W.H. Wright’s farm looks tidy and prosperous, but who exactly was W.H. Wright?
Naperville’s history features a number of Wrights. One of the most community-minded was James Gregson Wright. James was born in England, emigrated to New York, and by 1843, he had settled in DuPage County where land was reasonably easy to obtain. He farmed for a number of years, and then became a banker, launching Producers’ Bank in 1857, partnering with George Martin II, the Scot who built the mansion at Naper Settlement.
Continuing to be involved with Naperville, James was appointed postmaster and served six terms in the Illinois General Assembly. He was also the first owner of the farm that is now the Meson Sabika restaurant, but this engraving is not of that farm and James is obviously not W. H. Wright.
James married Almira Van Osdel, whose father was a noted architect, and they had seven children, one of whom was named William. William also lived a life of public service, but dedicated himself specifically to the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic), an organization for veterans of the Civil War. The G.A.R. was actually founded in Illinois and grew to be a national organization.
Captain William had served as an officer in the 156th Illinois Volunteer Infantry and it apparently had a deep impact on him. Building on his local involvement, William was eventually elected the 66th Commander-in-Chief of the national organization. He served from 1932 until 1933 when he died in Pittsburgh at the age of 88 years old while attending a G.A.R. encampment.
Trying out Grammarly
I write in Microsoft Word a lot, as well as on Facebook and in emails. Microsoft OneNote was where I compiled this current manuscript. All of those programs include spell- and grammar checking, but the website where I am editing the manuscript now does not have those helpers.