Wright, Hardy (1795–ca. 1855)

By: Skipper Steely

Type: Biography

Published: September 1, 1995

Updated: March 31, 2021

Hardy Wright, slave, probably a Tennessean by birth, was born in 1795 and traveled with the family of Claiborne Wright to the Red River valley of what was then Arkansas in 1816. He and his wife, Jin, boarded the keelboat Pioneer on March 5, 1816, and docked at Pecan Point, a trading post at a site now in Northeast Texas, six months later. By 1824 they had five sons. In 1829 Claiborne Wright sold the family to his son Travis for $2,000. Before 1834 Travis had sold Hardy to his brother-in-law Judge Martin, who ran a farm near Pecan Point. That year during a hunting expedition Martin, his son Matt, Hardy, and his son Sam were attacked by Indians near Glasses Creek. Martin was killed, Matt and Sam were captured, but Hardy crawled carefully into a hollow log where the Indians could not find him. Sam was killed, reportedly because he would not stop crying, but Matt was later rescued. Hardy was one of twenty-four slaves in the Martin estate in 1834. He was appraised by the court appointees at $400. His wife and children were not on the list of slaves. In 1838 Travis Wright donated five pack-mules with supplies to "an organized body under General Rusk." He sent "Negro Hardy" to take care of them. Possibly Hardy was on the summer trip in 1841 to the region of the Three Forks of the Trinity River when John B. Denton was killed at the battle of Village Creek. Probably thirty to fifty slaves accompanied the seventy White men who made that expedition. Family records say that Henrietta Wright gave Hardy a plot of land of his own, possibly part of Gabriel N. Martin's headright, as well as a house, a small barn, a cow and calf, some pigs, chickens, and a horse, but supporting court records are not extant. Hardy died in the mid-1850s and was buried in an unmarked grave on his land.

Skipper Steely, Six Months from Tennessee (Wolfe City, Texas: Henington, 1982). George Travis Wright Family Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civil Rights, Segregation, and Slavery

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Skipper Steely, “Wright, Hardy,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 13, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wright-hardy.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995
March 31, 2021

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