Wright, Nannie Kelley

Nannie Kelley Wright     Born on September 8, 1856 in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, Nannie was the daughter of Washington and Catherine “Kate” L. Kouns Crawford Honshell. Mrs. Wright was one of four children. Her father, Washington Honshell, was a river man and formed the White Collar line of steamboats. 
     On October 8, 1879, she married the first of two husbands, Lindsey Kelley. Kelley was an Ohio representative and the son of William D. and Sarah Austin Kelley. He lived with Nannie on the corner of Fourth and Park in Ironton. They had one child, a son, Lindsey Kelley, Jr. Lindsey Kelley, Jr. attended a military school in Heights Tow, New Jersey. Both father and son died in 1902.
     Her second marriage did not last long. Nannie married D. George Wright of Philadelphia on October 2, 190?. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1919.
     During her first marriage, Nannie made her first mark in the sands of time. She bought the Center Furnace for $19,500 in 1899. The property included twelve thousand acres. At this time in history, women did not own iron furnaces and they certainly did not work after marriage. But Nannie rejected this social belief. She not only bought the furnace, but she also ran the furnace as the owner/operator from 1899 to 1906. In fact, she may have been the only female iron master in America. In 1906, at the age of fifty, she sold he furnaces land to the Superior Cement Company.  
     Center Furnace was not the only business Mrs. Wright was involved in. She also was the director of the Kelley Nail and Iron Company. Nannie was also financially involved with the Belfont Iron Works, Ironton Engine Company, and the Ironton, Huntington, Cincinnati, and Catlettsburg banks.
     Reputed to be one the richest women in America in her own right, Nannie was a world traveler. She crossed the Atlantic fourteen times and went around the world three times (1898, 1906 and 1913). On one of her world trips, she was presented to the court of King Edward VII of England. She was known to be give lavish parties and to be at home entertaining presidents and the wealthiest people in America.
     On December 12, 1946, at the age of 90, Nannie Kelly Wright died in Ironton, Ohio at the Marting Hotel. She was buried in the Wright Mausoleum in Woodland Cemetery.
      For more information on this colorful Irontonian, please come to the Phyllis Hamner Room.