This 1940 article was published in the Indiana Magazine of
History, volume 36, pages 160-163.
The Philburd Wright Family
EMSLEY WRIGHT JOHNSON
In his Sketches, Mr. Nowland wrote in 1876: "Among the early
settlers of the Territory of Indiana was a large family of Wrights, who
emigrated from Randolph County, North Carolina, and settled in Union County
in 1813. From Union County a portion of them went to Wayne, and some to
Washington County; later four of the sons came to Marion
County."1 Philburd Wright, one of the many persons of this name
who came to Indiana, was born in Maryland in 1750. He became a pioneer of
Indiana about 1813, taking up his residence in Union County near
Brownsville, where he died in 1831, or 1833. It is believed that he served
in the Revolutionary War, and later as justice of the peace in Randolph
County, North Carolina, for about forty years. He married Elizabeth Reagen
and to them were born the following childen: Joshua, Caroline (Deliah),
Sarah, Mary, Noah, Levi, Joel, Jesse, Elzabeth and Aaron.2
The family record of the three sons, Noah, Levi and Joel, are here
Noah Wright was born in Randolph County, North Carolina on August
30, 1784. He moved to Indiana in 1808. He located first at Jeffersonville,
where he manufactured brick for a year, and then farmed for a man named
Holman for a time. He served one year on the frontier against the Indians,
for which he was granted a land warrant for 160 acres. He did not receive
the land, however, until forty years later, a short time before his death.
Following Indian service, he returned to his home in North Carolina where he
remained a year. He returned to Indiana in 1810 and settled in Washington
County where he was employed in clearing land. He married on July 28, 1814,
Susanna, daughter of Arthur and Mary Morgan Parr, natives of Rowan County,
In 1831, Noah Wright came to Marion County, Indiana, where he purchased at
different times a total of 640 acres of land, and at that time also owned
420 acres in Hamilton County. He settled on a tract of 160 acres in Perry
Township, Marion County, not an acre of which had been cleared, and there
he lived until his death on July 11, 1863. He was an old-line Whig, later a
Republican. He was a member of the first state legislature that convened in
Indiana, and was sheriff of Washington County some five or six times. He
was not a church member, but gave liberally to all denominations. His wife
died on October 9, 1842. Seven children were born to them: Betsey A., David,
Hiram, Isaac, Polly A., Susanna and Jasper N.4
Levi Wright was born in North Carolina on June 12, 1790, and was
married to Sarah, daughter of William and Elizabeth or Betsey (Morgan)
Wright5 (born August 31 1797, and died August 19, 1834). They
moved to Indiana in 1810 and settled in Washington County, near Salem. Levi
held prominent positions in the county and owned much land. He died in the
old home near Salem.
Joel Wright was born in Randolph County, North Carolina, on
February 5, 1795, and moved with his parents to Indiana Territory in 1813.
In November, 1815, he located on the west fork of the Whitewater in what is
now Wayne County. Then he moved to Marion County in December, 1821. He was
married September 10, 1812, to Sarah Birely (born April 30, 1789). They had
eight children: Alfred, Polly, Jinsey, Emsley, Phoebe, Elizabeth, Lucinda
and Joel. All are deceased. Joel Wright died April 9, 1928.6
Children of Levi and Sarah (Wright) Wright:7
Mary (Polly) Wright--b. 1818; m July 13, 1857, George Fultz; d.
1890; no children.
Henry Wright--b. 1820; m. Aug. 23, 1842, Rachel Goss; d. 1875;
Children: George, of Emporia, Kansas; Charles of Genda Springs, Kansas, an
attorney; Albert of Kansas City, Missouri; Walter; Joe; Harvey, of Emporia,
Kansas; Henry, of Guthrie Oklahoma.
Jesse Wright--b. Sept. 30, 1821; m. March 25, 1852 to Matilda
McAllister; d. June 4, 1856; children: Joel; Luois (M. Timothey
Lorinda Wright--b. 1822; m. May 8, 1844, to Stanford Carter; d.
1890; children: Elizabeth; Alice (m. John McCullough, lived in Livonia,
Indiana); Cassius Morton (lived in Muncie, Indiana, and later in
California); none living.
Louisa Wright--b. Oct. 6, 1827; m. David Colglazier, Mar. 26,
1851; d. Mar. 31, 1895; children: Levi, Isaac, Joel, Frances, Marion (d. in
infancy), Rachel, William, Mary, Abraham, Walter, Sarah, Jacob, Catherine,
John. Of these, Joel (b. Feb. 13, 1854; d. July 1, 1931) m. Adelia Cauble
(dau. James and Eunice Hitchcock Cauble) Dec. 21, 1818. Nine children (three
died young) were born of this union. This Joel Colglazier was an active
member of the Washington County (Indiana) Historical Society and compiled
many family records.
Joel Wright--b. Feb. 9, 1829; d. Dec 30, 1851.
Marion Wright--b. Oct 10, 1830; d. Dec. 30, 1852.
Levi Wright--b. 1833; m. Louisa Martin; died in Indianapolis,
date unknown; children: Franklin, William, Eward, Aurt and Fred. Franklin
became a doctor. He and his brothers William, Eward and Aurt live in
Indianapolis. The address of Fred, also a doctor, is not known.
Levi Wright8 was born in Wayne County, Indiana, on
February 18, 1820. When not quite two years old, he moved with his parents
to Washington Township, Marion County, where he lived his entire life. He
helped cut the virgin forests from the land where the statehouse now stands,
and also worked on the construction of the canal through Marion County. He
was a member of the Marion County Bar Association and for many years
practiced law. He was also Justice of the Peace in Washington Township for
eight years, and was president of the Broad Ripple Old Settlers
Association. On January 27, 1848, he was married to Lucy Maria Strong who
was born on June 10, 1828, and died on July 21, 1851. leaving two children,
Mary and John. Mr. Wright was married a second time on December 20, 1855, to
Clara K. Collins, who died on December 14, 1896. One sone, George, was born
to them. but died at the age of two and a half years. Emsley Wright died on
January 121, 1897.
Mary Wright9 was born near Augusta, in Marion County,
Indiana, on November 23, 1848. On March 21, 1867, she married Joseph McClung
Johnson, son of William K. and Virginia Johnson. Mrs. Johnson died on
January 31, 1930. Joseph McClung Johnson was born on the Rockville Road (now
Road 36) six miles west of Indianapolis, on April 1, 1848, and died on July
Children of Joseph McClung and Mary (Wright) Johnson:
Cora Josephine Johnson10 was born near Augusta,
Indiana, on July 21, 1868. she never married and now lives with her brother,
Elmsley [sic] Johnson.
Emsley Wright Johnson11 was born near Augusta,
Indiana, on May 8, 1878, and was married (1) at Greenfield, Indiana, on
August 8, 1906, to Katherine Griffin, of Greenfield. He was admitted to the
Indianapolis Bar in 1903, since which time he had been in active law
practice. Children: Mardenna and Emsley Wright, Jr. Mrs. Katherine (Griffin)
Johnson died on Janueary 29, 1918, and Emsley Wright Johnson married (2)
Elizabeth Thompson on August 2, 1920. They live at 3447 Washington
William Franklin Johnson was born in Whitestown, Indiana, on
June 28, 1881. He was graduated from the Indiana University School of
Medicine in 1906. In 1921, he married Gertrude Weirhaye. Their home is at
2102 Sugar Grove Avenue, Indianoplis.
John H. B. Nowland, Sketches of Prominent Citizens of 1876
(Indianapolis, 1877), 149.
This record was furnished by George T. Kepler of Cambridge City, Indiana,
who received part of it from Isaac M. Beard, his father-in-law, parts of it
from Mary W. Sinks and parts of it from Melissa K. Justice. An additional
son, Eli, is named in Pictorial and Biographical Memoirs of Indianapolis
and Marion County, Indiana (Chicago, 1893), 234-44.
"Memoir of Enoch Parr," Indiana Magazine of History (December,
1926), XXII, 371-453.
A sketch of Noah Wright is given in Pictorial and Biographical
A Revolutionary soldier, buried in Wright Cemetery of the Harrison
Deeny farm about three miles south of Salem, Indiana. A governmemt marker
was placed on the grave by the Christopher Harrison Chapter, D. A. R. of
Salem. William was the son of Richard Wright, Sr., a private in the North
Carolina militia, from Rowan County. Other children of Richard were
Benjamin. Peter, Richard, Jr., John, Evins, Amos and Philburd. Philburd,
born in 1768, was the first of the family to come to Washington County.
Grant F. Wright, Route 4, Salem, Indiana, a descendant of Philburd Wright,
has compiled a geneaolgy [sic] of this family.
A sketch of Joel Wright is given in B. R. Sulgrove, History of
Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana (Philadlphia, 1884), 628. In this
sketch his birth date is given as February 5, 1793, and May 12 is given as
the date of his arrival in Indiana Territory. The name of his wife is given
as Sarah Byerby.
These are grandchildren of Philburd and Elizabeth (Regan) Wright.
Son of Joel and Sarah (Birley) Wright and grandson of Philburd and Elizabeth
Granddaughter of Joel and Sarah (Birely) Wright, and great-granddaughter of
Philburd and Elizabeth (Reagan) Wright.
Granddaughter of Emsley and Lucy Maria (Strong) Wright, great-granddaughter
of Joel and sarah (Birely) Wright and great-great-granddaughter of Philburd
and Elizabeth (Reagan) Wright.
Authur of this family history, son of Joseph McClung and Mary (Wright)
Johnson, and brother of Cora Josephine Johnson (note 10).
All original portions ©
Michael Cooley, OrbitInternet.net -