Pioneers of Ellis County
Thomas Gabe Wright
By Jane Bell Smith
T. G. Wright was born in 1869 in Laceys Spring, Alabama, the son of William E. and Letty Tyler Wright. He came to Texas as a young man in the late 1800s. He lived with two Ruffin brothers east of Alma and was a farm hand to Joel D. Treadaway also of Alma. In 1903 he married Mattie Hudson Treadaway, 1885-1942, daughter of Joel D. and Josephine Alexander Treadaway. They had ten children: Josephine Lee Wright, Annie Ruth Wright, Thomas Gilbert Wright, Florence Wright, Fannie Kate Wright, Mary Birch Wright, Joel D. Wright, Dorothy Helen Wright, Elsie Mae Wright and Mattie Elizabeth Wright.
Tom Wright was a prominent citizen of Alma, a successful farmer, landowner and businessman. He owned the gin in Alma during the years of large cotton production there. One of the funny family stories revolves around his new automobile. It was one of the first cars in Alma. The story is that he had built a new car shed for it and when he drove it home the first time he drove into the car shed yelling Whoa, Whoa before he thought to apply the brakes. When the T-Model Ford came out, Tom and the local banker, whose name was also Wright ,but not related, bought the first T-Model Fords in Alma. Tom enjoyed domino games at the local town meeting place in front of the general store in Alma. The banker and Tom both parked their T-Models in front of the store and when Tom finished his game he jumped into the car (which happened to be Mr. Wrights) and drove home for lunch. Soon Mr. Wright and the local policeman arrived and decided to have some fun with Tom threatening to take him in for theft. It was all in good fun and probably produced a lot of laughs from the locals.
T. G. Wright served on the Alma School Board, which was responsible for a new school building for grades 1-11 completed in 1912. All ten of their children attended that school and several of their grandchildren received their education there.
Their two sons, Gilbert and Joel D., served in the Marines in WWII. During the war, Mattie died leaving Tom a widower. Several of his daughters took care of him, and his youngest, Elizabeth and her family provided a home for him for the rest of his life in Alma. He died in 1955 and both Tom and Mattie Wright are buried in the Myrtle Cemetery in Ennis, Texas.
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