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Charles E. "Dadrite" Wright

contributor: Pat Drees

Nov 4, 1957

Oldest Fire Survivor
Charles Wright Dies


Death came Sunday at 7:30 p.m. to Charles E. "Dadrite" Wrightó the oldest survivor of the Peshtigo fire. The venerable 97 year old sportsman, lumberjack and baseball enthusiast died at Iron Mountain Memorial hospital where he had been a patient since Nov. 4.

 Masonic services were held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Morasky funeral home, Wausaukce. Burial in Evergreen cemetery in Oconto.

 Born in New York state July 4, 1860, he came to Oconto as a child. He attended Oshkosh State college and taught at Oconto, Peshtigo and Dunbar schools. Married to the former Elnora Dowen, he was widowed in 1896. In 1927 he moved to Iowa but returned to Dunbar 14 years later. He was town treasurer and justice of the peace at Dunbar for many years. He was the oldest member of the Peshtigo Masonic Lodge.

 Mr. Wright is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Orvil Kuchuk of Cuntonville; a son, W. E. Wright, of Joliet, III.; a brother, Henry, of San Diego, Calif., and four grandchildren.

 "Dadrite" was well known to sportsmen throughout the county. He frequently spoke at their meetings and he corresponded with this newspaper about conservation regularly.

 A man of high intelligence, "Dadrite" retained his mental agility and physical health until just before his death. When this reporter interviewed him in 1955, he said he was 95 years young. When the Peshtiga Times found he was an enthusiastic Braves fan, he was asked if he would like to see the Braves at Milwaukee county stadium. He replied sadly that he didn't think he'd ever make it down there. But he did. The Peshtigo Times wrote Charley House of the Milwaukee Sentinel. He contacted the Braves and got tickets. The Peshtigo Times reporter drove "Dadrite" to see the Braves-Cubs game August 20, 1955.

 When he learned.he was going "Dadrite" said he was "tickled pink." He bought a box of chocolates and passed them around en-route. At the game he sipped lemonade and kept up a running comentary. Afterwards, he was taken to the Braves clubhouse and introduced to the tearn. He had met Charlie Grimm, the manager then, when Grimrn was player; they renewed their ackquaintance. He shook hands with all the players and was given ball autographed by the team.

 At the Miller Brewery, wher e"Dadrite" was feted at a dinner, "Dadrite" refused beer and asked for soda water. Then after the busy day was over he did a jig at a downtown hotel to prove to the reporters that he was not tired

Interviewed at the Milwaukee But he did. The Peshtigo Times Journal, "Dadrite" made an elevator full of reporters laugh when He contacted he asked, as it descended, "Does the devil know we're coming"? And to Charles House, "Dadrite" said in graditude for getting him game tickets "I'll vouch for you in heaven when you get up there."

 He was an expert whittler and made wooden chains, and other objects. He reveled in talking about the big fish which Marinette county streams had when was a boy. "Dadrite" was not only a base-ball fan: he was also a player and a manager on county town teams. he said he fought the Methodist minister and the wife of the superintendent of the J. W. Wells lurnber Co.for many years before they finally Jet him have ball games on Sunday.

 The story of the Peshfigo fire would never have been complete without "Dadrite's" lucid account. He was 11years old then and remembered the holocaust well