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Wright, James Edward


Age: 0, credited to Unknown
Unit(s): 44th MA INF
Service: Co. F, 44th MA INF

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 07/09/1839, Unknown
Death: 09/05/1914

Burial: Green Mount Cemetery, Montpelier, VT
Marker/Plot: Lot 458
Gravestone photographer: Heidi McColgan
Findagrave Memorial #: 148481625


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Not Found
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


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Copyright notice



Green Mount Cemetery, Montpelier, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.



The life of Rev. James Edward Wright, D. D., which ended naturally and peacefully Sept. 5, 1914, is a record of faithful and noble service to his fellow men, and of a serene, self-poised, strong, and beautiful character.

To tell what he did day in and day out as the minister of the Montpelier parish for forty-five years would be no easy task, but to describe him, the spirit that breathed in him, the ideals that guided him and shed their beauty on him, his unconscious goodness, his gentle sternness, his lowly faithfulness in great things and small, so as to bring the man before us simply as he was in his modest greatness, would require a pen dipped in light.

Montpelier, Vt., was his home. There he was born July 9, 1839, of sound Congregational stock, his father, Chester Wright, having been the first minister of the town. There he lived until he was fifteen years old. Thither he returned at the age of thirty, after having had the benefits of education in the Boston Latin School. Harvard College (class of 61), the 44th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers in North Carolina (62), and Andover Theological Seminary (class of 65), and after three years' experimental preaching in the "Christian" Church in Maine and Illinois. There in September, 1869, he accepted the invitation of the recently organized Church of the Messiah (Unitarian) to become its pastor, to which his whole life was given in love and loyalty; and there on September 5 he breathed his last, amid the affection and veneration of not only of his church, but of all the city and the county around.

His work extended far beyond the bounds of his parish. He gave of himself freely, almost extravagantly, to serve the whole wide neighborhood about Montpelier; people of all kinds revered him, and felt they must have him with them in their seasons of joy or sorrow, and he answered their calls with a devotion that counted no action small and no task burdensome which might give help or happiness. More than half of his pastoral services was thus given, often without other reward than his self-approval.

Just as freely he gave himself in the service of his city, State, or denomination. For six years he was a director of the American Unitarian Association, he was secretary for Vermont of the National Conference of Charities and correction, president of the Board of Trustees of the Washington County Grammar School, trustee and secretary of the Kellogg-Hubbard library, and trustee of Goddard Seminary, Proctor Academy, and the Vermont State Library. In many relations he was looked upon as one of the foremost citizens of Vermont.

Yet it was as the minister of his own church and people that he looked upon himself first and last. This was the relation that offered the fullest scope for his rare qualities and brought him the rewards and satisfactions he cared most to possess. He magnified his profession, not by personal claims, but by absolute devotion to the best ideals, and adorned it by the sweetness and integrity of his life. He was wholly without pretension of any kind, but thoroughly self-possessed, and no persuasion or plea of self-interest could make him untrue to himself. Gentle as a woman in all personal dealings, he was unyielding as granite when moral issues were joined. In his fidelities he had the strength of a giant. He was wide, tolerant, friendly, and indefatigable in his ministry. He brought to it the best that was in him of thought and emotion. Never loud or tempestuous in speech, his every word was winged with conviction. He loved others more than himself, he loved truth more than comfort, and he loved t minister more than to be ministered unto. No wonder his people learned to regard him with great love and admiration. In his modesty, fearing to outstay his usefulness, he presented his resignation again and again, but the church would not let him go. At last, on reaching his seventieth birthday and completing forty years of service, his insistent request was granted, and he was made pastor emeritus.

Dr. Wright was held in the highest esteem by his comrades in the Unitarian ministry. He was honored in 1902 with the degree of Doctor of Divinity, conferred by Harvard University, A trail of light marks all the ways he went.

He was married Oct. 4, 1876, to Julia A. Whitney of Cambridge, who survives him, as do their three children; Prof. Chester W. Wright of the University of Chicago; Miss Rebecca Wright, secretary of the Vermont State Library Commission and Mrs. Stanley Gale Eaton of Chicago.

Source: Burlington Free Press, October 19, 1914.
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.