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

Monday, March 7, 2011

Petrolia Pioneer Cemtery: Wright, Marshall

Marshall & Martha Ann Rudolph

While there is no marked grave for either Marshall Wright or his wife Martha Ann Rudolph Wright, obituaries and death records establish that they are buried at the Petrolia Pioneer Cemetery.

Marshall was born 1 June 1844 in Walworth County, Wisconsin, the eldest child of Lucian Merritt & Lucy Ann Farnsworth Wright. When he was 5 years old Marshall's father went to the goldfields of California, spending 3 years in the west and, according to the journal of Marshall's little sister Rosina Wright Johnson, mining "with some success." In 1859 it was decided the family would immigrate to California and Humboldt County was decided upon as their destination (Marshall's great-uncle Hiram Lyon was already established at Cuddeback). Coming across the plains, they wintered near Hiram and then proceeded to the Mattole River Valley, arriving on 8 February 1860. Marshall would have been 15 years old at the time.
On 22 September 1872 Marshall was married at Petrolia to Martha Ann Rudolph, the daughter of Morgan and Rebecca Donaca Rudolph. Martha Ann was born on 23 June 1853 in Marion County, Oregon. Her family is first recorded in the Mattole Valley about 1866. Marshall and Martha Ann had at least ten children:
  1. Marshall Morgan "Vogue" Wright* born 19 March 1877 at Petrolia
  2. a daughter* born 15 November 1877 at Petrolia (died as a child)
  3. Hiram Wright* born 1878 at Petrolia (died as a child)
  4. Frank Frederick Wright* born 5 March 1879 at Petrolia
  5. Charles Ellsworth "Jack" Wright born May 1880, California (married Vivian Susan Titus)
  6. Martha Maude Wright born 21 March 1882 at Petrolia (married Ellis Hunter)
  7. Adeline Pearl "Addie" Wright born 23 March 1884 at Petrolia (married Otto William Clark)
  8. Chester Wright* born July 1886
  9. Minnie Myrtle Wright born 22 May 1890 at Petrolia (married Charles Clark Rackliff)
  10. Mortimer "Morty" Wright born 31 August 1892 at Petrolia (Morty was married but as of the time of this post's publication I have not discovered the name of his wife).
    Marshall and Martha Ann Rudolph Wright, who had come to the Lost Coast as young pioneers, spent the rest of their lives farming, ranching and raising their large family in the Mattole.
Marshall died on 31 January 1914 at Petrolia of "an extended illness." He was 69 years old.
Marshall's obituary was published in the 3 February 1914 issue of the Ferndale Enterprise (click to enlarge): Martha Ann Rudolph Wright died of influenza on 7 March 1920. Her obituary, from the 9 March 1920 Humboldt Standard:
The Asterisks:*The Petrolia Pioneer Cemetery is officially full and has been designated as a place of historic importance to the community. Though it is full, only a small fraction of the graves that it contains are marked. No records were kept throughout the years, so much is left to conjecture on the whereabouts of specific graves, while obituaries and death records continue to surface that tell us at least who some of the graves may contain. These asterisked children of Marshall and Martha Ann have been confirmed to be buried in the cemetery, though none (except Hiram) with any surviving monument. This was not likely a case of burials with no markers at the time but of wooden or other markers erected either as an economic or aesthetic choice. Weather, fire, earthquakes and vandals have all taken part in the destruction of these fragile markers.
United States Federal Censuses: 1850-1920
Humboldt County California Death Records
Ferndale Enterprise 3 February 1914
Humboldt Standard 9 March 1920
Photographs from the collection of the Mattole Valley Historical Society
The journal of Rosina M. Wright Johnson, courtesy of the Mattole Valley Historical Society


  1. Wow,Julia-- nice job! Impressive color and excitement in the graphics, and perfectly persnickety precision of detail in the text. A very easy-to-access cemetery visit!

  2. I love the new typeface because it's easier to read!

  3. Yes, readability is quite important!

  4. This is so exciting. I am a direct descendant of this family. I never knew. Did a little research and it led me here. Thank you so much for this information. Do you ha e anymore information about where they came from?