JAMES M. WRIGHT, who is a retired farmer now residing in Kempton, was born in Trenton, N. J., February 15, 1835, and is a son of George and Mary Wright, both of whom were natives of Lincolnshire, England. His father came to America about 1830. Crossing the Atlantic he settled in New Jersey, where for some time he made his home. In 1854, he emigrated Westward to Illinois, locating in Winnebago County. His death occurred in Vermillion, S. Dak., on the 7th of September, 1889. His wife passed away on the 3d of November, 1886. Eight children have been born unto them: William, who died in infancy; James M. of this sketch; John, who died in 1857; Mary Ann, wife of Isaiah Washburn, a resident farmer of South Dakota; George, who is also engaged in farming in South Dakota; Charles, who died in 1882; and Peter, whose death occurred the same year.

Our subject acquired a common-school education in the State of his nativity. He accompanied his parents on their removal to the West and has resided in Illinois almost continuously since. He remained with his father, working on the farm, for two years, and then started out in life for himself, working as a farm hand by the month, until the breaking out of the late war. When the South rebelled in 1861, he responded to the call for troops to aid in the preservation of the Union and enlisted as a private in Company C, Fifty-fifth Illinois Infantry. The important engagements in which he participated were the siege of Corinth, Arkansas Post, Champion Hills, the siege of Vicksburg, and the battles of Jackson, Mission Ridge and Atlanta. When his three years' term of service had expired, he was honorably discharged on the 30th of October, 1864.

Mr. Wright then returned to Illinois and again engaged in farming. In 1865, he removed to Grundy County, locating near Lisbon, where he resided until 1871. That year witnessed his arrival in Ford County. He had previously married on the 3d of September, 1868, the lady of his choice being Miss Sarah E. Ashton, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Shaw) Ashton. Three children have been born of their union but all are now deceased. Clara died April 19, 1880; George H., April 20, 1880; and Alice May, August 27, 1887.

On coming to Ford County, Mr. Wright made a location in Mona Township, where he rented land for seven years. He then purchased a farm of two hundred acres on section 32, Rogers Township, where he made his home until 1884. In that year he came to Kempton, where he has since made his home, living retired. His life has been well and worthily spent and by his industrious and persevering efforts, he accumulated a sufficient capital to enable him to rest from business cares and spend his remaining days in peace and retirement. He is a prominent citizen and well deserves representation in this volume.

Extracted 14 Dec 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, page 200.

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