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Wright Families of Overton & Fentress Cos., TN



I started this project with the idea of gathering information on all of the WRIGHT families who ever lived in Overton County, TN. There were six Wright families in the 1820 census. Two of the men, John and James Wright, are known to be brothers, sons of Moses and Margaret (Edmondson.) They were all born in North Carolina and moved to Eastern Tennessee very early. The sons then migrated to Overton County prior to 1820. There was a Jesse Wright in 1820 that might have been one of their brothers but was so much younger than either John or James I don't think so. I have not located this young Jesse Wright after 1820.

Two of the remaining three families were also from North Carolina. Joshua Foster Wright was from Randolph Co., North Carolina where his marriage to Sarah Lamar in Dec 1803 is recorded. Obediah Wright also claimed to have been born in North Carolina, and his marriage to Malinda Jones in April, 1812, was recorded in Knox County, Tennessee.

The mystery Wright was Jonathan Wright. He was there in 1820 and then gone by 1830. I have not been able to locate him with any certainty after 1820.

In 1823 the large northeast portion of Overton Co. and the northwest section of Morgan Co. were cut away to create Fentress County. The small map below shows the areas of division.

1820 Overton and Morgan Cos., TN, with 1830 Fentress Co. overlay

When it was time for the 1830 census, Overton Co. had only one remaining Wright family, Joshua Foster Wright (he was in Fentress Co. by 1840.) The brothers, John and James Wright were in Fentress County then. Obediah Wright moved back to eastern Tennessee but I have not located him in 1830. He was in Bledsoe County in 1840 and 1850.

Now to the 1830 census of Fentress County. There was James and John from Overton County, a Jesse Wright, who was in an age group to have been their Jesse. Living next to this Jesse Wright was a young Joel Wright and next to him was Joel Holbert/Halbert who had married Zilpha Wright, sister of John, James and Jesse. While this is not conclusive it does suggest that this Jesse Wright was a brother of John and James. And then there was Moses Wright. He was in the age group as the others and was probably related but is not known to have been a brother. This Moses is gone by 1840 and I have not located him.

And so my search evolved to include the families of Fentress County. I have relied heavily on census records as the courthouses in both Overton and Fentress Counties were destroyed and early records no longer exist. Sometimes I have included information from descendants, which generally is by family tradition. A vital help in research but to be examined carefully.

I have followed the families to other states as well. Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Indian Territory, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Washington State and California. I have tracked them from 1820 to 1930. I have documented every thing I have included.


Jerry Wright Jordan

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Site updated on 16 December 2005 at 10:37:52 AM from OvertonCoWrights; 1,336 people