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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

Ancestor of Earliene Kaelin

THOMAS B. WRIGHT - Thomas B. Wright devoted his life through a long period to the work of the ministry and is now engaged in the real estate business in Rochester. He is numbered among the native sons of Illinois, his birth having occurred in Virden, April 16, 1856. His parents were Preston and Susan (Dawson) Wright, natives of Kentucky. The father, who was a farmer by occupation, came to Illinois in 1849, settling upon a farm near Virden, where he lived until three years prior to his death, in January, 1888, and his wife has also passed away. In their family were eight children, of whom Arabelle and Tina are now deceased. Those still living are: Nancy Jane, David Allen, Sarah Frances, Mary Margaret, Malinda, Dorinda and Thomas B.

Thomas B. Wright attended the district schools and completed the work of the high school of Virden until he reached the senior year. He afterward engaged in teaching, which profession he followed in Montgomery, Macoupin and Sangamon counties, Illinois, and for one year in Kansas. His predominant trait in early life was his desire to acquire a good education, and he spent many of his leisure hours with his books. In his nineteenth year he began teaching and pursued his studies at home in the meantime. As early as 1878 he began to study conference relations with the Methodist Episcopal church which culminated in his admission to the conference in September, 1888. His work was all in connection with the circuit, his first pastorate being at Raymond, Illinois, and later he was elected at various times to Pleasant Plains, Williamsville and Rochester. For four years he published the Illinois Methodist Journal, being appointed its editor by the conference. In 1902, however,he entered upon supernumerary relations with the church and turned his attention to the real estate business in Springfield. In his operations in this line he has been very successful, his business extending to Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.

Mr. Wright has been twice married. On the 18th of April, 1876, he wedded Miss Emma D. Wright, a daughter of Seth and Mary B. (Day) Wright. She died June 20, 1896. By that union there were two children: Mary and David A. The daughter was born January 28, 1879, and on the 27th of June, 1900, became the wife of Kingsley E. Pease, now of Singapore, Malaysia. In October following their marriage they started for the missionary field. They were classmates at the Northwestern University, where they pursued a seven years course of study and both graduated with honor. They taught the higher branches of learning in the Anglo-Chinese Boys, School in Singapore, both occupying chairs. Mrs. Pease died March 26, 1903. The son, David A. Wright, was born January 27, 1882, and died when two and a half years old.

Mr. Wright's second marriage was to Lillian McCoy, a daughter of Milton D. McCoy, one of the old-time pioneer settlers, who married Malcina Adeline Cooper, who was born in Sangamon county, November 22, 1830. They were married March 29, 1848, and lived to celebrate their golden wedding. Two years, eight months and seventeen days after that happy event Mrs. McCoy was called to her final rest. She was greatly beloved and esteemed throughout the entire county and was a very welcome attendant at all the old settlers' meetings, where she had a kind word and pleasant smile for every one. Her husband often presided over these meetings and is now a well preserved pioneer, honored and respected by all. The ideal relation between them for so many years was terminated, however, in death when Mrs. McCoy passed away, December 16, 1900, leaving six children to mourn her loss. Their son, Valman B., died at the age of three years, but six of their children are yet living, namely: Sylvester; Jacob C.; Jane; Loretta, wife of 0. C. St. Clair, of Chicago; Jesse K., who married Ada Fairchild, of Springfield; Mary, the wife of Edwin Poffenberger, of Rochester township; and Lillian, the wife of our subject. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Wright has been born a daughter, Helen E., whose birth occurred August 10, 1898, and who is the life and light of the household. Mrs. Wright was educated in the common schools and became especially proficient in music. Mr. Wright is a strong advocate of temperance principles and is a Prohibitionist in his political views. Both he and his wife are devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal church and do everything in their power to promote its growth and extend its influence.

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