About 5'-10," 225 pounds, and blue-eyed with
black hair as an adult, George Washington Wright
was born east of Carthage, Tennessee on December
11, 1809. He became the most politically active of
Claiborne and Elizabeth Travis Wright's five
children.(1) He also farmed, dealt with real estate
and had a mercantile career for most of his life.
For only seven years Wright could call a place on
the Cumberland River home. In March of 1816 his
father, mother and three servants packed up
belongings onto a keelboat and began a six months
trip to the far frontier of property thought to be
owned by the United States. Just why they moved
to west of the Great Bend of the Red River of the
South is unknown but the six months tour down the
busy Cumberland, the scenic Ohio and wide
Mississippi Rivers and then up the Red River was
an adventure Wright would describe in detail often
during his lifetime.(2)
Wright's young adulthood was spent learning how to survive in the wilds, whether it was hunting
buffalo on the prairies west of what is now Paris, Texas or near Madil, Oklahoma, or hiding from
the feared Osage Indians who came through the Red River Valley now and then to hunt. His
father was a member of the Territory of Arkansas Legislative Council and sheriff of what was
Miller County. The first Wright home was at Pecan Point, on the south side of the Red River in
territory Spain also claimed. Later, the Wright home would be the county court and was next to
the Clear Creek tributary north of the Red River near present Valliant, Oklahoma.
Many neighbors came and went, especially when it was announced in 1820 that the northern
portion of Miller County had been treatied to the Choctaw Indians. Many friends and neighbors
left to move south to East Texas or to join Stephen F. Austin's colonization effort. Therefore, as
Wright grew into manhood and took an active part in business and politics, his association with so
many who moved south would later assist him when he represented Northeast Texas in the
Republic of Texas Congress.
However, the 1820's were not stable for the settlers, who never gained title to lands they
inhabited. A strong link continued between those living west in Miller County and those in the
large mother county called Hempstead. The main highway into Texas came through Arkansas,
basically what is U.S. Highway 67 today. Letters back home from these far southwestern
settlements brought a flood of settlers both down the road and up Red River. Even though the
Americans were moved south of Red River to make room for Indian tribes coming over from east
of the Mississippi, the temptation to own large chunks of land intrigued many Americans who
came from the former territories of Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. They hoped to eventually have
a homestead in the southwest similar to those gained in the Northwest Territories many years
On February 13, 1834 George Wright married Matilda Holman of Hempstead County, Territory
of Arkansas.(4) She was the daughter of James Holman and granddaughter of John Holman, a
Revolutionary War soldier who lived near Columbus, Arkansas.(5) The Wrights did not choose to
live in the vicinity of the Holman farm but moved to land owned by Wright at the far western edge
of settlements in Miller County, Territory of Arkansas.(6) He had purchased it in 1831.
The farm or small plantation banked upon the Red River, across from the mouth of the clear and
pure waters of the Kiamichi River. Thus the place was called the Kiomatia Plantation or Wright
Farm.(7) This piece of land had been owned by Anglo-Americans as far back as 1815 when early
settler Adam Lawrence first claimed most of it.(8)
For the next five years Wright farmed the acreage as part of Miller County but soon it became
apparent that the United States would never allow the settlers land claims to their properties.
Neither could an agreement be struck with Mexico.(9) Thus, Red River Valley inhabitants turned
their interest south toward the efforts of Anglo-Texans. Many were friends who once lived near
the shifting sands of the Red River.
Continuous Indian threats from the west kept the Red River settlements from contributing many
men to help when war with Mexico seemed inevitable. Finally, the Red River settlements made
their choice by sending delegates to the Independence Convention in March, 1836.
In the early spring of 1836 the Red River settlements received a message from David Burnett to
assist the Texian cause. Wright eventually responded, first taking his wife Matilda and their two
daughters Nancy Jane and Elinor Wright to the Holman farm in Hempstead County.(10) Wright
then, by family lore, rode south to assist the Texas cause against the Mexicans. If Wright was at
or near the San Jacinto Battleground in April of 1836 there is no evidence available. It is known
that on July 6 of that year he joined with Captain John Hart's command at Jonesboro and went to
Dimmitt's Landing area of south Texas to help guard the frontier from a second Mexican
While there he was elected on September 5 to serve as one of the three Red River District
representatives in the first Republic of Texas Congress to be held at Columbia.(12) On the next to
last day of the session he filed an expense voucher dated December 21, 1836, saying he was
entitled to $660 for 52 days travel and 80 days attendance.(13) The 80 days is correct but where he
got the travel time is unclear. Perhaps Wright included several days of travel while serving. His
discharge from military service is different than others in his command. Instead of being October
14, his says December 12.(14) For his service with Hart he received a 320 acre grant in Hunt
The upbeat weeks that were spent in an active role creating a new country soon changed to
personal sadness for Wright. When he returned to the Columbus, Arkansas area to celebrate a
late Christmas with his family he found out the two young daughters had sickened and died.(16) He
and Matilda returned to Kiomatia childless.
Shortly after the independence of Texas the Red River District land commissioners met in
Wright's home on a mound facing a bend in the Red River.(17) It became one of the eleven such
offices established in Texas to register land claims. Finally, for the first time Red River Valley
residents would be able to officially claim their land.
Before he was elected as representative to the Third Texas Congress in the fall of 1838 Wright
had two children again: William "Joggles" Travis and Emily Brown Wright. At the Houston
Congressional gathering Wright was joined also by his first cousin John Hopkins Fowler and Isaac
Newton Jones. Richard Ellis of the Red River District was again elected the area's senator. The
meeting lasted until January 24, 1839.(18)
Because he kept having re-occurring bouts with malaria, Wright left his farm of 3,432 acres
across from the Indian Territory in 1839, selling it to his brother Travis Wright and including
another tract of 100 acres in Lamar County with a tenant house on it, and six slaves. Having been
successful at farming, thanks to corn contracts originally with the governmental move of the
Choctaw Indians, George Wright then purchased 1,000 acres for $2,500 from Illinoian Larkin
Rattan.(19) The land was in western Red River County, on a hill in the middle of what would
become Lamar County in late 1840. It was located just a half-mile from the Claiborne Chisum -
Johnny Johnson settlement which was on a sharp turn in the road called Pinhook.
The land Wright purchased was on a crest that separated the watershed between the Red River
about 15 miles to the north and the Sulphur River the same distance to the south. He constructed
a rather large home at what is now 304 Third SW in Paris. Wright opened up a business about
one-quarter mile to the northeast on the hill.(20)
In 1840 Wright is listed on the tax roles as owning 3,600 acres, 21 slaves, 15 cattle and 10
horses.(21) This was probably filed before he sold the Kiomatia farm. He moved the family to the
new home in mid to late 1840 and in December of that year a new county was formed around his
property.(22) On February 1, 1841 Lamar County's first court was held at the Wright home.(23)
Wright was chosen as the county's first coroner.(24) He was also elected as a justice of the peace
for Beat #7 on March 20.(25)
Though he is not listed on any muster roles of groups that went on Indian expeditions from 1837 -
1843, there is evidence he, like his brother Travis, provided goods for the groups. For instance,
he bound himself to deliver 8,000 pounds of "good merchantile bacon," a portion to be delivered
to Fort Johnson on or before March 15, 1841.(26) This would be shortly before the large
contingent gathered there to march with E. H. Tarrant on the Indians camped at the Three Forks
of the Trinity River.
During the first months of the Lamar County court activities Wright signed a surety to the bonds
of several office holders.(27) He worked closely with his first cousin Alexander Jackson Fowler,
who was an early judge. Wright even drew the first fine administered fine from the county
court--for contempt when he apparently protested out of order. Not taking this personally, the
commissioners then planned the new Lafayette court house to be along the plan of the Wright
After two sites proved unsuitable for a Lamar County seat Wright offered 50 acres out of his
property for a new city. His store would be in the northwest corner. Thus, on April 29, 1844
Lamar county first used the site called Paris as its meeting point.(29) The city was surveyed by
George W. Stell, incorporated the next year and the final deed transaction was presented to the
court in 1848.(30)
For over a decade Wright's home continued to be on what is now First SW, partially used as a
hotel.(31) Out of the 50 acres he kept three lots, each sized 54' x 108.(32) One was his store site on
the north end of the west side of the square, one on the east side of the square on the north end,
and one about the center of that side.
For many years in the 1940-1960 period of time the site of the original survey call for the city of
Paris was notated on the side of a building at the corner of West Price and Third NW. However,
after the First National Bank cleared the block in the early 1960s a marker was placed on the that
corner on March 11, 1966, donated by oilman Michael T. Halbouty of Houston, principal owner
of the bank at that time.(33)
In the fall of 1844 Wright prepared to travel to Washington-On-The-Brazos to serve as a senator
of the Ninth Republic of Texas Congress representing Lamar, Red River, Fannin and Bowie
Counties. However, illness prevented his participation in the early portion of its activities. The
regular session lasted from December 2, 1844 to February 3, 1845.(34) Two days before its
conclusion Wright moved to take up William H. Bourland's January 23 bill to incorporate Paris.
It was passed February 1, covering 160 acres of territory.(35) He did attend a
Washington-On-The-Brazos called session held from June 16, 1845 - June 28, 1845.
Subsequently, he also served from July 4 - August 28, 1845 as a member of the Constitutional
Convention in Austin, helping construct the first document for Texas as a state of the Union.(36)
By 1846 commerce was arriving in the area regularly and Wright advertised his Lamar Hotel as
newly arranged for travelers and their teams.(37) It had good beds and plenty of feed and a stable
room with careful hostlers. It was an addition to his two story, double log house on what was
called South Mill Street [3rd SW]. Competition was being built, however, on the square by John
Johnson. It was called the Paris Inn.
The Wrights and the hotel took a big setback when Matilda died on October 4, 1848, about three
weeks after the birth of the couple's sixth child, Mary Eliza. Matilda never regained her strength
from the hard labor. The now four living children were left to the care of family servants and
In 1850 Wright listed his worth at $28,010.(38) On March 13 of that year, at 39 he married 28 year
old Sarah Jane Mebane, also a native of Tennessee. She was the daughter of [Robert Mebane?]
and ------.(39) The Reverend Samuel Corley, performed the ceremony.(40) Ironically, he was
Presbyterian, not Methodist as was Wright. This union between the Wright and Mebane family
did not last long. Sarah Jane Wright died apparently during or after childbirth on May 18,
1853.(41) The child died, also.(42)
For the first time Wright ventured into national politics, jumping into the Eastern Congressional
District race for the United States House of Representatives.(43) However, the competition was
fierce. William R. Scurry took the seat to the 32nd Congress but in Lamar County Wright came
in second August 4, 1851 and ahead of William Beck Ochiltree, a colleague of Wright at the
Annexation Convention and Fifth Judicial District judge.(44) Scurry really had the advantage since
he had lived in Clarksville at one time, and at the time of the election was a citizen of San
Augustine County in deep East Texas.
Wright continued active in the new community, which was growing. In 1852 the town petitioned
the legislature to incorporate it again at 640 acres.(45) In 1853 he became involved in the dream to
construct a railroad across Texas toward the Pacific Ocean. He became an officer and investor in
the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad venture.(46) This nationally chartered effort would be
time consuming the next seven years as would a venture into the newspaper business! He and
others financed W. J. Foster's Frontier Patriot in 1856. It lasted only two years.(47) Paris never
had a shortage of newspaper operations in the 19th century.
For some reason Wright moved the family to the countryside four miles south of Paris in early
1855, probably locating on the south side of the Sarah Cross Headright.(48) He sold the old town
home to George Bonner for $950, mostly to be paid in notes.(49) The place south of town on the
Cross Headright was called "Woodland" by Will Williams who lived nearby.(50) Wright had owned
the land since 1849, gaining title when real estate investor Joshua Bowerman died, owing a note
of $7,197.43 to Wright. The house there was a one-story, board lumber structure some 65 feet in
width with a wide pillared porch across the front.
In January of 1858 George Wright's oldest daughter, Emily, married James Mitchell Daniel, the
railroad expert Wright helped hire in 1856 as principal engineer of the MEPPRR project.(51) Two
years later Wright himself married for a third time. The ceremony to Sara Ann Wingo was
performed by Methodist preacher James Graham in 1858.(52) Wright had supported the Methodist
Church in Paris from its inception in 1843. When the 1860 marriage was performed the church
was on the northwest side of the city. A small cemetery was started to the east of the building,
now called the Old City Cemetery, once named the Wright Cemetery. Many pioneers of Paris are
buried there, however, including Wright and his three wives.
When the fall of 1860 arrived
meetings were being held
periodically to discuss the pros and
cons of secession from the United
States.(53) The election of Abraham
Lincoln alarmed many. When a
Texas convention was finally called
in January of 1861 to allow a
statewide discussion on the matter,
Wright, Lem Williams and William
H. Johnson were selected to attend
from Lamar County.(54) Wright was
an old-line Whig and Unionist. All
three voted against secession,
following the lead of Governor Sam
Houston, a man Wright originally
met back in 1834. Only five others
cast a negative vote with Lamar Countians. At the time Wright owned 35 slaves and was worth
$75,000.(55) Still, he saw no sense in a withdrawal from a union he and so many others had fought
hard to join just 15 years prior.
When the vote was taken the citizens of the county were mostly in concurrence with their
delegates. Lamar County was one of only 19 counties in Texas voting to stay in the
Union.(56)However, when secession came, Wright and the other two delegates joined in the
Confederate cause. Wright was appointed provost marshal for the county.(57) He obtained arms,
ammunition and powder from New Orleans for Confederate units being formed in Lamar County.
His son, James [Jim] Wright, served with Travis Wright's son Sam as members of Captain [James
Mitchell] Daniel's Artillery Battery, later to be known as the 9th Texas Field Artillery.(58)
Wright's elder son "Joggles," or Bill, left for the west in late 1859 and at one time was presumed
dead. He was not and returned home for a brief visit in 1866 before heading back to his home in
Virginia City, Nevada. Jim Wright and Captain Daniel both survived the Civil War to return to
Paris. However, the war severely damaged the railroad dream although Daniel pursued it for
In the fall of 1866 it was clear the Old Wright Cemetery was too penned in to expand to meet the
need of the city. Wright and ten men formed the Evergreen Cemetery Association. Wright sold it
16 acres and later the association purchased more land from P. P. Cook and Sam Bell Maxey.
Some relatives moved the remains of loved ones from the old cemetery to Evergreen. Five of
Wright's children are buried at Evergreen(60)
In 1868 Wright moved his family, now consisting of the two young daughters at home, to the
George Bason Headright southwest of Paris about three miles.(61) He supposedly gave
"Woodland" to his daughter Mary Eliza when she married William H. Jennings in 1869. Wright
had purchased the 714 acres of the Bason Headright from his sister, Henrietta, in 18--.(62) Bason
was her second husband. The land was not patented until 1858. The Wright home there became
known simply as the "Old Wright Homestead." The house was to the east of Aud's Creek [once
called Crockett's Creek in honor of when that pioneer crossed across NE Texas], in the northern
portion of the land. Not too far away, toward town, was the new fair grounds site. Wright was a
director when the first session of the Lamar County Agricultural and Mechanical Association was
held there in 1868.(63)
The stay there was short, for in the summer of 1871 the house burned. Wright then purchased
two and four-fifths acres of land on a hill in the Asa Jarman Survey, not too far west of his
original Paris home.(64) The address is now 801 West Sherman. Here he constructed a two-story,
wooden house shaped in the familiar L with appropriate outhouses.(65) It apparently had a 12 deep
layer of brick, four wide, as a foundation.(66) Not only did his wife and two daughters live there,
but his brother-in-law Ezra Wingo who had been living with the Wrights since 1860.
In 1871, a few months after Paris received yet another state charter to expand to a league and a
labor [4,428 acres + 177 acres], Wright began posing for a painting being developed by a young
artist named William Henry Huddle.(67) Shortly after the Civil War this veteran left his Wythe
County, Virginia home to join with other family members already in Lamar County. He was
expected to become a gunsmith, or even a blacksmith in the Hopewell Community. But, painting
was his first love and he had extensive training back in Lynchburg, Virginia from his cousin
Flavius J. Fisher.(68)
Wright consented to be Huddle's first commissioned work in Texas, but many Parisians, including
Williams and Johnson, posed for Huddle portraits. Probably while the painting was progress
Wright was investing in another railroad venture--a line to be from Paris to Bonham to connect to
the Katy coming to the Red River from the north. It never materialized. When the work was
finished on the portrait, Huddle handed a cane to Wright. On it were carved the many events that
Wright had seen in his Texas lifetime.(69) The Wright painting now hangs in the Texas Capitol
Library. In fact, the Capitol has 32 Huddle paintings, including his most famous work, The
Surrender Of Santa Anna, viewed by all who enter through the south door.
Not entirely through with politics, Wright was appointed by Governor Richard Coke to attend the
National Democratic Convention at St. Louis in 1876.(70) That was his last public act. He watched
as other old Texans began to die around him in the 1870s, including his brother Travis, first
cousin John H. Fowler and even Santa Anna. On August 2, 1877 Wright succumbed to a
hemorrhage of the stomach.(71) He had lived under six flags during his lifetime--Territory of
Arkansas, Spain, Mexico, Texas, United States and the Confederate States of America. He
survived long boat trips, Indian attacks, the wilds of the frontier and house fires. Ironically, only
two weeks after he died fire swept the city of Paris. He was buried in the Old City Cemetery
within his Larkin Rattan headright. A few years later a large stone was erected there, with
inscriptions for Wright and his three wives. (72)
Wright and his family had a strong Presbyterian background but he was always a Methodist.(73) He
also was a Royal Arch Mason and an Odd Fellow.(74) Wright was interested in education, being an
original trustee of the College of DeKalb in 1839, invested in the Lamar Academy in 1846, sent
his son Will to J. W. P. McKenzie's Clarksville School and his younger daughters to Reverend
John Carr's school a block north of the last Wright homeplace. Unlike his brother Travis, George
Wright left some extensive memoirs of his activities and thoughts of events occurring during his
years.(75) The house fire apparently destroyed many other letters and writings.
George and Matilda Wright had four children who lived to adulthood. William Travis, called
Joggles (October 22, 1837 - February 24, 1877) never married. Emily Brown, called Em (April
12, 1839 - January 12, 1908), married James Mitchell Daniel and had six children. James
Holman, called Jim (March 15, 1841 - June 3, 1914, married Louisa Hancock and had two
children. Mary Eliza, called Pig because she was such a vociferous eater when an infant
(September 13, 1847 - April 24, 1926), married William H. Jennings and had three children.
George and Sara Ann Wingo had two daughters. Henrietta Armond, called Netta (July 27, 1861 -
April 4, 1912), married Dr. Thomas Pitchlynn Howell of Davis, Oklahoma in 1887 and they had
four children. Sarah Elizabeth, called Bettie (June 21, 1863 - January 15, 1947), was the last
child. She married Thomas Eddie Brazelton in 1888 and they had three daughters. Mrs.
Brazelton eventually gained ownership to the 1871 home, cleared the lot and constructed a home
for her family on it in 1892. It is listed on the National Register.(76)
For years Lamar County historian, Paris News editor and Brazelton family friend A. W. Neville
called for the citizens to honor Wright in some way but his name only exists on a governmental
housing project in the southwest part of Paris, now in a state of dilapidation, and he is mentioned
on two markers downtown. A plaster bust was made in the 1920s but was never accepted by the
city to be placed in bronze at a central location.(77) However, a bronze of this work will be soon
placed at the Hayden Conference Center a few blocks from the last Wright homesite.
In 1998, Thomas B. (Skipper) Steely, Jr., a descendent of George W. Wright through T. E. and
Bettie Wright Brazelton, lives on the site of the last George Wright home at 801 West Sherman
Street, Paris, Texas.
A. PRIMARY SOURCES
Strickland, Dr. Rex W. Anglo-American Activities in Northeastern Texas 1803-1845.Unpublished University of Texas dissertation, 1937. Edited for publication by Skipper Steely under name of Red River Pioneers.
Britton, Dr. Morris. The Red River Frontier And Its Paths, Places And Posts 1542-1861.
Unpublished manuscript prepared in the 1980s.
Green, Thomas Jefferson. Collection of Papers at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Journal Of The House Of Representatives Of The Republic Of Texas. First Congress. First Session. Houston, 1838.
Journal Of The House Of Representatives Of The Republic Of Texas. Regular Session Of The Third Congress, November 5, 1839.
Journal Of The Secession Convention. Austin. 1861.
Lamar County. Deed Book ABC, A, D, D1, G1, J, L, V, W2, 1.
Lamar County. Deed Of Trust Book 6.
Red River County. Deed Book 11.
Lamar County. Misc. & Marriage Records 1854-1858, No. 2.
Memoirs And Printed Documents
White, Gifford (ed.). 1840 Census Of Texas. Austin, 1984.
Murray, Joyce Martin (ed.). Red River County Deed Abstracts. Vol. I-II. Wolfe City, 1986.
Genealogical Society Of Northeast Texas. Lamar County Marriage Records (Index)
Paris News. "Backward Glances Columns" By A. W. Neville. 1929-1956.
Lamar County Echo. 1922-1980.
Western Star. 1851 on microfilm at Paris Junior College.
Steely, Skipper (ed.). The Paris, Texas Scrapbook. Paris: Lamar County Genealogical Society,
1997. Compilation of newspaper articles from Paris 1869-1921.
Steely, Skipper. Flavius J. Fisher. Unpublished manuscript on Virginian painter, cousin to William Henry Huddle.
Steely, Skipper. Forty Seven Years. Unpublished sequel to Six Months From Tennessee. Papers related to and a copy of manuscript located at the James G. Gee Library, East Texas State University, Commerce, Texas.
Steely, Skipper (ed.). Trip Through Texas 1816-1848. Unpublished memoirs of George W. Wright (1809-1877). Edited version by Steely ready for publication. Commodore 64 version.
Steely Collection. Various files used to compile Forty Seven Years book, located at Gee Library, East Texas State University, Commerce, Texas.
Steely, Skipper. William Henry Huddle: Texas Capitol Painter. Unpublished, unaccepted book manuscript. 1997.
Steely Personal Files. Bason and Mebane Folders.
Steely Personal Files. Wingo family folder.
Steely Personal Files. [Located in Paris, Texas]. Wright Family Bible.
Steely Personal Files. George W. Wright Section.
B. SECONDARY SOURCES
------. Encyclopedia Of The New West
Dohoney, Eben Lafayette. An Average American. Paris, Texas. Ca. 1902.
Flores, Dan. Jefferson And Southwestern Exploration. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984.
Hart, Mary Bell (ed.). Journals Of The Convention 1845. Facsimile Reproduction. Austin: Shoal Creek Publishers, 1974.
Lindley, E. R. "Pop" (ed.). Biographical Directory Of The Texan Conventions And Congresses 1832-1845. Austin, Texas: Sons Of The Republic, 1986.
Neville, Alexander White. History Of Lamar County. Paris: North Texas Publishing Company, 1937.
Perkins, John D. Daniel's Battery: The 9th Texas Field Battery. Hillsboro: Hill County Press, 1998.
Steely, Skipper (ed.). Abstracts Of Texas Land Titles, Vol. 1-8. Wolfe City, Texas: Wright Press, 1982.
Steely, Skipper (ed.). 1850 Census Of Lamar And Red River Counties, Texas. Wolfe City, 1986.
Steely, Skipper. Six Months From Tennessee. Paris, Texas: Wright Press, 1982
Taylor, Virginia. The Franco-Texan Land Company. Austin: University Of Texas Press. 1969.
Webb, Walter Prescott (ed.). Handbook of Texas. Vol. I, II. Austin, 1952.
-------. Arkansas Historical Quarterly, II (1942).
Sample Texas Historical Medallion Inscription:
IN 1839 GEORGE W. WRIGHT SEARCHED WEST OF HIS KIOMATIA FARM NEAR THE
RED RIVER TO FIND A NEW LOCATION FOR A HOME. HE WAS FIGHTING
CONTINUED BOUTS WITH MALARIA AND WISHED A BETTER, DRYER LOCATION.
HE PURCHASED 1,000 ACRES OF LAND FROM LARKIN RATTAN, NOTATED BY
BEING ON A HILL ONE MILE NORTHEAST OF THIS LOCATION. AFTER LAMAR
COUNTY WAS CONSTRUCTED IN 1840 THE FIRST TWO COUNTY SEAT LOCATIONS
FAILED. THUS, WRIGHT VOLUNTEERED 50 ACRES TO THE COMMISSIONERS IN
THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF HIS PROPERTY. THE LOCATION INCLUDED
WRIGHT'S STORE. IT WAS CALLED PARIS.
WRIGHT SERVED THE TEXAS INDEPENDENCE CAUSE, THEN WAS A
REPRESENTATIVE IN THE FIRST AND THIRD CONGRESS. HE WAS A SENATOR IN
THE NINTH SESSION AND CONSEQUENTLY SERVED AS A MEMBER OF THE 1845
TEXAS CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION.
WRIGHT RAN A MERCANTILE AND HOTEL BUSINESS AND CONTINUED IN
POLITICS. IN 1851 HE PARTICIPATED IN A FAILED EFFORT FOR A UNITED STATES
CONGRESSIONAL SEAT. HE ALSO INVESTED IN THE MEMPHIS EL PASO AND
PACIFIC RAILROAD VENTURE. IN 1861 HE AND TWO OTHER DELEGATES FROM
LAMAR COUNTY WERE THREE OF THE EIGHT WHO VOTED IN AUSTIN TO STAY IN
WRIGHT THEN SERVED THE CONFEDERATE CAUSE AS A PROVOST MARSHAL
AND COORDINATOR OF SUPPLIES. WRIGHT'S POLITICAL NATURE CONTINUED
UNTIL HIS DEATH IN AUGUST, 1877, TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE TOWN BURNED TO
THIS SITE WAS WHERE, IN 1871, WRIGHT CONSTRUCTED HIS FOURTH LAMAR
COUNTY HOME. HIS DAUGHTER BETTIE AND HER HUSBAND THOMAS EDDIE
BRAZELTON CONSTRUCTED THIS HOME IN 1892.
19 Aug 1999
©Skipper Steely, 1999, All Rights Reserved.
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1.Children of Claiborne Wright and Elizabeth Travis were William Fowler (1802-1833), Henrietta (1803-1848), Travis George (1806-1875), George Washington (1809-1877), Adam Marley (1811-1834) and Alexander Wetmore (1820-1868). Claiborne Wright married again after his first wife died in 1820. He and Harriet Hannah Brown had Chester Ashley (1824-1884) and John Claiborne (1826-1890). Description of Wright comes from the Encyclopedia Of The New West, 373, probably written by Sam Wright, son of Travis.
2.Wright wrote 80 pages of memoirs which have been edited and footnoted but not yet published by his great-great grandson Skipper Steely. The original pages are located in the Texas State Archives.
3.For a deeper study of Miller County, read Skipper Steely's Six Months From Tennessee or his unpublished manuscript Forty Seven Years, located at the James G. Gee Library Archives, East Texas State University in Commerce. Also read works by Morris Britton of Sherman and Dr. Rex Strickland.
4.Family notes say the couple married in Little River County but no record of marriage has been found in any likely courthouse. The date comes from the Steely Personal Files, the Wright Family Bible.
5.Arkansas Historical Quarterly I (1942), 55. John Holman guarded soldiers at General John Burgoyne's surrender.
6.Steely, Six Months From Tennessee, 88. See also Steely, Forty Seven Years (unpublished sequel to Six Months From Tennessee), 259. A year of so later Sam Houston supposedly stayed with the couple at the Kiomatia Farm.
7.There are various spellings of the river. For some reason, the Wright's commonly referred to it as the Kiamatia Plantation and Kiamichi River.
8.Steely, Six Months From Tennessee, 88. The property had already experienced seven transactions by 1830 even no clear deed was available.
9.Thomas Jefferson was of the impression that the Louisiana Purchase included all lands that touched rivers or tributaries that ran into the Mississippi River. He even sent an expedition similar to the Lewis and Clark venture up Red River in 1806 to study the lands. It, however, was stopped at Spanish Bluffs by Spanish soldiers. See Dan L. Flores, Jefferson & Southwestern Expedition (Norman, Oklahoma, 1984). Read also about Ben Rush Milam's attempts with the Wavel Colony venture.
10.According to the Wright Family Bible, Nancy Jane was born December 1, 1834[?] and Elenor on December 28, 1835.
11.George W. Wright, Trip To Texas (unpublished memoirs, Commodore 64 version, edited by Steely for publication), 69-70. Steely, Forty Seven Years, 345. See the Thomas Jefferson Green papers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill or Rex Strickland, Anglo-American Activities (unpublished dissertation from University of Texas, 1937, edited for publication by Steely with Strickland), 258.
12.E. R. "Pop" Lindley, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses 1832-1845 (Sons of the Republic of Texas, 1986), 23.
13.Steely Personal Files, George Wright, First Session of House of Representatives, 1836 Congress. The Chief Clerk of the House attested in writing that Wright traveled 1,300 miles to and from the 80 day meeting. He received $5 per day and $5 per each 25 miles traveling. Note Civil Service record 2-12/350.
14.See document originally in auditor's office in Harris County, Houston, Texas, copy in Steely Personal Files. Thomas J. Green says Wright was mustered to serve in John Hart's Company on July 3, 1836 and was elected first sergeant. This position was held until October 14. Wright was discharged at Columbus, Texas December 12, 1836. There are two George W. Wrights in Texas at this time, both about the same age and both participated in the independence cause. This is, however, the Wright from Red River, not Victoria. The one from south Texas did fight at San Jacinto according to a statement by T. J. Rusk. See Steely Personal File, George W. Wright (Victoria) files.
15.Abstracts of Texas Land Titles, Volume 1-8, Hunt County entries. See Steely, Texas Land Title Abstracts Volume 1-A (Wolfe City, 1982), 267. See File #78, Certificate #6007, abstract 1157, patented August 22, 1945. He sold this for $50 in December, 1847.
16.The Wright Bible says Elenor died on July 28, 1836 and Nancy Jane October 9, 1836. No cause of death was mentioned.
17.See Gifford White, 1840 Citizens Of Texas I and Joyce Martin Murray, Red River County Deed Abstracts I (Dallas, 1986).
18.Lindley, Biographical Directory, 27.
19.Steely, 47 years, 395, 405 or Lamar County Deed Record Book ABC-403 and Red River Deed Book 11-275.
20.Apparently this lot now sits on the north end of the east side of the Paris Plaza. There is no extant description of the store. It is Block 1, Lot 1 on the original plat.
21.Gifford White, 1840 Citizens Of Texas, Red River County section.
22.Walter Prescott Webb (ed.), Handbook Of Texas II (Austin, 1952), 15.
23.Lamar County Misc. & Marriage Records 1854-1858, No. 2, 1,8. Court minutes from February 22, 1841 - January, 1844 are located here. February and April court sessions were in Wright's home. Neville says they were held in Wright's store house. Court met at Lafayette in the first term that July.
24.A.W. Neville, The History Of Lamar County (Paris, Texas, 1937), 30.
25.Neville, History Of Lamar County, 30.
26.Steely Personal Files, George Wright, sell of Bacon file. The document was signed March 15, 1841 by Wright, H. L. Grash, S. A. Camp, W. R. Brown and J. S. Davis. See Neville, History Of Lamar County, 99. Wright put a claim to the State of Texas in 1854, saying he was never paid for the bacon and supplies.
27.Neville, History Of Lamar County, 31.
28.Neville, History Of Lamar County, 34-35.
29.Minutes from Mt. Vernon county seat location stop after January term of 1844. Paris was either named by a George W. Wright employee, Thomas Randolph Horn Poteet, or a Dr. W. T. F. Coles. No one knows why the name was given. Poteet was not French as is speculated in lore, nor did Wright have any connection with another Paris in the United States nor with the one in France.
30.Lamar County Deed Books ABC-7; A-7; D1-50; D-217; and G1-27.
31.Paris News, "Backward Glances" column by Neville, July 28, 1942.
32.Paris News, "Backward Glances" by Neville, February 6, 1952. In 1848 Wright sold the north end lot for $80 to Almarine Alexander. Six years later Alexander sold it to A. S. Kottwitz for $1,500. In 1854 Kottwitz sold part of it to Lem Williams but kept the corner, which later was part of the Thebo-Jones financial empire, then was home for a saloon, and then the popular Palace Drug Store.
33.See Steely Personal Files, program, "The First Call Site In Paris." See also a plat map is in the program. Halbouty is still alive, living in Houston. The survey marker is at the corner of 3rd NW and Houston Streets.
34.Lindley, Biographical Directory, 39.
35.Neville, History Of Lamar County, 57.
36.Lindley, Biographical Directory, 41.
37.Neville, History Of Lamar County, 65.
38.Steely, Combined 1850 Census Of Lamar And Red River Counties, Texas (Wolfe City, Texas, 1985), 145.
39.The Mebane family [sounds like heaven] came originally from Orange County, now Alamance County, North Carolina near Hawfields. They were kin to the Tinnin, Armstrongs, Pattons and Basons. Many are buried at Hawfields Presbyterian Church Cemetery. In Lamar County the Mebanes lived mostly north of Paris, and some migrated to the Ladonia area of Fannin/Hunt County.
40.Genealogical Society of Northeast Texas, Lamar County Marriage Records 1841-1874, 65.
41.The Wright Family Bible says two dates, May 18 and Sept. 22, for the baby's death, both in same handwriting? Another notation gives Sarah Mebane Wright as dying May 11, 1853. One of these dates may be the child.
42.Some proof of the infant death comes from Steely Personal Files, George Wright, Edna's notes. A typed page gives all the Wright Children. It is probably typed by Hazel Brazelton from memory of her mother, Bettie Wright Brazelton.
43.Western Star, W. J. F. Morgan owner, Thomas Lewelling editor. In March 15, 1851 edition Wright is urged to run. A week later Wright printed a note that he would be honored to serve. See August 9, 1851 edition for results. Scurry drew 177, Wright 119, Ochiltree 60, Wallace 11, and Darnell 3.
44.Webb (ed.), Handbook of Texas II, 584. Scurry had been speaker of the house in the Republic of Texas.
45.Neville, History Of Lamar County, 70.
46.He served as president for a time. For more on the MEP&PRR see Virginia H. Taylor, The Franco-Texan Land Company (Austin, 1969), 6. The second president was Travis G. Wright. For others involved, see Neville, History Of Lamar County, 88-94.
47.Neville, History Of Lamar County, 98.
48.Lamar County Deed Book D-432. Sarah Reed Cross Survey was originally 1,476 acres, located 3.5 miles south from Paris, later called Lime Kiln Community. See Abstract #16367 at Stone Title Company.
49.Lamar County Deed Book G1-667. Sold to Bonner April 1, 1855 for $950. It included 10 acres. See also Book J-147.
50.Steely Collection, Mary Vivian Daniel Papers, 363, 825. From notes taken in a 1914 conversation with Mary Eliza Wright Jennings by probably Dan Latimer.
51.Daniel began work on the railroad system in Southwestern Virginia and Eastern Tennessee. For more on him, read Perkins, Daniel's Battery or Virginia H. Taylor, The Franco-Texan Land Company (University of Texas Press, 1969).
52.Genealogical Society, Lamar County Marriages 1841-1874, 65. The date was October 7, 1860. Sarah Ann Wingo was born June 20, 1824 and died just six months after Wright on March 3, 1878. She was born in Charlotte Court House, Amelia County, Virginia but probably resided in Weakley County, Tennessee before coming to Paris in 1854 to teach. She went to school in Warrenton, North Carolina, 1848. See Jeff Ward letter to Bettie Brazelton May, 1915 in Steely Personal Files, Wingo Family History, File #101. See Will Cause #1056 in Lamar County Clerk's office. Her funeral was at the Wright home at 10 a.m., services performed by Reverend John H. McLean.
53.Eben Lafayette Dohoney, An Average American, 76.
54.A record of the election has never been found but see Journal Of The Secession Convention.
55.Read Joe T. Simmons, Texas On The Road To Secession (Unpublished dissertation, University of Chicago), copy located at James G. Gee Library in Commerce, Texas.
56.The Lamar County margin was not particular overwhelming, 663 to 553 to stay in the Union.
57.Lamar County Court Minutes, May 1, 1861 or see Paris News, Neville's "Backward Glances" column dated August 6, 1956.
58.Read John D. Perkins, Daniel's Battery: The 9th Texas Field Battery (Hill County Press, Hillsboro, Texas 1998).
59.Again, read Taylor, Franco-Texan Land Company and Neville, History Of Lamar County. In short, Daniel and Aunt Em moved their family to Brooklyn after the Civil War to guide the railroad effort. A few schysters later, including an extensive partnership with the Pathfinder John C. Freemont. Tired of the shenanigans, Daniel moved to Richmond, and later back to Paris.
60.Neville, History Of Lamar County, 156.
61.Bason was Henrietta Wright's second husband, the first being killed by Indians near Kingston, Oklahoma in 1834. A North Carolinian from around Mebane, Bason was apparently a doctor and blacksmith. He was not well-respected by either Travis or George Wright. Bason died about mid-1842.
62.Lamar County Deed Book L-284. Bason received the land from the State of Texas as a first class certificate. It was originally issued to him by the Board of Land Commissioners of Red River County on February 5, 1838. It was 2.5 miles southwest of Paris and 4.124885 labors of land. See Deed Book W2-326. Some 714 acres of this was partitioned off to Wright's children. The 125 acres given to Bettie Wright is still in the family. It was used to secure a loan to build a home in 1890. Deed Of Trust Book 6-618.
63.Neville, History Of Lamar County, 150.
64.The Jarman survey was just west of the Rattan land Wright purchased in 1839. Jarman was from Bolivar, Tennessee, and sold this land in 1842 to Claiborne Chisum. Lamar County Deed Book 1-60. Wright purchased 2.80 acres out of this Jarman Survey from Susan Park for $420 on August 8, 1871. See Deed Book V-85.
65.One of the outhouses--a two holer--has been rehabilitated to an extent and stands in the yard in 1998. According to the late Tom Steely it is in the correct, original location.
66.In the spring 1999, in an attempt to drain rain water further from the house, a wall was discovered to the north of the current home. Digging found it to be at least 12 bricks deep. The top layer was about 18 inches below the surface. More digging in the summer found the wall again about 20 feet away.
67.Neville, History Of Lamar County, 155.
68.Huddle book and F. J. Fisher.
69.The cane belonged to Wright's granddaughter Laura Howell Youngblood of Davis, Oklahoma for years, then at her death came back to the Steely home in Paris. It is now in the Brazelton home. Supposedly the Texas State Archives has a copy, but it has never been located.
70.To date this is only a family notation found in the Encyclopedia Of The New West, 373. No proof has been located.
71.The Wright Family Bible says he died on August 3.
72.Buried to Wright's west are James Holman and his wife, and a Holman daughter. Vandalism and lack of care continually plague the site.
73.Neville, History Of Lamar County, 49.
74.According to Jay Thomas of the local Masonic Lodge, Wright was Master here in 1852. Other records of earlier events were burned.
75.These Wright Memoirs are located in Texas State Archives and were printed by Neville in February 1937 in a series of Backward Glances. See Encyclopedia of the New West, 372, a version probably written by Sam Wright, son of Travis.
76.Apparently the Princess Anne style home, a story and one-half with a large hallway separating four rooms, cost about $1,800. Documents are in the Brazelton files indicating the loan was for about this amount.
77.Paris News, February 21, 1957 and Nov. 24, 1932. The bust was done by a man hired by Ambrose Bramlett Long. Long came to Paris with his parents and brother Dr. George E. Long in 1857 from Kentucky with the Maxey group. Their sister married R. C. Buckner. Judge Long lived at 644 South Main Street, dying in September, 1921. His daughter married Albert B. Hinkle in 1919.