History of the Restoration Movement

John Wright


Elder John Wright
Jan. 7, 1790- June 22, 1876
Early Christian Preacher – Soldier of the War Of 1812
By Mrs. L. W. McCown

From a letter dated May 18, 1869, Johnson's Depot, Washington County, Tenn., written by John Wright to his nephew David Wright, editor of a Christian Baptist paper, of Chillicothe, Mo., I quote the following:

"My grandfather William Wright came from Ireland and lived in Berkeley county, Va., about the time of the war with England. He had five sons. My father Thomas was the youngest. My father was at the siege of Little York where Cornwallis surrendered. Shortly after that he came to this country, then a territory, and sometime afterwards his father (William) and three of his sons went to Kentucky, also a territory. Two of them settled in Bourbon county and the other near a place called "Crab Orchard." The eldest of the five, Samuel Wright, remained in Virginia, and about the year 1800 he went to Kentucky to see his brothers, and on the way, he paid us a visit; the only time I ever saw any of my father's people except his sister, who married Joseph Melvin, who came out here after my father was married and lived and died near this place.

"My father (Thomas) married about 1789 a woman whose ancestors came from Germany. They immigrated to this country from Shanadowa, (sic) Virginia. Her father's name was Samuel C. Bogart. Her mother was Catherine Range, daughter of Noah and Elizabeth Range.

"Thomas Wright, my father was born in Virginia, 15th day of Feb. 1760; and died in Carter county, Tenn. Sept. 6, 1827. My mother, Eleanor Bogart, was born the 1st day of July, 1767, and died in Carter county, Tenn. on the 24th of June, 1854."

Again quoting from a second letter written by John Wright to his nephew, David Wright, in June 2, 1869, he says—"My father's brothers then went to Kentucky, their names were William, James and I think Hugh. In the courthouse of Bourbon county, Ky., at Paris, is the following will—believed to be that of William Wright, father of Thomas, and grandfather of John above."

This Will of William Wright, written Oct. 7, 1802 (?) and acknowledged July court, 1800 by Samuel Black and William Black.

Thomas and Eleanor Bogart Wright had the the following children—John, born Jan. 7, 1790; married first Barbara Range who died 1847, and he married again to Mrs. Margaret W. Beagles. Mary married James McNabb. Samuel married Sarah Price. William married Susannah Pugh. James married Elizabeth McInturf, who later married Isaac Anderson. Joseph married Miss Wilds of Missouri. Jane married Abram Haun. Sarah married James Seaburn. Jonathan died when a child. (Taken from the Bible of Eleanor Bogart.)

John Wright was born at the old Thomas Wright homestead near Marbleton, which had been purchased from Samuel Bogart, father of Eleanor Wright. He enlisted in the War of 1812 in Capt. Jesse Cole's company, Col. Samuel Wear's Regiment of East Tenn. Militia on Oct. 18, 1813 and served three months. His Pension statement says he was honorably discharged at Fish Springs, on Jan. 17, 1814. His discharge was later sent to Rogersville as evidence for his pay, and was lost. As his pay he drew a land warrant.

Not only did John Wright serve in that war, but when the War Between the States broke out, he became enrolling officer for the Confederacy, although he was over 70 years old. At the opening of the Civil War he was living in affluence, but his strongly rebel attitude led to depredations upon his home by both Yankees and the bushwhackers for 27 nights in succession. After robbing him of everything they gathered around him and made him dance by shooting into the floor, and he took refuge in Johnson City. While afterwards, although the old house was not burned, he never wanted to go back to the old home after it was so devastated. Today it still stands altho a new floor hides the bullet marks of the bushwhackers.

An old drum, made from a tree trunk, and used during 1812, is at the home of a grandson, John Mongle, at Athens, Tenn. The pardon of John Wright, given by President Andrew Johnson on Nov. 13, 1865 is in the possession of Nancy Jones Stickley, Memphis, Tenn. She also has his certificate, giving him back his citizenship, after his support of the Confederacy. His wedding suit, worn at the second wedding was made by Andrew Johnson, a warm personal friend.

John Wright was a most unique character. He was first a member of the old Sinking Creek Baptist church, which he must have joined early, and he must have been a preacher, for we find marriages performed by him, where he signed his name in 1823 as Minister of the Gospel. He later withdrew from the Baptists and joined on June 20, 1823 the early Christian church on Buffalo Creek, Carter county, under the leadership of Elder James Miller. He soon began to preach the doctrine of the Restoration Movement and declares himself to be one of the earliest, if not the first, to preach it. He calls himself a Reformer.

After his removal to Johnson City, where he lived on what is now west Market street, he became the superintendent of the Union Sunday School held on Science Hill, which place he held until a few years before his death.

When the First Christian Church was organized in 1871 in Johnson City, the names of John Wright and wife head the list of Charter Members. He was a great evangelist. A letter written to Brother Samuel H. Millard in 1860 from Ocolona, Carter county, shows his great zeal for trying to establish churches in Georgia, North Carolina, and southwest Virginia.

He died June 22, 1876, aged 86 years, 5 months, and fifteen days. Brother Samuel H. Millard conducted his funeral, and he was laid to rest in Oak Hill Cemetery, in Johnson City.

On May 7, 1929, the Colonel David Henley chapter of the National Society of United Daughters of the War of 1812 erected a bronze marker at his grave. This was unveiled with impressive ceremonies and tribute paid to the outstanding work of this brave and sturdy pioneer in the Kingdom of God.

-J. W. West, Sketches Of Our Mountain Preachers, pages 238-242

Directions To Grave

The burial plot of John Wright is located in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Johnson City, Tennessee. In east Tennessee take I-26 to exit 23. If coming from the north you will turn right on a one-way street E. Market St. (Note: This is a one-way street. Coming from the south you will take E. Main St. which is one-way. You'll have to cross over E. Main and turn left on E. Market St and go up under the bridge). Travel on E. Market until you cross Buffalo St. and it will becoe W. Market St. In a couple blocks turn left on E. Bonne St. Go about two blocks and you'll see the cemetery on your right. Enter the first entrance you come to on your right. Go down to the fourth little road on your left (less clearly defined - gravel track) and go up into it between the first two trees. The newer more easy to read monument will be facing away from you. While in the cemetery be sure and visit the graves of other restoration preachers buried in the cemetery like, S.H. Millard and A. M. Ferguson.

GPS Location
36°18'52.4"N 82°21'24.4"W
or D.d. 36.314553,-82.356779

John Wright
WAR OF 1812
JANUARY 7, 1794
JUNE 22, 1876

Photos Taken 04.19.2021
Webpage produced 11.2.2022
Courtesy Of Scott Harp

Special Recognition: C. Wayne Kilpatrick and Tom L. Childers in traveling with me in April, 2021 over to the very eastern part of Tennessee to find graves of restoration preachers.


Master Index Page