circa 1776 in Smith's Company, 4th North Carolina Regiment during the Revolution, as proven by a letter signed by H. F. McCain, the Adjutant General, in 1817. He served as a private, despite his previous service in Virginia as an officer. His length of service seems to have been relatively short, judging from a quotation from the 1849 diary of John Wright III's granddaughter, Nancy Riley Clark: 'While serving in the war, he took a violent cold that settled in his lungs and eventually caused his death.'".14,15,16

     In September 1777, the Roster of the Continental Line shows he was Omitted in this month.1718

     By 1779, he owned five separate tracts of land in Surry County.11

     On 29 June 1782, No. 928: Bruce & Hunter granted to John Wright the sum of £9-4-6; Interest -19-3 to 26 Mar 1784 for a total of £10-3-9.19

     John was an organizer of 'Petty's Meeting House" where he was ordained a deacon 10 Jun 1783. The church, which subsequently became the Flat Rock Baptist Church, still holds services in Hamptonville, Yadkin County, North Carolina. Its old "Minute Book" contains much genealogical information on this large WRight family, and has survived with a copy kept in the Wake Forest University library in Winston-Salem.11

     In 1787, (Return of) Richard Goode, Sheriff of Surry: No. 740, J. Wright, Principal £1:16. Interest £0-7-6.20

     No. of Certificate No. 1516; To whom Issued- John Wright; Am't. of Principal - £16-4-8; Am't of interest allowed - £3-14-4.21

     On 12 November 1787, he was sworn in as an attorney, as one of fifteen men appearing in Court in at Surry County, North Carolina. Among the other fourteen lawyers to appear that day was 21 year-old Andrew Jackson, future seventh president of the United States.22,11

     No. 1061. John Wright, principal £9:9 - interest, £1-2-10.

     The Secretary of the North Carolina Historical Commission certified that the Salisbury District in North Carolina, referred to above embraced the county of Surry, for which region of Surry, Salisbury was the county seat until Surry became created in 1770 a county with inferior judicial powers; Salisbury continued thereafter for many years to be the seat of the superior judicial and military jurisdiction and authority over the county of Surry, etc.23

     John Wright III left a will dated on 8 October 1789 at Surry County, North Carolina, in which he names his daughters: Elizabeth Arnold, Nancy Elliott, Agatha Elsbury, Amelia Martin, Lucretia Petty and Frances Reiley each of whom received 20 shillings. His son, Thomas Wright, received 30 acres which is a part of his plantation. His son, Daniel Wright, received 20 shillings. His son, John Wright, received 200 acres adjacent Lewis Eliott and Christian Leatherman. Daughter Sally Wright received a mare. Sons, William and James Wright received 40 acres on Deep Creek adjacent Thomas Jacks with William to have part where his father now lives with his wife having possession during her life. This adjoins Saml Arnold. The 320 acres adjacent John Stab and John Elsberry to be sold with the amount divided between his daughters: Rosey, Patsy, Polly (Peggy is drawn through), Sukey (written in above). Surveyor instruments to be sold to buy a horse for the estate. His wife, Anne, is to have everything else, after her death to be divided among his children: Nancy (line drawn through), Sally, Suckey, Peggy, Polly, William, James, Williams, Rosey & Patsey Wright. He named his wife and son, John, as executors. Witnesses: Elizabeth Longino, William Eliott.
The Will of John Wright


     As it is necessary men should settle their affairs of life before they leave this mortal life, therefore I make this my last Will and Testament. I gave to my daughters Elizabeth Arnold, Nancy Eliott, Agatha Elsbury, Amelia Martin, Lecretia Petty, and Frances Reiley, all of them twenty shillings each
I give to my son Thomas Wright thirty acres of land which is part of his plantation.
I give to my son Daniel Wright twenty shillings.
I give to my son John Wright two hundred acres of land adjoining Lewis Eliott and Christian Weaterhman's land including the field he now has a crop on & feather bed.
I give to my daughter Sally Wright one bay mare and saddle.
I give to my son William Wright & James Wright four hundred acres of land lying on deep Creek adjoining Thomas Jack's land to be equally divided between them.
I give to my son Williams Wright two hundred & twenty acres of land on which I now live but not to possess but one hundred during my wife's life and that to include the field on the south side of the muster ground branch that runs through the plantation bounded on Samuel Arnold's land. It is my will and desire that the three hundred and twenty acres of land I own adjoining John Stab and John Elsbery should be sold and the value to be divided between my daughters Rosey, Peggy and Polly Wright ten pounds value each.
My will is that the sun/eying instruments be sold to buy a horse for use of Estate.
It is my will and desire that my loving wife Anne should have and possess all the rest of my estate together with the plantation I now live on save the hundred acres mentioned and left to son Williams during her lifetime and after to be divided amongst my children whose names are underwritten, namely Nancy [though her name seems to be crossed out] Sally, Sucky, Peggy, Polly, William, James, Williams, Rosey, and Patsey Wright.
I appoint my beloved wife and son John executors to my last will and testament given under my hand I seal in the year of our Lord One thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-Nine and the eighth day of October,
               (signed by:) John Wright
Test: Elizabeth Longino
     William Elliott.24,11

     Nancy Riley Clarke, John's granddaughter recorded in her 1849 diary that 'while serving in the war he took a violent cold that settled on his lungs and eventually caused his death.'

     She also left this record of his passing: ". . . while on his death bed he suffered much, but bore it all with Christian patience and was perfectly resigned to the will of God. When dying, and gone to all appearance, had ceased to breathe, his wife screamed out of anguish of her heart. She could not give him up. He opened his eyes and said, 'my dear, it is you that keeps me here.' His oldest son then took his mother out of the room and begged her not to make a noise. He (John) then closed his eyes in death . . . "11

     The diary in its transcribed entirety can be found online at http://www.theheritagelady.com/diary-nancy-riley-clarke-salt-1846/.

     John Wright III died on 30 October 1789 in Surry County,25,26,27 and was buried in Flat Rock Baptist Cemetery, Hamptonville, Yadkin County, North Carolina.
"He may have been buried on his own land. If not, he probably was buried in the church yard of the Flat Rock Baptist Church, known then as Petty's Meeting House, more than a mile to the east of the Wright estate, or in the yard of the much closer Elsberry Chapel. The latter chapel was founded near the ford of a branch of the North Fork of Hunting Creek by John Elsberry, John Wright's neighbor and his daughter, Agatha's, father-in-law. These and other landmarks used to designate the location of the Wright homestead fall with the boundaries of the present Hamptonville Community, of western Yadkin County."25,28

     His estate was probated in May 1790 at Surry County, North Carolina, by the oath of William Eliott and recorded in this court.24

     His estate was inventoried with the return presented to the court by Ann Wright, witnessed by S. Wood, and recorded in court on 6 August 1790 at Surry County, North Carolina.29

Citations

  1. [S2968] Frost, W. W. The Frosts and Related Families of Bedford County, Tennessee (Knoxville: W. W. F., 1962), page 81; accessed 15 Aug 2011 . Mr. Frost states that the information on the Wright and related families for four generations comes from "Some Descendants of Richard Wright, Gentleman of London, England, and Northumberland, Virginia," published in 1919 Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Volume 1, pages 127 and 177 and from "the Washington-Wright Connection and Some Descendants of Major Francis and Anne (Washington) Wright, published in three volumes in 1923 as The Washington Ancestry . . and Forty Related Families." Both the article and the book were written by Charles Arthur Hoppin a genealogist of note.
  2. [S1002] Gott, John K., abstractor. Abstracts of Fauquier County, Virginia Wills, Inventories and Accounts 1759-1800 (Virginia: J. K. G., 1972), page 208; citing Will Book 2, pages 219-220.
  3. [S2968] Frost. Frosts & Related Families, page 74; accessed 16 Aug 2011.
  4. [S2968] Frost. Frosts & Related Families, page 76; accessed 16 Aug 2011.
  5. [S3777] Barr, James Houston. Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Pope, c1610-1660 - Ancestor of Washington and Governors (Louisville, Kentucky: J.H.B., 2013), page 31 giving a date of bith of c30 Oct 1731.
  6. [S230] Drewa, Vernon, "Email, Vernon Drewa," e-mail message from e-mail address to Toby Turner, dated 7 Aug 2007 containing an ahnenfatel of Stephen W. Turner, citing Prince William County Court Record Book, 1752-1753, page 76.
  7. [S230] Drewa. Email, dated 7 Aug 2007 containing an ahnenfatel of Stephen W. Turner, citing Prince William County Court Record Book, 1752-1753, page 97 and 164.
  8. [S230] Drewa. Email, dated 7 Aug 2007 containing an ahnenfatel of Stephen W. Turner, citing Prince William County Court Record Book 2, page 37.
  9. [S230] Drewa. Email, dated 7 Aug 2007 containing an ahnenfatel of Stephen W. Turner.
  10. [S3360] Sparacio, Ruth & Sam, abstractors. Virginia County Court Records: Order Book Abstracts of Prince William County, Virginia (1753-1757) (McLean: R. & S. S., 1988), page 60, citing Order Book 1754-1755, page 220.
  11. [S230] Drewa. Email, dated 7 Aug 2007 containing an ahnenfatel of Stephen W. Turner, citing Dr. Justin Glenn, Registrar, National Society of the Washington Family Descendants 2 Feb 2005.
  12. [S2968] Frost. Frosts & Related Families, page 77; accessed 16 Aug 2011.
  13. [S3188] Beverly, Ralph and Catherine. Colonial Families of the Northern Neck of Virginia, 3 (Lewes: Colonial Roots, 2007), page 198.
  14. [S2968] Frost. Frosts & Related Families, pages 77-78; accessed 16 Aug 2011.
  15. [S3822] Membership application of Nellie Marie McCafferty, applied to Daughters of the American Revolution on John Wright (III). National No. M94197, Ancestor No. A130877, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Office of the Registrar General, Washington, D. C., citing War Department, The Adjutant General's Office, dated 27 Aug 1917.
  16. [S3823] Membership application of Olive Cochran, applied to Daughters of the American Revolution on John Wright (III). National No. M129343, Ancestor No. A130877, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Office of the Registrar General, Washington, D. C., quotes from Nancy Riley Clark's diary about him taking a violent cold that settled on his lungs, eventually causing his death.
  17. [S3822] Membership application, Nellie Marie McCafferty, National no. M94197, National Society DAR, citing The Records of North Carolina, volume XVI, page 1182.
  18. [S3823] Membership application, Olive Cochran, National no. M129343, National Society DAR, gives as a reason for his being omitted, the violent cold he caught.
  19. [S3822] Membership application, Nellie Marie McCafferty, National no. M94197, National Society DAR, citing North Carolina, Revolutionary Army Accounts, volume No. I (rebound), new page no. 1: "an Account of Specie certificates Paid into Comptroller's office by John Armstrong, Entry Taker for Land in North Carolina.
  20. [S3822] Membership application, Nellie Marie McCafferty, National no. M94197, National Society DAR, citing North Carolina, Revolutionary Army Accounts, volume No.VIOI (rebound), page 1: "A List of Certificates to be paid to the Comptroller for the Taxes of 1787 including those due from the years 1784, 1785 and 1786," new page 7.
  21. [S3822] Membership application, Nellie Marie McCafferty, National no. M94197, National Society DAR, citing North Carolina, Revolutionary Army Accounts, volume No. XI (rebound), new page 55: "List of Certificates paid into Comptroller's Office by Charles Bruce, Commissioner of Confiscation, Salisbury District."
  22. [S3777] Barr. Lt. Col. Nathaniel Pope, page 31.
  23. [S3822] Membership application, Nellie Marie McCafferty, National no. M94197, National Society DAR, citing North Carolina, Revolutionary Army Accounts, volume No.VI, page 598 "Hillsborough, Treasury Office. A List of Certificates paid into the Treasury on Acct. of the Taxes."
  24. [S3031] Linn, Jo White and Clark, Edith Montcalm, abstractors. Surry County, North Carolina Will Abstracts, Vols. 1-3, 1771-1827 (Salisbury: J.W.L., 1974), page 77; citing Will Book 2, page 160a.
  25. [S2968] Frost. Frosts & Related Families, page 78; accessed 16 Aug 2011.
  26. [S3777] Barr. Lt. Col. Nathaniel Pope, page 32.
  27. [S3822] Membership application, Nellie Marie McCafferty, National no. M94197, National Society DAR, citing Thomas Wright's pension file no. 11889 in support of which claim he filed the original page of the Wright Family Bible bearing the record of the death of his father.
  28. [S3777] Barr. Lt. Col. Nathaniel Pope, page 32, provides burial location.
  29. [S3031] Linn and Clark. Surry Co., NC Will Abst, 1771-1827, page 79; citing Will Book 2, page 172.
  30. [S2981] Hickerson, Thomas Felix. Echoes of Happy Valley: Letters and Diaries Family Life in the South, Civil War History (Chapel Hill: T. F. H., 1962), page 175, calling him Capt. John Wright . Thomas Felix Hickerson was Kenan Professor Emeritur, University of North Carolina.