Biography of John L. Wright
Jefferson County, IA Biographies





John L. Wright, one of the prominent and substantial residents of Cedar township, owns an excellent farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 14 but has lived practically retired during the past four years, leaving the active work of the fields to his son, Henry Clay. His birth occurred near Winchester, Scott county, Illinois, on the 1rth of September, 1840, his parents being Jacob and Rebecca (Groce) Wright. The father was born in Lincoln county, Kentucky, on the 29th of May, 1803, and was a son of Philip Wright, a well known wheelwright of the Blue Grass state. In early manhood Jacob Wright removed to Cumberland county, Kentucky, where he was married. In 1829 he removed to Scott county, Illinois, where he worked at the wheelwright's trade and also followed farming. In 1847 he left that state and came to Jefferson county, Iowa, locating on the farm which is now in possession of our subject. He paid nine hundred dollars for a tract of three hundred and twenty acres and in the spring of 1848 took up his abode thereon. There was not a rail on the property and in addition to clearing the ground, he and his son William made four hundred rails per day, hauling them with oxen. Four years later Jacob Wright walked back to Illinois in order to obtain from his father in law sufficient cash to purchase a tract of one hundred acres lying north of his farm. That property is now the site of the Wright cemetery and was donated by Jacob Wright for a public burying ground. The body of his son, Josiah Wright, who died in 1852, was the first one to be interred therein. On the homestead on section 14, Cedar township, the parents of John L. Wright spent the remainder of their lives, the father passing away on the 21st of June, 1894, and the mother on the 30th of April, 1876. Their marriage had been celebrated in 1828. Their remains were interred in the Wright cemetery. Unto this honored pioneer couple were born ten sons, as follows: William, who is a resident of Fairfield, Iowa; Noah, who is deceased; Elijah, living in Wichita, Kansas; Peter, who has also passed away; Isaac, of Audubon country, Iowa; Thomas, who resides in Barton county, Missouri; John L., of this review; Alfred, living in Fairfield, Iowa; Isom, who is deceased; and Josiah, who died as a child.

John L. Wright remained under the parental roof until he had attained his majority. His mother taught him how to spin and in this art he became as proficient as any girl in the section where they resided. There being no daughters in the family, he assisted his mother in many of the duties which usually fall to the other sex. In 1865 he spent a brief period in Illinois as a farm hand. In 1875 he purchased eighty acres of land from his father and, as a reward for his filial devotion, was given the forty acre tract on which stood the old homestead. At the present time he owns one hundred and sixty acres of as fine land as can be found in Jefferson county. In 1907 he put aside the active work of the fields and turned over the management of the farm to his son, Henry Clay, who himself owns a twenty acre tract which he bought from his uncle Alfred in 1906.

On the 15th of June, 1879, in his own home, Mr. Wright was united in marriage to Miss Laura Jane Rodabaugh, a daughter of Joseph and Catharine (Eichelbarger) Rodabaugh, who were natives of Pennsylvania and Maryland respectively. The father's birth occurred March 16, 1818, while the mother was born on the 6th of November, 1822. They were married on the t3th of October, 1839, and in the spring of 1843 came to Jefferson county, Iowa, from Ohio. Joseph Rodabaugh owned an apples nursery three miles northwest of Birmingham, this state, and did an extensive business, his being at that time the only nursery in the locality. In 1882 he left his farm and took up his abode in Birmingham, where his wife passed away on the 21st of July, 1898. Mr. Rodabaugh is now living in retirement in California, one hundred miles south of San Francisco. making his home with his daughter, Mrs. Mary De Hart. He is ninety three years of age and promised that he would return to Iowa on a visit when he had reached the century mark. When eighty one years old he married Mrs. Isabelle Rodabaugh, the widow of his brother, Daniel Rodabaugh, who was at that time seventy nine years of age.

Mr. and Mrs. John L. Wright have one son, Henry Clay, whose birth occurred on the farm on which he now resides, on October 26, 1881. He attended the district schools of Cedar township in the acquirement of an education and since putting aside his text books has devoted his time and energies to general agricultural pursuits, being now numbered among the progressive and enterprising young farmers of the community. On the 21st of December, 1904, he wedded Miss Elizabeth Mardock, a daughter of William and Sarah (Wilson) Mardock, the former a native of Van Buren county and the latter of Jefferson county, this state. At the time of his marriage William Mardock resided on a farm a mile and a quarter south of that of John L. Wright. He is now employed in the Iowa tile ditcher factory and resides with his wife at Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Wright have one child, Ruby Iola, who was born on the 12th of December, 1907. Henry Hammons, an uncle of Mrs. H. C. Wright, participated in the Civil war and had a brother, Wesley, who died while at the front. On the 29th of November, 1910, Mrs. John L. Wright passed away in the faith of the Freewill Baptist church, having been a member of a church of that denomination near Birmingham, Iowa.

Both John L. Wright and his son give their political allegiance to the democracy, believing firmly in its principles. Among the most valued objects in possession of our subject is a singing book which was used by his mother when a girl. He also has a spinning wheel made in Illinois by his father. who was a fine workman. Mr. Wright has now passed the seventy first milestone on his earthly pilgrimage and is spending the evening of life in well earned ease, happy in the friendship and esteem of all who know him.

From:
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement Vol II
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1914


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