George Wright


George Wright was born on December 29, 1779 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He was the son of Thomas Wright and Susanna Turner. George worked for many years with his father as Deputy Surveyor. On December 28, 1807 he married Phebe Cambridge, daughter of John Cambridge, a prominent proprietor and merchant. The couple had six children. In 1808 George entered a partnership with the Cambridge family. In 1813 the partnership dissolved and he was left in control of the firm's brewery and mills at Bird Island (Wrights) Creek, near Charlottetown.

George Wright served as High Sheriff in 1810-1811. During the War of 1812 he was rapidly promoted from Captain of Militia to Major to Lieutenant-Colonel. In 1824 he became the JP (Justice of the Peace) with the rank of Custos Rotulorum, and an Assistant Judge of the Supreme Court in 1828. He was a prominent member of St. Paul's parish in Charlottetown, a founding member of the Central Agricultural Society (1827), and then its president in (1830).

He was appointed to Council on June 10, 1813, just prior to the arrival of Lieutenant Governor Charles Douglass Smith. In the early years of Smith's government Wright was regarded as an associate of James Bardin Palmer, and his defiance of Smith in 1815 over a militia disturbance led to Smith's unsuccessful attempt to dismiss him from Council. Throughout the controversies involving Smith in the early 20's Wright kept a low profile, frequently absent from Council for critical meetings but generally supportive of the administration.

As senior member and president of Council, he found himself administering the colony from December 10, 1825, the first of several times he served as its Chief Executive Officer on an interim basis. The stewardship, during the absence of Smith's successor, John Ready, in England, lasted exactly one year. In his role as Administrator, Wright carried out routine business, chaired meetings of Council, sent reports to the Colonial Office, acknowledges dispatched and forwarded petitions and papers.

On November 12, 1827 the complex at Bird Island, consisting of a grist-mill, sawmill, and distillery, all fitted with extensive machinery, was burnt to the ground by fire which started in the drying kiln. The structure was completely uninsured. In 1828, following the death of his brother Charles, the Surveyor General, George Wright assumed his office, the third member of his family to hold this post!

Wright served as Administrator from May 19, 1834 to September 29 1834 while Lieutenant Governor Sir Aretas William Young visited England, and again from December 2, 1835 to August 30, 1836 between Young's death and the arrival of Sir John Harvey. He served briefly again in 1837 and 1841 before and after the tenure of Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy. George Wright died on March 13, 1842.

Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online