Hidden Women

Where did their stories go?

As I have studied the men that were known to be the founding fathers of Durham, I began to wonder about the women that loomed in the shadows. We live in a different time where women can shine brightly, but in the late 1800’s, women in Durham were only known by their husband’s names and occupation. So who were the women in Richard Harvey Wright’s life?

Bettie Allen Wright, my great grandmother, was married to Richard Harvey Wright’s brother Thomas. Thomas died in 1901, leaving her a widow.

From left to right Mary Ruth, Richard, Thomas, Bettie, Lucy, Nannie Bet, Cora

This picture was taken in 1904, three years after Bettie lost her husband and was living under the roof of her brother-in-law, Richard. Without Richard, Bettie, my grandfather, and all his siblings could’ve been on the street. But instead here they are, dressed in expensive clothing, posing for the camera.

From left to right Lila, Lucy, Nannie Bet, Cora, Mary Ruth

Years later, this portrait was taken of Bettie’s five girls.

Bettie and her family lived with Richard Wright in the E.J. Parrish house that was sold to Richard in 1899. If you look closely, you might just see them standing on the porch of the house.

From all accounts, Bettie was taken care of by Richard and later her children. She spent many years residing at Bonnie Brae.

But her last years, she resided with her daughter Mary Ruth Teer and her husband Hubert in the Teer house off of Hope Valley Road.

I will continue to blog about the other women in Richard’s life in the next few weeks. In the meantime, get to know the essence of Bettie by reading my book; A Story of Durham: Told the Wright Way.

I’m excited to share that my book, A Story of Durham: Told the Wright Way, is now available for PRE-ORDER at an early bird price! The official release day is September 26, 2023. Click the link below to order your copy today!

For the past two years, I have been researching and writing about my grandfather’s uncle, Richard Harvey Wright. When I began my search, I knew very little about this man except that he was one of the founding fathers of Durham, North Carolina. But what I discovered was a story of passion, love, and a determination to succeed with no boundaries. My new book, A Story of Durham: Told the Wright Way, will cause you to reflect on your own history and hopefully create in you a desire to study your past to understand your presence.

Read the first chapter and stay tuned for more update

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