My mother, Barbara Jeanne Wright Papetti, b. 1926 d. 2017. The surrey was used by her family as transportation during her childhood. It was bought in the early 1900s, before she was born, and was not new at the time of purchase, so I do not know the exact age. A beautiful black horse pulled the surrey when it was first bought. When the family first obtained the surrey, their mode of transportation would have been horseback, surrey or wagon. They later acquired automobiles, and during that time, they still used the surrey, especially, during the Depression. My grandmother, whose name was Mary Lucy Welch Wright, was a teacher before she was married, and she had a Ford Model T. During the Great Depression, my grandfather used the engine from her Model T to power a sawmill. He sold the lumber from this sawmill to help supplement their income, since times were so hard. They were especially glad to still have the surrey and wagon to use for transportation. Mother and her sister, Martha Elizabeth Wright Wharton, talked about taking the surrey to church every Sunday. They said that sometimes “preaching” would last all day, and when they came home late, they would have to use an attached lantern to light the way.
In regard to the family surrey that we donated to the museum - Repairs were done to the surrey, before we donated it. We found an Amish buggy maker in Ethridge, TN who agreed to make repairs and a replacement top. The wheels were repaired by an Amish wheelwright, who was also in the area of Ethridge, TN. The cost was over $2,300. My husband and I paid for the repairs and have donated the W.T. Wright family surrey to the Paris-Henry County Heritage Center where it is now at home at Cavitt Place under the tall stately portico, in Paris, TN. The slender and stylish surrey is a perfect fit for this property and home.