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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
James S. Wright
James S. Wright, ex-County Treasurer of Fayette County, Iowa, now a resident of West Union, was born in Grand Isle County, Vt., on the 14th of October 1826, and is a son of Josiah and Mary (Phelps) Wright. . His father was born in North Carolina in 1790, and removed to Vermont in his youth. His death occurred in North Hero, of that State, June 25, 1856, twenty years prior to the death of his wife, who was born in Vermont in 1795, and died February 22, 1876.
We have little authentic history concerning the early ancestry of Mr. Wright, knowing only that he is descended from families founded in this country during Colonial days. His own boyhood and youth were spent in the Green Mountain State, where he received a common-school education prior to his nineteenth year. At that time he went to Hudson, Ohio, in which place he served a regular apprenticeship to the carpenter's and joiner's trade. After an absence of ten years he returned to Vermont, where he was married on the 28th of March, 1858, to Miss Grace M. Hoyt, a native of Connecticut, born in Ridgefield May 25, 1835, and a daughter of Daniel and Prua (Keeler) Hoyt. Her father was born in Westchester County, N. Y. in November, 1806, and was deceased from an old New England family of English origin, and died in Vermont in the fall of 1878. Her mother was born in Fairfield, Conn., and was of German descent.
For thirty years Mr. Wright has been identified with the history of this county. In February, 1861, emigrating to Iowa, he settled in West Union, where he was employed in the line of his trade, and was also elected and served three years as Secretary of the Fayette County Agricultural Society. He was Secretary of the School Board for the independent district of West Union one term; was appointed and served one term as Deputy County Auditor, after which he received the appointment of Deputy County Clerk of the district and circuit courts. On the first election held after the town of West Union was incorporated he was elected a member of the common council. After serving one term in that position he was elected Recorder of the town council, which position he filled one term and subsequently served one term as Mayor. During the succeeding term his successor removed from the city, causing a vacancy, and at the request of the council Mr. Wright accepted the appointment of Mayor and filled the office during the unexpired term. In the fall of 1885 he was elected County Treasurer of Fayette County, in the autumn of 1887 was re-elected, and for four years held that position. The election of Mr. Wright by a fair majority to the office of County Treasurer in a county strongly Republican, while he was known as a pronounced Democrat, is a high compliment to him and a fair indication of his personal popularity.
Mr. and Mrs. Wright have had four children, three sons and a daughter, but only one son is now living. Adell May, the eldest, born in South Hero, Vt., June 5, 1859, died February 20, 1879; Will W. was born in South Hero, October 7, 1860; Harley H., born in West Union February 19, 1867, died on the 21st of August of the following year; Harley H., the second of that name, was born September 3, 1871, and died December 22, 1872. Will W. came to West Union with his parents in 1861, and was educated in the city schools. He entered upon his business career as clerk for his uncle, H. B. Hoyt, in the hardware business at West Union, and continued with him for nine years, after which he served four years as Deputy County Treasurer under his father, all of which gave him the requisite training to undertake business for himself, which he did on the 1st of January, 1890, when he formed the existing partnership with his cousin, F. E. Hoyt, in the hardware business at West Union under the firm name of Hoyt & Wright, successors to H. B. Hoyt. While this is but a new firm, both gentlemen connected with it were brought up in this city and are widely and favorably known. They are starting under very favorable circumstances and have already secured a fair share of the trade in their line. W. W. Wright was married in West Union, May 4, 1886, to Miss Sabra C. Crowell, who was born on Cape Cod, Mass., November 4, 1859, and is a daughter of Joshua and Survina E. Crowell. They have one child, Harley S., who was born in West Union, August 15, 1887. Mr. Wright is a member of West Union Lodge, No. 69, A.F. & A.M. James S. Wright, our subject, is also a member of that lodge, of which he has served as Master three years in succession. During his entire service in public office he has always proved competent and faithful to every duty devolving upon him, while his career in life, both public and private, is above reproach.
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