Essex Co., England>Watertown, MA>Wethersfield, CT
is a name derived
from the Anglo-Saxon "wryhta."
Like the Latin word "faber,"
it means a worker of any kind, especially as an artificer in wood or hard
The Wrights have numbered many centenarians in their ranks. It is said
of one of these old men, that when he had reached the age of ninety years,
he went out in the field to work with younger men, and sat down and cried
when he found out he could not keep up with the others.
The first Wright of whom there exists any substantial record was John
of Kelvedon Manor, Essex, England, who died in 1551. His second son was
the Moat House, Lord of the Manor of Great and Little Ropers. His direct
descendant was Thomas,
whom was clerk to the General Court at Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1643.
The following is a tradition that has been handed down in the Wright family
(Thomas Wright was doubtless one of the sons referred to):
upon a time, away years in the past, three strong young men were about
to emigrate to America. Their old father in bidding them 'good-by' said:
'I am too old to go with you, but I am glad my sons can go.' Then he took
a shillalah and cut it into three equal parts, or lengths, and gave one
to each of his sons. 'Keep these,' he said, 'in remembrance of the old
home. When you grow old let each give to his oldest son, and let him give
to his oldest son, and so on. If there be no son, give to the oldest daughter.'"
In the early 20th century, a Mrs. Stewart of Ohio, descendant of Thomas
Wright and a granddaughter of Gideon Wright, had one of the pieces of wood
in her possession, of which she wrote:
my father (son of Gideon Wright) was on a visit to his kin in Vermont,
in the year 1852, or about that time, he received from his aunt, Mary Hawley,
one of these pieces of wood. He brought it home to my grandfather, who
would have nothing to do with it, so it was given to the oldest daughter,
Albina; now she is gone and I have it in my possession. I do not know the
wood, it is dark red in color, about one foot long and two inches in diameter.
It has been used as a rolling pin."
unknown why it happened to be handed down the family of Samuel of Lenox,
instead of the family of Samuel, Jr., the oldest son.
(1) Sir Henry Wright,
Reverend, born 1424, of Kelvedon Hatch, Essex Co., England; married Anna
born 1428. Parents of:
(2) Rev. John Wright,
born 1450, died 1509, of Kelvedon Hatch, Essex Co., England; married Agnes,
born 1452, died 1509. They were parents of:
(3) Sir John Wright,
of Kelvedon, County Essex, England, born in Brentwood, Essex about 1488,
died 5 October 1551, buried in Kelvedon Hatch Church; married Olive
born 1487, died 1560. He was granted a baronetcy 20 June 1509 and was thus
entitled to a seat in Parliament. He was lord of Kelvedon Hall which he
purchased in 1538. He made his will on 25
September 1551; Olive made her will on 22 June
Kelvedon Hall, died 10 October 1563; married Joane.
Wright's Bridge, died 1558; married Alice Wood.
Bishops Hall, Wealdside, died 1587; married Joan Page.
married Mr. ? Green.
married Mr. ? Perkins.
married Mr. ? Shepherd.
married Miss Smith.
married Maud French.
married Thomas Greye
married Agnes Hunt
married John Birle
married Thomas Owtred
married Sir Henry Wright
married Richard Everard
married Janne Vaughn
married Dennis Birle
(4) Robert Wright,
of Brook Hall, also known as the "Moat House," Brook Street, South Weald,
died 25 January 1587, buried in South Weald Church; married
daughter of Robert Green
of Navestock, Essex. Robert made his will
on 17 January 1587 and it was proved 22 February 1587.
died without issue.
baptized 30 June 1542; died young.
baptized 20 March 1544; married 28 November 1565 William Kent.
married 19 October 1563 Richard Thresher.
married 28 May 1566 John Hatch.
of Brook Hall (the Moat House); married Roberdye
He was buried 21 October 1617. She was buried 17 November 1603.
baptized 22 October 1578
baptized 20 March 1568
baptized 8 February 1569
baptized 1 January 1571/1572
daughter of Henry Glasscock
who died 1606, of High Easter Parsonage, Essex, son of John
They lived at Brook Hall (the Moat House). John Wright of South Weald died
intestate and letters of administration were granted in the Archdeaconry
Court in November 1640 to his relict, Grace Wright. (Act Book, folio 268.).
Grace made her will on 25 July 1653 and it was
proved in the following year.
Will Extracts from the Visitation of Essex.
I. L. Glascock
Beginning with John Glascock
whose son Henry Glascock
died 1606, showing the position of his daughter Grace,
who married John Wright.
Glascock will dated 1606, leaves his daughter Grace L133-13-14,
and mentions "John Wright, my god-son, my daughter's son."
Glascock, in his will dated 1652, mentions his "sister Grace Wright, widow."
Glascock, in his will dated 1626, mentions "brother Wright's three daughters."
Glascock, will dated 1624, mentions "the daughters of Grace, wife of John
Wright, of Weald, Essex, Gent.
Glascock of Solchester, in his will dated 1631, mentions "brother John
Wright and his wife."
"John Glascock of Roxwell, Gent. John Wright of Kelvedon, Gent. and Thomas
Laike of Watham, Holy Cross yoeman," were the supervisors appointed under
the will of William Glascock of Fifield yoeman. Dated 6 April 1579.
the Moat House. Married Anne Pigott of Devonshire. Living in 1606 (probably
born that year).
died 1646; married Robert St. Hill of London. No issue.
baptized 23 January 1608. Buried 1 February 1608, South Weald. He is said
to have come to Wethersfield, Connecticut, 1639/1640.
baptized February 1612, died 1648; unmarried.
married John Drayton of London.
baptized April 1621, buried April 1623.
Esq., was born 19 November 1610 in England. His first wife's name, parentage
and date of death are unknown. He came first probably to Watertown, Massachusetts.
He was of the Massachusetts Court of Assistants before the Colonial Government
was established in Boston, and removed to Wethersfield, Connecticut, probably
about 1639. He was recognized as a man of influence and high standing.
He was deputy to the General Court of Connecticut in 1643; Selectman,
1658; Commissioner on Town Lines, etc. He was made a freeman on 11 May
1654, and his name is on the 1669 list of freeman. He and Enoch Buck
were Constables in 1668 to 1669, and he was on court jury at Hartford the
same year. He also seems to have been prominent in the church fight which
led many to remove to Hadley, Massachusetts.
Thomas had one homestead of three and one-half acres on the west side of
High Street, on which his house was built, probably before 1639. His property
was bounded by Robert Abbott, north, and Samuel Clark, south. A house lot
of three acres was recorded to him in Wethersfield on 11 December 1640.
He received another homestead in 1654 consisting of a house, barn and five
acres of land, bought of Samual Hale, on the west side of Back Street,
between Luke Hitchcock, north, and land belonging to Matthew Griswold,
south. He bought the Richard Belden lot of twenty and one-half acres in
west field in 1654. He became, by purchase, the owner of a large part of
the Great Island, thereafter known as Wright's Island, and which he mostly
gave to his sons Thomas and James, who bought other parcels of the island.
Wright's Island, about six or seven miles
below Hartford, lay a little north of an east and west line drawn through
Thomas Wright was given a grant of land which took in a part of the island,
and he increased his part of it by purchase. He gave this to his sons Thomas
and James. The latter increased his part of it by purchase, and left most
of it to his son James, who acquired nearly all of it and built a house
there in 1711. He had a ferry of his own, and a dock was built near the
north end of the island.
There was a noted fishing place there for salmon and shad.
As time went on, the stream east of the island filled up, and a division
of its bed was made by arbitration between James Wright and adjacent owners.
About 1780/1790, what was known as the island was set off from Wethersfield
to Glastonbury, which had been made a town in 1696. The river began to
wear away the upper part of the island and continued to do so until the
dock finally appeared on the other side of the river, and the Wright living
there at that time went and claimed the land about it as his own, and received
it too. At the present time, the river flows over what was the island --
"A ten thousand dollar farm gone into the river." The house was removed
to Glastonbury, and is now occupied.
The island was called by the Indians "Mannahannock" ("Great Laughing Place").
The Indians used to meet there and have games and wrestlings.
Thomas married second on 2 May 1647, Margaret Elson, widow of John Elson,
who had been killed by the Indians in the Wethersfield massacre of 1637.
There were no children from the second marriage.
In his will, Thomas also gave to his wife Margaret, "All the linen that
I have in my possession that was of her own spinning."
Margaret is said to have been before her marriage to Elson, the wife of,
possibly, Hugh Hilliard, or Hillier, by whom she had three children, Ben,
Job, and John. She died 1670-1.
Her will dated 19 January 1670/1671, mentions her grandson William, son
of Job Hillier, deceased, Margaret Woustan and Sarah Holamouth, daughters
of her son Benjamin Hillier, and the wife of her step-son Thomas Wright,
(she gives her towe [tow] and if that was not enough, for her labor of
love, her executors were to give more.) Inventory of her estate amounted
(All born in England):
died 23 August 1683; married 16 June 1657 Elizabeth Chittenden.
was living in 1700/1701
born 1639, died 17 December 1714, aged 75.
married Joseph Smith.
Ensign, born in England about 1634, died 13 February 1690, age 56, in Wethersfield,
Connecticut. He married 29 September 1659 Mary
born 1635, died 12 September 1689, a daughter of Deacon Richard
Samuel was made a freeman in 1657, and he was Selectman in 1670/1671. His
inventory of estate was taken 27 February 1689/1690, amounting to L1082-9s.
(All born in Wethersfield, Connecticut)
married 8 June 1683 Daniel Boardman; married second, James Treat.
born 1662, died 25 February 1745/1746, aged 83.
born 12 July 1677/1678.
born 10 February 1681.
born 1660, died 12 October 1734 in Wethersfield, Connecticut, in his 75th
year, where he is buried. He married first 12 May 1686 Rebecca
who died 14 March 1711. He married second on 1 August 1723 Abigail, died
1 January 174o, widow of Samuel Walker of Stratford, England. They had
(Samuel and Rebecca):
born 16 January 1687, died 11 October 1767; married 1 May 1707 Josiah Belding.
born 5 March 1688, died 18 September 1688.
born 13 December 1689; married John Stanley.
born 1691, died 11 days old
born 19 December 1694, died young.
born 2 November 1696.
born 1 September 1698.
born 16 January 1700.
born 16 February 1702; married first Joseph Miller, died 13 May 1747; married
second Ezekiel Fosdick.
born 13 February 1704.
born 25 April 1706; married 25 October 1727 Joseph Flowers.
born 30 September 1708; married Esther Doolittle.
born 6 January 1692/1693, in Wethersfield, Hartford Co., Connecticut, a
sea-captain, died at sea 6 June 1732. On 18 January 1718, he married Abigail
born 29 November 1694, died 10 July 1777, in Lenox, Massachusetts. Their
home was in Wethersfield. He was captain and part owner of a sloop running
between New London (Rocky Hill), Connecticut, and Barbados, West Indies.
The following description of Rocky Hill at this period is from "Stiles'
Ancient Wethersfield," Vol. II, page 903:
"It would be difficult for the residents of the present Rocky hill village
to realize what a scene of bustling activity old Stepney Landing presented
during the period of its commercial prosperity. There were eight or nine
stores about the landing, whose owners were owners of vessels being built
in the adjoining shipyard, or taking in goods, or unloading at the docks.
In 1730, Nathaniel Stillman and Samuel Wright, Jr., are mentioned as each
part owner of a sloop.
These stores all dealt in so-called West India goods -- rum, brandy, wine,
sugars, teas, molasses, salt, seacoal, etc.; all imported directly. among
their exports were horses, cattle, hogs, hay, hoop-poles, barrelstaves,
salted beef, pork and fish, potatoes, onions, etc."
The different versions of the tradition of Samuel as sea captain which
have been handed down in the various branches of the Wright family, are
record: "The fifth generation
was a sea captain, the oldest of the family. (Proof: The retaining of the
bed-staff.) He died at sea; was brought to New London, Conn., and buried.
He had five children, two sons and three daughters. His name was Samuel."
of Andrew Wright, son of Samuel: "Andrew
was a son or grandson of Samuel, the sea captain who died at sea."
of Joseph Wright, son of Samuel: "His
(Joseph's) grandfather was captain of a vessel at sea, and they have a
tradition that he was lost at sea in a storm, and the night he was lost
his wife had a vision or dream; she saw him and he was sailing very fast.
They lived in a sea-shore town in Connecticut."
of Gideon Wright, son of Samuel:
They have a tradition that Samuel was born at sea.
From the diary of Joshua Hempstead, of New London, Connecticut, covering
a period of 47 years from September 1711 to November 1758:
1st, Thursday, Fair.
Samuel is mentioned in his father's will, made 8 April 1734, as having
lately died. His inventory was taken 28 June 1732 by Daniel Wright and
Jonathan Belding, and administration was granted the widow the day before.
His inventory included: "rum, sugar and negro and indian slaves."
the 7th, wednesday, Received a letter from my son Stephen, by Captain ---
from Barbadoes. Samuel Wright who was --- belonging to Wethersfield, brought
in dead, June 6th, 1732."
of movable estate, L1573-16/05d
Before the 13th of August 1741, the widow, Abigail Goodrich, had changed
her condition by becoming the wife of Noahdiah Dickinson. She made
her exhibit and Noahdiah moved the court that her right of dowry might
be set out to her. Moses Wright, the youngest son, was then aged ten years,
and Samuel, the oldest son, nineteen years old. Samuel chose his grandfather
as his guardian; Moses and Rebecca, aged fourteen, chose their step-father
Dickinson as their guardian, and went with their mother to live in Goshen,
Connecticut. There is no further record of the daughter Abigail. Noahdiah
Dickinson died in 1745. Probate records from Manwaring's digest indicate
inventory of Noahdiah Dickinson as L2200-9/03d taken 11 July 1745. Administration
was to the widow Abigail, who gave bond with Samuel Wright, in L800 old
tenor. On 4 March 1746, Benoni Hills of Goshen was interrogated before
the court with respect to withholding and concealing some of the movable
estate of Noahdiah Dickinson.
On 5 April 1748, widow Abigail moved her dowry of real estate be set out
to her; one third of the real estate was then set out. Mrs. Abigail Wright
Dickinson afterwards removed to Lenox, Massachusetts, with her son Samuel
and daughter, Rebecca Wright. She died there and the gravestone, which
is still standing, has this record:
for distribution, L1434-11/03d
the widow, L478-03/09d
Samuel, oldest son, L318-15/10d
the remaining children, each, L159-07/11d
"This Monument is
by Miss Rebecca
in memory of
Mrs. Abigail Dickinson,
July 10th, 1777."
born 28 May 1722, in Wethersfield, Connecticut, died October 1789, in Lenox,
born 11 March 1724.
born 7 September 1726, died 13 May 1813, unmarried, age 86.
born 26 January/March 1729; married Samuel
born 3 July 1731, died 20 December 1822, age 90
Will of JOHN
Essex. Register Thomber 117 and Register Bastwick:
the name of God Amen; 25 Sept, 1551. of Kellydon Essex, Yoeman. Beying
in bode feble and weak yet of pfect mynde make my will, etc. Soul to God.
Body to be buried within the Chancell of Kellydon Church. To poor mens
box 20/- To the parish of Southweald 40/- and to the ten poorest parishes
about me 20/- each. To my loving wife (not named) 40 marks by the yere
to be paid of my lands by my four sons equally -- L6, 13, 4 each. And the
best end of my house of Kelvedon Haule at her choice. Also to her my household
stuff and 100L, 20 kyne and a gelding. To each daughter (not named) L13,
6, 8. To every godchild 6/8, and to every godchild of my own childrens
20/-. To Kelydon Strete toward the reparation of the way L3, 6, 8. To mending
the way to the Common L3, 6, 8. To the reparation of Geedy Hall Lane 40/-.
To my eldest son John Wright and his heirs Kelydon Hall, Weldsyde Knights,
Hubbords Land with the two houses in Brentwood and Layndon. To Robert Wright
and his heirs, Ropers in Brook Street, and house meadow and orchard in
Brook Street, Smythes land, Powres wherein now gladden dwelleth with Fyners,
Burnecks Land and Webbs. To my son called Myddle John I give all the land
I have in Havering and houses and millers house and a tenement in Childerditch
wherein Gibbes doth dwell. To my son called Young John I give Bishops Hall,
Wilchins Pownde Mead, Welde Lyes, Bulffandes and Dichars in Ramsden Bellhouse
and Trays. To John Wright son to my son John the younger, all my land in
Navestock. To John Wright son to my son John the elder, a tenement called
Drywoods. To John Wright son of my son Robert, a tenement called Argents.
To every child (if any) of my childrens children 20/- apiece. To each servant
Sons John the elder and Robert.
Sons, middle and young John (note middle John is here styled "John Wright
of Wrights Bridge").
Thomas Wood, clerk (i.e. parson) Robert Sheparde, John Symonde, and Thomas
21 November 1551 at Stapleford Abbotts by the two Executors named. (Register
Bastwick states it was proved at Brentwood but agrees with the date.)
Will of OLIVE
Will examined at Somerset House, London, by William Gilbert, on January
17th, 1910, there being no registered copy.
the Name of God, Amen. 22 June 1560.
Wright of the parish of Kelvedon, County Essex, sick of body but whole
of mind. Soul to God. To be buried in the chancel of Kelvedon Church. To
the reparation of that church L4. Ditto South Weld Church 40 3/4-. To poor
L5 at burial and L5 at the months mind. 30 3/4- a year for twenty years
after my decease to the poor people of Kelvedon and South Welad equally.
To Katryne my daughter L5. To Richard, thomas, Reignold, Parnell, and Elizabeth
Green 40/- each. To Mary Green 13/4. To Olyffe her daughter 20/- and to
every other one of Katrynes children now living 6/8. To Olive, daughter
of my son Robert Wright 20/-. To Katherine, Dorothy and Thomas Wright,
his children 20/- each. To Joan daughter of John Wright of Kelvedon 40/-
and to Thomas his son 20/- and to his other two children (not named) 6/8
each. To Olive and Dorothy, daughters of John Wright of the Bridge, my
son last deceased, 20/- each, and to John, Robert and Agnes his children
Kathryne Green my daughter three chestes and a cupboard, etc.
Alice Perkyns my daughter L5, and to each of her children 20/-.
Eliabeth Shepherd my daughter L5.
William Owtred 20/- and to his two sons now living 20/- each.
Robert Wright my son a chest.
John Wright my son of Wealdsyde a pot, and to John Omfrey and Mary his
children 40/- each and to Anthony and Dorothy 20/- each and to his two
youngest children (not named) 6/8 each.
John Wright of Kelvedon my son a table and to his children John, Robert
and Dorothy 20/- each.
John son of Robert Wright 20/-.
daughter Katherine, my bed.
Olive Combers my god-daughter 20/-.
John Omfrey and Mary Wright two silver spoons each.
Alice Stace, widow of Weald Church Gate 20/-.
of goods to be distributed amongst the poor of Kelvedon, Weald and Navestock
John Wright of Wealdsyde, and John Green of Navestock, 20/- to each of
John Wright of Kelvedon and Robert Wright 10/- to each of them.
Paull Spence curate of Kelvedon, John Chesson, Thomas Nevell.
die mensis prefati (Oct) 1560 probatum fuit testm Olvi Wright nuper de
Kelydon def juram to Execator Quibus commissa fuit administraco, etc. Jurat
ad sea dei evengelia. (Act Book I, folio 17.)
of Brook Street
Essex Register Draper Folio 149.
the name of God Amen; 17 January 1587.
Robert Wrighte, of Brooke Streate in the parish of South Wealde in the
County of Essex, yoeman, whole of mynde, etc. Doe make my last will, etc.
Soul to God and body to be buried within the parish church of South Wealde.
Mary, my wife, all my lands and goods, for her natural life, and after
her decease my son John Wrighte shall enter in and upon the same and I
appoint my said son to be executor. (No witnesses named.)
February 22nd, 1587, by John Wrighte (act Book 3, folio 64.)
Will of Grace
25 July 1653.
Wright, widow, of South Weald.
eldest son, John, with children, John, Anne, elizabeth, Mary and Joane.
second son Thomas.
grandson Thomas Wright (parentage not stated).
daughter Anne, wife of John Drayton
brother, Ignatius Glascock."
proved 1654. PCC. (193 Alchin.)
29 April 1670, by James Treat -- Samuel Boreman -- John Ryley.
The last will and testament of Thomas Wright, Sen. of Wethersfield, is
do give unto my dear wife, Margaret, after my decease, all the provisions
(that are for meat and drink) now in my possession. Also the use of such
movables as she shall think needful for her use during her life. My will
is that the Division that I have formerly made of my land unto my sonnes
shall stand firm, only in yt my will I give unto my son Sam'l but halfe
my six acre Lott in ye meadow, together with foure Acres in ye swamp, which
he now enjoys, all which is in consideration of five Acres of Land which
I had purposed to have given him upon the Island.
I doe give unto my sonn Joseph, halfe my six Acre Lott in ye meadow, that
is to say, the north side of ye Lott, My will is that after all my debts
are paid out of my estate, there shall be an equal division made of ye
remainder amongst my children.
I doe also make my sonn Thomas sole Executor of yt my will, and doe desire
my Loving ffriend Sam'l Hale, Sen'r to be helpful to him herein.