John Wesley Wright
aka Devil John aka Bad John

Devil John Wright

John Wesley Wright
aka Devil John aka Bad John

John Wesley Wright
Devil John Wright
Devil John Wright was the s/o Joel Ellis Wright and Eliza Agnes Bates. He was the brother of my Great Grandmother, Sarah Sallie Wright Potter. He had several families at the same time who all knew about each other. He was a person who had his way by hook or crook to include procuring land for the coal companies he stole from his unfortunate neighbors. He worked for the Pinkerton agency to put down and discourage strikes and unions from forming. He was a member of "The Guard" put together by the coal company lawyers, owners and others, including the Fox brothers, to "discourage" anyone who disagreed with their crooked land deals. They bragged about going after negroes and lynching them. So, where is the heroism in this man?!

A collaboration between Ben Luntz, Patty Mae Brashears and Nancy Wright Bays includes a book that claims, among other fiction, that John Wright "fought against" the klan in Kentucky, when in fact, he was a klan member himself. This fellow Luntz and his cohorts, Patty Mae Brashears and Nancy Wright Bays try to make Devil John into a hero when in fact, he was far from it. Ben Luntz has contacted me before and insisted on censoring the facts about both John Wright and William S Luntz who were both trouble makers and antagonists in every way thoughout their lives. The closest story I have seen to the truth about who John Wright really was comes from a gentleman who wrote about the reality of this man.

Luntz and his cohorts have a sick obsession with slandering this family and promoting this fiction. All of their slander and lies are simply because of the factual and timely account in the Book by Noah Reynolds which he wrote many long years ago about the events leading up to the killing of William S Wright/Luntz. Ben Luntz's obsession with this matter has led him to write a book of false accusations along with these other two fabricators, Patty Mae Brashears and Nancy Wright Bays who have a website full of lies against the Reynolds family with not a grain of truth or foundation. These people have disregarded completely the facts in Noah Reynolds true and timely account of what took place in their ongoing battle against these Luntz trouble makers who just wanted their land and the many injustices perpetrated by the Luntz family against Noah and John Reynolds. The killing of Luntz was self defense, but to hear these liars tell it, Noah and John were horrible people. There is not one shred of evidence against the Reynolds men. They were both pardoned in the killing of Luntz, and had no part in anything else which these liars accuse them of.

They accused John and Noah of killing some woman named Jemima Hall, when in fact, it was not them, but Mack Yonts who accidently killed her. The killing was accidental and not a murder at all. These people took yellow journalism articles from far away states and used them to "prove" that these events took place. The real proof comes from Devil John's own son, Chid Wright. He tells the complete story of this event in his own writings. Noah and John were not even in the KKK. It was a different group of people, but this nut and his cohorts have accused these good people of all kinds of hidious crimes against women and all their accusations are completeley false. John and Noah and their families were regarded highly in that area. John Reynolds was a US Marshall and was killed in the line of duty. Noah was a minister and had nothing to do with the KKK. These people are liars and their website is completely false. If you notice, their "articles" are all from another state and never from the local papers.

As for Devil John, you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear and this is their goal. Put lipstick on a pig and it's still a pig. He was a coal company shill and did their bidding, he was a union buster and did what he could to put them down. He was not a hero, he was a greedy, corrupt man. Regarding his obsessive pursuit of women, no matter how many women Devil John had accumulated, he frequently went after more, including my own Mother, who knew him well, knew that he was a member of the KKK, a very bad man, and no matter how many advances he made towards her, she would have no part of Devil John. You can try to dress him up, but a whoremonger is a whoremonger. Devil John's Women not in order:

 | Serilda Austin | Martha Humphrey | Mary Bentley | Ellen Sanders | Alice Lee Harmon | India Harmon | Margaret Austin | 


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 Jesse 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 17 Nov 1863; military service, Co B and D, 13th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA; (died during the Civil War; killed by Union Soldier, Alfred Killen); s/o John Wright and Mary Bentley. Child of Benjamin Wright and Sarilda Austin;

1. Margaret Wright b 1861 KY

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Devil John 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;

1. James Henderson Wright b 23 May 1865 d 3 Aug 1928 m. to (1) 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.

2. 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. Susannah Susan Johnson m. about 1900 to (1) Will Hall.

3. John Phillip Wright b 7 Jan 1875 d 12 Sept 1898; killed by Henry Adams; 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. (2) to Tilden McFall.

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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 m. Mary Bentley. Children of John Wesley Devil John Wright and Mary Bentley;

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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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; m. Cora Lee Hall; d/o Harmon Hall and Virginia Amburgey.

Easter Wright m. to (2) James Bryant.

5. 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

6. Samuel Preston Wright b 25 Oct l888; m. Mahala Branham

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

8. John Wright Jr. died in infancy.

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Devil John Wright
and Ellen Sanders

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. (Levi Greenville Sanders; s/o Greenville "Granville" Sanders and Rhoda Potter) (Matilda Austin; d/o Jesse Austin and Margaret Douglas). Children of John Wesley Devil John Wright and Ellen Sanders;

1. Joel Wright b 29 Jun 1883; m. 3 Jan 1907 to Mary Chaney 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. (Source).

(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.

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

3. 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.

4. 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. Children of Ira Ellis Wright and Martha Vermillion;

I. Roby Raburn Wright

II. Chester Wright

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Devil John Wright
and Alice Lee 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. 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;

1. 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.

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

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

4. Conrad W Wright b 10 Sept 1899 d 1903

5. Mallie Wright b about 1900

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

7. Clarence Willard Wright b 24 Sept 1903 d 10 Oct 1979; m. Alta S Mullins b 7 Apr 1905 d 25 Feb 1991; buried Bolling Cemetery, Pound, Wise Co VA; d/o Henry Irvin Mullins and Martha Mattie Williams.

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

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

I. Terry Wright - terryw@naxs.com

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

11. Charles Roe Wright b 7 Feb 1912; m. Belvia Gibson

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

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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;

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

2. Alma Wright b about l904

3. Jennie Wright

4. Rausy V Wright b l898

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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 J Austin. Children of Devil John Wright and Margaret J Austin;

1. Mahala E Wright b about l866

2. 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)

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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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