On this Memorial Day, I’m thinking of the brave people who served and died for our country. One family that immediately came to mind is that of Richard and Hester (Cooke) Wright. It is believed they lost three sons during King Philip’s War. All three were young men—not yet married. I can’t even imagine what heartache this tremendous loss brought to the family.
Richard Wright was born 9 June1608 (from age at death). He is my 9th great-grandfather through my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis. Where and to whom he was born in England are not yet known. He was a tailor by trade. He seemed to have minimal education as he signed documents with his mark and had just one book listed in his inventory. He did, however, serve his community in multiple capacities. The first mention of him in Plymouth records is a 1636 land grant.
Richard is mentioned in many Plymouth Colony land grants. On 6 October 1636 Richard Wright was appointed land "5 acres to a pson, at the fishing point next Slowly Field." On 7 November 1636 "The landes at the fishing point, neer Slowly Field, being viewed & fownd too little for Tho. Pope, Rich. Clough, & Rich. Wright, at five acres p pson, by consent was equally devided between them." On 5 February 1637/8 "six acrees of landes are graunted unto Richard Wright, lying at the west end of Mr Dones landes, towardes the Fresh Lake." On 5 March 1637/8 "A garden place is graunted to Richard Wright in the meadow by Thomas Atkinsons."
|Fresh Pond in Manomet section of Plymouth|
Genealogist Robert Wakefield believed Richard was related to William Wright or another early settler as the amount of land he was granted was unusual for a “stranger.” William did not mention any children in his 1633 will, and Richard was too old to be his son, so perhaps a brother or cousin.
On 24 March 1637 Richard Wright sold five acres of land at "fishing poynt towards the Eele River together wth the fences." A deed to George Russell, 17 November 1637, for the sale of 4 or 5 acres upon "Oulbery Playne" calls Richard Wright of New Plymouth "Taylor." On 25 August 1638 Peter Maycock sold for 40 shillings sterling to Richard Wright "xxv acrees of land due to him for his service."
|Eel River, Plymouth|
Richard was on the 1643 Plymouth list of Men Able to Bear Arms.
In 1644 Richard married at Plymouth Hester (sometimes seen as Esther) Cooke. The exact date of their union is not given in Plymouth Vital Records but if marriages are listed in order it would be between 2 and 6 November 1644. Richard was about 36 years old and had been in the Colony for about 8 years. Hester was born between1621-1625, the daughter of Francis and Hester (Mahieu) Cooke. She may have been born in Leiden and come to Plymouth on the Anne with her mother in 1623 or been born in Plymouth after their arrival. Francis came to Plymouth on the Mayflower.
Although only the births of two children were recorded, George Bowman, editor of the Mayflower Descendant, sorted out the family.
Richard and Hester had six children:
1. Adam, born about 1645, married first Sarah Soule (granddaughter of George Soule of the Mayflower); second Mehitable Barrows. He had six children by the first wife and four by the second.
2. John, predeceased his father, unmarried and without issue.
3. Esther, born Plymouth in 1649 (only year given in Vital Records), married Ephraim Tinkham, grandson of Peter Brown of the Mayflower, had six children.
4. Isaac, born at Plymouth 26 August 1652, died in 1675 or 76, without issue and apparently unmarried.
5. Samuel, died before his father, unmarried and without issue.
6. Mary, married Hugh Price and had two children.
Birth records for Esther and Isaac are the only ones found. John, Isaac and Samuel likely died in King Philip’s War, although their names aren’t included in Bodge’s Soldiers in King Philip’s War.
John wrote a will on 7 December 1675, probated 7 July 1676, that mentions his going to war and names his father Richard Wright, his brothers Adam, Isaac and Samuel and his sisters Esther and Mary Wright.
I descend through Adam Wright and his first wife Sarah Soule. I wrote about them here.
On 5 June 1644 and 4 June 1645 Richard was propounded as Freeman.
Richard Wright is on several committees and held several offices as follows: Jury 2 March 1646/7; jury 6 March 1648/9, 7 June 1649, 5 March 1649/50, 2 Oct 1650, 4 March 1650/1, 7 June 1651, 2 March 1651/2 4 October 1653, 6 December 1653, and 4 October 1655; Petty jury 1 June 1647, coroner's jury on the sudden death of John Bond, 23 July 1661; constable of Plymouth 6 June 1652.
On 7 June 1659 he was given liberty to look for land. He was granted land as an ancient freeman "on the northerly bounds of Taunton" on 3 June 1662. He was again given liberty to look for land on 8 June 1664. Land Richard Wright had received earlier from Francis Cooke was ratified by John Cooke on 5 July 1670. Following a request for land in the right of Peter Maycocke, sometimes a servant, the Court determined no right to his claim but allowed him to search for land 1 June 1675. Land was granted Richard Wright, 50 acres out of land that was Tatamamuck’s land, on 7 July 1680.
In another deed, dated 9 May 1669, Richard Wright, with wife Esther releasing dower, gave land in Plymouth to his son John. On 7 June 1676 Richard Wright received four pounds from the estate of his son Isacke Wright, deceased.
Richard was sued by his brother-in-law John Tomson on 1 March 1663 to receive half of the land at Manassakett allotted to Francis Cooke that was granted to Hester Cooke. Tomson argue his wife Mary Cooke should have received half of the land and was so granted by the court.
The heirs of Francis Cooke signed an agreement dated 8 June 1666: "The marke R: of Richard Wright in the behalfe of hester his wife."
Hester’s date of death is not known but she predeceased her husband. She likely died between 8 June 1666, when she signed an agreement of heirs of Francis Cooke, and before 7 December 1675, the date of her son John’s will.
Richard died in Plymouth on 9 June1691 "about two hours after being about 83 yeares old."
Richard wrote a will on 8 June 1691, the day before he died. He mentioned only his son Adam, his daughter Esther, and his widowed daughter Mary Price.
His will and inventory are transcribed in the Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 4, pg 165-67.
Originals are found in the Plymouth County Probate Records, Volume 1, pages 101 - 103.
I Richard Wright of ye Town of Plimouth in ye County and Colony of New Plimouth in New England being at Present of Sound and disposing mind and memory under bodily weaknesses not knowing when the hour of my death shall Come do make this my last Will and Testament in maner and forme following hereby Revoaking all former Wills First I comitt my soul to God that made it Resting on ye onely merrits of Christ my Redeemer for Eternall Salvation and my body to ye earth to be buried in a decent maner. My worldly Estate that God hath lent me I thus dispose: my will is that all my Estate Real and Personall House lands money or any moveables & Chattels in what kind soever be equally and faithfully divided betwixt my three Children Adam Esther and Mary Also my Will is that my daughter Mary have her living in my house During her Widowhoode and in as much as my son Adam hath heretofore had a full double portion in lands my will & desire is that my sd Son deal kindly in Carefull providing what in him lies for my daughter Mary price Also I Make my son and two daughters Executors of this my last Will & Testament Also I do hereby appoint & desire my loving friends John Nelson & Isaac Cushman to be Overseers of this my Will and I Intreate their care to se it faithfully prformed in a just distribution of my estate to my Children as is above Expressed In Attestation yt this is my last Will and Testament I Set to my hand & seal This Eigth day of june 1691 I desire also & Impower John Sturtevant to be on of ye overseers of this my will.
Signed Sealed & declared by The mark of
Richard Wright to be his Richard Wright
last will and Testament
In presence of
ye mark M of Martha Cobb:
june 24th 1691 Mr John Cotton and Nathll Southworth two Of ye witnesses here named made oath in Plimouth before ye Magistrates of ye County of Plimouth that they were present and Saw ye above named Richard Wright Sign & Seal & heard him declare this above written to be his last will & Testament & yt to ye best of yr judgment he was of a disposing mind & memory when he so did
Attest Sam Sprague Clerk
June ye 19th day 1691 An Inventory of ye Estate of Richard Wright late deceased taken by us whose names are under written.
Item one Bed and Boulster 03 00 00
One Rugg and one Blanket 00 05 00
One Pillow 00 02 00
One Silkgrass Bed and Boulster 00 08 00
One Curtaine & two Cushions 00 01 06
One Trammill 00 03 00
One pair of Tongs 00 02 00
4 hooks 00 02 00
One Spade 00 02 00
More: Old Iron 00 02 00
4 hinges 00 01 00
2 Iron Kittles 00 06 00
One Iron Skillet 00 02 06
One Iron Pot and Pott hookes 00 04 00
One ffrying Pan 00 00 06
One Warming Pan 00 08 00
One Brass Kettle 00 10 00
One Gun 00 18 00
One Sword 00 03 00
More Wooden Dishes 00 01 00
two Earthen Potts 00 00 04
One Barbours Bason 00 00 09
One Glass Bottle 00 00 04
One Book 00 01 06
One pair of sheers 00 00 06
One pair of Pillowbeers 00 03 00
3 sheetes 00 10 00
One Pewter 00 03 06
One Boul 00 02 00
One Pewter Bottle 00 01 06
One Pewter Pot 00 01 06
1 Pewter Bason and Sawcer 00 01 00
One chamber Pott 00 02 00
One Candlestick 00 00 04
One Pail 00 00 06
One chest 00 07 00
One chest 00 02 06
More old Cask 00 03 00
One Box 02 02 02
One Chaire 00 01 00
More Cloathing 02 04 04
One shirt 00 06 09
One shirt 00 04 06
One pair of Drawers 0 01 0
More in Small linnen 0 02 6
More in woollen Cloathing shoose & stockings & hat 0 14 0
One pewter platter 0 24 6
One Pewter Platter 0 02 6
One Pewter Platter 0 03 0
3 Porrengers 0 23 0
one Pewter Bason and Sawcer 0 24 0
one Bagg 0 26 0
one yearling in ye hand of Adam Wright 0 15 0
one ox & one Cow in ye hand of Ephraim Tinkam 4 10 0
More in ye hand of Ephraim Tinkam 0 24 6
one Blanket a Box & a Band 0 12 6
More in ye hand of Caleb Cooke 4 00 0
More in ye hand Mr Jno Cotton senr 1 01 11
More in Silver Money 5 18 24
More in ye hand of Joseph Sturtevant 0 02 6
More in ye hand of John Gray 0 27 11
One Table 0 01 0
More in ye hand of Ephraim Tinkam 1 10 0
Item the land both of upland and meddow 21 00 0
Item Charge for ye ffunerall 1 0 0
More due to William Shirtliff 0 1 4
More due to John Sturtevant 0 2 0
More due to Adam Wright 0 3 0
June 24th 1691 Adam Wright made Oath in Plimouth before ye Magistrates of ye County of Plimouth That the before written is a True Inventory of ye estate of his ffather Richard Wright late of Plimouth deceased So far as he knoweth & that if more shall come to his knowledge he will discover it
Attest Samll Sprague Clerk
Note: There was a different Richard Wright, called Captain in records, who lived at Hingham and Rehoboth.
Sources Not Listed Above:
Eugene Stratton, Plymouth Colony, Its History and People, 1986
Ralph V. Wood, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Francis Cooke, 1996
Robert S. Wakefield, Richard Wright of Plymouth Mass., The American Genealogist, Vol 59, July 1983
George Ernest Bowman, Adam Wright’s Wives and Their Children, Mayflower Descendant, Volume 11, 1909
George Ernest Bowman, Richard and Hester Wright’s Children, Mayflower Descendant, Volume 24, 1922