Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Robert Wright of Goole and Boston Massachusetts

I was contacted this week by an American lady whose ancestors had left Goole to make a new life in USA in the 1850s.

George Wright was a river pilot, originally from Selby but working in Goole from the 1830s. He and his wife Martha, nee Shipstone had a large family who as young adults in the 1850s  left Goole to  make new lives in Boston Massachusetts. Finally George and Martha themselves went to join them.
The first of the family to emigrate  was William "Edwin" Wright [born 1825] who along with his wife, Maria, and son, George William, arrived in Boston on the Rio Grande in April 1851.


Later the same year Edwin's brothers George [b 1823] and Henry [b 1829] with their families joined them. They left from Liverpool and arrived in Boston in October 1851 travelling aboard the ship Old England.


Two years later sister Martha Ann  and brother Samuel  and Samuel's wife Frances arrived in Boston aboard the Levi Woodbury in September 1853.


Finally the parents, George and Martha and their two youngest children, Robert and Rosanna arrived in Boston on  9th September 1854 aboard the  Guiding Star.


George snr died of a stroke in 1860 and Martha died in 1879.


However sons Robert and Samuel returned to England. Samuel and Frances lived in Leeds while Robert came back to Goole. There in 1863 he married Mary Jane Brown - although he had not been back for long as in the Goole and Marshland Gazette announcement he was described as being of Boston Massachusetts.


By 1871 Robert and Mary were living with a young family in Aire Street and Robert was dealing in china. They were still there in 1881 and 1891  but by now Robert was dealing in shoes.Robert died in October 1899.  His obituary refers to his part in the American Civil War.


'The death took place on  Sunday of one of the eldest inhabitants of Goole,  Mr Robert Wright, Asbury House. Mr Wright, who had occupied a premier position in public Iife, was 65 years of age, but during tho last few years had suffered from illnesses, which caused him to give up many of his public positions. For six years he  was vice chairman of the School Board, and also chairman. The deceased resided for some time in Boston US.A. and was among those who responded to Abraham Lincoln's famous call for 300.000 volunteers st the time of the American Civil War.  He leaves a widow and six children'. 


By 1901 Mary was still running the business  and by 1911 the family were living at number 159, Boothferry Road, which was then called Asbury House, not far from Goole's new secondary school. Members of the family continued to live there for several years. The family gravestone is in Goole cemetery.


It is an interesting story. Why did the family feel the need to emigrate? Did they keep in touch?

And it is a lesson not to rely on censuses as they simply showed Robert as being born and dying in Goole. Nothing about his sojourn in USA and his involvement in the Civil War there.

2 comments:

  1. They almost certainly kept in touch. Robert's brother George and niece Emily (Wright) Flinn made round trips from Boston to England in the 1894, 1897 and 1899 and Robert's sister-in-law Frances nee Barker and nephew Robert Alfred traveled from their home in Leeds back to Boston in 1907. George, his wife Ann nee Huntington and youngest son Albert Lincoln also traveled from Boston in 1871. Robert had filed his intention to become a naturalized US citizen in 1859, but was never naturalized.
    War does change men, and I know that in July 1863 he was on the draft list in Boston, and by September he was married in Goole. I wonder if, having already served a tour of duty, he might have decided to return to home to England rather than face battle again.

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