52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks — # 20 Frank Wright

Amy Crow of “No Story too Small” challenged the genealogy community to get out and write. The Challenge was to write about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. This is my attempt to share my love of genealogy with others.

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Left to right; Winnifred, Evelyn, Elizabeth and Frank

Meet #19’s husband, Frank Wright.  Frank was the youngest of three children of John C. Wright and Elizabeth Duncan Rollo Robertson (that really was her birth name) born on the 19th of September 1901 at 60 Ure St., Dundee, Scotland.  His parents decided to make a move to Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Frank’s father, John, was the first to immigrate, as was common back then to get things ready for the family, in 1904.  Elizabeth and the two younger children arrived on July 4, 1905 on the SS Pretorian coming in to Montreal, Canada.  I wonder if you caught that there was a missing older child mentioned that seems to not have immigrated with the family.  You will need to stay tuned to her more about Winnifred Wright.

The family in 1911 was living at 14 Milton Ave., Hamilton East, Ontario. They later crossed the border to Detroit, Michigan on August 24th of 1913.   According to the Border Crossing papers, they were joining up with John’s brother Thomas Wright, who lived at 219 Burgess Ave. in Detroit.  The fun things you find out when researching,  didn’t know there were more family here.  Now you can understand why the “genealogy” never gets “done”.  Always someone new to follow-up on.

Wedding photo of Frank Wright and Janet Thomson

Wedding photo of Frank Wright and Janet Thomson

So the family finally gets to Detroit, where they stay for the rest of the story.  Frank had several jobs, in the 1920 census, he is a clerk in an office.  By 1930, when he has met Janet, he is working as a Machinist at Ford Motor Company at the Rouge Plant.  Frank and Janet met in Hamilton, Ontario when they met through mutual friends and were later married on 2 June 1930 in Toronto.

I remember Janet (my grandmother) telling me about how when the Walter Reuther and other UAW union organizers in 1937, came to the Rouge Plant for “The Battle for the Overpass” where they were trying to get the hourly wage to $8/for a 6 hour day from the $6/8 hour day.  Grandpa was so worried going to and from work.  People were hurt on both sides, I’m not sure which side he would have been on.  Conditions were horrible there, He would come home and Grandma would have him leave his clothes by the back door and off to the laundry they would go.  His skin, she said, was black from all the oils in the air at the plant.  He later developed skin cancer that I am positive was directly related to the conditions at the plant. In later years, he relocated to the Plymouth plant, which he loved.  Very clean, air-conditioned, he was a foreman there, but didn’t like the responsibilities that came with that job and eventually retired prior to 1970 after 42 years of service.

Frank Wright about 1940

Frank Wright about 1940

He and Janet had two daughters, Janet and Elizabeth.  They enjoyed Sunday drives out US 12  in the Irish Hills and out Woodward Ave. returning to their home.  Vacations were a family affair with their daughters and Janet’s sister Peggy.  They enjoyed staying for their yearly vacations in cottages in Oscoda, Michigan along the beaches of Lake Huron most years, even getting to Florida before 1956.  You might think your ancestors lived a boring life but my family seems to have taken life in hand and traveled.  During the 1960’s Frank and Janet visited Janet’s half-brother, Jimmie  and his wife, Bessie, out in San Diego, California.

I remember my grandfather as a fun-loving person.  He had the coolest “man cave” before

Janet Wright Smith, unknown friend, Margaret Crowley Nash, and Margaret Thomson Crowley

Janet Wright Smith, unknown friend, Margaret Crowley Nash, and Margaret Thomson Crowley

they were popular.  In the basement of their Asbury Park home in Detroit, he had a very old wood bar, he would go down there and listen to sports on the radio and draw.  He also had a shortwave radio that he listen all over the world.  I have a photo of the bar at a party in the basement, Frank is not there but guess who is having a great time?  Left to right are Janet Wright Smith, an unknown friend, Margaret Crowley Nash, and Margaret Thomson Nash.

 

My grandfather, Frank Wright, passed away on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1974 at his home in Detroit.  He was laid to rest at Roselawn Cemetery in Berkley Michigan, just west of Grand River at Ten Mile Road.

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