Being a Respository of the Historical Cemeteries of Humboldt County, California

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Petrolia Pioneer Cemetery: Wright, Lucian Merritt, Jr.


Lucian Merritt, Jr. Lucian Merritt Wright, Jr. was born in 26 June 1854 at Lake Geneva, Walworth County, Wisconsin (1), the fourth child of Lucian Merritt and Lucy Ann Farnsworth Wright. He was born between the time that his father returned from his 49er expedition to California and the family moved west in 1859. Lucian, Jr. was a boy of 5 at the time of this journey (2) and grew up in the Mattole Valley at his family's farm north of Petrolia. Lucian married Alice May Smith, the daughter of William Dayton and Mary Ellen Johnston Smith at Petrolia on 15 October 1882. Together they ranched and raised eleven children in the Mattole:
  1. Georgia May Wright born 14 October 1883 at Petrolia (married George Smith)
  2. Lucy Ellen Wright born 18 March 1885 at Petrolia (married Orson Newton "Budd" Dudley)
  3. Otto Lucian Wright born 15 July 1887 at Petrolia (married Bessie Elinore Stanley)
  4. Kathrine Alice Wright born 31 May 1889 at Petrolia (married 1st Walter Reuben Hunter, was widowed, and married 2nd Dwight Adams)
  5. Amy Wright* born November 1890 at Petrolia (died as a child)
  6. Addie Sonoma Wright born 29 August 1891 at Petrolia (married Norman Eugene Vredenburg)
  7. Anna Vernetta Wright born 18 February 1894 at Petrolia (married Reed Pomeroy Cook)
  8. Lola Lovene Wright born 31 March 1895 at Petrolia (married Richard Williams)
  9. Son Wright* born May 1896 at Petrolia (died at 18 months)
  10. Hazel Idella Wright born May 1897 at Petrolia (married Emmett Louis Tighe)
  11. Viola Consuella Wright born 15 August 1898 in California (married Walter T. Watson)
  12. Dayton Hiram Wright born 8 November 1900 at Petrolia (married Jennie E. Turner)
  13. Mildred Myrtle Wright born 27 July 1902 at Petrolia (married 1st Milton Tufts, married 2nd a man by the name of Angeli)
In 1920, when their children were adults, Lucian and Alice were enumerated on separate censuses: Lucian living with some of the children in the Mattole (3) and Alice living in Eureka with some of the other children(4). By 1930 they were living under one roof again, at 3461 Pine Street in Eureka with four of their daughters: Addie, Viola, divorced daughter Lola Williams with her daughter Alice, and married daughter Mildred Tufts with her husband Milton and their children Garth and Pauline (5).

In 1942 Lucian fell, and fracturing his hip, was bedridden from then until his death on 4 May 1943. He would have been 90 on the 26th of that month. At the time of his death he had 14 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Alice May Smith Wright died on 15 June 1961 and is buried at Ocean View Cemetery in Eureka (6).

*Buried at Petrolia Pioneer Cemetery

I wish to emphasize that the information I publish on this blog is to the best of my knowledge. I do my best to research my subjects as deeply as possible and provide sources as they are available. When misinformation (or, as in the case of some of the sons-in-law of Lucian, the lack of information) is discovered, I welcome corrections and supplemental information. Please feel free to contact me via the comment utility: I will respond with a personal email.


  1. Ferndale Enterprise 7 May 1943 "Lucian Wright Funeral Today"

  2. The Journal of Rosina M. Wright Johnson, 1930 (courtesy Mattole Valley Historical Society)

  3. 1920 United States Federal Census (26 January) Mattole Township, Humboldt, California: Village of Petrolia

  4. 1920 United States Federal Census (17 January) Eureka, Humboldt California: 3442 Little California Street

  5. 1930 United States Federal Census (16 April ) Eureka, Humboldt, California: 3461 Pine Street

  6. Eureka Humboldt Standard 16 June 1961 "Mrs Alice May Wright"

Photographs courtesy from the collection of the Mattole Valley Historical Society


  1. Nice job again, Julia. I love that young photo of Lucien... he looks so fresh-faced. Good to ask for the corrections or amendments, i too think one of the virtues of this media is that everyone can help build it up. Sometimes people have family stories, that may or may not be true. But i think it's even fun to share these, noting the source, even if anonymous. (Because there are the statistics facts, that rely upon written documentation; then there are the oral history facts, which in some ways are just as real, and in many ways more important.)

    I heard that Kate Wright Hunter lived with Dick Adams (who your facts tell us was her husband)in the house north of the NW corner of the Petrolia Square. A house built by her first cousin, Jack Wright.

  2. Thanks for the comments, Laura. Was the house that Jack built for his own habitation or did he build houses for others? Kate's husband Walter Reuben Hunter was another 1st cousin (son of Lucy Salome Wright & Elias Sanders Hunter)...

  3. Since I originally posted I discovered three sons-in-law of Lucian, Jr. I went to edit them in but those little changes made the blog all spacey-funny. I think I shall add further revisions as separate blog entries!

  4. Jack built several homes in the Petrolia area. There's a Craftsman-style house he built,owned by people outside the families, right across the street (west) from the old Kate Wright/Dick Hunter place (which later housed Mary Rackliff Etter and family-- Jack being her first cousin through her mother Minnie Wright Rackliff. Now it's owned by Mary's daughter Helen Renner). He generally built Craftsman-style bungalows. I think perhaps he built Briarcrest, the home he lived in with wife Susan Vivian Titus, but it seems that may have been a little before his time... i will check.

    Supposedly Jack spent half the year doing carpentry, and half trapping critters for their furs, at which he made twice the money of building.