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Josiah Wright (1714 - 1799)

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Josiah Wright
Born in Wethersfield, Hartford Co., CTmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 15 May 1735 in Wethersfield, Hartford Co., CTmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Arlington, Bennington Co., VTmap
Profile manager: Bob Fields private message [send private message]
Profile last modified 3 Feb 2020 | Created 7 Mar 2012 | Last significant change: 3 Feb 2020
20:38: Stuart McCulloch edited the data for Josiah Wright (1714-1799). [Thank Stuart for this]
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Josiah was born in 1714. Josiah Wright ... He passed away in 1799. [1]

Josiah, Abigail and their youngest children moved from Wethersfield, Hartford Co., Connecticut to in about 1764, after their eldest sons Jonathan and Josiah were married in Wethersfield. While some of their children went with them to Williamstown, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, their son Josiah remained in Wethersfield. Evidence of where they went when they left Wethersfield, and an interesting description of the family is contained in the book Origins in Williamstown (MA), Perry, Arthur Latham - 1894, page 612:

"There came to Williamstown in 1764, from Weathersfield, Connecticut, a man by the name of Josiah Wright. His wife's name was Abigail, and both became members of the Williamstown church, it is to be presumed, by letter. They had a son, Josiah Wright, Junior, and probably several other sons. There was a Gideon Wright and his wife Sarah, who were also very early members of the church; and it is not to be doubted that a pew was set aside in the meetinghouse of 1768 for the Wright family. There is an epitaph in the old burial-ground by Hemlock Brook, -- "Mr. Jonathan Wright, who died April 10, A.D. 1766 in the 30th year of his age." Justice Wright and his wife, Mercy, had children born in town, 1779-1782; and Stephen Bacon, 2d, told the writer that when he was a small boy -- that is, at the beginning of this century -- there was an Aaron Wright, who lived on the Upper Hopper Brook above Bacons'. But, as we shall see shortly, interest in the Wright family turns rather on a locality than on persons particular. Josiah Wright, Junior, bought of Samuel Clark in July, 1772, for 5 pounds, the meadow lot No. 63, which is the meadow lot directly south of Blair's (now Hubbell's). As we have seen before, Blair's original house stood north of the road, in what is now an orchard; and there is some considerable evidence that Wright owned meadow lot No. 62 as well as 63, and, at any rate, his access to 63 must have been past the present Hubbell buildings to the south. However this may be (and it is not important), it is certain that Josiah Wright's son settled not long after his arrival in town on first-division fifty-acre lot No. 61, the northern end of which comes up to the Blair road before that road turns sharply north into the Stratton road. The eastern side of Wright's lot 61 flanks what was then Aaron Bacon's lot 63 (these were both fifty-acre lots), and Bacon must have come out to the Blair road very near where the senior Wright built his first home. This house was superseded after a while by a brick house, which has only lately been taken down, and about which cluster a series of weird traditions, which the future novelist of the town (may God speed his coming!) may likely enough work up into a tale that shall outlive these imperfect records now being woven into a loose fabric that may ravel out in time.

It is not at all certain, hardly probable, that the brick house was built while the elder Wright was still in the saddle there. If not, it was certainly built by one or more of his sons. The family remained in possession, and gradually acquired a bad reputation. The father and mother moved on to Arlington, Vermont, where Abigail died in February, 1795, and Josiah in February, 1799, he in his eighty-seventh year and she in her seventy-ninth; and at some time between the close of the war and the close of the century, the inmates (inhabitants) of the brick house were thought so ill of by their neighbors that the latter lent a ready ear to a story of murder committed by the former, and repeated it over, little by little, with ghostly details and additions, to their children, from several of whom the writer has derived it directly, though, of course, with quaint and considerable variations. This is not history, nor does it aspire to become such; but there may have been some basis of fact, and surely a stiff basis of locality, for a story that has been told under breath, and not without shudders, for several generations, in the Blair family and in the Williams family, -- the two nearest neighbors, -- and also in the Corbin and other families at the South Part. It is the only tale of robbery and murder and ghosts that connects itself, even in dimmest outline, with the early story of Williamstown, and runs in general in something like the way following: The Wrights had become considerably indebted to a certain pedlar driving one horse who frequented those parts in quest of the usual driblets of gain. The neighbors has seen him drive up to the brick house, had watched for his return, and had not discovered it. In the mean time, mysterious movements were observed in and around the house. Lights were seen at unusual times, and in usually unfrequented parts of the house. The suspicions of the neighbors, that something wrong was going on in and around the Wright house, were thoroughly aroused, and these suspicions were mutually inflamed by communicating them. In a day or two, all was still and apparently abandoned at the brick house. Neighbors combined in fear and dread, but with all due resolution, to search for the body of the pedlar and for his various effects. Possible places of interment or hiding away were scrutinized, sheds and barn and cellar were examined, and nothing was found anywhere of a questionable character, until at last the pedlar's horse was discovered in the best room of the brick house, with cloths wrapped round his hoofs, apparently so that his stampings on the floor might not be heard by the neighbors, before the inmates (inhabitants) had gotten a good ways off from the premises. No stampings or neighings from the real horse had then been heard by anybody; but years and years afterwards, and to many successive occupants of the house, mysterious sounds issued from that room, slight but distinct, treadings on that floor, deadened as if falling on cloths, and neighings, not equine and earthly, but stifled and supernatural, as if the ghost of the pedlar had come back to seek for his horse, and the horse had greeted his old master with at least the distant echoes of accustomed sounds. There are old people, still living, who have confessed, in the writer's hearing, to strange perturbations of mind as they have entered or quitted, or even thought of (in the night), the square room of the old brick house above Blair's."

In the Berkshire MA (Northern District) Land Records Indexes (grantor and grantee), Josiah Wright (including Josiah Wright, Jr.) appeares as grantor in 15 transactions from 1769 to 1803.


  • Bob Fields, firsthand knowledge. Click the Changes tab for the details of edits by Bob and others.
  1. Entered by Bob Fields, Mar 6, 2012

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Josiah by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Josiah:

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Rejected matches › Josiah Wright (bef.1714-)

Josiah is 11 degrees from Frederick Douglass, 14 degrees from Margaret Summitt and 12 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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