ERASTUS ZENAS WRIGHT.
Among the long established families of Oneida county the Wright family occupies a prominent place, an early
member of this name having arrived in central New York soon after 1799, coming from Massachusetts into the wilderness
which covered. the section now known as Oneida county. It was through these pioneers, possessing the simple virtues
of fearlessness, energy and persistence that New York state was settled. They prepared the way and the present
generation reaps the benefits of their self-sacrifice and toil.
The pioneer member of the Wright family to come to America was Samuel Wright of Wrightsbridge, Essex county, England,
who settled in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1639. In 1653 he moved his large family to Northampton, Massachusetts.
At the close of the 18th century, Zenas Wright, a direct descendant, left Northampton, going to Oneida county,
and in 1816 to Utica, where, with his wife Malinda Beech he resided for fifty years, both passing away in 1866.
Zenas Wright was a tanner and for many years filled the office of justice of the peace, gaining a wide reputation
on account of his able administration of the duties of that position. Of their four daughters, one, Huldah Beech
remained in Utica, marrying George Strong Dana, junior member of the firm of Dana & Son. In 1829, their son,
Erastus Zenas was born, who, for more than 82 years was a highly respected citizen of Utica. He died July 10, 1911.
Erastus Zenas Wright received his preliminary education in private schools and laying his studies aside, entered
the employ of Dana & Company, hardware dealers, whose business was established in 1801. He was made a member
of the firm in 1859 and the title was changed to Wright, Dana & Company. It is now the oldest hardware firm
in the United States and has conducted business at the same location for one hundred and ten years. Mr. Wright
was also identified with other interests and for thirty five years past was a member of the board of directors
of the First National Bank.
In May, 1867, he was united in marriage to Miss Julia Adelaide Butler, a daughter of Asa Alanson and Mary (Mosher)
Butler, of Sauquoit. The Butlers were also early settlers of Oneida county, having arrived at New Hartford in 1791
from Middleton, Massachusetts. Four children came to bless the Union of Mr. and Mrs. Wright: Mabel, who married
W. Henry Esser; Elizabeth Butler, the wife of Willis N Mills; Julia Henrietta, who married J. De Peyster Lynch;
and Benjamin Hager.
Mr. Wright was closely connected in his active years with movements for the promotion of the public good. He was
one of the organizers of the Utica Art Association and the Utica Park Association but has never sought any public
office. Entirely unassuming, he preferred the quiet walks of life, although never backward in assisting his friends
in securing coveted honors. In former years he was an ardent devotee of the rod and gun, and he and his faithful
dog were often to be seen wending their way along streams and in unfrequented places in Oneida county. He was a
valued member of the Masonic order whose benevolent principles have found in his heart a generous response, and
his life was largely directed in accordance with its kindly teachings.
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Oneida County, NY
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