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John Wesley "Devil John" Wright

Devil John Wesley Wright
"Devil John" Wesley Wright
Photo Restored by Mary Gillenwater
Photo Contributed by Sue Blevins Kovack
L-R: Anderson, Bad John Wright and Unknown Coal Man
Bad John Wright
Gathering at the Home of Devil John Wright
Gathering at Devil John Wright's. (Source). L-R Front: Unknown Male, Martha "Mattie" Humphrey Wright, Devil John Wright, Kinky Haired Sam Wright with 2 unknown children, James Henderson Wright, John Venters, Mary Brummett, Lillie Mae Whitaker Mullins, Ellen Sanders. Samuel P Wright (front of Ellen), Healtha Wright, d/o Devil John Wright and Ellen Sanders, and Morg Killen on horseback. L-R Back on horseback: Mary Jane Venters and maybe her son, Orval. Robert E Lee Wright and wife (unknown) and Alice Wright Burton, d/o John Wright and Mary Bentley 
John Wesley "Devil John" Wright (aka "Bad John") b 17 May 1844 d 30 Jun 1931 Pound Wise Co VA 87 years of age, (See 1860 Letcher Co KY Census), s/o Joel Ellis Wright and Eliza Agnes Bates.  John Wesley "Devil John" Wright m. Alice Lee Harman b 4 Mar 1818 d/o Robert Graham Harman and Isabelle Waddill. John Wesley "Devil John" Wright m. 14 Oct 1866 Cynthiana, KY to Martha 'Mattie' Humphrey  b 12 Mar 1835 Cynthiana, KY d 12 Mar 1924 Jenkins, Letcher Co KY age 89 years, buried Wyatt Cemetery, Dunham KY, d/o Jamisson Humphrey.

John Wesley "Devil John" Wright m. 8 Sept 1924 Water Gap, KY to  Ellen Sanders  b 28 Mar 1863 Pike Co KY, d 10 Mar 1948, Wise Co VA 84 years of age, buried John Wright Cemetery, Pound, Horse Gap VA, d/o Levi Greenville Sanders and Matilda Austin. (Levi Greenville Sanders  s/o Greenville "Granville" Sanders and Rhoda Potter) (Matilda Austin d/o Jesse Austin and Margaret. Douglas). John Wesley "Devil John" Wright m.  Serilda AustinMary Bentley - India Harmon and Margaret J Austin

> More About Devil John Wright

> Devil John as a Pinkerton Agent


Devil John Wright
and Serilda Austin

John Wesley "Devil John" Wright (aka "Bad John") b 17 May 1844 d 30 Jun 1931 Pound Wise Co VA 87 years of age, s/o Joel Ellis Wright and Eliza Agnes Bates.  John Wesley 'Devil John' Wright m. Serilda Austin b 24 Sept 1837 NC d 17 Feb 1896 Wise Co VA, d/o Jessee Austin and Margaret Douglas. Children of John Wesley "Devil John: Wright and Sarilda Austin:

1.
Enoch F. Wright b l7 Feb l869 d 5 Aug l952 m. Louisa Warwick. Child of Enoch F Wright and Louisa Warwick;

I. Stella Ruth Wright (adopted by Myrtle Wright and Charles Meeks); m. Paul Chalmer Smith. Children of Paul Chalmer Smith and Stella Ruth Wright; i. Diana Lynn Smith m. Male Smith ii. Paul Charles Smith iii. Robert Emyl Smith iv. Patricia Ruth Smith. Submitted by Diana Lynn Smith in our guestbook 2 Apr 2010.

2. Joel Martin Wright (aka James Martin) b 29 May 1872 d 1 Oct 1950 m. Alice Johnson.

Sarilda Austiin m. Benjamin Wright b 1838 KY (d during the Civil War; killed by Alfred Killen); s/o John Wright and Mary Bentley. Child of Sarilda Austin and Benjamin Wright;

1. Margaret Wright b 1861 KY


"Devil John" Wesley Wright
and Martha Mattie Humphrey

John Wesley "Devil John" Wright (aka "Bad John") b 17 May 1844 d 30 Jun 1931 Pound Wise Co VA 87 years of age, s/o Joel Ellis Wright and Eliza Agnes Bates.  John Wesley 'Devil John' Wright m. 14 Oct 1866 Cynthiana, KY to  Martha 'Mattie' Humphrey b 12 Mar 1835 Cynthiana, KY d 12 Mar 1924 Jenkins, Letcher Co KY age 89 years, buried Wyatt Cemetery, Dunham KY, d/o Jamisson Humphrey and Elizabeth Henry.  Children of John Wesley 'Devil John' Wright and Martha Mattie Humphrey;

3. James Henderson Wright b 23 May 1865 d 3 Aug 1928 m. 1st to Cora E Fleming d/o John N Fleming and Louisa Kelly.  James Henderson Wright m. 19 Feb 1887 to Laura Belle Whitaker. Cora E Fleming m. 22 Mar 1893 Letcher Co KY to James Everett Mullins b 8 Mar 1875 Pike Co KY d 13 Aug 1901 Letcher Co KY s/o William Mullins and Winnie Mullins.

4. Joel Wright b 1872 d 20 Dec 1921 Pike Co KY m. about 1909 to Susannah "Susan" Johnson b 1876 d 19 Mar 1952 Pike Co KY (Susan was blind) d/o Jeptha Johnson and Nancy Burke. Susan m. about 1900 to 1st Will Hall. 

5. John Phillip Wright  b 7 Jan 1875 d 12 Sept 1898, killed by Henry Adams. John Phillip Wright m. 24 Dec 1890 Letcher Co KY to Mary Chaney Reynolds b 21 Mar 1875 Letcher Co KY d 14 Mar 1933, d/o William Henry Reynolds and Frances Matilda Baker.  Mary Chaney Reynolds m. 2nd Tilden McFall.

 

"Devil John" Wright
and Mary Bentley

John Wesley "Devil John" Wright (aka "Bad John") b 17 May 1844 d 30 Jun 1931 Pound Wise Co VA 87 years of age, s/o Joel Ellis Wright and Eliza Agnes Bates.  John Wesley "Devil John" Wright and Mary Bentley had the following children:

6. Flora Custus 'Dussey' Wright b 22/27 Apr 1876 m. Emmitt Cantrell. 

7. Eliza "Liza" Wright b 29 Jun/Jul 1878 Pike Co KY d 26 Jan 1929 East Jenkins, Letcher Co KY m.  5 Apr 1901 to Henry Melvin Samuel Vanover b 17 Dec 1877 East Jenkins Letcher Co KY d  5 Feb 1964 Pike Co KY, s/o Henry Vanover and Jane Bentley.

8. Alice June Wright b 23 Sept 1881 (or 25 Oct 1881) m. (1) to Allen Burton; m. (2) to John Houston s/o Sam Bentley and Mary Houston. 

9. Easter Wright b 16 Feb 1884 d Oct 1987 age 103, m. 1st to Wade Ratliff s/o Samuel Ratliff and Mahulda "Hulda" Francisco. Child of Easter Wright and Wade Ratliff;

I. Marvin Woodrow Ratliff m. Unknown. Child;

i. Charles Marvin Ratliff m. Unknown. Children;

i.1. Sandy Kay Ratliff m. Male Kelly - Thanks to Sandy Kay Ratliff Kelly for submitting info on this family.

i.2. Charles Marvin Ratliff

i.3. Steven Barclay Ratliff

II. George Ratliff lm. Cora Lee Hall d/o Harmon Hall and Virginia Amburgey.

Easter Wright m. 2nd to James Bryant. 

10. Elizabeth Wright b 10 Jun 1886 (or 10 Aug 1885) d 25 May 1971 m. William Riley Mullins b 25 May 1881 Bold Camp, Wise Co VA d 30 Oct 1979 Letcher Co KY; s/o Andrew Jackson Mullins and Ollie Mullins. Children of William Riley Mullins and Mary Elizabeth Wright;

I. Minnie Marie Mullins b 15 Mar 1905 Bold Camp, Wise Co VA d 5 Sept 1993 Pound, Wise Co VA m. 27 Dec 1926 Wise Co VA to James Kedric Robinson b 6 Jun 1905 Wise Co VA d 20 Jul 1944

II. Guy Earl Mullins b 1908 d 1910

III. William Troy Mullins b 1921 d 1923

11. Samuel Preston Wright b 25 Oct l888 m. Mahala Branham

12.
Myrtle Wright b Sept l892 d Jan l922 m. Charles Meeks

13. John Wright Jr. died in infancy.

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"Devil John" Wright
and Ellen Sanders

Devil John Wright and Ellen Sanders
Devil John Wright and Ellen Sanders
Ellen Sanders Wright - Unknown - Mary Chaney Reynolds Wright and Joel E Wright
L-R: Ellen Sanders Wright, Unknown, Mary Chaney Reynolds Wright and Husband, Joel E Wright
John Wesley "Devil John" Wright (aka "Bad John") b 17 May 1844 d 30 Jun 1931 Pound Wise Co VA 87 years of age, s/o Joel Ellis Wright and Eliza Agnes Bates. John Wesley "Devil John" Wright m. Ellen Sanders b 28 Mar 1863 Pike Co KY, d 10 Mar 1948, Wise Co VA 84 years of age, buried John Wright Cemetery, Pound, Horse Gap VA, d/o Levi Greenville Sanders and Matilda Austin. Children of John Wesley 'Devil John' Wright and Ellen Sanders;

14. Joel Wright b 29 Jun 1883, m. 3 Jan 1907 to Mary C Reynolds, b 15 Jul 1882 d 19 Nov 1961 at age 79 yrs 4 mos 4 days of age, d/o Joseph Coleman Reynolds and Mary Manerva Morgan.


1st Obituary of Mary C Reynolds

REYNOLDS,
Mary d/o J. C. and Nerva Reynolds, b: Jul 15 1882 d: at age 79 yrs, 4 mos and 4 days; md: Joel WRIGHT, Jan 3 1907 (d: Nov 19 1961) he was the s/o John Wesley and Ellen (Sanders) Wright; no children. She leaves, two brothers, Billy, Pound, Va, Colman Reynolds, Washington; 3 half sisters, Mrs. George Rogers, Lexington, Ky, Manda Triplet, Washington, and Aggie Potter, Oak Hill, Ohio. Member of the Old Regular Baptist Church.


2nd Obituary of Mary C Reynolds
REYNOLDS, Mary was b: Jul 15 1882 d: Nov 19 1961; the dau of J. C. and Nerva Reynolds; md: Joel Wright, Jan 3 1907; no children. She leaves 2 brothers, Billey Reynolds of Pound, Va and Coleman Reynolds of state of Washington. Member of the Old Regular Baptist Church.

15. Daniel S Wright b 23 May 1885 d 23 May 1964 m. Melvenia Mullins d/o Booker Mullins and Charlotte, Charity 'Chat' Wright. 

16. Healthy Wright b 2 May 1887 d 1939 m. John Benjamin Mullins (aka Benjamin Franklin Mullins) b 1883 Beefhide, Letcher Co KY d 1944 buried Devil John Wright Cemetery, Pound, Wise Co VA s/o Booker Mullins and Charlotte, Charity 'Chat' Wright. 

17. Ira Ellis Wright b 12 Jun 1889 Jenkins, KY d 7 Feb 1955 Huntington, WV m. 17 Oct 1917 to Martha Vermillion (divorced 8 Jun 1929). Ira Ellis Wright m. 30 Apr 1945 to 2nd Vianna Early, Ira Ellis Wright and Martha Vermillion had the following children;

i. Roby Raburn Wright

ii. Chester Wright


"Devil John" Wright
and Alice Lee Harman

John Wesley "Devil John" Wright (aka "Bad John") b 17 May 1844 d 30 Jun 1931 Pound Wise Co VA 87 years of age, s/o Joel Ellis Wright and Eliza Agnes Bates.  John Wesley 'Devil John' Wright m. Alice Lee Harman b 4 Mar 1818 d/o Robert Graham Harman and Isabelle Waddill.  Children of John Wesley "Devil John" Wright and Alice Lee Harman;

18.
Frank Wampler Wright b l Aug l894 m. Bertha Adams. Children of Frank Wampler Wright and Bertha Adams;

I. Mary Inez b 1919 stillborn

II. Gloria Mae b 1919 d 1920

III. Norma Jeanne Wright b 26 May 1924 d 17 Mar 1975; m. 14 Apr 1944 to George B Fotsch II. Children of George B Fotsch and Norma Jeanne Wright;

i. George B. Fotsch 111 b 9 May 1945

ii. James Michael Fotsch b 20 May 1948

iii. Timothy G Fotsch b 16 Jul 1954

iv. John G Fotsch b 20 Oct 1959

v. Kevin G Fotsch b 13 Mar 1961

vi. Joseph Patrick Fotsch b 27 Sept 1963

vii. Alice Wright; m. 5 Jun 1968 to Roger H Bligh. Child of Roger H Bligh and Alice Wright; 1. Jeanne M. Bligh b 16 Apr 1972 - child of Jeanne M Bligh and Unknown; I. Patrick R Zink b 29 Sept 1995. (Thanks to Alice Wright for adding information and updates for this family in our feedback page on 4 Apr 2010)

IV. Alene Wright b 1925, d 1956

V. Frank Wampler Wright Jr b 21 Sept 1926 Stormking, Perry Co KY; m. 31 Aug 1947 New Iberia LA to Martha Jean Patterson b 7 Nov 1927 Smackover AR; d/o Joshua Thomas Patterson and Gladys Snider. Children of Frank Wampler Wright Jr and Martha Jean Patterson

i. Frank T Wright

ii. Patty Wright m. Male Ball

iii. Richard Wright

iv. Elizabeth Wright m. Male Brown

v. Virginia Gayle Wright m. Male Weber (Thanks to Gayle for submitting information for this family by email, 9 Oct 2008).

VI. Virginis Wright b about 1930

VII. William Wright b about 1931 d 1931.

19. Bertha Wright b 26 Jan 1896 d 31 Jan 1974 m. Willie Church

20. William Troy 'Chid' Wright b 5 Aug 1897 d 19 Apr 1985 m. Belle Maggard.

21. Conrad W Wright b 10 Sept 1899 d 1903

22. Mallie Wright b about 1900

23. Elizabeth Wright b 8 Oct 1901 d 1902 age 2 years

24. Clarence Wright b 24 Sept 1903 d 10 Oct 1979 m. Alta Mullins

25. Chester A Wright b 10 Oct 1905 d in infancy

26. Carlous "Carl" Wright b 26 May 1907 m. Ida Rutherford. Child;

i. Terry Wright -  terryw@naxs.com

27. Maudie Belle Wright b 27 Aug 1909 d 1987 m. Orville Bevins (aka Blevins)

28. Charles Roe Wright b 7 Feb 1912 m. Belvia Gibson

29. Kedrick C Wright b 7 Aug 1915 d Jun 1983 m. Eleda Robinette


"Devil John" Wright
and India Harmon

John Wesley "Devil John" Wright (aka "Bad John") b 17 May 1844 d 30 Jun 1931 Pound Wise Co VA 87 years of age, s/o Joel Ellis Wright and Eliza Agnes Bates.  John Wesley 'Devil John' Wright m. India Harmon. Children of Devil John Wright and India Harmon;

30. Virgie Wright b Sept l895 d age l4/l5

31. Alma Wright b about l904

32. Jennie Wright

33. Rausy V. Wright b l898


"Devil John" Wright
and Margaret J Austin

John Wesley "Devil John" Wright (aka "Bad John") b 17 May 1844 d 30 Jun 1931 Pound Wise Co VA 87 years of age, s/o Joel Ellis Wright and Eliza Agnes Bates.  John Wesley 'Devil John' Wright m. Margaret Jane Austin b 30 Jun 1844 Ashe Co NC d 30 May 1914 Wise Co VA; buried Austin Cemetery, Wise Co VA; d/o Jesse Austin and Margaret Douglas. Children of Devil John Wright and Margaret Jane Austin;

34. Mahala E. Wright b about l866

35. Mack Jesse Austin (Wright) b about l872 d 1930 never m. Norma Jane Hunley. Child of Mack Jesse Austin and Norma Jane Hunley;

I. William Harrison Austin (Wright) b 1903 Nicholas Co WV

Mack Jesse Austin (Wright) m. about 1910 to Annie McCutcheon. Children of Mack Jesse Austin (Wright) and Annie McCutcheon;

I. William Austin (Wright)

II. Clifford Austin (Wright)


The Pinkerton Agent

Devil John worked for the Pinkerton Agency. Pinkertons worked for big businesses and coal companies to keep their workers and others in line and to keep unions out.

During the labor unrest of the late 19th century, businessmen hired Pinkerton agents to infiltrate unions and guards to keep strikers and suspected unionists out.

The most notorious example was the Homestead Strike of 1892, in which Pinkerton agents were called in to enforce the strikebreaking measures of Henry Clay Frick, acting on behalf of Andrew Carnegie, who was abroad; the ensuing conflicts between Pinkerton agents and striking workers led to several deaths on both sides. The Pinkertons were also used as guards in coal, iron and lumber disputes in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania, as well as the railroad strikes of 1877.

In 1871, Congress appropriated $50,000 to the new Department of Justice (DOJ) to form a sub-organization devoted to "the detection and prosecution of those guilty of violating federal law." The amount was insufficient for the DOJ to fashion an integral investigating unit, so the DOJ contracted out the services to the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

However, since passage of the Anti-Pinkerton Act in 1893, federal law has stated that an "individual employed by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, or similar organization, may not be employed by the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia."

The Anti-Pinkerton Act was a law passed by the U.S. Congress in 1893 to limit the government's ability to hire strikebreakers. It is contained within 5 U.S.C. 3108 and specifically restricts the government (and the District of Columbia) from hiring employees of Pinkerton or similar organizations.

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