Benjamin Franklin “Frank B.” Wright – In censuses and in between

Frank&MabelWright_low
Benjamin Franklin “Frank B.” Wright and Mabel L. (Hulbert) Wright

My great grandfather was born Benjamin Franklin Wright, about 1892 in Delaware (“near Harrington”).[1] He appears to have been named for his father, Benjamin Franklin Wright, (and presumably also for another, more famous, Benjamin Franklin). My great grandfather though, didn’t much like his given name, and for most of his life went by “Frank B.”[2]

I never met Frank B. (a.k.a. “Pop Pop Wright”, who died in 1978),[3] but I’ve heard some of the stories. He sold antiques. He had a funny, high-pitched laugh. I need to record more of those memories, but today I’ll start with other available records.

Born to a farmer,[4] Frank B. lived on a farm near Harrington, Kent County, Delaware in every census between 1900 and 1940.[5]

But he didn’t simply live on a farm in southern Delaware for the first fifty years of his life. When he registered for the World War I draft as a 25-year-old, he was living nearly 200 miles away in Cedar Grove, Essex County, New Jersey, working as a hospital attendant at Essex County Hospital in Cedar Grove.[6] He served in the Army, and shortly after his release on 26 September 1919,[7] he married Mabel L. Hulbert of Dover, New Jersey in Manhattan, New York.[8] (Mabel was listed in the 1910 census as a boarder and laundry domestic at the Essex County Hospital for the Insane in Cedar Grove – likely where she and Frank met.)[9]

At the time of his marriage to Mabel, on 20 November 1919, Frank listed his occupation as a farmer (despite a residence in Newark, New Jersey). Seems like he may have been just thinking ahead – by the time of the 1920 census on 1 January 1920, Frank and Mabel were living on a farm they owned in Kent County, Delaware.[10]

Frank and Mabel had five children who survived past childhood (and at least one, Evelyn Hulbert Wright, who died before she was ten months old);[11] but unfortunately, Mabel died at only 44 years old, leaving Frank as a widower with five children between eight and seventeen years old.[12]

From what I’ve heard, life was not easy for the Wrights, especially after Mabel died, but Frank tried his best to take care of the family. He apparently took out a life insurance policy in the months after Mabel died,[13] and the story goes that Frank never remarried because he didn’t want anyone who wouldn’t be good to the children.

 

This post is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, for Week 6 – Favorite Name


[1] Delaware Bureau of Vital Statistics, delayed birth certificate no. 16596 (1892), Benjamin Franklin Wright; accessed in “Delaware Birth Records, 1800-1932,” database with images, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com : 17 August 2017).

[2] 1910 U.S. Census, Kent County, Delaware, population schedule, Rep. Dist. no. 9, enumeration district (ED) 18, sheet 13A (penned), dwelling 271, family 269, Frank Wright (age 18) in B.F. Wright household; accessed in “1910 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com : 17 August 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 145. “U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com : 17 August 2017); card for Frank Benjamin Wright, no. 68, Local Draft Board 2, Cedar Grove, New Jersey. City of New York Department of Health, marriage certificate no. 2162 (1920), Frank B. Wright and Mabel L. Hulbert, married 20 November 1919; FHL microfilm 7589776, images 1176-7, accessed in “Manhattan (New York City) marriage records, 1866-1937,” available through Family History Centers. 1920 U.S. Census, Kent County, Delaware, pop. sch., Rep. Dist. no. 9, ED 18, sheet 4A (penned), dwell. 77, fam. 77, F.B. Wright household; accessed in “1920 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com : 17 August 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 200. 1930 U.S. Census, Kent County, Delaware, pop. sch., Rep. Dist. no. 9, ED 1-37, sheet 2B (penned), dwell. 37, fam. 38, Frank B. Wright household; accessed in “1930 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com : 16 August 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 286. 1940 U.S. Census, Kent County, Delaware, pop. sch., 9th Dist, ED 1-40, sheet 2B (penned), household 40, Frank B. Wright household; accessed in “1940 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com : 16 August 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 544. “U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” database with images, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com : 17 August 2017); card for Frank Benjamin Wright, serial no. 1407, Local Draft Board 2, Harrington, Delaware.

[3] Ancestry, Find A Grave, database with images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 17 August 2017), memorial 11745587, Frank B. Wright (1892-1978), Hollywood Cemetery, Harrington, Kent County, Delaware; no gravestone photograph.

[4] Delaware Bureau of Vital Statistics, delayed birth certificate no. 16596 (1892), Benjamin Franklin Wright.

[5] 1900 U.S. Census, Kent County, Delaware, population schedule, Mispillion Hundred, ED 76, sheet 33A (penned), dwell. 329, fam. 331, Benjamin F. Wright (age 7) in Benjamin F. Wright household; accessed in “1900 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com : 17 August 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 154. 1910 U.S. Census, Kent Co., Del., pop. sch., Rep. Dist. no. 9, ED 18, sheet 13A (penned), dwell. 271, fam. 269, Frank Wright. 1920 U.S. Census, Kent County, Delaware, pop. sch., Rep. Dist. no. 9, ED 18, sheet 4A (penned), dwell. 77, fam. 77, F.B. Wright. 1930 U.S. Census, Kent Co., Del., pop. sch., Rep. Dist. no. 9, ED 1-37, sheet 2B (penned), dwell. 37, fam. 38, Frank B. Wright. 1940 U.S. Census, Kent Co., Del., pop. sch., 9th Dist, ED 1-40, sheet 2B (penned), household 40, Frank B. Wright.

[6] “U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” card for Frank Benjamin Wright.

[7] “U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010,” database, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com : accessed 17 August 2017), entry for Frank Wright (1892-1978).

[8] City of New York Department of Health, marriage certificate no. 2162 (1920), Frank B. Wright and Mabel L. Hulbert, married 20 November 1919.

[9] 1910 U.S. Census, Essex County, New Jersey, pop. sch., Cedar Grove township, ED 230, sheet 3B (penned), dwelling/family unnumbered, Essex County Hospital for the Insane, Mable [Mabel] Hulbert (age 20), indexed as Mable Neulhert; accessed in “1910 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com : 4 September 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 882.

[10] 1920 U.S. Census, Kent County, Delaware, pop. sch., Rep. Dist. no. 9, ED 18, sheet 4A (penned), dwell. 77, fam. 77, F.B. Wright.

[11] Delaware Bureau of Vital Statistics, death certificate no. 172 (1922), Evelyn Hulbert Wright; accessed in “Delaware Death Records, 1861-1933,” database with images, Ancestry (http://search.ancestry.com : 6 February 2018).

[12] Delaware Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate no. 12 (1938), Mabel L. Wright; accessed in “Delaware Vital Records, 1650-1974,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org : 6 February 2018). 1940 U.S. Census, Kent Co., Del., pop. sch., 9th Dist, ED 1-40, sheet 2B (penned), household 40, Frank B. Wright.

[13] Delaware Bureau of Vital Statistics, delayed birth certificate no. 16596 (1892), Benjamin Franklin Wright. In the abstract of evidence proving his birth date, a comment is included “Peoples Life Ins. policy #8021989 issued 11/7/38 verifies name ‘Frank B. Wright’ and year of birth.”

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