Biography of Reuben R. Bright
Carroll County, IN Biographies





REUBEN R. BRIGHT.

Reuben R Bright, the president of the Bright National Bank, of Flora, Indiana, and a veteran of the Civil War, is to be numbered among the progressive and influential citizens of Carroll county. He has figured as one of the builders in the community and is especially worthy of consideration in this connection. By his industry and sound judgment, he has not only built up a substantial fortune for his declining years, but has materially assisted in the general advancement of the community. At, the firt call to arms issued by President Lincoln he enlisted in Company K, Fifteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, June 8, 1861, and was mustered into service on June 14 of the same year. He spent the first three months of his service in West Virginia with General McClellan, but was subsequently transferred to the Army of the Cumberland, and on December 31, 1862, he was wounded at the battle of Stone's River. being disabled until March, 1863, when he rejoined his regiment. On November 25, 1863, at the battle of Missionary Ridge, he was wounded in his left hand and in the left thigh. These two wounds so disabled him that he was honorably discharged in June, 1864.

Mr. Bright was born near Dayton, Montgomery county, Ohio, April 19, 1839. He is the son of Joseph and Catherine (Hay) Bright, the former of whom was the son of Peter L. and Magdalene (Bowman) Bright. Peter L. Bright was the son of George Bright, a native of Rockingham county, Virginia. Peter L. Bright grew to manhood in that county and was there married to Magdalene Bowman. In 1828 they located in Montgomery county, Ohio, where they lived until their deaths. They were the parents of ten children, Joseph R., Samuel D., George (who died in young manhood), Isaac, David G., Nancy E., Magdalene, Anna, Eliza and Sarah.

In 1853 Joseph it Bright, who had married Catherine Hay, came with his family to Howard county, Indiana, and located near Burlington, where he owned a small farm, and there reared a family of thirteen children. He was a member of the Church of the Brethren and an upright and honorable citizen, passing the remainder of his life in Howard county. Eight of the children are now living, namely . Reuben R., the subject of this sketch; Archie, who was a soldier in Company G, One Hundred and Forty Seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and is now a resident of the Soldiers' Home at Marion, Indiana; Joseph G. T.; Barbara M., the widow of James R. Cromer; Mary A., the widow of George Rice; Augusta V., the wife of Andrew Eikenberry, of Oklahoma; Hannah C., the wife of M. L. Rowland, of Portland, Oregon; Rebecca A., the widow of James McClain, of Cass County. The deceased children are, Lewis and Isaac, who died in the defense of their country; Peachy H.; Daniel A., a soldier in the Seventy first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who was mustered out of service as an adjutant with the rank of captain, and Jacob.

When Joseph and Catherine (Hay) Bright brought their family to Howard county, Indiana, Reuben R. was only fourteen years old. He had previously attended the public schools of Montgomery county, Ohio, and continued his education in the schools of Howard county. There he grew up on a farm, performing the usual labors which fall to the lot of the average country boy. Having served his country faithfully as a soldier in the Civil War, he returned to Howard county, Indiana, in 1864, and was employed in light farming for about four years thereafter. About this time Mr. Bright was married to Eliza J. Ewing and to them was born one child, the wife and child both dying shortly after the birth. Mr. Bright was then, for some time, an inmate of the Soldiers' Home at Dayton. In t873 he came to Flora, Indiana, and engaged in the drug business with Dr. James R. Cromer, an arrangement which continued about twenty three years. About 1895 he sold out to his partner and moved to Georgia, having been one of the colonists who assisted in laying out the town of Fitzgerald, in that state. After living there for a short time, he sold out, and on July 24, 1897, came back to Flora and purchased the private bank here, which he operated until 1905, when it was reorganized as the Bright National Bank. Mr. Bright, who was the first president of the institution, is still serving in this capacity. The vice president, at the organization of the bank, was F. C. Horner, and the cashier, Jesse V. Bright. The directors were, Reuben Bright, F. C. Homer, Jesse V. Bright, Van C. Blue, James Thompson, M. W. Eaton and George E. Voorhees. The present officers of the institution are, Reuben R. Bright, president; John F. Pickard, vice president, and Jesse V. Bright, cashier. The directors are, A. W. Eikenberry, George Wagoner, James Thompson and Warren Knapp.

Some time after the death of his first wife, Mr. Bright was married to her sister, Americus Ewing, and to them have been born two children, Jesse V. and Lola M. Jesse V. was educated in the public schools of Flora, Indiana, and the high schools at Frankfort, Indiana, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. He also took a commercial course at Fitzgerald, Georgia. He served as bookkeeper in the Colony Banks at Fitzgerald until he came to Flora, Indiana, and became cashier of the local bank. On November 19, 1901, he was married to Theresa Cloidt, who died on October 9, 1902. She was a graduate of the Valparaiso Normal School and also of the Conservatory of Music at Chicago. She had a beautiful voice and was a popular young woman in this community. Lola M. Bright married Warren Knapp, and is now deceased.

Mrs. Americus (Ewing) Bright died at Fitzgerald, Georgia, on June 9, 1898, and Mr. Bright was married to Mrs. Martha M. Webster. She was born in Carroll county, Indiana, July 8, 1855, and is the daughter of Rev. O. H. P. Hannah, a minister in the Methodist Episcopal. church. Her mother, whose maiden name was Rachel Gillam, became the mother of fourteen children, of whom Mrs. Bright is the youngest. The latter was educated in the common schools and had married William H. Webster on June 11, 1884. Mr. Webster died on September 30, 1894, leaving no children. They had lived in Missouri for fifteen years and there Mr. Webster died.

Jesse V. Bright is a thirty second degree Mason, a member of the Knights Templar and of Fountain City Lodge No. 263, Knights of Pythias, in which he is a past chancellor and a member of the grand lodge. He is a Republican in politics and prominent in the affairs of the Presbyterian church. Reuben R. Bright is a member of Samuel Stewart Post No. 557, Grand Army of the Republic, and is past commander of the post. Mrs. Bright is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church at Florae. She is a member of the Woman's Relief Corps, being a charter member of the organization.

Mr. Bright and his son, Jesse V., own the controlling interest in the Flora Telephone Company, Warren Knapp and Dr. Frank P. Lyons being the other stockholders. Doctor Lyons is president and Warren Knapp is manager of this company. Notwithstanding his extensive commercial and financial interests, Reuben R. Bright is a modest and unassuming man, who lays no claim to greatness. He is a man of charitable impulses, and has gone about quietly doing good in the community where he lives.

From:
History of Carroll County, Indiana
Its People, Industries and Institutions
By: John C. Odell
B. F. Bowen & Company
Indianapolis 1916


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