Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 620] of Mahoning township, Lawrence Co., Pennsylvania, was born December 27, 1826, on the farm he now owns and which has always been his home.

He is a grandson of Alexander Wright, the founder of the family in this country. Alexander Wright was born in the parish of Donnyclony, County of Down, Ireland, January 1, 1746. He married Esther Silcox, who was born the same day of the same year as her husband. They emigrated to America in the spring of 1771. The first year in America was spent near Philadelphia, where he worked at his trade, that of a weaver.

In the spring of 1772 he rented a farm in Kishacoquilles Valley, where he lived until the spring of 1776, when he purchased an improvement right to a tract of land on Raccoon Creek, Washington County. He put in crops on the land the same year, but did not bring his family until the spring of 1777. That year and the year following were ones of terror on account of depredations by the Indians. Many of his friends and neighbors were murdered or carried away captive. The settlers erected block-houses for protection, and worked their fields with their guns close at hand in case of an attack.

In the spring of 1796 he settled on the land in what is now Mahoning township, Lawrence County. He held warrants from the State for the land on which he settled. A company called the Population Company claimed the same land and sold it to other settlers. This was the cause of much trouble and many lawsuits, each settler, firmly believing himself to be in the right. The trouble was finally settled by a compromise.

Alexander Wright was appointed justice of the peace in 1791, receiving his commission from Governor Thomas Mifflin. He served as associate judge for Mercer County from the time it was organized until he resigned on account of old age in 1829.

He helped organize the Presbyterian Church of Hopewell about the year 1800, and served as a ruling elder until his death. He died May 25, 1838. His wife died June 17, 1812. She was a woman of unusual strength of character, a devoted wife and mother, and an earnest Christian woman. Their children were: Eleanor; Alexander; James; Dorothy; and Betsey. Eleanor married Rev. Robert Johnson. Dorothy married John McConnell.. Betsey married William Porter. James was a minister in the Presbyterian Church. He died March 30, 1843.

Alexander Wright, Jr., was born April 15, 1772. At the death of his father he succeeded to the homestead. He built a new house and devoted his time to farming. He married Margaret Porter, who was born Dec. 25, 1782, and died Nov. 13, 1806. She left one child, Margaret, born Nov. 10, 1806, who married David Johnston. His second wife was Margaret Bevington, who died Oct. 3, 1818. The children of this union were: John P., born Feb. 27, 1810, died October, 1860; Ruth, born July 23, 1811, married William Phillips, died November, 1887; James, born Feb. 27, 1813, died Oct. 5, 1833; Eliza, born Feb. 12, 1815, died September, 1816; Alexander, 3d, born Sept. 25, l817, died June 3, 1894. His third wife was Margaret Young, who was born Aug. 12, 1792, and died May 4, 1833, leaving six children; Samuel P., born Nov. 12, 1820, died July 12, 1897; Elizabeth, born Jan. 11, 1823, married James McConnell; William, born Nov. 25, 1824, died 1835; Joseph K., born Dec. 27, 1826; Robert S., born Jan. 2, 1829, died 1835; Isaac P., born Dec. 19, 1831. Alexander Wright's fourth wife was Elizabeth Cunningham, who was born March 19, 1797, and died April 10, 1870.

Alexander, or Squire Wright, as he was commonly known, was appointed justice of the peace in 1814, receiving his commission from Jacob Snyder, Governor of the State. He served until the revision of the constitution in 1838, when his son John P. was elected to fill his place.

Alexander Wright was an earnest Abolitionist, and for years his home was a station on the Underground Railroad. He was also identified with the earlier temperance movements. He died July 31, 1853. His son, Joseph K., succeeded to the old home. He married Marcia M., daughter of James and Pamelia Beggs of Coitsville, Ohio. Their children are: Ella; Anna (who married George G. Erskine of Mahoning township; Margaret; Arthur; and Pamelia M. The grandchildren of Joseph Wright, who were born to his daughter, Anna (Wright) Erskine, are—Paul, Arthur W., Marcia K., Ralph J., George G., and Dorothy M.

[Alexander Wright in Crumrine History of Washington County, Pennsylvania.]

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

Previous Biography | Table of Contents | Next Biography
Explanation/Caution | Lawrence Co. Maps | Lawrence Co. Histories
Updated: 23 Jul 2001