The Valley of Heart's Delight

1889 to San Jose from Olney, Illinois

President of the Santa Clara County Historical Society

SURNAMES: Buckley, Phillips
Prominent among the eminent representatives of the medical profession in California whose  influence has been felt, to the blessing of many, beyond the confines of the state and also outside of their own immediate field of activity, was the late Dr. Henry J.B. Wright, whose illuminating publications relative to the advantages of Santa Clara County have proven of such help in the vigorous campaigning by the San Jose Chamber of Commerce. A wide-awake Hoosier, he was born in Rush County, Ind., on March 18, 1851, the son of the Rev. Ephraim Wright, a faithful and scholarly clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who had married Miss Polly Buckley. They had five children, and the subject of our sketch was the youngest in the family. He attended the local public schools and Morre's Hill College, in Indiana. Later he was graduated from the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery as M. D., and in 1880 continued studying at the Jefferson Medical college in Pennsylvania, receiving the degree of M. D. from that institution in 1881. In 1911 he received the degree of B.S. from Moore's Hill College.

For fourteen years Dr. Wright practiced in Olney, Southern Illinois, and then, in 1889, soon after the "boom" which brought so many good folks from the East, he came to San Jose, and here he embarked on that uninterrupted career which made him, most probably, the oldest practicing physician in the county.  In Illinois he was on the board of examining surgeons for pensions, and he held a similar office in California for several years. He was a member of the board of health for many years, and was health officer of San Jose for two years. He belonged to the Santa Clara County Medical Society, in which he held all the offices possible, at some time or other; and for forty years he was a member of the American Medical association.  For twenty-six years he was financial secretary and treasurer of the First Methodist Church of San Jose.

In 1875 Dr. Wright was married to Miss Kate E. Phillips, born in Indiana, a charming lady, who made many friends, wherever she lived, prior to her lamented death in 1893. Dr. and Mrs. Wright were the parents of two children, namely, Hannah L., of San Jose, and H. Horton Wright, deceased.

Dr. Wright was a Republican, and voted and worked with the republicans in matters of national moment; but he was too broad-minded to permit partisanship to interfere with his whole-hearted participation in movements most likely to benefit the locality in which he lived, operated and prospered. He was a member of the board of freeholders that made the charter of San Jose prior to the present one, and he was also a member of the board that made the present city charter. Some years ago, wishing to contribute definitely to the rapid development of this part of the state, he wrote for the Christmas edition of the Mercury a very interesting and suggestive description of "The Seasons in the Santa Clara Valley", in which he touched upon the phenomena of nature, the lavish crops of field, tree and bush, the gorgeous variety of local color, and the profusion of the landscape beauty, from March to February, pointing out what is peculiar to this section; and this helpful exposition of undeniable facts the San Jose Chamber of Commerce has made good use of by sending it broadcasting  throughout the country and beyond the seas. He was truly a self-made man, working his own way by teaching, etc., through college. He was a great reader, almost entirely in the line of historical works, and wrote the history of the Horton and Wright families. As president of the Santa Clara County Historical Society, he compiled the war history of Santa Clara County, a comprehensive volume of the county's activities published in 1919. Dr. Wright passed away, December 7, 1920.

Transcribed Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 415