JAMES WRIGHT, one of the sterling pioneer citizens of Eaton county, has the distinction of being a native of what Max O'Relly has quaintly termed the "right little, tight little isle," since he was born in Northamptonshire, England, July 4, 1830, while he is now living essentially retired on his fine homestead farm, in section 33, Chester township. He is a son of Thomas Wright, who was for many years a farmer in Northamptonshire, his place lying along a macadamized road called the London and Lincoln road. After the subject of this sketch came to America the father went to Australia and became interested in gold mines. He was greatly impressed with the outlook and started for America to induce his son James to join him in Australia. The vessel on which he took passage was lost at sea, nothing ever having been heard of the same, so that the supposition is that the boat was entirely shipwrecked, none on board surviving to tell the tale. Thomas Wright was about fifty-five years of age at the time of his tragic death. He had come into possession of very valuable properties in Australia, but his family were never able to secure any portion of the same. It was never known whether his papers of title were left there or taken with him on setting forth on the fatal voyage. His wife, whose maiden name was Catherine Branson, passed her entire life in England, where she died at the age of sixty-seven years. Of the six children James was the first born: Hannah is the wife of John Bird and they still reside in England; Thomas died in Australia, having married and being survived by children; John also married and has a family of children, and he is a resident of Australia; Emma died a few years ago, never having married; and Catherine also was a spinster at the time of her death. James Wright secured his educational discipline in what was known as a select school, a private institution accommodating about thirty pupils, and after the death of the head of this school he attended the common schools for a time. At the age of nineteen years Mr. Wright set forth to try his fortunes in America, making the voyage in a sailing vessel and being on the water six weeks. He landed in New York city, and went direct to Albany, N. Y., after which he entered the employ of a farmer of that state, in whose service he continued only a short time. In the autumn following he came to the west, taking up his residence in Ohio, where he worked on a farm for the ensuing eighteen months. In 1852 he came to Eaton county, arriving in Charlotte on the evening preceding the presidential election in which General Scott appeared as the candidate of the Whig party and General Pierce as that of the Democratic party. Mr. Wright engaged in work at the carpenter trade, which he followed as a vocation until his marriage in 1858. For the succeeding two years he was identified with the work of his father-in-law's farm, and he then purchased his present homestead, of eighty acres, on which he and his cherished and devoted wife have lived for nearly forty years. The land at the time was covered with a heavy growth of timber, a road having been chopped but not cleared out and made passable. Mr. Wright erected a log house on the place and then grappled with the forest, in which he literally hewed out his present attractive harm. The log house continued to be the family domicile until 1893, when he erected the present commodious and comfortable frame residence. The other permanent improvements are of excellent type, and all the land has been cleared except a fifteen-acre wood lot and maple sugar bush. Mr. Wright has never added to the area of his original purchase, but he has aided his sons financially in securing their farms. Mr. Wright has been identified with the Republican party from the time of attaining the right of franchise, having cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. He has never held office save those connected with the school district and that of pathmaster. He has for a number of years been an attendant and supporter of the Congregational church. He endured the full tension of pioneer life on the farm, clearing his land and often burning logs and brush all night in order to have ground available for crops. He takes just pride in his status as one of the pioneers of the county, and he has the high esteem of the community in which he has so long and faithfully lived and labored. In 1891 he had the pleasure of visiting his old home in England, being absent two months and finding many changes, as a matter of course. The trip across consumed six days, and was radically different from his experience in 1850, when six weeks were demanded for the same purpose. On February 8, 1858, Mr. Wright was united in marriage to Miss Helena Hubbard, who was born in Warren county, Pennsylvania, August 19, 1839, being a daughter of James and Mary (Huff) Hubbard, concerning whom specific mention is made in the sketch of the life of their son Robert, elsewhere in this work. Following are brief data concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Wright; Mary, born April 16, 1860, is the wife of Sabert Kingsman, of Charlotte, and they have three children; Ella, born February 12, 1862, is the widow of Ottis Case and now resides in Chester; Emma, born January 14, 1864, is the wife of Volney J. Beeman, a farmer of Chester township; Lois, born February 26, 1866, is the wife of John Ickes, of Rives Junction, Jackson county; Lottie, born January 29, 1868 resides in the city of Jackson; Frank, who was born May 16, 1870, and who is a farmer in Chester township, married Clara Fullerton, and they have two children; Frederick T., who was born October 19, 1872, and who is likewise a farmer of Chester township, married Emma Zimmerman; Warren, who was born February 8, 1875, died May 9, 1902; James, born April 21, 1877, died December 12, 1889; and Phill S., who was born May 11, 1879, remains at the parental home and is associated in the work and management of the farm.)