Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Joseph Wright (1818-1873)

This is a biography which was compiled by RaNae L. Christensen from two other biographies that were written by unknown authors. It is titled "Joseph Wright: Son of Grace Shepherd and John Wright".

Joseph Wright, son of Grace Shepherd and John Wright was born 25 Dec 1817 at Bubwith, Yorkshire, England. He was a butcher by trade in England. He moved from Bubwith to Tadcaster, Yorkshire, where he joined the church in England March 14, 1848. His Wife, Hannah Mariah (Marie) Watson, had joined the church July 27, 1837, before her marriage to John. (Four children were born to them in England and they were Eliza Anne, William, Emily, and George). George and Emily passed away in 1846 in England.

After joining the church he served as a leader of the Tadcaster Branch until his departure for Zion in January 1849, aboard the ship “Zetland.” Joseph, Hannah, and their two children, Eliza Ann and William, made the voyage. After nine weeks on the ocean, they arrived in New Orleans and proceeded to St. Louis via steamboat. Here Hannah gave birth to a baby girl. They named her Martha. She passed away April 15, 1848. After a short residency in Kanesville, they obtained teams and wagons for the westward journey.

They arrived in [the] Salt Lake Valley September 28, 1849, and after a short residency in Salt Lake City, they bought some land in the Millcreek area at what is now 200 West and Central Avenue (4000 South). Here they erected a two story house and settled down to farming, stock raising, and the rearing of a family.

While crossing the ocean, Joseph and his family had become well-acquainted with the William Fryer family and on January 4, 1857, Brigham Young married (and sealed) Joseph Wright to William Fryer's daughter, Mary Ann, in his new office in the Beehive House. Joseph took his new bride to his home in Millcreek, where she and Hannah continued with their responsibilities together.

In July 1857, Joseph was called [to] assist the Home Guard in resisting the advance of Johnston's Army. During his service in Echo Canyon, his wives and children moved to Spanish Fork until peace was established and they could happily return to their home in Millcreek.

On February 16, 1857, he was ordained a Seventy in the 22nd Quorum of Seventies. In the October Conference of 1862, Joseph was called out of the congregation on a five year mission to help settle Utah's Dixie. He accepted the call and on November 11, 1862, left Millcreek with two wagons loaded with provisions, some horses, oxen, other livestock, his wife, Mary Ann; her 18 month old son, John Moroni; and his two older sons from Hannah, William and Joseph Alma. Joseph drove one wagon (loaded with grain) pulled by two yoke of oxen, Mary Ann drove the second wagon pulled by two teams of horses and little John Moroni was tucked safely inside the wagon. The two older boys rode some other horses and herded the remainder of the livestock. Hannah Mariah remained at their home in Millcreek along with her three daughters, Eliza Ann, Mary Hannah and Elizabeth Jane. They had a fine home and a prosperous farm in Millcreek and it must have been a sad parting for the whole family.

After three weeks of traveling, the group arrived at the small community of Virgin, where they remained until they could locate some land with feed for his livestock. He turned them out on the range at [a] place called Goulds, south of Virgin City. Shortly after arriving in Virgin, they were able to purchase some property from Appleton Harmon at Duncan's Retreat, a few miles from Virgin. This property was located on the banks of the Virgin River.

The family began farming, raising livestock, and operating a freight line between Dixie and Salt Lake Valley. Joseph was very liberal with his means in helping those that were in need; he furnished many a family that was poor with supplies, food, etc. He also loaned grain to a great many people and a large amount of it was never paid back. He furnished the money to finish the log school house at Duncan's Retreat so that meetings, schools, etc. could be held in it.

He helped establish the following enterprises: The Virgin City Co-op store, Touquerville Store, Washington Factory, Kanara sheep herd, Kolob Ranch, Canana Ranch, and etc. He bought the first threshing machine that was used there, that both threshed and separated grain. It was hauled all the way from California by teams at a very great expense.

The Indians stole thirty head of his valuable horses and two mules. These horses and mules were worth about five thousand dollars. He furnished horses and supplies for expeditions against the Indians. He was also appointed to the home guard. The Indians were very troublesome and had to be watched. They would often make raids on the towns and kill some of the settlers and steal their horses, cattle, and etc.

He was always ready when called upon by those in authority to perform any duty or go wherever he was called.

Severe flooding along the Virgin River washed away much of the farm established by Joseph and his family, even threatening the home. In January 1893 his faithful wife, Mary Ann, and her children were forced to move. They moved to Hinckley where two of her sons had settled a few years previous.

Joseph was the father of fourteen children. Hannah bore him eight children and Mary Ann Fryer bore him six children.

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