Our Family Legacy
William Wright's record states that his father, George, was born in Down County, Ireland. However, recent research in Glasgow, Scotland reveals early mission records showing George himself stated that he was born in Kilkenny County, 10 Sep. 1807. His father was Isaac Wright. George, a carpenter by trade, was thrifty and honest. While in Ireland, he married Ellen Tweede (Tweedy). The following four children blessed their marriage: John, born about 1829, went to sea and was never heard from again; Sarah, born 6 Jul. 1830; William, born 15 Sep. 1831; and Maria born in 1834.
Between 1834 and 1835, his wife Ellen died. About a year later he married Rebecca Hazley (Heasley). On 25 Dec. 1837, their daughter Fanny (Frances) was born, followed by Susan (Susannah) on 11 Jul. 1839. Both were born in Sheepstown, Down, Ireland. The Wright family moved to Dundee, Scotland, where James was born 14 Nov. 1840; and on 12 Jan. 1844 Deborah was born. Deborah was only six weeks old when her mother became so ill she knew she would soon die. Consequently, she called her sister, Deborah Ann to her bedside. Giving Deborah her earrings and rings, she then exacted a promise from her that she would marry her husband after Rebecca died. Deborah also promised to be kind to the children.
After Rebecca's death, Deborah Ann assumed the responsibility of caring for George's eight motherless children. She took care of the children for nearly a year before she married George. William said their home was happy and that Deborah Ann was the most wonderful stepmother that ever lived. To support the large family, George continued his trade in carpentry while his wife kept shop in part of the dwelling. Deborah Ann also practiced as a midwife. The children received all possible educational training. When they had daytime work, they attended night school. William was a bookkeeper for a large Glasgow factory.
Elders John Burnside and James Maxwell brought the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Glasgow in 1845. George and Deborah Ann attended their meetings, believed and were baptized 23 Dec. 1845 by John Burnside. They were confirmed members of the Church on 4 Apr. 1846 by James Maxwell. Deborah Ann's first child, Rebecca, was born while they were living in Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland on 14 Sep. 1845. When Rebecca was only a small child, the family moved to Busby, Renfrew, Scotland, a small town a few miles from Glasgow. The following six years brought three more children born to George and Deborah Ann: George Jr. born 31 Aug. 1847; Margaret born 19 May 1850; and Jane born 28 Sep. 1852.
In 1854 the dread disease of cholera plagued the vicinity in which they lived. The father contracted the disease at work one Monday morning. He was taken home by friends, but died that night of 16 Sep. 1854. It was hard for Deborah Ann with such a large family to care for; but she carried on as best she could with the help of her eldest Stepson William who assumed a large part of the responsibilities. She had much courage and her faith was strong. These two combined were an inspiration to her after the death of her husband. It was only 3 months after his death that a son Joseph Smith Wright was born, on 25 Dec. 1854.
On 31 Dec. 1855 when Joseph was one year old, William married Maria Brown. She was born in Ireland on 3 Jun. 1830. Maria was a member of the Latter Day Saint Church as was William who had joined on 4 Jul. 1846. They were very desirous of coming to America to join the Saints; so they left their home and loved ones and traveled by rail to Liverpool, England, where they set sail for America on 21 Mar 1856 with a company of saints. They sailed for 6 weeks before they landed in Boston, Mass. In May they went to Iowa by rail and then crossed the plains with the Daniel B. McCarthur Handcart Co. They lived in Salt Lake until 1858 when Johnson's Army came and at this time they moved to Provo. They moved to Franklin, Idaho, 14 Apr. 1860, and were among the first pioneers to arrive there.
After William's marriage and departure from Scotland, Deborah Ann and her children worked and saved all they could, hoping they too might be able to come to Utah. The girls worked in the cotton factories and print works. With some help from William they were ready to leave for America in 1868.
Deborah Ann and her own 5 children, Rebecca, George, Margaret, Jane, and Joseph left their home 24 June 1868 with a company of 457 saints on the ship Constitution. Elder Harvey H. Cluff was in charge of this group of saints. They arrived in New York in August and continued by rail to Benton, Nebraska where, on the 24th of August 1868, they began the trek across the plains with Captain John Gillespie's Ox Team Co. The baggage was carried, but the immigrants walked most of the way. They arrived in Salt Lake, 15 Sep. 1868. The family at once moved to Franklin, Idaho, so that they might be with William again, for it had been almost 12 years since he had set out for America. They were soon able to find work and build their home which was located on 2nd East in Franklin where Alonzo Durrant later lived. Deborah continued her practice as a midwife and did much good as there were no doctors in this small town. Within a few years, her children were all married and settled near Franklin. Deborah Ann died of a stroke on 21 Apr. 1881 at her son, Joseph's home. She was buried in Franklin, Idaho.
Deborah Ann had 3 siblings: Mary, Rebecca, and Thomas.
INFORMATION RELATING TO GEORGE WRIGHT’S CHILDREN by his first and second wives:
First Family: The 1851 census stated that John lived at 18 Upper Hill Building in Mearns Parish, Busby, Scotland, next door to his father. John went to sea and was never heard from again, leaving a wife and 2 year old daughter. William T. and his bride Maria emigrated to America on 9 March 1856, crossed the plains with the 2nd Handcart Company of Captain Daniel McArthur, and were among the first settlers of Frankin, Idaho. Sarah married John Sanderson, lived in Scotland and came to America where she died in Pocatello, Idaho, on 30 March 1922. Maria stayed in Ireland.
Second Family: Susannah married James Megaw, moved to Australia where she died. Frances married Robert McCalpin in Scotland, had 2 children, George and Margaret. Her husband died in Scotland. She and the children came to America, lived in Franklin. She married Alfred Challis, and died in Franklin. James married and came to America, lived and died in Massachusetts.
History written by Dora Woodward Aitken and Bertha C. Woodward with additional comments by Winnie Foster Reese.
NOTE: Margaret Wright’s (born 1850) birthdate comes from the following source—1851 census at Busby, Renfrewshire, Scotland.
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