SILAS MCDUFFY WRIGHT AND ALICE TALITHA EDWARDS
Silas Wright and his wife Alice Talitha Edwards and their family were pioneer farmers in the Miles area.
Silas was the first child of Spencer and Elizabeth Pruitt Wright. Alice was the daughter of John Wilson Edwards and his second wife Nora Ann Herrin.
Silas M.D. Wright, known by many as "Duff or "Duffy", was born near Yellville, Marion County, Arkansas on June 27, 1852. Alice was born in Grayson County, Texas on September 8, 1860. Her mother, Nora Ann Herrin Edwards, died about a month later. According to a letter written by Eva Edwards, a daughter of George L. Edwards , a half-brother of Alice " there was a baby girl named Alice. The mother died when it was less than a month old. Older girls raised her ". Her father died a few years later. In 1870, Alice was age 10 and living with her grandmother, Talitha Herrin, at Kentucky Town, Grayson County ( 1870 US census of Grayson Co. Texas ). The Spencer Wright family, including 17 year old Silas M. Wright, was living next door. I think it safe to say that Silas and Alice knew each other for quite some time prior to their marriage.
She and Silas were married in Grayson County on April 18, 1878. Silas was twenty six years old and Alice was seventeen.
Silas, like his father, liked to own land and worked hard to have the money to buy it. Deed records of Grayson County record that Silas and his younger brother, William Lafayette, bought a 73 acre farm in Hunt County on March 28, 1885. They paid the $900 cost in cash. This was in the same survey as land near their father between Celeste and Leonard and was located in Hunt County. In December of 1885 Silas had received a land grant of 80 acres on Indian Creek which was located some fifteen miles from Bonham in Fannin County. He sold this propery on October 2, 1888 for $2300. About this time, he and his father were likely thinking of moving on to some new land which was available near Miles in Runnels County. On October 12, 1889 he and his brother William sold their place in Hunt County which gave him the money to buy the land in Miles.
Runnels County deed records show that on October 12, 1889 Silas and his father Spencer Wright purchased a section or 640 acres of land surveyed by the Washington County Railway Company for $5.00 per acre or a total price of $3,200. Again, he and his father paid cash for the land.
This was new frontier for the Wright family. Miles was just beginning as a train station called Miles Station. Ballinger was just getting its courthouse and the railroad was being built. The railroad between San Angelo and Ballinger was just completed the year they moved to Miles.The train station, Miles Station, was established in March of 1890. The courthouse in Ballinger was begun in 1888 and finished in 1889.
The land was mostly unfenced rangeland for cattle and sheep. This was a time of rapid change however. With the sales of railroad land, many other farmers began arriving in large numbers. Silas was one of the first in the Miles area to break land and start growing crops. This likely did not go over too well with local cattlemen who were rather used to the idea of "free range". One story told was that Silas broke a piece of land and planted corn. Cattlemen resented this so turned in some of their cattle to destoy the crop.
It is believed that Silas and his boys worked some on a large ranch north of Miles to help support their family. He probably was a dealer in mules and possibly horses. An indication of this is shown in a deed record of 1895 where he accepted 9 mules in lieu of a down payment when some of the land was sold following the death of his father, Spencer Wright. He also agreed to take "fifteen average mules" for each of two remaining notes on the land.
Silas then purchased another 177 acres of land for $708 on October 30, 1900. This land was just west of the original section of land bought in 1889.
Silas and Alice were members of the Miles Baptist Church and participated in its very early days. The church was organized by the Baptist Missionary Baptist Church of Christ in 1891. Church records of 1896 reveal that "brother S.M.Wright was restored to full fellowship of the Church" and Sister A.T. Wright was received for baptism. Sister Artie Wright, their daughter was baptised in September of 1896. Church records of July, 1900 record that Silas was elected as church messenger. He was church clerk from 1896 to 1900. He was one of five men appointed to consider the building of a new church. He was also a Sunday School teacher in 1901.
Church rules then were very strict. Church history says that from 1903 to 1907 several members were expelled for "drunkenness, dancing, immoral conduct, attempt to commit adultery, and being involved in the liquor business. As was the case in Moses Wright's church back in North Carolina ( Silas's grandfather ), the guilty party could repent and avoid being kicked out of the church.
Silas and Alice were the parents of six children. The first four were born in Grayson County. I think the others were likely born in Hunt county near Celeste.
Alice Talitha Wright died at age 55 on October 3, 1916. It is believed she had a stroke.
Silas died May 21, 1920. His death certificate indicates he died of an abcessed appendix. He was sixty seven.
Both Silas and Alice are also buried at the Miles Cemetery.
( Written by Orval Wright, 722 Ashland Creek, Victoria, Tex. 77901. Email firstname.lastname@example.org )