Museum the New Llano Colony

Mary E. (Sexton) Wright (alternate spelling Marry)

Birth: She was born around 1855 in Oregon.  

Family Information: In March 1922 she married another colonist -- Mr. J.C. Wright. The ceremony was performed by Justice James Oakes. It had been "a proper celebration, with toothsome refreshments for all the colonists and neighbors present."

She was listed as widowed in 1930.  


Pre-Colony History:  

Home in Colony: In 1930 she was listed as a boarder with the Erwin Valleau family. 

Job in Colony: In February 1928 she was reported to be one of the school "marms," though at times she also joined other crews, such as the laundry crew, in the afternoon.

In June 1928 she was part of a group making sauerkraut which included: Mrs. Loutrel, Mrs. Wright, Turner, Mrs. Roe, McGee, Ethel Belcher and Mrs. Bennett.

In 1930 she was working in the colony bakery.

In June 1931 the midday meal was prepared and served by the Mesdames Lentz, Long, White, Corbett, Nesnow, Parsons, Hardy, Joynes and the Misses Stella Kittle, Bays and Caves. Frances Wilkerson and Virginia and Ruth Kittle gathered the trays which Mrs. Wright was kept busy wiping for repeated service.

In November 1935 Industrial Manager Page appointed Anna Shoemaker as the new manager of the hotel after the departure of Mrs. DuProz. Her crew consisted of Sarah Murray, who would, assisted by Ruby Loftin, cook dinner. Mrs. Gay and Mrs. Anna Tabb would cook supper. Mrs. Wright, who had wiped trays twice a day for so long, would continue to do so at dinner and Katie Belle Goans would clean the trays at supper.

Other Info: In December 1927 she, along with others, spoke at the Open Forum on the subject, "Who has Superior Intelligence, Men or Women?" She narrated a speech made by Sojourner Truth at the second women's rights convention held at Akron, Ohio in 1852. Her emotional appeal was so powerful that she carried the public with her and the audience backed up the demand of the recognition of women as citizens of equality with her brother man.

One of 42 colonists who signed a petition, dated January 10, 1928 and sent to the governor of Louisiana, which objected to the securing of a new charter being issued to the colony. Among other things, this petition claimed that affairs of the colony had been grossly and intentionally mismanaged and conduct of the management so flagrantly opposed to good morals that a receiver assigned by the District Court was necessary to handle affairs. It alleged that management had: 1. Used misleading propaganda which caused hundreds of people to invest their money in the colony, only to be disillusioned and have to leave with nothing to show for their investment. 2. Reduced the colony to a peon camp - these "peons" being poorly fed, clothed and housed. 3. Advocated "free-love", including promiscuous relations of the sexes and other practices contrary to good morals. 4. Expressed contempt for courts and authorities by taking it upon themselves to punish two boys for stealing from the colony store. 5. Prostituted colony schools by employing nondescript persons as teachers, while issuing fraudulent reports and drawing hundreds of dollars from the Parish School funds in the names of certified teachers and by exploiting child labor. The case was taken all the way to the Supreme Court but eventually was annulled and the plaintiff's demands rejected.

At the Open Forum in February 1928, Pete Hanson suggested that the increased number of bachelors every where in this country indicated that very many people were becoming disgusted with the present marriage relation, Mrs.Wright pointed to the overcrowding of schools, reported from all parts of the US as evidence that people evidently married as much as ever and the children were more numerous today than they had ever been before.

In December 1928 she enrolled in the local Conscientious Objector's Union.

In April 1934 -- the scene at the hotel dining room included Chet Page changing the numbers on the line-up board; Motherly Mrs. Wright wiping the trays, handing one out to each in the dinner line; colonists filling food tins for those at home. The girls and boys behind the counter; Mrs. Watson and Sylvester forking out spuds, boiled or baked; those nice kids filling glasses of water and shuffling stacks of cornbread. Mrs. Matz grinning over her 20-gallon pot of fine Hungarian soup; Mary Fay keeping her braids out of the gravy as she twirled in the serving line; and Lafe Murray, assistant chef, snipping off scraps of meat and getting the tip nipped off his finger for punishment.    

Post-Colony History: In 1940 she was living in the unincorporated town of New Llano, Louisiana near many former colonists.  


Sources: "Llano Colonist": March 18, 1922, December 17, 1927, February 4, 1928, February 18, 1928, February 25, 1928, June 30, 1928, December 22, 1928, January 12, 1929, June 6, 1931, May 13, 1933 (Story of Llano), May 20, 1933 (Story of Llano), April 28, 1934, November 23, 1935; US Census: 1930, 1940  


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