Ranch House cafe staff flying the American flag in Hartlepool

The Wright family. Shown at their Church Square business are (left to right) are Peter, Juiwanna(cor), Amber, Esther and Kenneth.

The Wright family. Shown at their Church Square business are (left to right) are Peter, Juiwanna(cor), Amber, Esther and Kenneth.

THE heritage of these siblings is a real melting pot.

They have a father from Hartlepool and a mother from the USA and even have a Cherokee Indian ancestor.

The Wrights grew up in Canada and Indiana, in the States, but 16 months ago upped sticks and moved to Hartlepool’s Headland.

Sisters Esther, 32, and Juiwanna, 31, bought a shop in Church Square and opened the Ranch House cafe and takeaway in September last year. They work with their other sister Amber, 25, and brothers Kenneth, 30, and Peter, 18, at the popular eaterie, which sells a host of authentic American food, from hamburgers and barbecue ribs to pumpkin bread, pancakes and candy bar cake – snacks and meals they loved to cook in America.

The siblings’ dad, Ken Wright, 63, was born and raised in West Hartlepool and worked for Head Wrightson in Brenda Road, where his dad Benjamin also worked, as a tool and die marker.

Ken moved to Ontario, in Canada, when he was 23 and planned only to work there temporarily.

But he met Juiwanna, 60, the siblings’ mum, who is originally from Kentucky, and his plans changed.

Esther said: “It was love at first sight for them.

“They met at a missionary meeting in Michigan.

“Me and some of my siblings were born in Canada, then moved to Indiana where my mom’s family lived.

“We lived in the southern part of Indiana until we moved here.”

The siblings’ mother, who also has Scottish roots, is the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandaughter of Okoonaka Attakullakulla, or Little Carpenter, Peace Chief of the Cherokee, who was born around 1699.

Ken got into the construction business in 2001 and he and Esther’s brothers owned a construction company in Indiana, where Juiwanna junior was the payroll officer and Esther was the bookkeeper.

As well as Esther, Juiwanna, Amber, Kenneth and Peter, there is also older sister Leah Kofod, 35, who still lives in Indiana and is a stay-at-home mum-of-six, and brother Benjamin, 33, who lives in Hartlepool and works in construction.

Esther said many people have asked what made the family come to Hartlepool, but she said: “We thought we would try it and see if it works out.”

She said Indiana had extreme summers and winters and the Hartlepool climate was suiting them fine so 

The family moved from a large farmhouse beside the Ohio River on a small farm in Leavenworth, in Indiana to Hartlepool’s Town Wall.

“We had horses, cows, chickens and dogs,” said Esther.

“This is our first time living in town. It is different than what we’re used to as we’re used to country life, like roasting marshmallows over camp fires.

“But we really enjoy living here on the Headland by the sea, it’s beautiful.

“And there are so many beautiful places to go hiking nearby.

“We think it’s great to be half-Hartlepudlian-half-American!”

l Mail view: Page 8




Back to the top of the page