The new book, Harold Bell Wright and his Wright Settlement Cousins, by Christine Tyrlik, looks into Harold Bell Wright’s life, and his ties to New York State.
In the early 20th century Wright became one of America’s best-selling authors. Known for his westerns, Wright was born in 1872 near Rome, NY, and maintained close ties to his cousins and old friends in Wright Settlement (Ridge Mills). Wright returned to New York often and used some of the state’s settings and people in his novels.
His birthplace, Spring Brook Farms is now the Mohawk Glen Golf Clubhouse on the former Griffiss Air Force Base (now itself an industrial park). Wright’s parents and a brother are buried near the runway at the historic Wright Settlement Cemetery.
In 1932, Hearst’s International-Cosmopolitan, published the first installment of Wright’s seemingly life story, Letter to my Sons. Although Wright emphatically stated that it was not an autobiography, the story upset the editors of the Rome Daily Sentinel. The paper published a rebuttal called Wright’s Memory Poor, Kin Heresay [sic].
The book, Harold Bell Wright and His Wright Settlement Cousins is available on Kindle eBooks.
Christine Tyrlik is a distant cousin of Harold Bell Wright. She wrote a few articles as a guest contributor for the “Rome Through Our Past” column for the Rome Daily Sentinel.
Photos, from above: Harold Bell Wright’s father, Lt. William A. Wright of Boonville NY’s 97th Regiment and the lieutenant’s cousin, Frank L. Wright (provided by Chris Tyrlik), and Wright Settlement Homestead (Courtesy Steve Wright).