Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Freedom Wright's Wife and her spinning wheel

You have to go to the auction when it's next door.  Otherwise, the neighbors will talk.  We went, in search of entertainment and gossip.  We found both, and a couple of things to buy, as well.
The auction was a two day affair, liquidating an antiques business that has occupied the old Freedom Wright Inn for the last 45 years.  The wheel in the picture was always marked 'not for sale' in the shop, as it was original with the old house, said to have belonged to Freedom Wright's wife, and marked with her initials, A.W.  The wheel was nearly complete, with the foot treadle and pitman lacking, and the top part of the distaff gone, as well.  The bobbin and flyer are complete, and the drive wheel is true.  It shows both the correct age and wear for a spinning wheel from 1800-1810.  There is a bit of linen thread still on the bobbin, so it's a good bet AW was the last person to use it.  At some point (1960's I'm guessing) it received a coat of varnish, but fortunately, they did not sand it first.
AW's Wheel
 I bought the wheel for $65.  I could not believe my good luck.  I'll post more pictures when she is up and running.  She needs new leathers and a drive belt.  Getting out the cotton twine, now.
Freedom Wright built the inn in 1800.  He does not show up in the 1800 census, but is there in 1810, and gone in 1820.  The census records of the time only recorded the  head of the household, so I do not know her name.

Her intials

200 year old flax leader on the bobbin

I will poke around until I learn more about AW.  DH suggested that I start by getting the description of the land from the County records, as that would record all the owners.
If you have any suggestions for me and AW's Wheel, post a comment.


isrbrown said...

Too Cool! My Dad's a NY Genealogy buff. I did a quick search and actually found something.. may not be related really but here is one http://freedomwrightsinn.blogspot.com/2010/05/where-are-mexicans.html
and this http://www.lcida.org/bicentennial.html

It looks like Freedom's wife's name might have been Anna... he turns up in the Litchfield, CT 1800's census. HOWEVER... I found this http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/TURNER/2009-06/1244905945 which leads us to think that Freedom's daughter was Anna. It could also the two siblings?? Hope this helps. It might not get passed the spammer dealio but I think you'll be able to dig up quite a bit.

sharonwue said...

Thanks for the info. I went to the Lewis Co. Historical Society today, and managed to find a reference to 3rd wife Jerusha. This had me thinking that the initials on the wheel were the maker's initials, and not the owner. However, with Anna Wright in the picture, it's possible that the story passed down is a reference to the daughter as the owner of the wheel.
Nice work, H. I'm collecting all the references in a spreadsheet.

sharonwue said...

Come to think of it, it DOES look like a New England wheel.

Sherry said...

Thank you for this blogpost. It has helped me to get a clearer picture of my four times great grand uncle, Freedom Wright and his life. I have recently started my own blog about my family history, and have just written a blogpost about Freedom today, in which some of your questions about him and his wife are addressed. I believe that your spinning wheel was likely originally that of his second wife, Anna Horton Wright, although he did have a daughter named Anna. The link is: http://mydescentintodescent.blogspot.ca/2013/01/captain-freedom-wright-and-his-historic.html.

Sherry said...

Whoops. I meant to say that Anna Horton was his first wife.