Yesterday I was able to break down one of my brick walls, and it broke down a brick wall for someone else!
It started with a Betty Crocker cookbook from 1950. Inside on the first page was written:
Ownned by-Jenny Lee Wright
Given to by-Mom and Dorothy
I started wondering (as I often do when I see familiar names) if Jenny Lee Wright was in any way related to Jennie Wright, Stephen Anthony Para’s mother. Usually when I start to wonder about that I go to my tree on Ancestry and start looking over siblings of a particular person. Unfortunately, I couldn’t this time. I didn’t have Jennie’s parents. I realized this was one of my brick walls.
After reviewing the information that I did have, and conducting a pretty aggressive search, I was finally able to find Jennie’s family.
Jennie Wright, who may have been named either Margaret Virginia or Virginia Margaret per Brenda Black Watson, was born on January 21, 1880 in Shelby County, Tennessee to parents Robert Richard Wright and Litiana Augusta Daily.
In 1880 Jennie and family are found living in District 14, Shelby County, Tennessee. Jennie is listed as Maggie Wright, age 6 months, born in Tennessee. The others in the household are: Robert (father), aged 27 years, born in Tennessee, a farmer (a berry farmer, according to the biography written by Brenda); Augusta (mother), aged 20 years (I think that’s what it says), born in Tennessee; Lucius, aged 7 years, born in Mississippi; and Eliza Wright, aged 60 years, born in Virginia. Technically it appears that Robert’s mother Eliza is listed in a separate household, but that may have been a mistake by the enumerator.
Between 1896 and 1900 Jennie had two children: Stephen Anthony in 1896, and Joseph Dewey in 1898.
In 1900 Jennie and family are found living in District 58, Civil District 19, Shelby County, Tennessee. Jennie is listed as age 20 years, born in January of 1880 in Tennessee, married for five years, mother to two children-both living. Others living in the household are: Steven, age 26 years and showing he was born in March 1874 in Italy (there’s definitely questions regarding this date), married for five years, immigrated in 1881, employed as a farmer; Tony, age 3 years, born August of 1896 in Tennessee; and Dewey, age 2 years, born in April of 1898 in Tennessee.
In the two years following the 1900 census, Jennie gave birth to two more children: Elmer Francis in 1901, and Andrew Wright in 1902.
The next time Jennie I find Jennie is in 1909 when she bought a house on Walker Avenue in Memphis for $600.
In 1910 Jennie and her children are found living in District 273, Memphis Ward 26, Shelby County, Tennessee. before we get into how Jennie shows on this census, I will list the children: Anthony, age 13 years, born in Tennessee, attends school as well as employed as an office boy for a real estate agency; Joseph D, age 11 years, born in Tennessee, attends school as well as employed as a cash boy at various odd jobs; Elmer F, age 9 years, born in Tennessee, attends school; and Andrew, age 7 years, born in Tennessee, attends school. As for Jennie, she is listed as the head of household, age 30 years, born in Tennessee. She was not employed. What is curious about this census is her marital status. I mentioned this in the post I wrote about Steven Victor Para back in 2011:
The location of the family is on both the 1910 regular schedule (enumerated April 18-19) and also on the 1910 supplementary schedule (enumerated April 16-21). It looks on the regular census as though it had been written in that Jennie was either married or widowed, but someone had erased it and marked that she was divorced. There is something pertaining to her written in the margin, but I can’t make out what it says.
On the 1910 supplementary schedule it only lists Steven, at the same address, and he is married. Again, something is noted in the margin pertaining to him, but the only word I can make out is “wife”.
I believe that the notations in the census margins have to do with their divorce. They both appear on the court dockets for May 20, 1910 and the complaint was granted. Unfortunately it doesn’t give us any remarks.
What I find interesting is that the census was enumerated in April, but the divorce wasn’t granted until May. So either she was sure it would be, or it was later changed.
Margaret Virginia “Jennie” Wright died on August 29, 1914 after having been in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Memphis for one month. Her cause of death was listed as “pustular bubo-ovarian abscess”, which makes my heart just break for her. She is buried at Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee by Steven Victor Para. Oddly, her headstone does not have her married name of Hargrove. Instead it has Jennie Wright Para.
After Jennie’s death I kind of lose track of Luther (who I feel like blaming for her early death).
In 1915 Luther (a carpenter), Anthony (a ruler at a bookbinding business), Dewey (a carpenter), and (presumably) Elmer, and Andrew moved to 1035 South Somerville. After 1915, though, I lose him, as there are a few people with his name and his initials.
By 1916 Jennie’s sons had all gone in different directions. Anthony still worked at the bookbinding company and had moved to 1042 South Somerville. When Dewey filled out his WWI draft registration card in 1918 he listed the same address. His nearest relative was also at the same address, listed as Mrs. CR Young. A quick search brought up that Mrs. CR Young is Lena Wright, Jennie’s sister. Elmer was an orderly at the hospital where his mother died, and in 1918 Elmer died of disease while serving in the US Army. Andrew went on to be come a successful doctor in Texas.
I bet Jennie was proud of her sons.