archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society



(picture dated about 1915)

Hannah Elizabeth Wasson (also seen as Wason), was the youngest daughter of James Wasson, Jr. and Elizabeth McGarvey. She was born 20 Dec 1862 in Wakefield, Fulton Twp, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She was born about 9 years after James and Elizabeth immigrated from the Northern part of Ireland. Her parents joined the Little Britain Presbyterian Church in Little Britain Twp, Lancaster Co in 1854. By Oct 1856 James and Elizabeth had their first blessing (that I know of, there may have been others before him); the oldest sibling came into the family - her brother Robert. Robert was named after Elizabeth McGarvey's deceased father. Then in Dec 1856 James and Elizabeth did what every immigrant wants to accomplish when coming to America. They bought their own piece of land and created a farm. The farm was located in Fulton Twp. The rest of the children were born on this land. 2 years after they moved onto their new land, their 2nd child Martha J. was born in Dec 1858. Martha was named after James' mother Martha (Wilson) Wasson. Then again, 2 more years passed and another sister of Hannah's was born. Her name was Mary Margaret in Nov 1860. Mary Margaret was named after Elizabeth's mother, Margaret J. (Moore) McGarvey. Hannah was the last child to bless James and Elizabeth in 1862. I know that Hannah's middle name Elizabeth came from her mother Elizabeth.

The first census Hannah was found on was 1870 Fulton Twp, when she was 8 years old. By the 1880 census she was 18 years old and going to Millersville Normal School (Teaching College) in Lancaster Co established in 1855. This college is now called Millersville University. It was the 1st state Normal School in Penna, naming itself Lancaster Co Normal School. It changed its name to the Millersville State Normal School in 1859. The college record books have her as attending from 1880-1881.

Millersville Normal School


She then had her teaching license and had her 1st post as teacher at Rosedale (one-room) Schoolhouse. ~~~ Rosedale was located on Rosedale Rd. in Colerain Twp, Lancaster Co NorthEast of Kirkwood, between Rte# 472 & # 896. When you turn onto Rosedale Rd. you see the Bartville Amish School on the corner, to your right. If you travel the road for a while, it turns into what looks to be an old dirt road. If you look on your right, there is a one-story white house with many windows. Above the door is a cement plaque that reads "Rosedale rebuilt..(a date is shown)" The date is in the 1890's ~~~ It was there that Hannah became part of history.....The Lancaster Co History Book (by Ellis & Evans):

The organization of Colerain public schools for the year ending June 5, 1883, consisted of: School board of directors, John Haverstick, president; Pennington Moore, secretary; Robert Patterson, treasurer; Albert Worth, William H. Hogg, and John Sampson. Teachers, Mary R. Andrews, Mount Eden; Mary C. Stewart, Union; Hannah Wason, Rosedale; Ilena Reynolds, Amity; Miss Coates, Pleasant Grove; Louella M. Swisher, Hope; Jerry Swisher, Harmony; Louella R. Swisher, Salem; Annie M. Barnett, White Plain. History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men Chapter XLIV. Colerain Township

Rosedale Schoolhouse(Colerain Twp, Lancaster Co)


She did not stay a teacher for very long tho, because on 01 Jan 1885, she married James Minshal Wright in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co, Penna. James was born 28 Mar 1847 in Sadsbury Twp, Lancaster Co. He was the youngest son of James Wright and Deborah Williams. Incidently, James Minshal's oldest brother and sister (John Sylvester Wright and Margaret Ann Wright) became school teachers thru Millersville Normal School in 1855 and 1856. I do not know yet what schoolhouse they were assigned to. James, Deborah the family moved from Sadsbury Twp to Colerain Twp in Sep 1848, between Bartville and Kirkwood. James Minshal moved Hannah onto the Wright Family Farm and started their own family. James' mother Deborah died in Sep 1882, and 10 months after James and Hannah married, James' father died in Oct 1885. Both died before their youngest son had children. Hannah then joined her new family's church without having to change her faith, she became a member of the Middle Octorara Presbyterian Church near Quarryville, Bart Twp, Lancaster Co. One year after marriage, James Minshal Wright and Hannah Elizabeth Wasson had their 1st child. His name was Chester Wasson Wright born 17 Jan 1886. All of the children born to James and Hannah state that they were born near Bartville, so they considered the family farm closer to Bartville than Kirkwood.

2 years after Chester was born, William Earl blessed their lives on 23 Aug 1888. Hannah bore a child every 2 years after William Earl: James Vance Leroy born 15 Sep 1891; Horace Guy born 05 Sep 1893; Marvin Robert born 30 Oct 1895; Hannah Elizabeth born 10 Jan 1898; Everett Royal born 05 Nov 1900. Then the worst thing that could ever happen to parents, happened to James and Hannah...... Their 1st born, Chester, died in Apr 1905 of consumption due to contracting the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic. This epidemic was the worst Lancaster Co had seen in quite a while. Lancaster Co was not the only county that was hit by the epidemic. The whole NorthEast was hit severely and many children died from TB. Especially in Hannah's family....In Jun 1906 James Minshal lost his older brother Samuel who lived in Chester Co; and then in Sep 1910 James lost his oldest brother John Sylvester, the doctor, who also lived in Chester Co. There was cause for celebration tho, because in Mar 1911, her son William Earl married Alys Jane Hall in Kennett Square, Chester Co. The marriage application stated he was living in Modena, Chester Co and working as a Millhand when they were married. Alys (sometimes spelled Alice in records) was the daughter of an Irish immigrant named George K. Hall and Penna born Caroline Harrington. The happines was not for long tho.... Chester was not the only one to die from TB. One month after her son William Earl married Alys Jane Hall, James Vance Leroy died of TB in Apr 1911. Again, more sorrow in Hannah's life. Her father James died in Nov 1913 in his home in Wakefield. He died of debility. Then, a few days before entering college herself to become a teacher, Hannah Elizabeth (Hannah's daughter), died from TB in Nov 1915. She was not the last of the death's in James and Hannah's, now dwindling, family. Their son Marvin died in 1919, also from TB. Marvin was the last TB death in her family. James and Hannah now only had William, Horace, and Everett.

James and Hannah had another tragedy along with their own children dying. Also their son William Earl and his wife Alys Jane, (who were living in Peach Bottom, Fulton Twp, Lancaster Co at the time) had a baby to miscarry. If the baby would have lived and if it would have been a girl; Alys would have named it Caroline after her mother. Alys was having problems getting pregnant after that; but then the blessed day arrived....

James and Hannah finally had another celebration welcoming their 1st grandchild, James Earl Wright, into the family in Oct 1920. He was the son of William Earl and Alys Jane. William and Alys were living in Unionville, Chester Co when James Earl was born. They then had enough money to buy land. They bought their own farm in Wawaset, East Bradford Twp, Chester Co. (Here William and Alys raised their son and when he was to the age to be married he brought his wife onto the farm and they raised their children in the same house as William and Alys). Then another tragedy befell the family when Hannah's mother Elizabeth, died in Dec 1923. Hannah and her brother Robert came to be with their mother before she died. The cause of death was from an embolism. Elizabeth was living with Hannah's older sister, Martha, and her husband James McCullough in McSparren, Fulton Twp, Lancaster Co. after her husband James Wasson died in 1913.

Hannah and James' youngest son Everett, graduated from West Chester Normal School in Chester Co, Penna in 1921. He became a teacher just like his mother. He even had the same post as teacher at Rosedale Schoolhouse. He taught all 8 grades and during his summer breaks, he painted the schoolhouse. He later taught at a college in Philadelphia where he met his future wife. James and Hannah then had another celebration when their son Everett married in 1927 to Elizabeth S. Caldicott. She was the daughter of George E. Caldicott and his wife Clara W. both parents were born in England. James Minshal was able to see 2 of Everett's children to be born: Elizabeth born about 1932. She died as an infant in Lancaster Co. Also Everett Royal Wright, Jr. born in Feb 1934 also in Lancaster Co. After this, another tragedy happened.... Hannah lost her husband James, just before their 50th wedding anniversary. He died in May 1934 with heart problems. Everett and Elizabeth moved to Philadelphia; and then Hannah had to welcome her next few grandchildren, by Everett and Elizabeth, alone. Robert Wright was born in Mar 1937 in Philadelphia. She then lost her sister Martha J. (Wasson) McCullough in Jul 1939. (For her brother Robert Wasson and sister Mary Margaret, wife of Edward Gallagher (of Chester Co), I do not have their death dates). Hannah then welcomed her 5th and 6th grandchildren into this world. These 2 boys were born to Everett and Elizabeth: Walter Wright born Jul 1939 and Stanley C. born Jan 1942 both in Philadelphia. Then, after all that Hannah had been thru, she had a heart attack in 1946; but there was still more to her life that she needed to be a part of.... There was another wedding in Hannah's life to celebrate in May 1946. Her grandson James Earl Wright married Pearl Ellen Gray daughter of Frank Benjamin Gray and Pearl Ellen Guessford. Pearl's family was living in Chadds Ford, Delaware Co, Penna. James and Pearl married in Elkton, Cecil Co, MD. Hannah was able to greet her 1st three great-grandchildren! Linda Louise Wright born in June 1947 in West Chester, Chester Co, born to James and Pearl Wright. Then a special event happened - twins - the 1st set of twins in Hannah's life were her great-grandchildren also born to James and Pearl. Pearl Alys and Susan Ella both born in Mar 1949 in West Chester Hannah did not live to see Linda, Pearl and Susan's little brother born on 29 Nov 1963. His name was James Earl Wright, Jr. He also was born in West Chester.

After that, on the 14th of Jul 1950, Lancaster Co lost one of its "one-room schoolhouse" teachers: Hannah Elizabeth (Wasson) Wright died in her home, of pneumonia, due to her heart attack in 1946; just before her 88th birthday. She died on a Friday and was buried in Middle Octorara Presbyterian Church graveyard with her husband James, her children, grandchildren, her husband's family, and his ancestors. Her son Horace was with her when she died. He went on to live in the Wright Family Farmhouse until he died a few years later. Hannah's teaching legacy did not stop with her or her son Everett. Her son William Earl Wright was a superintendant of the Lucky Hill schoolhouse during the years 1920-1930 in East Bradford Twp, Chester Co, Penna. He was given a hand-held schoolbell when he left the school.

Written by: Paulene Leaidicker, great-great granddaughter of Hannah Elizabeth Wasson and James Minshal Wright.


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