William Wright was born on March 14, 1839, in Suffolk, England, probably the son of John (1813-1876) and Sarah (Barnaby, 1812-1898).
In 1853 William’s parents left England and immigrated to the United States, landing in New York city. They moved west and first settled in Ohio, locating in Lorain County where they remained for about 3 years. In 1856 the family moved to Michigan, settling in Gratiot County, and cleared some 40 acres of land in North Shade Township. The family subsequently added another 240 acres, selling off 128 acres. In 1860 there was a 20-year-old laborer named William Wright, born in England, working for the Briggs family in Pine River, Gratiot County. According to Patricia Hamp, who has researched the Civil War veterans from Gratiot County, he is listed as being from Gratiot County at the time of his enlistment.
William stood 5’4” with gray eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 20 years old and possibly still living in Gratiot or in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861 -- he was possibly related to John Wright and/or Matthew Wright. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) George Miller of Company A and a tentmate in the winter of 1861-62, said of Wright that he was “nicknamed ‘lightning’ by the boys from his long slim appearance and awkward motions.”
William was shot in the left leg on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and hospitalized in the general hospital at Fortress Monroe, Virginia. By mid-September he was in Fairfax Seminary Hospital in Alexandria reported to be “doing well” and he was in a hospital in Washington, DC, as of late October and reported still hospitalized in Washington at the end of December. . Indeed, he remained hospitalized until he was discharged on January 14, 1863, at Camp Banks, Virginia, for “loss of power of left leg from gunshot wound in inguinal region.”
After his discharge from the army, William returned to Michigan. He listed Hubbardston, Ionia County as his mailing address on his discharge paper, but was livingin North Shade, Gratiot County in April of 1863 when he applied for a pension. By 1870 he was back living with his parents on their farm in North Shade.
In 1871 he was married to Michigan native Libbie C. (1847-1893) and they had at least three children: Edd J. (b. 1872), Ora L. (b. 1874 and Ray (d. 1878).
He eventually settled in Maple Rapids, Clinton County where he was living by 1883 when he was drawing $6.00 per month for a wounded left ilium (pension no 22,408, dated January of 1864). And indeed, he lived in Maple Rapids for many years, and probably for most of the rest of his life. He was living in Maple Rapids in June of 1906 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.
William was a member of the Masonic order, Lodge no. 145, in Maple Rapids, of the Order of Workmen and of the GAR. He was also a Republican.
By 1880 William was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in North Shade, Gratiot County. He was possibly living in Gratiot County when he married his second wife, Michigan native Salinda Jones Cressinger (b. 1844), on March 12, 1895, in Maple Rapids. He was living in North Shade, Gratiot County in 1894.
William was probably living in or near Maple Rapids, when he died of cancer of the stomach on January 26, 1910, and was buried in Payne cemetery, just across the County line in Gratiot County.
In 1910 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 819763). She was drawing $90 per month in 1920 when she died in Maple Rapids.