WRIGHT, (CAPTAIN) JOHN EDWARD, retired farmer, Jacksonville, Ill., was born on his father's farm near Murrayville, Morgan County, Ill., July 11, 1842, the son of John Wiley and Eliza E. (Wyatt) Wright. His father, who was born in Tennessee March 5, 1816, was a son of John Wright, also a native of that State. The former came with his father to Illinois about 1830, locating three miles east of the present site of Murrayville, where both entered Government land. John Wright was an active participant in the work of the Methodist denomination, and was probably one of the founders of Zion Church.
John W. Wright was a youth when the family located in Morgan County. He remained with his father until attaining maturity, when he purchased a farm southwest of Murrayville. In early life he was a Democrat, but abhorred slavery and, upon its organization, entered the ranks of the Republican party. He was an active worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church. A very successful business man, he acquired about 600 acres of land. He and his wife became the parents of the following named children: Deborah Ann, born September 24, 1838, who married William Hughes, and died July 8, 1888; Margaret J., born April 16, 1840, who married Granville L. Ash, and now resides in Murrayville; John E.; Mary E., who died in infancy; George W., born August 13, 1849, who died December 19, 1849; James L., born October 13, 1851, now of Cass County, Mo.; Martha A., born June 29, 1854, married John R. Hill and died August 14, 1898; Sarah E., born September 7, 1856, who married James Cunningham, and now lives near Murrayville; Wiley B., born October 29, 1858, who lives at Murrayville; Emily L., born June 4, 1861, who married Charles Rimbey, of Murrayville; and Cyrus N., born April 24, 1863, who is also a resident of that place. John W. Wright died in January, 1866.
Captain John E. Wright was educated in the common schools of Morgan County. On August 1, 1861, he enlisted in the Duncan Rangers, which was assigned to service with the Union Army in Company G, First Missouri Cavalry. With this command he served three years and two months, participating in all of its engagements, including the memorable pursuit of the army of General Sterling Price southward through Missouri into Arkansas. He was mustered out September 26, 1864, and April 1, 1865, again entered the service as First Lieutenant of Company E, of the reorganized Fifty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. On account of the continued absence of the commanding officer of the company he was in command most of the time. At the close of the war he was located at Mobile, Ala., nearly all of his period of service being passed at Montgomery.
Being mustered out March 31, 1866, he returned home. For several years he continued at work upon the home place, but finally purchased a farm southeast of Murrayville, which he ultimately traded for the farm of 324 acres which he now owns. Since 1872 he has devoted much of his time to the work of an auctioneer. For the past five years he has resided in Jacksonville.
Actively interested in Republican politics, about thirty years ago Captain Wright was the candidate of his party for the office of Sheriff. Though the county was then strongly Democratic, he was defeated by only a small majority. In 1886 and 1887 he served in the Lower House of the State Legislature, and in 1902 was again an unsuccessful candidate for Sheriff. For many years he served on the County Republican Central Committee. He is a charter member of Watson Post, No. 420, G.A.R., of Murrayville, of which he has been Commander several terms.
On October 4, 1866, Captain Wright married Maria S. Wilson, a daughter of Willis T. Wilson, his wife dying in 1868. On April 9, 1870, he married Mrs. Margaret J. Henry, daughter of Jesse Henry, and they have had four children namely: Marie Olive, wife of Edward Strang, residing near Whitehall, Greene County; Martha Eliza, wife of W. R. T. Masters, of Murrayville; C. Justus, of Moline, Ill.; and Jesse, who died at the age of nineteen months.
Captain Wright's mother, who was born in Kentucky February 13, 1823, was a daughter of Squire Edward Wyatt, who came to Illinois when Mrs. Wright was a child, probably in 1830. The family settled upon a farm about a mile and a quarter west of the site of Murrayville, and became widely known throughout the county.