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Searching For The Wrights Of Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay residents may be able to help solve a local mystery that spans centuries. One famous Revolutionary-era Oyster Bay resident is currently a dead end in genealogical research, but someone out there probably has DNA that would match, and tie together two loose ends of Oyster Bay history.

Much is known about the early history of Oyster Bay, such as how it was settled by a small group of Quaker families who came here from Cape Cod and how those families started a prosperous settlement which has thrived to this day. But in the Wright family, a connection has been lost between those early settlers and their descendants who spread far and wide across America in the succeeding years.

Today, genealogists are trying to put the pieces back together and to find out which Wrights are descended from the family of brothers Peter and Nicholas Wright of Oyster Bay; in some cases their search is rewarded with documentation, written in spidery handwriting and viewed on microfilm or online and in other cases, genealogists from times past have written up their family histories and documented their connection to Oyster Bay. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to find resources like this. This is where DNA testing comes in to fill in the gaps.

There are Wright families living today in Oyster Bay who are likely descended from the original Wright settlers. Those trying to make the connection would appreciate it if someone among them would assist family historians all over America by taking a Y-DNA test, and thus provide a benchmark result for the Oyster Bay Wrights.

The most accurate DNA test to follow a family name line is a Y-DNA test taken by a man who bears the surname. The Y-DNA from all men descended from the same family line will closely match no matter which branch of the family they are from or how many hundreds of years have passed since their ancestors were closely related.

The author of this article has taken up the challenge of solving the mystery of her family’s roots spurred on by the desire to share this with her nonagenarian father who has spent most of his life on the opposite shore of Long Island Sound  in Connecticut. After tracing her Wright line back to Captain Peter Wright (b. 1740 Hempstead, Long Island) she has reached what genealogists term a ‘brick wall’ where no further written documentation is known to exist. Captain Peter Wright is a well-known figure in American Revolutionary times and he is reported to have had as many as 16 children, although only 11 or so are documented. His descendants are many but his ancestry is unknown.

 Circumstantial evidence points to his father being Joseph Wright of the Oyster Bay Wrights. Unfortunately, Joseph died before Peter was born, although Joseph’s will mentions that his wife is carrying a child. Was that child Captain Peter? This is where Y-DNA testing can help. A Y-67 DNA test has been taken by this author’s brother as the Y-DNA carrier of her branch of the Wright tree. The results are posted on the website of the Wright DNA Project www.wright-dna.org. Test 235938 in the bright pink section sits with other results, but none so far are from a documented Oyster Bay Wright descendant. So the search is on to find a direct male line descendant of Peter or Nicholas Wright of Oyster Bay who can trace his lineage. Such a tester will help to solve not just one but two genealogical mysteries, the second one being whether or not the Wrights who settled Oyster Bay and Flushing are related.

If there is someone among the Wright descendants interested in taking the test, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to discuss how to go about this. A swab of cheek cells is all that is needed to solve this mystery and the privacy of the tester is maintained during testing. Further information about genealogical DNA testing can be found here: www.dnaexplain.com/publications/pdfs/dnatestingforgenealogybasics5-19-09.pdf

The first direct paternal line tester to come forward with a verifiable line to the Oyster Bay Wrights will be eligible for a free DNA test.

News

Building J at Oyster Bay’s Western Waterfront is again up and running as the Ida May Project builds the 40-passenger oyster boat that will be operated by the WaterFront Center. The Ida May Project of the Christeen Oyster Sloop Preservation Corp. is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to preserve Oyster Bay maritime heritage by involving the community in traditional boat building.

Bill Shephard, Herb Scheirhorst, President Clint Smith and Project Manager Hank Tiska were there on a recent Thursday. Smith had left at around 2 p.m. to get a part he had at home they needed to fix the tractor they use to move the logs they cut to size in their saw mill. Fixing their equipment and cutting logs are some of the many projects that encompass the work.

If you missed the 6th annual champagne party at Coe Hall in Planting Fields, put it on your calendar for next year, because this is the party of the summer. A total of 175 guests attended, and many of them were in costume, a new addition to the popular champagne party. The always ebullient Henry Joyce, executive director of Planting Fields Foundation, greeted his guests with his date Daphne, a 3-month-old long haired Dachshund, who is a companion for his Great Dane, Lucy.


Sports

Kevin Mercier, 39, of Oyster Bay, led a large contingent of local runners in the Lynne, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9. Mercier was the 18th finisher overall and third in the 35-39 age group with a time of  21 minutes, 7 seconds.

Other local runners winning awards at the Sands Point Preserve were Nicholas Cuddy of Oyster Bay, who earned first place honors in the Clydesdale Weight Division with a time of 25:53, Joanne Gallo of Oyster Bay, who  took home the first place award in the women’s 65-69 age group with a time of 28:11, and Anja Hermann of Oyster Bay, third place woman in the 20-24 age group, who finished in 28:47.

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay will once again be the site of the Long Island’s premiere multisport event – the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 23, and the Runner’s Edge – Town of Oyster Bay Junior Triathlon for youngsters ages 8-13 on Sunday, Aug. 24.

The Saturday main event is a “sprint” triathlon, which consists of a half-mile swim in Oyster Bay harbor, a one loop 15 kilometer bike ride over hill and dale through beautiful Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay Cove and Laurel Hollow, and a 5 kilometer run through Mill Neck and Brookville, “up” to Planting Fields Arboretum and “down”to the finish at back at  Roosevelt  Park.


Calendar

Movie at the Library

Thursday, August 28

Sagamore Hill Walk

Saturday, August 30

Hooks and Needles

Tuesday, September 2



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com