Biography of Thomas H. Wright

Thomas Henry Wright, treasurer of Essex county, was born in Colchester, in the same county, and in the Province of Ontario, on the 19th of July, 1816. His father, Henry Wright, was a native of Pennsylvania, was born in 1786, and was the third son in a family of eight children. He came with his father’s family by land route to Detroit, in 1796, and crossed thence into Canada. There being no roads or settlements for most of the distance at that time, the goods and persons of the family were carried on the backs of pack horses. The family is of ancient origin. His paternal grandfather was a native of Kent County, England; and his paternal grandmother, though a native of Pennsylvania, was of German descent, from a family named Klingersmith.

Thomas H. Wright was educated in Colchester, Ontario, and at the high school in Sandwich. His course of instruction included the English branches, the mathematics, and those studies which were calculated to best qualify him for the work of land surveyor and civil engineer. One of his first duties on leaving school was to accompany Colonel Johnson, in a preliminary survey of the route for the Southern Railroad, from Fort Erie to Sandwich, which took place in 1836. He had been accustomed to work on the farm in summers and to attend school in winter; and this life, as in other like cases, had not only developed habits of industry, but had served to develop the bent of his taste, which was strongly mathematical and mechanical. After his first trial with Colonel Johnson, he was employed in the surveys under Captain Wilkinson, of Sandwich, and continued in the work until the rebellion broke out in 1837.

Mr. Wright volunteered as third officer in a troop of cavalry, under Captain Wilkinson as first officer, in the work of putting down the rebellion and repelling the invaders. He participated in the struggle in which the schooner “Ann” was taken at Amherstburg, and in driving the rebels from Bois Blanc Island.

Mr. Wright returned to the farm in Colchester in the fall of 1842, and until 1846 he continued the pursuits of agriculture with the management of a country store. He then removed his goods to Amherstburg, where he erected a steam grist mill, which he carried on until 1853, when he sold out. But his services as engineer and surveyor were still in requisition, and up to the year 1859, they were commanded by the Great Western Railway and its branches, or the Southern Railway. Mr. Wright then set out on an expedition on the steamer “Plough Boy,” to open a new route on the north shore of Lake Huron and Superior, in connection with the Northern Railway, carrying the first mails sent to the Red River country, now Manitoba.

With a capacity for civil service, and commanding the confidence of all classes of citizens, Mr. Wright has seldom been found out of official position. In 1839 and 1841, he discharged the duties of the Commissariat. In 1862 he was appointed county treasurer for the Essex county, and he has held the office continually from that time to ‘the present.

Mr. Wright has held a membership in the Masonic Society since 1848. In politics, he belongs to the Tory, or Liberal-Conservative party. In religion, he is warmly attached to the Protestant Episcopal Church, having been a member from infancy.
Mr. Wright was married in 1863, to Miss Euphemia Sampson Bell, daughter of Thomas Bell Esq., of the Military Engineer Department, Toronto.

Mr. Wright is tall in figure, and has a well developed, muscular frame. He is of a mild and benignant cast of countenance, which, added to a pleasing address and fine social qualities, greatly contributes to his popularity with all classes. No one ever questions his personal integrity, or his fidelity in the discharge of the duties with which he is entrusted. He represents a class of citizens, all too few in number, and who are therefore the more deserving of honorable mention and enduring record the class distinguished by honor unsullied, and a true manhood.



Ontario Canada,

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