Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Family Lore-Jesse James and the Wrights

Genealogists warn of  misleading and often incorrect information in family myths and lore. Sometimes there is a grain of truth in there somewhere. Maybe these stories have just become miss told or misunderstood through the years. These tales are often quite fun and hard to let go. We have one of those stories in our family. 

It has to do with Jesse James and the Wright family of Sac City, Iowa. According to the story after Jesse James and his gang robbed the Northfield Bank in Minnesota, they stopped by the Wright farm on their way back to Missouri to water their horses. Now another family genealogist has pointed out the fallacy of this claim. The robbery took place in 1876. The Wrights moved to Sac City in the early 1880's.

However, it is believed that indeed the James brothers and gang did stop in Sac City after that Minnesota robbery to water their horses.  According to an article written in the Rockwood (Pennsylvania) Gazette in 1904 and reprinted in History of Sac County, Iowa by William H. Hart, the James boys halted for a drink on their retreat from the north to their home in Kansas City country, although at the time they were not recognized by the citizens of Sac City.

"One bright summer morning while pumping a pail of water at a well in an unfrequented part of the hamlet of Sac City, near the office of the Sac Sun, two unkempt, unshorn and not altogether fierceless looking men on saddleless horses, steaming with perspiration, rode to the well and with ugly oaths demanded of a boy his bucket to water their horses." 

"In dismounting one of the men appeared crippled and in great pain, and he cursed with awful oaths.  He rolled up his pantaloons and exhibited a badly swollen limb, which he bathed in the cold water.

As you read the next part, remember when this article was written. Today=1904

"News then traveled slower than it does today, but a day or two later the daily papers came out with full reports of the great Northfield robbery, in Minnesota, telling of the capture of the Younger boys and of the escape of the James boys on two white horses taken from a farmer in northern Iowa."

I imagine the residents of Sac City talked about this big event for decades. So, it is easy to see how this story was told over and over and over from the early 1880's until, well... look here I am telling the story in 2017. I can just imagine Charlie or Jennie Wright, Nathan or Anna Olmstead re-telling the story they heard after their arrival in Sac City. Then their children told the story to their children. The years go by. Someone overhears or misunderstands part of the story and there we have it. The two strangers stopped at the Wright farm to water their horses. Only later, did the family realize it was probably the James brothers.

There is a grain of reality in the story.  The Wright family lived in Sac County, Iowa. Jesse James probably watered his horses there on his escape from that well known caper in Minnesota.  Who cares about those pesky dates.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Another Wright

     Currently, I am blogging about climbing the Wright Family Tree Already, I have received some questions about names and passings, and we are really just on the first rung.  In Writing About the Wrights , I showed a picture of my grandparents, Albert and Nina Wright, and listed the names and dates of their eight children.  From those eight children, Albert and Nina, had 21 grandchildren.  Margie, Mike, Lynn, Sue, Bill, Linda, Peggy, Jim, John, Kathy, Steve, Debbie, Leni, Kristy, Jenny, David, Mitch, Janie, Deanna, Rob, and Kenny.

     In genealogy there is a poem about how would your ancestors look down on you. Today I want to acknowledge one of those descendants of the Wright Tree I am climbing.  Congratulations to my cousin, Jim Wright.  Read his story here.

     Due to some technical difficulties ( probably in my head), I am note sure this link will work.  If not, Google...Jim Wright Courier-Journal.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Climbing the Wright Tree

     My grandfather Albert LeRoy Wright, was the fourth child of Charles and Jennie Wright.  He married Nina Frances Borden June 1, 1921.  She was the only child of William and Emma Borden. One thing I had in common with my grandmother was being an only child. However, she became mother to eight children. I always said we would never have that in common.

     My mother had a picture collage of my dad's family that hung in the bedroom wherever my parents lived. In that collage were two studio portraits which I always enjoyed looking at.  One must have been taken in about 1943 based on the looks of the youngest child.  The other may have been taken sometime in the 50's. In the future I may be able to share these portraits. The portraits in this post are one more generation up the line.

     According to my database, the Wright Family Tree goes up something like this.

Our climb moves up the tree from Albert LeRoy Wright, my grandfather, to Charles Howard Wright. Great Grandpa Charlie lived to be 97.  I always heard that he died because of burns he obtained while cooking. He lived alone in Sac City, Iowa.

Amos, Flora, Byron, Hattie, Albert
Charles and Jennie

Earlier Years

Flora, Byron, Hattie
Charles, Amos, Albert, Jennie

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Writing about the Wrights

     Every winter I plan to write about the Wrights. A few winters ago I began using Legacy as my database and focused on the Wright information I already had. My postings, however, have scarcely mentioned the Wrights. Last year I prepared a piece about
Jessie James and the Wright family. I planned to use it as an  introductory post for a series of Wright posts.  This has not happened yet.
     I am fairly certain I have been getting signs that it is time to write about the Wrights, my paternal line.
     Sign one: I have been hanging out with Wright first cousins during the last few days. This is a rare happening. Numerous states were represented.
     Sign two:  Several Wright second cousins whom I follow on Facebook have been posting old Wright photographs. Some are accompanied with questions about the identity of a relative here or there.
    Sign three:  I received a message from a DNA match cousin suggesting I put my information on the Family Search site.
Now I just have to revise and review.

     Let's start with my Dad's parents. He was their first child and the oldest of their three boys. Albert and Nina had five girls in addition to these three boys. Only two of these siblings remain.

Children Of Albert and Nina

La Verne William  ( 1922-2010)
Ina Carolyn            ( 1924-        )
LaVonne Frances    ( 1928-1996)
Albert LeRoy Jr.    ( 1930-1994)
Darlene Doll          ( 1934-2011)
Lela Mae               ( 1936-       )
Harold Gene          ( 1939-2016)
Nina Evelyn          ( 1941-2015)

Note: I would be very happy to receive information if something in my blog is not correct.  Dates can be funny things. Name spellings as well.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Wedding of Considerable Interest

     Regular readers of Cousins, know that I love the section of my hometown newspaper called A Glance Into the Past.  I especially enjoy reading about my own family.  This past week brought another gem.

     A wedding of considerable interest took place at the Methodist Church Sunday afternoon at 3:30 when Miss Jean Stevens, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Stevens, became the bride of Beryl M. Johnson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Johnson, all of Scranton.  The church was filled with friends of the couple.  The Rev. Edward Stone spoke the double ring service before an altar decorated with jonquils and gladiolus.
     Attending the couple were Miss Cleo Eason, maid of honor, and Duane Duff, best man.  Miss Carol Nelson and Miss Margaret Ray acted as bridesmaids, while Don Oxenford and John Grisso were the ushers.  Ring bearer was little Janet Scherbring, niece of the groom.  Following the reception, the couple left for Des Moines in a well-decorated car for a short honeymoon.  They will live in this community, where Mr. Johnson will be engaged in farming.  Mrs. Johnson will continue her work as clerk of the school board and secretary to Superintendent Hammer.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are graduates of Scranton High School, and are among the community's most popular young people.

     As I work on my family genealogy, I wonder who else was there. Was the bride's cousin, my mother Mary, there? Was I there? Probably not, I was only two years old. Who would I have been left with?  Great Grandma Estella Smith was probably there. She was the bride's grandmother.
     The newspaper shared another little anecdote that probably caused some concern for all.

     An automobile collision occurred Sunday afternoon on Highway 30 east of Scranton involving a pickup truck driven by Raymond Henning and Chevrolet five-passenger coupe owned by Dan Oxenford, and driven by Don Oxenford.

     Margaret Ray and Carol Nelson, bridesmaids at the wedding of Jean Stevens and Beryl Johnson and John Grisso and Mr. Oxenford, ushers were en route to Jefferson to have their pictures taken with the bridal couple and their attendants, Duane  Duff and Cleo Eason, when the accident occurred.  No one was injured, although the cars were damaged considerably.



Monday, April 3, 2017

How Quickly Times Change

     Recently, we were chatting with life long friends and discussing how fast the world is changing.  The world of our grandchildren is and continues to be changing at such a rapid rate. It is becoming so different than our own.  And to us, it doesn't seem that our youth was very long ago. We reminisce about the days that technology was not the dominate feature of everyday life.

     Then, we look back another generation to those of our parents who live their lives based on their own youth of growing up in the depression. Thanks to Historical Societies and other such groups we can peek into the lives of our families generations ago.

     This is all leading to an article I recently read about three men who shared stories about their childhood in the Great Depression of the 1930's at their local Historical Society meeting.  This is only three generations removed from my grandchildren of today, the ones on their cell phones, ipads, with their massive technological knowledge.

     From the Scranton Newspaper:

     "Burnell said he remembers his grandfather Lewis Burnell counting up the family's assets one evening and reporting they had a grand total of $36.45.  'My grandmother Lucinda put her hand on her head like she was going to faint' " he said. "and I remember her yelling, 'Lordy, Lordy, Lewis! We've got more money than we need!' "

    How Quickly Times Change.