ORA LEE WRIGHT.
No history of the banking business in Iowa would be complete were there failure to make reference to the Wright
family, for grandfather, father and son have been most active and prominent factors in shaping the records of the
state in this regard. The work instituted by the grandfather and continued by the father, Oliver P. Wright, who
is now president of the Marion County National Bank, is being carried on still further by Ora L. Wright, whose
name introduces this review. He belongs to that younger generation of business men called upon to shoulder responsibilities
differing materially from those resting upon their predecessors. In a broader field of enterprise they find themselves
obliged to deal with affairs of greater magnitude and to solve more difficult and complicated financial and economic
problems. To such work Ora L. Wright is devoting his energies and the excellent result achieved is a familiar one
to all who know aught of his career.
He was born in Knoxville on the 13th of June, 1870, and with the usual school training of the lad of that age and
period he qualified for the duties of later life and in 1886 entered the employ of the Marion County National Bank
as bookkeeper. Parental authority was not exercised to win him advancement. On the contrary, he knew that he must
win his promotion and it came to him in 1888, when, after two years experience, he was made assistant cashier.
Three years later he was promoted to the position of cashier. From that time forward his activities in banking
circles have constantly broadened in scope and importance. In 1900 he organized the Lovilia Exchange Bank at Lovilia,
Iowa, and since it opened its doors for business on the loth of December of that year he has been its vice president.
He also organized the Columbia Savings Bank at Columbia, Iowa, of which he is the vice president, and he was the
organizer of the Iowa Savings Bank at Tracy, of which he is the president. On the 25th of June, 1903, he organized
the Peoples Bank of Dallas, Iowa, of which he was president, which was formed as a private bank but was later converted
into a state bank under the name of the Peoples Savings Bank. Subsequently it was reorganized with Mr. Wright as
its president, as the First Trust & Savings Bank of Meicher, being removed to the town of Melcher. Mr. Wright
is likewise a stockholder in the Citizens Bank and the First National Bank of Pleasantville, Iowa, and he is extensively
engaged in the farm loan business, having a very large clientage in that connection. His financial interests have
ever been most carefully conducted, for his sagacity is keen, his judgment sound and his energy indefatigable.
On the nth of September, 1895, Mr. Wright was married to Miss Estella Dorcas Woodruff, the only daughter of Elias
B. and Elizabeth Esther (Parker) Woodruff. Mr. and Mrs. Wright have become parents of two children, Esther Elizabeth
and Florence Marjorie, the latter now a high school pupil. The former, having graduated from the high school of
Knoxville, is attending the Ward Belmont College at Nashville, Tennessee, where she is specializing in the study
The family is a very prominent one in the social circles of Knoxville and Mr. Wright stands as one of the foremost
representatives of Masonry in his native city. Having taken the degrees of the blue lodge, he passed on through
the York Rite, becoming a Knight Templar. It was in 1891 that he became an entered apprentice in Oriental Lodge,
No. 61, A. F: & A. M. He now has membership in Tadmor Chapter, No. 18, R. A. M., and in 1894 he attained the
thirty second degree of the Scottish Rite in Des Moines Consistory, No. 3, A. & A. S. R. In 1896 he became
a Knight Templar in De Payne's Commandery, No. 6, K. T., of Oskaloosa, Iowa. In 1895 he crossed the sands of the
desert with the nobles of the Mystic Shrine of Kaaba Temple at Davenport, but afterward demitted and aided in the
organization of Za-Ga-Zig Temple of Des Moines, of which he is a charter member. He has held all of the chairs
in the blue lodge, was master three years and since 1899 has been its treasurer, and is a life member of the grand
lodge of the state. He has held all the offices in the chapter and was high priest for several years. In 1912 he
organized Melita Commandery, No. 64, K. T., of Knoxville, of which he has since been the eminent commander. In
1899 and 1900 he was treasurer of the grand lodge of Iowa and he is an influential factor in Masonic circles, being
one of the well known representatives of the order in the state. He is likewise a past chancellor of Knoxville
Lodge, No. 72, K. P., and has been master of the exchequer for the past eighteen years.
In politics Mr. Wright is an active, earnest republican but is in no sense a politician as regards office seeking.
He has never held political office but in 1914. was elected school director. It is well known that his aid and
influence have ever been given on the side of advancement and improvement and he resolutely and generously supports
all those movements which are a matter of civic virtue and civic pride. The subjective and objective forces of
life are in him well balanced, making him cognizant of his own capabilities and powers, while at the same time
he thoroughly understands his opportunities and his obligations. To make his native talents subserve the demands
which conditions of society impose at the present time is the purpose of his life, and by reason of the mature
judgment which characterizes his efforts at all times, he stands today as a splendid representative of the banker
and investor to whom business is but one phase of life and does not exclude his active participation in and support
of the other vital interests which go to make up human existence.
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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