Friday, August 10, 2007

What happened to Henry Wright's siblings?

In the previous post I discussed how I found out more about the early life of my great-great-grandfather Henry Wright, including learning about his brothers and sisters. I have found that James and Mary Wright, who spent the majority of their lives in Acomb, had at least 10 children. In this post I shall discuss what I know about each of these.

1. John George Wright, baptised 6th April 1862. John George was the eldest child and was born in Dringhouses, that at different times existed in either the parish of St. Mary Bishophill or Holy Trinity Micklegate on the western border of York. This is the place that his father James Wright had also been born in. In 1871 I found him living with his parents at Poplar Villa in Acomb, but in subsequent censuses he wasn't living with them.
In the 1881 census he is staying with his grandparents, George and Eliza Benson (his mother Mary's parents), in Acomb. He is unmarried and working as a bricklayer's apprentice. (nb. see here for information on three children born 1885-1888).

I next find him in the 1891 census, living at 17 Beaconsfield Terrace, Acomb, working as a brickmaker. He has married an Annie Elizabeth who was born in Tadcaster, and had a daughter Mary Ellen. From the parish registers, I found that Mary Ellen was baptised on 9th Nov 1890 in Acomb, and her father was described as a brick manufacturer. He seems to have been doing fairly well as he had a live-in domestic servant, Eliza Hardcastle who was from Acomb. John George appears twice more in the records of Acomb in the trade directories of 1893 and 1895 where he is described as a brickmaker at the same address as the 1891 census. In March 1895, John George was a witness at the wedding of my great-great-grandfather Henry Wright in Acomb. I have not yet found any record of John George's marriage to Annie Elizabeth, so I am unsure as to her maiden name.

Between 1895 and 1901, however, he has moved address to Bridlington on the East Yorkshire coast about 55 miles away. In the 1901 census, they are living on what appears to be a wealthy street with music teachers, wine merchants and government officials, with all the houses having names. Their abode is Lansdown [sic] Villas No2, Archibald House, Freshfield, The Muck? (I can't quite read this word). John George is a bricklayer and they have no more children living with them. This is the last information I have on this family, though I'd love to know what eventually happened to them.

2. Eliza Anne Wright, was baptised on 31st July 1864 at All Saints Pavement, York. She is living wither her parents in Acomb in 1871 and 1881, but I have no information thereafter. She probably married around 1881-1891, but I haven't found her marriage record.

3. Jane Wright, was baptised on 27th May 1866 also at All Saints Pavement. She is living with her parents in Acomb in 1871, but not in 1881 despite only being 15. I cannot find her elsewhere in the census, so I wonder if she died, though I have not find her in any parish records or monumental inscriptions.

4. Henry Wright - my great-great-grandfather.

5. Mary Ellen Wright. Mary Ellen is the sibling of Henry that I know the most information, as my relatives grew up knowing their cousins in this branch and I have also been subsequently in touch with descendants of Mary Ellen. She was baptised on 5th March 1871 in Acomb, and appears aged 2 months living at Poplar Grove in the 1871 census. In 1881 she is living with them still at Poplar Grove and is at school.

By 1891, her parents had taken over running the Marcia Inn. This meant that at the census of 1891 Mary Ellen was listed as being the head of household back at Poplar Grove, the property the Wright family owned on Askham Lane, and is working as a market gardener. So she is probably running the farm as well as the house. She is living there with her two younger sisters, Flory Wright and Lucretia Wright (who is named Louise on the return), two farm labourers and a house servant. Also living in the house is a domestic nurse, Elizabeth Nelson, who is from York. She is obviously there to help the Wrights look after two patients - Glendaline Davies from Lancashire and Alexander Thomas from Bristol who is described as deaf and dumb. Both of these two are boarders who are 'living on own means', which probably means that they were the offspring of wealthy individuals who needed looking after as they had illnesses. I do not know why the Wright family got into the business of looking after sick children, it may have been for financial or charity based reasons, it would be very interesting to find out.

Very shortly after this census was taken, Mary Ellen Wright married Edward Atkinson on the 12th Nov 1891 at Newton Kyme, near Tadcaster. The father of Edward Atkinson is given as Robert Burrow Atkinson according to the IGI. According to the 1891 census Robert Atkinson was a retired ham and bacon factor (a dealer) who was originally from Whittington, Lanchashire. He and his family were living at 23 Blossom Street, York. Edward Atkinson was also a ham and bacon factor like his elderly father, but was born in York. I am unsure why they married out in Newton Kyme, and not in either Acomb or York.

The last documentary evidence
I have for Mary Ellen is the 1901 census, where she is living with her husband Edward, a provision dealer, at 23 Blossom Street. They are living with their children Betsy Alice (named after Edward's mother), Olive, Lawrence Guy and George B, all of whom were born in York. Indeed, the Atkinson family ran this provisions shop for a long time throughout the twentieth century.

6. James Wright, the namesake of his father, was baptised on the 10th November 1872 at Acomb. In 1891 he is a market gardener living with his parents at the Marcia Inn. In the 1901 census he is still living with his parents at Poplar Grove, but is now listed as a bricklayer and is unmarried. I don't know what happened to James Wright after 1901.

7. William Wright was baptised on 25th October 1874 at Acomb. He is listed as a market gardener in 1891 and is living at the Marcia Inn. In 1901 he is also still living with his parents but is working as a railway clerk. I don't know when William married or what happened to him after 1901.

8. Amy Wright was baptised on 15th June 1877 at Acomb and is living with her parents in the 1881 census. However, she died at a young age, as I found her monumental inscription in the churchyard of St. Stephen's:

"In loving memory of AMY, the dear and much beloved child of James and Mary Wright, born June 7th 1877 died December 6th 1883. Is it well with the child... It is well: Kings.IV.26"

9. Florie Wright was baptised on the 27th July 1879 at Acomb. She was living at Poplar Grove in 1881-1901, and was still unmarried by 1901. I don't know what happened to Florie after 1901.

10. Lucretia Wright was baptised in Acomb on 10th September 1882. She also was living at Poplar Grove in 1891 and 1901. I found from the churchyard in Acomb at the same grave as her sister Amy and her parents the following monumental inscription:

"Also LUCRETIA HUNT daughter of the above passed away 18th May 1940 aged 56 years."

I'm not sure why she would be burried in Acomb and not with her husband, but perhaps she had moved back to Acomb during the war. From the BMD indexes, I found that she married in 1910 to a John A Hunt which was registered in Gt. Ouseburn, which covers the Acomb area.

After discussing all of the children of James and Mary Wright, in the next post I shall discuss their lives.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Henry Wright of Acomb

In the previous post I discussed how the obituary in 1956 of my great-great grandfather Henry Wright had described how he was living on Front Street, Acomb, and had worked as a wagon builder at the local rail-works. I also knew from the baptisms of his four children, his own marriage certificate in Acomb in 1895 and the 1901 census that he had always worked as a joiner or wagon builder. The 1901 census stated that he was living on Front Street, Acomb, and in his obituary it mentioned that his family had farmed a large tract of land off Askham Lane, Acomb. His marriage entry had given his father's name as James Wright, a market gardener. A John George Wright was one of the witnesses and was probably a brother. It should be therefore fairly easy to find more local information on Henry Wright.

The early years of Henry Wright

The first search for Henry Wright was the 1891 census. Here, he was found at the Marcia Inn, on Front Street, Acomb, where his parents James and Mary Wright are the licensed victuallers. James Wright was born in Dringhouses, York, whereas Mary was born in York itself. Henry like his two younger brothers James and William was born in Acomb and is working as a market gardener. James Wright was described as a market gardener.

In the 1881 census, Henry's father is described as a brick manufacturer and a farmer of 80 acres, and is living at Poplar Grove, which is off Askham Lane. This census also reveals other siblings; Eliza Ann, Jane, and Mary Ellen, who are older than Henry, and Flory and Lucretia who were the youngest of the family. The oldest two children were born in York, with Mary Ellen being the first born in Acomb in 1871, suggesting that James and Mary Wright first came to Acomb as a married couple in that year. They appear to be a wealthy couple at this time as James is a farmer of 80 acres, and they are employing four servants, two in the house and two in the farm. There is also living at the house a Thomas Johnston a child of 10 years who was born in Scarborough and is described as being an imbecile from birth. I have subsequently found out that the Wrights used to take in mentally handicapped children from wealthy families who did not want to raise them themselves.

In the 1871 census, Henry is still living at Poplar Villa as it is described with his parents. James Wright is a farmer of 20 acres at this time and employs 2 servants, one in the house and one on the farm. On this census, there is the oldest child born to James and Mary Wright, John G. Wright who was born in Dringhouses like his father. This is John George Wright, the witness to Henry's wedding 24 years later.

Parish Records
To confirm some of these relationships, a search of the parish records of St. Stephen's, Acomb, found the baptism of Henry Wright, on 22nd October 1868 to James and Mary Wright of Acomb. James Wright is described as a farmer, as he is for the baptisms of his next four children born in Acomb, Mary Ellen, James, William and Amy, who was baptised in 1877. The last two children to be baptised were Flory and Lucretia in 1879 and 1882 where James Wright was described as a gardener or a market gardener. I also found the baptism in 1862 of John George Wright in Dringhouses, where James Wright is again described a gardener. On the IGI I found the baptismal entries of Eliza Anne Wright and Jane between 1864 and 1866 at All Saints Pavement, York, a parish in the centre of York. In the next post I shall discuss what I have found out about the later lives of Henry's brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Henry Wright's Obituary

My great-grandfather Harold Wright was the second of four children born to Henry Wright and Ada Smith. From parish records and the 1901 census I had found out that Henry Wright had worked at the turn of the century as a wagon builder at the railway works in Acomb near York. I did not know very much more about Henry Wright until I found the following obituary in the York Reference Library Newspaper Card Index.

Yorkshire Evening Press 2nd Jan 1957
"Death of Mr. H. J. Wright. Family's Long Link With Acomb District.

The funeral takes place tomorrow at St. Stephen's Church, Acomb, of Mr. Henry James Wright, aged 88, of 121 Front Street, one of the district's oldest residents, who died at the weekend. Last surviving member of a well known Acomb family of market gardeners, who at one-time worked 11 acres of land in the Askham Lane area. Mr Wright was born and lived all his life in the suburb.

Until his retirement at the age of 65, Mr Wright was a wagon builder on the railway. He was also a pioneer member of Acomb Working Men's Club. During his younger days his great hobby was river fishing.

His knowledge of Acomb towards the end of the last century was extensive and he enjoyed local fame as an authority on the striking changes which have taken place in the district.

Mr. Wright's wife died two years ago - just one month before they were due to celebrate their golden wedding - and he leaves two sons and two daughters."

This is an interesting obituary, giving a nice impression of Henry's interests. It is particularly interesting to see that he had a great knowledge of local history. We also now know the date of death of Ada, which would be 1954, and that Henry had a middle name which was James. Furthermore, the statement that the family once owned and gardened 11 acres off Askham Lane is consistent with family stories. The only thing that is a bit strange is that they newspaper is proclaiming his death as the end of the Wright family's association with Acomb. Well, 51 years after this newspaper article was written, my family are still living there! In the next post I shall discuss more about Henry Wright's earlier life.