Thursday, July 04, 2019

An All American Couple, July 4, 2019

You are the fairy tale told by your ancestors.
~Toba Beta

On this Independence Day holiday there is no better way to celebrate our family history than to honor the lives of John Wright (1716-1789) and Rachel Wells Wright (1720-1771), my 6X Great Grandparents. I have written about their fascinating life journey in my last several posts. They were a remarkable couple who left an indelible mark on our county, especially when considered in the light of our nation's 243rd birthday celebration.

An Influence Still Felt Today. Rachel Wells was originally from Anne Arundel County, Maryland just east of what is today Washington D.C., while John Wright was from Chester Co., Pennsylvania. Married in 1737 in Maryland, they were devout Quakers and became the parents of 13 children. The Quakers were one of the most popular religious groups in early America and strongly influenced the religious and civil life of our country in many ways. Rachel and John helped settle this great nation of ours. They were trailblazing pioneers, steadfast religious leaders, devoted parents, and exemplary citizens who helped build strong communities wherever they lived. John, as a widower in his 50s, even fought in the American Revolution and shared in the happiness of the new nation. Rachel died in 1771 at 51, just a few years short of the Revolution. 

American Parents Par Excellence. The life journey of John and Rachel took them from Frederick, Maryland to Cane Creek North Carolina to Newberry, South Carolina. They helped found communities every step of the way as they journeyed into the unsettled regions of what eventually became the United States. The impact of their lives continued to be felt long after they were gone. George Washington may be known as the father of our country, but John and Rachel are truly all-american parents par excellence within our Family Tree. They had 13 children, all of whom grew up, married and had families of their own. In a day of disease, danger, and short life expectancy, to nurture all 13 children from birth to adulthood was a remarkable thing in itself for the 18th century

To get a feel for the impact they have made on our nation, think about this: if all the individual families of John and Rachel's descendants averaged just 3 children per couple (a conservative estimate) they would have over 250,000 descendants in their family tree today. (Crunch the numbers yourself: it's pretty amazing.) Most of those descendants born over the last 10 generations have lived out their lives and died, of course. But theoretically that would still leave Rachel and John with nearly 100,000 potential descendants alive today. This is of course just a rough estimate of the numbers on my part. Even so, there is no doubt that early American ancestors John and Rachel Wright contributed in immeasurable ways to the founding of America and its growth across this continent. 

Deserving of Special Honor. On this July 4th Holiday as you celebrate the birth of our great nation, pause and say a prayer of gratitude for John and Rachel Wright, to whom we owe so much. They are deserving of special honor.
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Steve Shepard


Mike Moran said...

Thanks for this article - I was researching Rachel Wells Wright who is my 6th great-grandmother on my father's mother's side. Yesterday would have been my father's 118th birthday ( and I was following the family roots into the Coats to Wright to Wells branches. The Quaker background of my father's family is all news to me. I've learned a lot about my mother's Amish family who came to America in the years before the Civil War but knew nothing about these early Quakers. Next year will be the 50th Anniversary of my ordination in the Reformed Church in America but it's only in the last ten years that I've come to understand the religious heritage of my own family - thanks for another piece of the puzzle. Mike Moran

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