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Maj Uriel Sebree Wright
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Birth: Nov. 1, 1804
Madison
Madison County
Virginia, USA
Death: Feb. 18, 1869
Millwood
Clarke County
Virginia, USA

The son of John Wright and Elizabeth Sebree, both of Orange and Madison counties, Virginia.

Uriel became a famous lawyer and orator in St. Louis, Missouri before the Civil War.

He was born at Madison Court House, Madison Co., VA into a relatively well-off family.

He received an appointment in 1819 to attend the military academy at West Point, but followed his father's last wishes in 1821 to drop out and study law instead, which he did at Judge Henry Tucker's law school in Winchester, Frederick Co., VA.

Reminiscences of the bench and bar of Missouri: with an appendix, containing ... By William Van Ness Bay
"Major Wright was born at Madison Court-House, Virginia, in 1805, and on the maternal side descended from the Johnsons and Harbours, old Virginia families, and noted for their talents and patriotism. Young Wright at a very early period exhibited a mental power far above his years, and attracted the particular notice of Governor Barbour, who obtained for him a commission as cadet at West Point. The education he received there proved highly advantageous to him in after-life, but in obedience to the wish of his father, expressed on his death-bed, he left the institution before graduating, and entered upon the study of the law .with Judge Philip P. Barbour, of Orange County, and graduated in Judge Tucker's law school at Winchester. He was then admitted to the bar, and practiced in his native county about five years."

He married 13 Nov 1827, Frederick Co., VA to Sarah Tuley, daughter of Joseph Tuley Sr. and his wife Ann "Nancy" Brownlee.

Uriel was listed on the 1830 Madison Co., VA census with his family:

1830 census, Madison Co., VA
Uriel Wright
One male age 20-30; b. 1800-1810 - Uriel
One female 20-30; b. 1800-1810 - Sarah
Two females 10-15; b. 1815-1820 - ??

In 1832, they went west to the Missouri frontier with Uriel brothers and sister, settling in the new town of Palmyra, Marion county where Uriel began to build a new law practice and speculate in land.

Marian Co., MO Land patents
WRIGHT, Uriel 10/13/1835
WRIGHT, Uriel 10/13/1835
WRIGHT, Uriel 11/02/1837
WRIGHT, Uriel 11/02/1837
WRIGHT, Uriel 11/02/1837
WRIGHT, Uriel 11/02/1837

Reminiscences of the bench and bar of Missouri: with an appendix, containing ... By William Van Ness Bay
"In the meantime he married, and in 1833 removed to Missouri and settled in Palmyra, Marion County, and practiced in most of the courts in north-east Missouri. The Marion bar is, and always has been, a strong bar; but Major Wright's social habits and fine qualities as a speaker soon gave him a good practice. About this time land speculations ran very high, and every man who had a quarter-section on the Mississippi, or any other river, laid out a town, expecting that in a few years a large city would spring up and his town lots sell at marvelous prices. Major Wright fell an early victim to the fever, and, with others, invested all his means in Marion City, a city only seen on paper, and which at the first high flood took its departure for a more southern clime. This unfortunate investment induced him to remove to St. Louis, where he passed the most active part of his life. Before, however, coming to St. Louis, he served one term in the State Legislature as a representative from Marion. This was the winter of 1836-7. During that session we were in Jefferson City, and heard him on several occasions address the House, and became impressed with his great power as a debater."

1834 – 1848 - Uriel was practicing as a lawyer in Ralls Co., MO.
"Uriel was a lawyer in the firm of Pierce & Wright in Ralls Co., MO, and is mentioned in numerous court papers there between 1834 & 1848. According to his cousin's wife, "Uriel was a fine orator and a lawyer that ranked high." [Salyer's Sebree Studies, pg 34.]

1836 -
http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/history/historicallistings/molegw.asp
Missouri State Legislators 1820-2000
Wright, Uriel, Rep. Marion 1836

Wright, Uriel — of Marion, Cole County, Mo. Whig. Delegate to Whig National Convention from Missouri, 1839;

He was listed on the 1840 Marion Co., MO census living near two of his brothers, William (also a lawyer) and Dr. John C.:

1840 Marion Co., MO, Liberty Township, census, p. 82
Uriel Wright
0-1-0-0-2-1 0-1-0-0-1
One male over 45; b. by 1795 - Uriel
One female over 45; b. by 1795 - Sarah
Two males age 26-44; b. 1794-1814 - law clerks?
One female age 5-9; b. 1821-1825 - Belinda
One male age 5-9; b. 1821-1825 - Joseph

"About 3oo immigrants came into the county through his efforts, and a town called Marion City was laid off 6 miles east of Palmyra in 1834, but in the great freshet of 1844, it was entirely washed away."

Uriel Wright - delegate to Missouri state constitutional convention 28th District, 1845-46.

1850 census, St Louis Co., St. Louis Twp., p. 283
Urial Wright 40 Virginia; attorney at law
Sarah Wright 40 Virginia
Malinda Wright 20 Virginia (Belinda)
John Wright 15 Virginia (Joseph)
3 slaves - a 30 yr old woman and two little girls

Speeches delivered by Uriel Wright and S.T. Glover at the Scott and Graham ratification meeting held in St. Louis, July 7, 1852 (Google eBook)

1860 St. Louis Co., MO, 5-WD, p. 286
Uriel Wright, 54, Lawyer, real estate $25,000; personal prop. $15,148, born VA
Sarah, 54, b. VA
Joseph, 27, b. MO
Mary, 20, [Mary Mason, wife of Joseph], b. OH
Mary, 1, MO
U. L. Boyce, 24, Lawyer, $2,000, b. KY
Belinda A., 24, VA
George Riney?, 55, laborer, b. Eng
John Lez, 18, bar tracker [law clerk?], b. OH

New York Times archive: Published: September 18, 1860
PRESIDENTIAL.; ANTI-REPUBLICAN MASS MEETING. A NEW SCHEME OF FUSION ADOPTED. A Breckinridge Democrat to Appoint the Electors of the Union Ticket. Speeches of Joshua J. Henry, Mayor Wood, Governor Morehead, Hon. John Cochrane, Messrs. Wright, Holmes, Norton, and Others.
"The Union was again saved at the Cooper Institute last evening. The country was lifted from the verge of the frightful abysm over which the Republicans were pushing it with split-rails...
The following was the advertised list of speakers:
[Among others] Major Uriel Wright, of Missouri;"

http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mo/county/stlouis/acw.htm
Anti-Slavery Confederates:
* Uriel Wright, St. Louis lawyer defended a free black (Charles Lyons) who was apprehended in St. Louis for not carrying a license. Wright argued that the law was not legal because it was inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.
"If Unionism means such atrocious deeds as I have witnessed in St. Louis, I am no longer a Union man."
--Uriel Wright, member of Missouri Constitution Convention, stated after witnessing the massacre of civilians in the streets of St. Louis.

"When the War began he returned home to Virginia and, despite being a supporter of the Union, served as a Confederate staff officer. After the War he moved to Clarke County, in northern Virginia."

Biography in the 1901 Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri:
"Uriel Wright, in his day one of the most eminent of the Western criminal lawyers, was born in Virginia in 1805, and died in Winchester, Virginia, in 1869. He was a cadet at the Military Academy until his father's death, after which he left that institution and began the study of law. This training for the legal profession was supplemented by a course of study at the law school of Winchester, Virginia. He was married in 1833, and came West, settling in Marion County, Missouri. Elected to the State Legislature, he acquired, while serving in that body, a celebrity as an orator which extended throughout the State. At the end of his term of service he removed to St. Louis and soon became one of the most renowned advocates in practice at the bar of that city. He had a natural fondness for the criminal practice, and was almost immediately retained in a number of cases in which he carried away judges, juries and audiences alike by his ardent eloquence. When the secession issue was raised he allied himself with the Unconditional Union men. He was elected a delegate the State convention of 1861 by a very large majority and continued to combat secession and disunion until the capture of Camp Jackson. This action, which he thought altogether uncalled for, aroused his indignation. He condemned it in the strongest terms and entered the Confederate Army and served throughout the war as a staff officer. When the war closed he returned to St. Louis and resumed his practice in that city. The changed conditions, however, caused him to grow restless and dissatisfied, and he removed to Winchester, Virginia, where the closing years of his life were passed."

1869, Winchester, Frederick Co., VA
"He then resumed the practice of the law at Winchester, Virginia, where he remained till his death, which occurred on February 18, 1869, after a painful illness of three months. His remains repose in the beautiful valley of the Shenandoah."

Shenandoah valley pioneers and their descendants: A history of Frederick ...
By Thomas Kemp Cartmell, p. 277
[On "The Tulyries"] "The property descended in part to Col. Uriel Wright his son-in-law, who came from St. Louis after the Civil War, where he and U. L. Boyce dispensed liberal hospitality for many years."

"Joseph Tuley, known as the Colonel, had no children. He succeeded his father, in the management of the estate at the Tuleyries, and at his death in 1860, his nieces, Mrs. Wright, and Mrs. Balinda Boyce, resided there many years."

Excerpts from article in the 1878, ‘Reminiscences of the Bench and Bar of Missouri.' By W. V. N. Bay.
"Among the gifted men of the Missouri bar who dazzled the public mind with their genius and eloquence, none ranked higher than the subject of this sketch, the Prentiss of Missouri. A part of his professional life was spent in Marion County, and most of the remainder in the city of St. Louis, which became the scene of his greatest professional triumph.
It is too soon, by at least a generation, to sketch the life of one whose want of moral stamina turned the public eye from his genius and oratorical superiority. Human jealousy and a want of charity for our imperfections will not permit us to appreciate a man's worth or intellect until his faults pass out of memory, and his genius can be viewed disconnected from his errors and frailties.
Major Wright was born at Madison Court-House, Virginia, in 1805, and on the maternal side descended from the Johnsons and Barbours, old Virginia families, and noted for their talents and patriotism. Young Wright at a very early period exhibited a mental power far above his years, and attracted the particular notice of Governor Barbour, who obtained for him a commission as cadet at West Point. The education he received there proved highly advantageous to him in after-life, but in obedience to the wish of his father, expressed on his death-bed, he left the institution before graduating, and entered upon the study of the law with Judge Philip P. Barbour, of Orange County, and graduated in Judge Tucker's law school at Winchester. He was then admitted to the bar, and practiced in his native county about five years. In the meantime he married, and in 1833 removed to Missouri and settled in Palmyra, Marion County, and practiced in most of the courts in north-east Missouri. The Marion bar is, and always has been, a strong bar; but Major Wright's social habits and fine qualities as a speaker soon gave him a good practice. About this time land speculations ran very high, and every man who had a quarter-section on the Mississippi, or any other river, laid out a town, expecting that in a few years a large city would spring up and his town lots sell at marvelous prices. Major Wright fell an early victim to the fever, and, with others, invested all his means in Marion City, a city only seen on paper, and which at the first high flood took its departure for a more southern clime. This unfortunate investment induced him to remove to St. Louis, where he passed the most active part of his life. Before, however, coming to St. Louis, he served one term in the State Legislature as a representative from Marion. This was the winter of 1836-7. During that session we were in Jefferson City, and heard him on several occasions address the House, and became impressed with his great power as a debater.
[There follow several pages of praise of Major Uriel Wright's gifts as a lawyer and orator, which I have omitted.]
One of the greatest defects in Major Wright's character was a liability to be carried away by every new dogma or theory that came along, no matter how untenable. He early became an advocate of spiritualism – read everything that was written on the subject, attended all the private and public exhibitions, and for a long period of time became so thoroughly engrossed in it that he would scarcely speak of anything else.
[Section omitted.]
While we regard him as one of the brightest intellects of his time, truth compels us to allude to some of his peculiarities which are difficult of explanation. They refer chiefly to his want of stability and moral power. We have heard him in the court-room deliver a philippic against gambling which brought tears from every eye, and yet, in a few hours afterwards, saw him at a card-table, indulging in a game of draw poker. We have heard him speak to a jury of the horrors of intemperance and its terrible effects upon the youth of the country, and on the same evening seen him playing billiards, and sipping from a glass of brandy. He was not by any means an intemperate man, and only visited such places as were frequented by gentlemen, but his indulgence in all kinds of amusements and games prevented him from occupying that high moral position which in all large communities is essential to professional success.
In 1861 he expressed himself very warmly in favor of the Union, which induced the anti-secession party to place him on their ticket as a candidate for the Convention called to take into consideration the relations of the state to the Federal government. He was elected – receiving a large vote than any of his colleagues – took his seat, and delivered several patriotic addresses in behalf of maintaining the laws and the government. At the second session of the same Convention he proclaimed himself a secessionist, and made a secession speech in front of the Planters' House, and from that time became thoroughly identified with the Rebellion. He joined General Sterling Price, and was placed on his staff, and after the evacuation of Corinth by Beauregard, entered upon the staff of General Van Dorm, and with the rank of major, and served with him until ill health forced him to retire from the army. He then resumed the practice of the law at Winchester, Virginia, where he remained till his death, which occurred on February 18, 1869, after a painful illness of three months. His remains repose in the beautiful valley of the Shenandoah."

Children:

1. Ann Elizabeth Wright, b. 4 Mar 1829, Winchester, Frederick Co., VA; d. 11 May 1829, Clarke Co., VA; buried Old Chapel cemetery.

2. Belinda Frances Wright, b. 22 April 1831, Winchester, Frederick Co., VA; m. 4 Feb 1858, St. Louis, MO to Upton Lawrence Boyce [b. 30 Oct 1830, KY; d. 24 Dec 1907, Clarke Co., VA]; she d. October 31, 1902, Clarke Co., VA; buried Old Chapel cemetery.

3. Joseph Tuley Wright, b. 19 Nov 1832, Palmyra, Marion Co., MO; m. St. Louis, MO to Mary Mason [b. 1835 NY; d. 1901]; he d. 1894, Harrison Co., MS; buried Live Oak cemetery.
Joseph Tuley Wright's children:
1) Mary Wright
2) Uriel Wright, b. 21 Sep 1860; m. 1st to Ella Thomas; m. 2nd to Ernestine ___ [b. 1886; d. 1938]; he d. 3 Jun 1929.
3) Edwin J. Wright, b. 1862; m. Mary Johnson.
4) Joseph Tuley Wright, Jr., b. 23 Mar 1866; m. Wilburn "Willie" Hill [b. 25 Nov 1870; d. 30 Jun 1950]; she d. 27 Jul 1936.
5) Maude Lillian Wright, b. 7 May 1870; d. 16 Sep 1903.
6) Sara Elizabeth Wright, b. 7 Jul 1874; m. Louis Kellingsworth Hill [d. 19 Apr 1942; she d. 15 Aug 1945.

4. Mary Rebecca Wright, b. 14 Jan 1835, Palmyra, Marion Co., MO; d. 9 Jul 1836, Palmyra, Marion Co., MO; buried Greenwood cemetery.

5. Mary Rebecca Wright, b. 4 Jun 1836, Palmyra, Marion Co., MO; d. 30 Oct 1837, Palmyra, Marion Co., MO; buried Greenwood cemetery.

6. Howard Wright, b. 4 Feb 1838, Palmyra, Marion Co., MO; d. 8 Feb 1838, Palmyra, Marion Co., MO; buried Greenwood cemetery.

7. Sarah Norman Wright, b. 22 May 1839, Palmyra, Marion Co., MO; d. 22 Nov 1839, Palmyra, Marion Co., MO; buried Greenwood cemetery.

8. Uriel Sebree Wright, b. 17 Sep 1840, Palmyra, Marion Co., MO; d. 28 Sep 1840, Palmyra, Marion Co., MO; buried Greenwood cemetery.
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  John T. K. Wright (1772 - 1821)
  Elizabeth Sebree Wright (1779 - 1824)
 
 Spouse:
  Sarah Tuley Wright (1804 - 1861)
 
 Children:
  Ann Elizabeth Wright (1829 - 1829)*
  Belinda Frances Wright Boyce (1831 - 1902)*
  Mary Rebecca Wright (1835 - 1836)*
  Mary Rebecca Wright (1836 - 1837)*
  Howard Wright (1838 - 1838)*
  Sarah Norman Wright (1839 - 1839)*
  Uriel Sebree Wright (1840 - 1840)*
 
 Siblings:
  William Wright (1797 - 1853)*
  Uriel Sebree Wright (1804 - 1869)
  John Cornett Wright (1806 - 1849)*
  Frances Elizabeth Wright Pratt (1808 - 1835)*
  Leland Wright (1813 - 1891)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Old Chapel Cemetery
Millwood
Clarke County
Virginia, USA
 
Created by: Bev Golden
Record added: Nov 08, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 80073887
 

 
 
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