Born: 9 February 1841 in Fentress County, TN
Died: 30 April 1900 in Putnam County, TN
Buried: Cookeville City Cemetery, Putnam County, TN
Parents: Mathias Austin and Elizabeth (Wright) Wright

Married: Sarah Ann E. Hunt on 26 October 1865 in Smith County, TN
Born: October 1848 in Smith County, TN
Died: 22 July 1912 in Putnam County, TN
Buried: Cookeville City Cemetery, Putnam County, TN
Parents: Fountain F. and Jane (Unknown) Hunt


  1. Elizabeth Jane "Lizzie" Wright


1st Tennessee Mounted Infantry
Company D


  • Entered the service as a Private and left the service as a Private
  • Age: 22
  • Enlisted 25 Sep 1863 at Jamestown
  • Enlistment - 30 April 1864: Present
  • Appointed Sergeant Major on 24 Mar 1864 by order of Lt. Col. A. E. Garrett
  • May & June 1864 Present
  • July - Dec 1864: Present
  • Mustered Out 14 April 1865



  • 1850 Census: Fentress County, TN, Page 401
  • 1860 Census: Fentress County, TN, Page 15
  • 1870 Census:
  • 1880 Census: Overton County, TN, Page 310D


Cookeville Press
3 May 1900
Vol. XIV, No.18 , Page 8

  • Hon. James W. Wright

    With much regret we announce the death of Hon. James W. Wright with occurred at his home in Cookeville last Monday at 3 o'clock p.m. Juge Wright was born in Fentress county Feb. 9th 1841. He was born and raised upon the farm of his father. In the war between the States he joined the First Tennessee Mounted Infantry Federal Army and served nearly two years in the same. In Nov. 1865 he married Miss Sallie Hunt of Carthage Tenn, and immediately settled in Livingston Overton County Tenn, and was soon thereafter appointed Clerk & Master of said County and served as such for six years most ifficiently. In the mean time he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1870, and was appointed Dist. Attorney of the 16th Judicial Circuit by Gov. John C. Brown, which position, however, he soon resigned. He was chairman of the Couty Court of Overton County from 1876 to 1881. He was also State Senator representing the Eleventh Senatorial District in the Forty-fourth General Assembly of Tennessee.

    Judge Wright was a Democrat and always voted the Democratic ticket.

    About thirteen years ago he moved to Cookeville and in connection with Hon. Jesse Arnold established the Bank of Cookeville and in which he faithfully and dilligently labored as cashier until was stricken with disease which finally culminated in his death as before stated.

    He was a member of the C. P. Church at this place, a deacon in god standing and had been for the last ten or twelve years. He often told his wife that he was ready to die and was going home to heaven. He was also a Master Mason and had been ever since he was 21 years of age.

    In all the relations of the live Judge Wright was a high toned honorable man, punctual and just to all his obligations, a kind hearted and charitable at all times. For the poor and distressed, the church and the cause of education, his purse was ever open, but not ostentatiously so. As a public officer he discharged every trust so efficiently that all bestowed upon him the highest meed of praise, but of course it is not possible to even sketch the life and character of such a man in the space at our command, but his death cast a gloom over the hearts of many not only here but throughout a large portion of Tennessee. He leaves a sorrowing affectionate widow and many friend to mourn his loss. Funeral services were conducted at the grave by Brother Gilbert, and was interred with Masonic honors in his own private cemetery in the presence of a large concourse of neighbors and friends.

Putnam County Herald
25 July 1912
Page 7

  • Mrs. Sarah Wright, widow of Judge J. W. Wright, died in this city Tuesday evening. She had been in poor health for many years. She was laid to rest in the city cemetery Wednesday evening.

The Tennessean
3 May 1900
Page 2

  • COOKEVILLE, May 2. - (Special.) - Judge James W. Wright, one of the most prominent and best-known citizens of Putnam County, died yesterday afternoon at his residence in this city, after lingering several days from an attack of paralysis. Judge Wright was 58 years old. He had been in very poor health for the past few years, but until the breaking down of his health he led an unusually active life. He held a number of responsible positions, being County Judge, District Attorney General, State Senator and for several years was cashier of the Bank of Cookeville. He was a Democrat in politics and a leading member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He was a man of unusual business sagacity and sound judgement, and was universally esteemed and respected by all who knew him. He leaves a wife, but no children. His burial took place this evening under the auspices of the Masonic Fraternity, of which he was a devoted member.

The Tennessean
24 July 1912
Page 4

  • Mrs. Sarah Hunt Wright.
    COOKEVILLE, Tenn., July 23. - (Special.) - Mrs. Sarah Hunt Wright, 65, widow of the late Judge James W. Wright, of this city, died last night. She was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. Her husband James W. Wright, was one of the best known and most highly esteemed citizens of this section of the state. He served as a member of both branches of the legislature and as attorney-general. He died about fifteen years ago.


Putnam County, TN
Will Book 6
Pages 139, 154-159

  • Will of J. W. Wright
  • Page(s): 139
  • Written: 21 March 1898
  • Probated:
  • Heirs: Spouse S. A. E. Wright
  • Online at FamilySearch
  • Name: Wright, J. W.
  • Page(s): 154-159
  • Date the Will was Written: Mar 21, 1898
  • Date the Will was Recorded: May 14, 1903
  • Spouse: S. A. Wright
  • Other Information: Will Contested Case
  • Online at FamilySearch


Putnam County Herald
27 August 1953Page 3

Judge James W. Wright (1840-1900)
Judge James W. Wright was born in Fentress County in 1840. After the close of the Civil War, he studied law and was admitted to the Bar and located at Livingston. He was not a brilliant speaker and there was nothing spectacular about his behavior, upon the contrary he was modest, unassuming and rather retiring in his temperament, but he was every inch a man. He was wonderfully gift in strong native ability sound judgement and a personality that attracted people to him. His rugged honesty and sincerity impress all who knew him. He was fully identified with all the best interest of the country, and never betrayed a trust, not was guilty of a dishonorable act. In brief, all who knew him had entire confidence in his honesty, integrity and sincerity. Whether in private life or in business, or acting as legal counsel at the bar, or holding responsible official position, he was still the refined gentleman to whom one could commit his dearest interests without the slightest apprehension of betrayal. He was not inflated with vanity by success, and could not be cajoled into improper measures or ventures by flattery. He was only 59 years old when he died on April 30, 1900, and one wonders how he could have served in so many responsible stations and business activities within the space of his years.

While a resident of Livingston, he served as Clerk and Master, County Judge, State Senator and Attorney-General of the 16th Judicial Circuit. He commenced serving as Attorney-General in 1873, when he was only 32 years old.

Judge Wright was influenced by Jesse Arnold, his personal friend of many years, to move from Livingston to Cookeville to become associated with Arnold in founding the Bank of Cookeville, of which bank he was Cashier from its organization until the impairment of his health shortly before his death.

Judge Wright with his wife and daughter moved form Livingston to Cookeville about January 1, 1887. He had purchased the Clarke property on Washington Street (now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Watson) and was having the resident remodeled while he and his family boarded at the Isbell Hotel, on the South side of the Public Square. On February 1, 1887, Miss Lizzie Wright, age 20, a beautiful and talented you lady, the only child of Judge and Mrs. Wright, died after a few days illness with pneumonia, at the Isbell Hotel. Judge and Mrs. Wright never ceased to grieve over the death of their only child.

Judge Wright was an active member and Elder of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The graves of Judge and Mrs. Wright and their daughter are in the Cookeville Cemetery.