John W. Wright, whose identification with journalistic interests began more than a quarter of a century ago,
has for the past' thirteen years acted as city and county news editor of the Knoxville Journal, the leading republican
paper of Marion county. His acquaintance is very wide and it is generally conceded that no citizen has taken a
more active or helpful interest in the progress and substantial advancement of the community. His birth occurred
in Oskaloosa, Mahaska county, Iowa, on the 4th of May, 186o, his parents being Dillon and Susanna (Frazier) Wright,
representatives of the old line Quaker families of Grant county, Indiana, and Highland county, Ohio. The Frazier
family removed from Indiana to Jefferson county, Iowa, and settled in the vicinity of Pleasant Plain in 1838, while
the Wrights came from the Hoosier state to Iowa in 1857, likewise taking up their abode near Pleasant Plain.
John W. Wright spent his childhood days in Oskaloosa and attended school intermittently until twelve years of age.
His schooling, however, did not extend beyond the primary grades, for he was taken into the coal works as miner's
helper in the winter after his twelfth birthday and subsequently labored in the mines during the winter months
and in a brickyard throughout the summer seasons, his time being thus occupied until 1887. In that year he took
charge of the "Questions and Answers" department of the old Des Moines Leader and of a similar department
in the American Rural Home, the latter being a farm paper of immense circulation published at Rochester, New York.
These query departments he has continuously maintained throughout the intervening twenty seven years. In 1888 he
took the editorship of the "Notes for the Curious" department in The Republic, of St. Louis, Missouri,
and also a position on the editorial staff of the Sunday Republic, furnishing the leading editorials in that edition
during 1895, 1896 and 1897. The "Notes for the Curious" department was published in the Saturday and
Weekly editions from 1888 until January 1, 1899, or for ten years and four months, without the exception of a single
In 1879 Mr. Wright came to Knoxville, Iowa, and three years later was united in marriage to Miss Lizzie Smith,
by whom he had two children, namely: Loren S., who died at Beaver, Colorado, in 1904, when almost twenty one years
of age; and L. Bess, who is now the wife of Wilbur E. Brown, roadmaster of the Horton-Nelson branch of the Rock
Island system, with headquarters at Fairbury, Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Brown have one child, Lawrence Edward, who
was born at Fairbury, Nebraska, on the 5th of October, 1909.
No resident of Marion county of early or recent arrival has been more deeply concerned in the history and progress
of the community than has John W. Wright. He enjoys a very extended acquaintance and is well known among all classes
of people, including common laborers, miners, farmers and brickworkers, as well as merchants, lawyers, politicians,
bankers and persons of statewide reputation, such as editors, educators and men of affairs. Having a mind practically
unbiased by school education and as absorbent as a sponge, he has made himself known as a writer on a variety of
different subjects, mainly scientific, and at present is a member in good standing of the Iowa Academy of Sciences
and of the National Geographic Society. He declined the flattering offer of a place on the staff of McClure's Magazine
and has been importuned to take a position under Curator E. R. Harlan at the Historical Building in Des Moines.
Mr. Wright's one copyrighted book, "Christ in Myth and Legend," was published by Cranston & Curts
of Cincinnati, in 1894, and the entire edition sold from the prospectus before the first finished copy came from
the press. For the past thirteen years and more, since December, 1901, he has been city and county news editor
of the Knoxville Journal, the leading republican paper of Marion county. During ten years of that time he furnished
three thousand words every week on popular scientific subjects under the general head of "Nature Snapshots,"
writing from sis to ten short articles weekly on animals, birds, insects, fishes, reptiles, trees, plants, etc.,
with a goodly sprinkling of geology as found in the local field. His style is terse and clear and his contributions
have been eagerly sought and read as being most interestingly instructive. As assistant editor of the Knoxville
Journal, under the able management of Messrs. Curtis & Gilson, he has maintained an enviable position in journalistic
circles of the county and has helped establish the reputation of the paper on a high plane. His influence is a
potent factor in the upbuilding and development of the community, being always found on the side of right, justice,
truth, progress and improvement.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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