Alexander Robinson Wright b 27 February 1873

Alex Wright was born 27 February 1873 in Carclinty, Ireland.  He came in 1888 from Londonderry to Philadelphia, then Waukesha Wis, before settling on a farm 6 miles northwest of Ellendale, Dickey County, ND. He married Lillian Ruth Hodges, daughter of Sylvanus Boardman Hodges, on 20 June 1900, in Ellendale.  He acquired a land grant of 160 acres in Dickey county in 1901.  He also registered for WWI from that county.  He was a newspaperman, publishing the Oakes Times starting January 25, 1906. 

 “Alex Wright was with the Dickey County Leader at Ellendale for some time and for many years was publisher of the Oakes Times at Oakes, where he is now (1929) postmaster. His brother, Robert Wright, and family, also reside in Dickey County near Forbes.”

He was also the executor for Boardman Hodges’ will, Boardman being his father-in-law.

As one of the early settlers in the area, he got a bit of press coverage:  Alex R. Wright  Was born near Ballymena, Ireland, Feb. 27, 1873; raised there and educated in national schools; came to this country with family in October 1888; settled first at Waukesha, Wis,; landed in Dickey county Dec. 14th same year and spent some time on farm six miles northwest of Ellendale, where attended the district school; entered office of Ellendale Commercial in fall of 1890 to learn printing business, which trade he has followed since; graduated from Ellendale high school in 1896; married to Miss Lillian R. Hodges in Ellendale, June 20, 1900 and has one son, Edward; bought half interest in Ellendale Leader, Dec. 1, 1897, which paper he conducted until came to Oakes Nov. 1, 1903.

 The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) > 1951 > April > 18

ELLENDALE – (AP) – A former Dickey county newspaper publisher, Alex R. Wright died Monday at White Plains N. Y.  Funeral services will be held here at 2 p.m. Friday in the Presbyterian church.  Wright came to the Ellendale area with his parents in 1889.  He started his newspaper work on the Ellendale Commercial in 1890.  Fom 1897 until 1903 he was in partnership with F. S. Goddard on the Dickey county leader in Ellendale.  The men also owned the Oakes Republican.  Wright took over the Oakes paper, later the Oakes Times, in 1903, and published it untiil 1919 when he sold out.

FORMER PUBLISHER OF LEADER PASSES  (April 19, 1951)  Alex. R. Wright, Veteran Dickey County Newsman, Succumbs At Daughters Home – Alex R. Wright, former Ellendale resident and for many years closely connected with newspaper history in Dickey county, died on Monday, April 16, in White Plains, N.Y., where he had made his home with his daughter.  Funeral services will be held here tomorrow afternoon at two oclock at the Presbyterian church, the pastor, Rev. Charles C. Converse officiating, and burial will be in the Ellendale cemetery.  Pallbearers are to be F.W. Blumer, L.R. Lynde, F.E. Randall, A.T. Johnson, E.J. King, and H.J. Goddard.  The Holte funeral home will handle arrangements.  Alexander Robinson Wright was born Feb 27, 1873, in Carelinty, Ireland.  In 1888, the family sailed from Londonderry to Philadelphia and from there went to Waukesha, Wis., to stay until the end of that year.  They then came to North Dakota and settled on a farm six miles northwest of Ellendale.

Mr. Wright began working on the Commercial, an early Ellendale paper in 1890 and four years later he went to work on a newspaper in Britton, S.D.  In 1896 he graduated from Ellendale high school and that same year was employed on the Aberdeen News.   From December 1897 until October 1903 Mr. Wright was in partnership with F.S. Goddard as publishers of the Dickey County Leader and during the latter year he edited the paper wile Mr. Goddard managed the Oakes Republican, of which they were joint owners. 

He married Lillian Hodges, June 20, 1900 in Ellendale and in 1903 they moved to Oakes where he took over the sole operation of the Oakes Republican which became the Oakes Times in 1906.  He continued to publish the Times until October 1919 when it was sold to Bast and Bassingwait.  Following that he traveled and worked in Fargo and Seattle, Wash., for a year, was postmaster at Oakes from 1923 to 1933, when he retired and ran an apartment building which he owned there.  Mrs. Wright died Jan. 22, 1948 and the next autumn he went to White Plains to live with his only daughter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Hansen, where his death occurred.  He had been ill since July 1949. 

Mr. Wright was a member of the Presbyterian church, the Masonic Lodge and Order of Eastern Star and the I.O.O.F.  Besides his wife he was preceded in death by his son, Edward Sylvanus, which occurred at Fargo Nov. 5, 1937.  He leaves his daughter Ruth, four grandchildren, two brothers, R.G. Wright of Ellendale and Matthew Wright of Philadelphia and four sisters, Mrs. (Elizabeth) C.L. Saunders of Ellendale, Mrs. Margaret Harkness, Belfast, Ireland, Mrs. Caroline Baer, Whitle Bear Lake, Minn., and Mrs. Glenn Holcomb, Newport, Ore.



  1. Eileen Mabee said,

    February 3, 2014 at 18:04

    Hello. I am Alexander wright’s great-granddaughter and john wright was my grandfather. I just happened on your page while doing some “exploring”. The information you have is very interesting to me and I am familiar with many of the names from my mother and other family artifacts. My mother, Margaret Wright hancock, made many visits to ellendale, nd in her youth. My grandfather john died in 1938 and is buried in primrose, ne. Thank you for making this information available. Eileen hancock Mabee, Spokane, wa

    • sooze471 said,

      February 3, 2014 at 22:28

      Thanks for taking the time to read the story and leave me a note. I still have a visit to Ellendale on my to-do list, to pay my respects to Alex R Wright, and his wife Lillian, and her father who is brother to my great great grandfather. The others of that generation stayed in New England and Nova Scotia – Boardman braved the wild west.

      • Eileen Mabee said,

        February 5, 2014 at 13:09

        Thanks. I probably should have made this comment on the elder Alexander’s page since he was my great grandfather. I do have some questions about the girls listed as the children who came from Ireland, but I think I will switch my comments to that page so I can reference it more easily. I also have some information on Robert wrights family.

  2. Eileen Mabee said,

    February 5, 2014 at 13:10

    I heard many stories of Edward wright. He was one of my mothers favorite cousins.

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