The Early Wrights – Part 1

For several years, since we started researching our ancestors, we believed that James Wright born 17 May 1828 was the son of Jacob Wright
and Sarah Reeve but new evidence has shown that James was in fact the son of James Griggs and Mary Ann Blackwell. He was baptized in Woodham Ferrers as James Griggs on 8 June 1828 and later adopted the surname of his stepfather Jacob Wright.

Jacob Wright, married Sarah Reeve (she signed Reeves), on October 20, 1818 in Woodham Ferrers, with Sarah Wright and Samuel Cable as witnesses. Sarah Wright signed her name; Cable wrote an “X”. Both Jacob and his wife signed their own names.

They had two children in nearby Rettendon, Jacob who was baptized Jan 10, 1820 and David, baptized 8 November 1821 and buried 16 January 1822.
Sarah Reeve Wright died in December 1821 and was buried in Woodham Ferrers on 19 December. In 1833 Jacob married widow Mary Blackwell Griggs.

Early Griggs
The earliest member of the Griggs family that we know of is Thomas Griggs. He married Judith Guy on 21 July 1775 at Woodham Ferrers although neither Thomas nor Judith was baptized in Woodham Ferrers.

They had at least the following children:

Thomas Gregs (sic) baptized 29 September 1775 at Woodham Ferrers, (described as the daughter of Thomas and Judith).

William Griggs baptized 4 July 1784 at Woodham Ferrers, (described as the son of Judith), the register also states that her husband was living abroad. [Does this mean that the child was illegitimate?]

Judith then had a number of illegitimate children:

Isaac Griggs, baptized 3 February 1788 at Woodham Ferrers, (described as the base son of Judith Griggs). He may have died in 1844, aged 62 years, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 5th October 1844.

Milly Griggs, baptized 21 March 1790 at Woodham Ferrers, (described as the base son of John Timor and Judith Griggs)

James Griggs, baptized 20 April 1794 at Woodham Ferrers, (described as the base son of Judith Griggs).

Judith Griggs died in 1843, aged 91 years, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 5 November 1843 .

Our direct forebear James Griggs (born 1794) married Mary Ann Blackwell, who was born in Chelmsford, on 28 April 1820 at Woodham Ferrers. Witnesses to the marriage were Mary Griggs, Jacob Griggs and Joseph Rickner. Only Joseph Rickner could sign his name.

They had the following children:

James Griggs (1) Baptized on 1 February 1824 at Woodham Ferrers. He died in August 1824, aged 7 months, and was buried in Woodham Ferrers on 30 August 1824.

Sarah Griggs Baptized 1 May 1825 at Woodham Ferrers.
On 23 January 1853 she married William Perry at Woodham Ferrers. Sarah and William were bachelor and spinster, both of full age. Sarah’s father was James Griggs, a labourer and William’s father was John Perry, also a labourer. Both Sarah and William came from Woodham Ferrers and neither could sign their names.
William Willis and Elizabeth Perry witnessed the marriage.

James Griggs (2) Born on 17 May 1828 and baptized at Woodham Ferrers on 8 June 1828. After his mother re-married in 1833, James assumed his stepfather’s name of Wright.

James Griggs (senior) died in December 1828, aged 39 years and he was buried on 16 December 1828 at Woodham Ferrers.

Mary Ann Griggs (nee Blackwell) married for the second time on 6 January 1833 to Jacob Wright, an agricultural labourer, at Woodham Ferrers. She died in Woodham Ferrers on December 6, 1857 aged 55.

Her husband Jacob Wright died aged 90 and was buried in Woodham Ferrers on March 11, 1885.

Children of Jacob & Mary Griggs Wright (Half Brothers & Sisters of James Wright.

Thomas (baptized December 22, 1833)
Mary (baptized July 26, 1835 – buried December 13, 1840)
Joseph (baptized June 18, 1837)
Naomi (baptized March 28, 1841)
Hannah (born Dec 28, 1847, baptized Jan 28, 1850).

Judith’s illegitimate son Jacob Griggs married Mary Cliff in Woodham Ferrers on 19 October 1818. They had the following children who were baptized in Woodham Ferrers:
Samuel Griggs, baptized 29 August 1819.
Jacob Griggs, baptized 12 November 1821.
Mary Ann Griggs, baptized 16 March 1824, died in 1831, aged 7 years, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 28 August 1831

Joseph Griggs, baptized 7 Jun 1829, died in 1848, aged 18 years, and was buried in Woodham Ferrers on 15 March 1848.

William Griggs, baptized 15 May 1832, died in 1833, aged 1 year, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 5 August 1833. Alternatively he could have died in 1845, aged 13 years, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 14 December 1845.
John Griggs, baptized 19 April 1835.
Jacob (senior) was described as a labourer at the time of each baptism.
Mary Cliff Griggs died in 1847, aged 52 years, and was buried at Woodham Ferrers on 29 October 1847 .
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