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Page content last modified: October 19, 2008, added a link to the Wright - Fordham marriage license; added the correct 1860 census transcription.
August 18, 2008, corrected birth and death dates of Bennett Wright, added burial location.
August 4, 2008, corrected transcription errors in the 1894 biography; added text and details on the Wright children.





Author - Marcia Farina       This page draws heavily on documentation gathered and generously shared by Wright descendant and researcher Larry Coleman.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Hancock, McDonough, and Henderson Counties, Illinois, 1894, pp. 388 - 389

THOMAS G. WRIGHT, one of the extensive land-owners of Hancock County, who is now living on section 34, Fountain Green Township, is one of the honored pioneers of the community, for his birth occurred in the township which is still his home, on the 9th of May, 1836.  His father, Hickerson Wright, was a native of Tennessee*, and was of Scotch-Irish descent.  He married Leatha* Donahue, and they became the parents of twelve children, eight sons and four daughters, namely: Arizela*, S. A., Martha, S. M., H. P.*, Basil, H. D., Thomas G., Leatha J., Charlie G., Cynthia, and one who died in infancy.

The father of this family followed agricultural pursuits throughout life.  He was reared to manhood on the old homestead farm in Kentucky, and there remained* until coming to Illinois, in 1830*.  Hoping to benefit his financial condition, he emigrated to this State, and cast in his lot with the early settlers of Hancock County, locating on section 29, Fountain Green Township, where he secured eighty acres of land from the Government, paying the usual price of $1.25 per acre.  He at once erected a log cabin and began the development and cultivation of the hitherto wild land.  He spent his remaining days upon that farm, and as his financial resources were increased he extended its boundaries, until three hundred and eighty acres were comprised within its borders.  A prominent and influential citizen, he took an active and leading part in all that pertained to the development of the county and its best interests, aiding in organizing Fountain Green Township and in laying out the roads.  The success which attended his business career is due to his own efforts, for he began life empty-handed, and by perseverance and good management steadily worked his way upward.  He exercised his right of franchise in support of the Democratic party.. [sic]  On the 8th of January, 1877, he passed away, and was laid to rest in the family burying-ground on the old homestead.  He long survived his wife, who died on the 10th of May, 1846, and was buried in the same cemetery.

Mr. Wright whose name heads this record was reared on the old home farm, and with the family shared in all the experiences and hardships of life on the frontier.  His education was acquired in the old-time log schoolhouse, and he often had to go seven miles to school, making the journey on horseback.  He continued under the parental roof until twenty-two years of age, when he left home and started for New York City, from whence he made his way by steamer to San Francisco, Cal. Locating in Scott's [sic] Valley, he was there engaged in mining, and also in the livery business, and in blacksmithing.  He spent about three years on the Pacific Slope, and returned to Illinois in 1861. After a short time, however, he again went to the Golden State.  This time the trip was made overland, he reaching his destination after four months of travel.  He has made the journey to California twice by water and twelve times across the country.  In the Golden State he continued to make his home until 1874, when he returned to the county of his nativity.

In 1869, Mr. Wright had purchased the farm upon which he now resides, a tract of two hundred and forty acres, and locating thereon he has since devoted his time and attention to its cultivation. Other purchases he has made, and his landed possessions now aggregate five hundred and fifty-seven acres.  He carries on general farming and stock-raising, and is recognized as one of the successful agriculturists of the community.  Practical and progressive, his farm is well developed and improved with all modern accessories and conveniences.

In the month of October, 1861, Mr. Wright was united in marriage with Miss Adeline Fordham. By this union two children were born: Eva, the wife of Charles B. Coleman [sic]; and Bennett, who is now deceased.  Mr. Wright's second wife was Kitty Wise, by whom he had two children, Thomas and Grace, who are living with their father, their mother having died November 4, 1889. The present wife of our subject was formerly Miss Ada Parker. Their marriage was celebrated July 2, 1890.  By this union two children were born.  One died in infancy, and the other, Henry by name, completes the family.

In his political views, Mr. Wright has always been a supporter of Democratic principles, but has never sought or desired public office, preferring to devote his entire attention to his business interests. His trips to the West proved very successful.  He possesses good business and executive ability, and as a result he has acquired a handsome property.  Coming back, he took up farming in his native county, and is now recognized as one of the substantial agriculturists of the community.

The asterisks indicate details that disagree with other published sources and known facts.

It appears that this biography was written between the birth and death of Thomas and Ada's second child.


The Quill
July 9, 1896, page 2, column 2

T. G. Wright, one of the oldest citizens of this township, died at his home east of here, last Wednesday.  The funeral services were held at Majorville, Thursday conducted by Rev. Hunter. Quite a number from here were in attendance.


The Quill
July 9, 1896, page 9, column 6

Died - At his home near Fountain Green, Ill., Tuesday, July 1, 1896, Thos. G. Wright, aged 60 years, 1 month, 23 days.

The deceased had been in poor health for about two years, but took his bed only about six days before his death the immediate cause of which was dropsy of the heart.  He was born near Webster, this county, and has spent almost his entire life here, having resided on the farm where he died since the year 1872.  He was married to Adeline Fordham Oct. 16, 1861 and the union was blessed by two children, Eva L, now Mrs. Oscar Coleman living near LaCrosse, and a son, Bennett.  He was married to Kitty Wise on Aug. 18 1880 and to this union two children were born, Thomas Dickinson and Grace May.  On July 2, 1890, he was united in marriage the third time, to Ada Parker, who bore him three children, Frank H., being the only one surviving.

Mr. Wright was a successful farmer and business man, a good neighbor and a kind and loving father.  He had traveled quite extensively, having made seven trips to California, one by water, once crossing the plains and five times by rail.  He has out-lived many of his friends who traveled with him and endured the hardships of those pioneer days.

A widow and four children are left to mourn his loss, besides five brothers, four sisters and numerous relatives and friends who sorrow over the death of a brother and friend.

Unveil thy bosom faithful tomb
Take this new treasure to thy trust,
And give these sacred relics room
To slumber in the silent dust.

Nor pain, nor grief, nor anxious fear
Invade thy bounds; no mortal woes
Can reach the peaceful sleeper here.
While angels watch thy soft repose.

Farewell, dear father, sweet thy rest
Weary with years and worn with pain;
Farewell till in some happy place
We shall behold thy face again.


The LaHarper
July 10, 1896, page 1, Column 3

Thomas G. Wright died at his home near Fountain Green, July 1, 1896, after an illness of six days, from dropsy of the heart.  He was born in Hancock county, near Webster, May 9, 1836. Was married to Adaline Fordham, October 16, 1861.  Two children were born to this union, Eva L. and Bennett.  Only one of these survives, Eva L. Coleman, living near LaCrosse.  He was married August 18, 1880 to Kitty Wise.  Two children were born to this union, Thomas Dickerson and Grace May.  He was married to Ada Parker, July 2, 1890.  Three children were born to this union, only one Frank survives.  He leaves a wife and four children to mourn his loss, besides five brothers and four sisters and many friends.  He made seven trips to California, one by water, one by crossing the plains and five by cars.


The Carthage Republican
July 28, 1896, page 5

Died at his home in Fountain Green Township, on Wednesday, July 1, 1896, Thomas Wright, aged 60 years.

Thomas Wright was a son of Hickerson Wright and was born in Fountain Green Township.  He made two trips to California, one in 1856 by water and one by land some time later.  Mr. Wright was married three times; his last wife a Miss Parker, who with four children, Mrs. Oscar Coleman, Thomas, Grace, and their last an infant, survive him.  The funeral was conducted by Rev. Hunter; burial at Majorville.

Mr. Wright was a good citizen and quite successful in business.  He will be missed by a large circle of friends.  To his family are extended the sympathy of the community.

Thomas Wright's first wife, Adeline Fordham, was the daughter of John Fordham and Maria Clark.  Thomas and Adeline were probably married at Bushnell, McDonough County: Douglas Spear, the Justice of the Peace who performed the marriage, was located in Bushnell, and the Fordhams had left Hancock County and located in Bushnell between the time of the 1860 census and 1862, when John Fordham returned home after his military service.  Marriage License

Adeline divorced Thomas in June of 1880.

Their children were:

i. Eva Luella Wright, born July 23, 1862, in Hancock County.
ii. Bennett Goldman Wright, born July 30, 1865 (calculated from tombstone inscription), at Oro Fino, Siskiyou County, California.  He died in Siskiyou County on May 30, 1871, and was buried in the Masonic Section of Fort Jones Cemetery, Fort Jones, Siskiyou County.

Thomas married Catharine Wise on August 18, 1880.  Known as Kittie, she was the daughter of Abraham Wise and Mary Dugan.  She was born October 22, 1854, in Ohio, died November 7, 1889, and was buried at Majorville Cemetery.

Thomas and Kittie's children were:

i. Thomas Wright, born about 1882 in Fountain Green Township.  He was named as both Thomas Dickinson and Thomas Dickerson in his father's obituaries, but as Thomas H. in one of his mother's obituaries.  His middle name may have been Hickerson.
ii. Grace May Wright, born in 1885 in Fountain Green Township.  She died September 14, 1950, in Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, and was buried at Majorville Cemetery.

Thomas' third wife was Ada Bethena Parker, born July 4, 1862, in Hancock Township.  She died April 9, 1933, at Nauvoo, Hancock County, and was interred at Majorville Cemetery.

Thomas and Ada had the following children:

i. A daughter, mentioned in her mother's obituary, died at birth.  Burial location undetermined.
ii. Henry G. Wright, born November 19, 1893, died December 31, 1893, burial at Majorville Cemetery.
iii. Frank Hickerson Wright, born July 25, 1896, in Fountain Green Township.  He died August 22, 1952, at Macomb, McDonough County, and was buried at Majorville Cemetery.

See also: Hickerson Wright  (Thomas' father)
Cynthia Wright  (Thomas' mother)
Buried at Majorville Cemetery:
Seborn A. Wright  (Thomas' brother)
Martha Wright Yetter Stahl  (Thomas' sister)

1850 Illinois Census, Hancock County, page 349A
enumerated November 2, 1850, dwelling #1131

Wright, Hickason, 53, male, farmer, value of real estate 1500, born TN, could not read or write
Ada, 50, female, born NC
Martha E, 22, female, born TN
Patrick W, 20, male, laborer, born TN, attended school within the year
Basil, 17, male, laborer, born TN, attended school within the year
Henry D, 15, male, laborer, born KY, attended school within the year
Thomas G, 13, male, born IL, attended school within the year
Jane, 12, female, born IL, attended school within the year
Charles G, 10, male, born IL, attended school within the year
Cynthia A, 6, female, born IL, attended school within the year

1860 California Census, Siskiyou County, Scott Valley Township, page 31
enumerated June 23, 1860, dwelling #338

J W Bond, 33, male, miner, value of personal estate 800, born AL
Tho G Wright, 24 ,male, miner, value of personal estate 1200, born IL
David Moulton, 24, male, miner, value of real estate 600, value of personal estate 400, born IL

1870 California Census, Siskiyou County, Scott Valley Township, page 615A
enumerated July 29, 1870, dwelling #164

Wright, H, 36, male, white, miner, value of personal estate 1500, born IL, male citizen of the U.S. aged 21 or more
R A, 35, male, white, miner, value of personal estate 1500, born TN, male citizen of the U.S. aged 21 or more
T. B. [sic], 34, male, white, miner, value of personal estate 1500, born IL, male citizen of the U.S. aged 21 or more
Adeline, 33, female, white, keeping house, born NY
Eva, 7, female, white, at home, born IL, attended school within the year
Bennett, 6, male, white, at home, born CA, attended school within the year
Fordham, Maria, 72, female, white, at home, born CT

1880 Illinois Census, Hancock County, Fountain Green Township, page 117D
enumerated June 22-23, 1880, dwelling #193

Wright, T G, white, male, 44, divorced, farmer, born IL, both parents born TN
[continued on next page]
Wright, Minnie, white, female, 18, niece, single, keeping house, attended school within the year, born IL, father born TN, mother born IL
Midcap, William, white, male, 17, f laborer, single, farm laborer, born IL, father born VA, mother born IL

The Carthage Republican
December 26, 1894, page 1, column 6

Real Estate Transfers.

Thomas G. Wright to Theodore L. Roberts, W SE NW, Section 26, Fountain Green Township, $500.00.


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