Joseph A. Wright

Born Apr 17, 1810

Joseph Albert Wright was the tenth Governor of the U.S. state of Indiana from December 5, 1849 to January 12, 1857, most noted for his opposition to banking. His positions created a rift between him and the Indiana General Assembly who overrode all of his anti-banking vetoes. He responded by launching legal challenges to the acts, but was ruled against by the Indiana Supreme Court.… Read More

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1810 Birth Joseph Albert Wright was born in Washington, Pennsylvania on April 17, 1810 the son of John and Rachel Seaman Wright.
1820 10 Years Old He moved with his family to Bloomington, Indiana in 1820, where he attended public school. … Read More


1828 18 Years Old He graduated in 1828 and decided to become a lawyer. … Read More


1831 - 1832 2 More Events
1836 26 Years Old In 1836, supporting internal improvements, he ran again and was elected to serve a second term; it was during the height of the state's internal improvement craze and he voted for the implementing act.
1838 28 Years Old He left the General Assembly to become the prosecuting attorney of the Indiana 1st circuit in 1838, but found he did not like the constant traveling and resigned the following year.
1839 29 Years Old He ran for the Indiana State Senate in 1839. … Read More


1840 30 Years Old After the 1840 legislative session, Wright reopened his law office with a new partner, congressman Tilghman A. Howard, a friend of the governor and President Andrew Jackson.
1843 33 Years Old At Tilghman's suggestion he ran for Congress in 1843 in his Whig dominated district and won election narrowly, by only three votes. … Read More
1845 35 Years Old 1 More Event
He was defeated in his 1845 reelection campaign by 171 votes. … Read More
In 1849, Wright backed Whitcomb in his failed bid for the United States Senate against pro-slavery state Democrat leader Jesse D. Bright. … Read More


As governor, Wright nevertheless signed the arrest warrant for Methodist minister for Calvin Fairbank, who helped slaves escape from Kentucky on the Underground Railroad. As a result of Wright's signature, Fairbank was kidnapped by Kentuckians in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1851, dragged to Kentucky for trial, and sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
1852 42 Years Old 1 More Event
His primary opponent during his term remained Jesse D. Bright, who led his faction of the party against Wright on many different measures. Bright continued to antagonize Wright, and at the party's 1852 convention Bright was able to keep a large number of delegates from casting a vote in an attempt to bog down proceedings and keep Wright from being nominated to run again for Governor. … Read More
1854 44 Years Old …  Wright remarried to Harriet Burbridge on August 15, 1854, and the couple had one daughter Harriet died in October 1855.
1855 45 Years Old In 1855, another bill was passed to permit the Bank of Indiana to incorporate privately, and was also vetoed by Wright. … Read More
1857 47 Years Old 1 More Event
With his legal options exhausted, Wright took the fight back to the legislature in 1857, giving a scathing speech accusing the body of many different violations of public good-will. … Read More


1861 - 1862 2 More Events
1863 53 Years Old 1 More Event
He remarried again in 1863 to Caroline Rockwell who returned with him to Germany after Abraham Lincoln reappointed Wright to serve as the Ambassador to Prussia.
1864 54 Years Old Fairbank reportedly received over 30,000 lashes in jail until he was pardoned in 1864.
1867 57 Years Old Died on May 11, 1867.
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