John G. Wright is a veritable leader of pioneers, a man of broad and varied experiences in all lines of the frontiersman, fitted for the stirring career which he has made by excellent physical powers, keen perception, good executive force, and an energetic and indomitable spirit. The best encomium that can be paid to such a man is but to recite the leading items of his experience and achievements, which we will hasten to do.
John G. Wright was born in Livingston County, New York, on February 22, 1834 being the son of John and Jane (Armstrong) Wright, natives of New York. The father was born July 8, 1799, was a pioneer to Boone County, Illinois, in 1836, and died there in 1881, aged eighty-two years. His father, Joseph Wright, was also a pioneer in Illinois. The mother of our subject was born in 1800 and her father, Thomas Armstrong, was one of the earliest pioneers in his section of New York. Our subject came to Illinois with his parents when he was an infant and in Boone County he received his schooling in the winters and labored with his father until seventeen and then went into the battle of life for himself.
He assisted to lay out the town site of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and then went to steam boating. He was soon drawing a salary of five hundred dollars per month as captain and pilot, the highest salary paid to any operator on the river. He did those labors for seven years and then went west to Minnesota and Dakota. He was in the cruel Sioux Indian war and in Cottonwood, Brown, and Murray Counties; he saw the awful carnage of two-thirds of the settlers being killed by the savages. Mr. Wright was on General Sibley’s staff. After that war Mr. Wright went to Austin, Minnesota, and followed merchandising until 1870, when he removed to Petaluma, California, where he sold jewelry, manufactured hair goods and dealt in fancy goods. Two years later, be was in Napa City, manufacturing pumps. Thence he went to Los Angeles, and there operated a hotel for seven years and still owns the property.
He visited Walla Walla, Lewiston, Dayton and Spokane, and in 1881 he was in Seattle. Then we see him in British Columbia at the western terminal of the railroad and in the sawmill business, where he made a good success. He also dealt in real estate and later removed to Pendleton, whence he went to southern California, thence to Rossland, British Columbia, and then to Alaska, with his sons, and there did a thriving business in an eating house. In 1898, Mr. Wright came from Alaska to Idaho and at last settled in Culdesac. He owns an addition to the town site of Orofino. Mr. Wright took a homestead where Culdesac now stands. He saw the advisability of platting the land for a town site and did so. He has labored since that time for the progress and up building of the town of Culdesac rather than for personal profit and has done a commendable work here. Mr. Wright is now handling a general merchandise establishment and operating a real estate office. He has donated liberally to all institutions, as industries, Churches and so forth, calculated to assist the town. Mr. Wright is a public minded and generous man and is universally esteemed and admired by all.
In Wisconsin, in 1852, Mr. Wright was married. He raised three sons, George, in Seattle; Charles, in Los Angeles: Chauncey, in Alaska. Mr. Wright is a Mason, and Chauncey is a member if the Chapter in Seattle. He is an active Republican. There is very much credit due Mr. Wright not only for the worthy labors done by him in the up building and fostering of Culdesac, but also in the achievement accomplished in other places and the sound principles always put forth by him and his untarnished reputation, being a man of broad views and ever in the lead for the advancement of the country and especially the locality of his residence.
Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903