Bishop Milton Wright

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Bishop Milton Wright

Birthplace: Rushville, Rush County, Indiana, United States
Death: April 03, 1917 (88)
Hamilton, Ohio, USA
Place of Burial: Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum Dayton Montgomery County Ohio, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Daniel "Dan" Wright, Jr. and Catherine Wright
Husband of Susan Catherine Wright
Father of Reuchlin Wright; Lorin Wright; Wilbur Wright; Otis Wright, ♊; Ida Wright, ♊ and 2 others
Brother of Samuel Smith Wright; Harvey Wright; George Wright; Sarah Harris; Rev. William Wright and 1 other

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Bishop Milton Wright

Bishop Milton Wright, United Brethren of Christ

Milton joined the Church of the United Brethren in Christ in 1846 because of its stand on political and moral issues including alcohol, the abolition of slavery, and opposition to "secret societies" such as Freemasonry.

Susan and Milton had seven children. Four sons and one daughter survived past infancy. Their first son, Reuchlin, was born in a log cabin in 1861 near Fairmount, Indiana. The second son, Lorin, was born in 1862 in Orange Township, Fayette County, Indiana. Wilbur was born in 1867 near Millville, Indiana. In 1870 the fourth and fifth children, twins Otis and Ida, died soon after birth in Dayton, Ohio, where Orville was born in 1871 and Katharine, the only surviving daughter, was born in 1874. Milton met Susan at Hartsville College in 1853, where he was appointed supervisor of the preparatory department and she was a literature student. After a long courtship, Milton asked Susan to marry him and accompany him on his assignment by the church to Oregon. She declined, but agreed to marry him when he returned.[5] They married in 1859, when he was almost 31 and she was 28.

Both shared a love of learning for the sake of learning. Their home had two libraries — the first consisted of books on theology, the second was a large, varied collection. Looking back on his childhood, Orville once commented that he and his brother had

"special advantages...we were lucky enough to grow up in a home environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused their curiosity."[6] None of the Wright children had middle names. Instead, their father tried hard to give them distinctive first names. Wilbur was named for Wilbur Fisk and Orville for Orville Dewey, both clergymen that Milton Wright admired. They were "Will" and "Orv" to their friends, and "Ullam" and "Bubs" to each other. In Dayton, their neighbors knew them simply as the "Bishop's kids."

Because of Milton's position in the church, the Wrights moved frequently — twelve times before finally returning permanently to Dayton in 1884.

From 1855 to 1856 he served as pastor of the Church of the United Brethren in Indianapolis. He was ordained in 1856 and was pastor in Andersonville, Indiana from 1856 to 1857. Later that year, he went to Oregon as a missionary and served as pastor at Sublimity and first president of Sublimity College, a denominational institution.

Wright returned from Sublimity in 1859 and was assigned by the church as a circuit preacher in eastern Indiana, where he served also served as presiding elder and pastor in Hartsville, Indiana. From 1868 to 1869 he was professor of theology at Hartsville College.

In 1869, Milton became editor of the national weekly church newspaper, the Religious Telescope, and moved to the newspaper's headquarters of Dayton, Ohio; with this new position, his income increased from $900 per year to $1500 per year.[7] The position gave him prominence within the church and helped him get elected as a bishop in 1877.

In 1871 he founded United Theological Seminary in Dayton.

Bishop Wright continued to advance in the church hierarchy. In 1878, he assumed responsibility for the Western conferences of the church and moved his family to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Westfield College in Illinois, gave him the degree of D.D. in 1878.

He traveled widely on church business, but always sent back many letters and often brought presents home. His gifts stimulated his children's curiosity and exposed them to a world beyond their immediate surroundings. Returning from one of his travels, he brought Wilbur and Orville a toy helicopter. The helicopter was made of bamboo, cork, paper and powered by rubber bands. When the first broke, the boys made several copies.[8] The toy helicopter is responsible for triggering the Wright brothers interest in aviation.[1]

By 1881, the leadership of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ was becoming more liberal. Milton Wright, a staunch conservative, failed to be re-elected to his Bishop's post. The Wrights moved to Richmond, Indiana, where Milton served a circuit preacher once again. He served as presiding elder in the White River conference from 1881 to 1885. He also founded a monthly religious newspaper, The Star, for fellow conservatives in 1883.

As the liberals in his church began to press for change, Milton Wright sensed there would be a showdown with the conservatives. Wanting to get back into the fray, he decided to move back to Dayton, the political center of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, in 1884. It was the last time he would move his family. Wright was once more elected bishop in 1885. He was to spend the next four years serving the Pacific Coast district.

The anticipated showdown came in 1889. The church leadership wanted to give local conferences proportional representation at the General Conference, allow laymen to serve as delegates to General Conference, and allow United Brethren members to hold membership in secret societies. The procedure for amending the Constitution made amendments all but impossible, but the leadership made the changes anyway, saying they were necessary for the good of the church.

However, a minority refused to accept the changes, claiming they weren't valid since they weren't approved by the full membership. Wright was the only bishop to side with the minority. Wright and about 10,000 to 15,000 supporters left the meeting and reconvened at a new location. Contending that those supporting the changes had effectively seceded from the denomination, they declared themselves to be the true United Brethren Church. To distinguish themselves from the majority faction, the minority called itself the Church of the United Brethren in Christ (Old Constitution).

Wright became the new church's first bishop. Since they were in the minority, they had to rebuild from scratch; nearly all of the congregations who sided with the minority lost their property. Wright's sons Wilbur and Orville provided publishing services for the new organization until a publishing house could be established in Huntington, Indiana. Wright also provided valuable support to Huntington College (now Huntington University, established by the Old Constitution branch in 1897.


The Wright brothers were two of seven children born to Milton Wright (1828–1917) and Susan Catherine Koener Wright. (1831–1889). Wilbur Wright was born near Millville, Indiana in 1867; Orville in Dayton, Ohio in 1871. The brothers never married. The other Wright siblings were named Reuchlin (1861–1920), Lorin (1862–1939), Katharine (1874–1929), and twins Otis and Ida (born 1870, died in infancy).

Birth: Nov. 17, 1828 Rushville Rush County Indiana, USA Death: Apr. 3, 1917 Oakwood Cuyahoga County Ohio, USA

Bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Father of aviation pioneers, Wilbur and Orville Wright.

Published April 5, 1917 - New Castle Daily Courier, New Castle, IN

MILTON WRIGHT DEAD Father Of Aeroplane Inventors Found Dead By Daughter. FORMER LOCAL MINISTER

Rev. Milton Wright, age 88 years, wellknown as the father of Wilbur and Orville Wright, the inventors of the aeroplane, died at the home of his son, Orville Wright, in Oakwood, near Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday after a few days serious illness. His death was very sudden, and he was alone at the end, being found dead in bed afterward by his daughter, Miss Katherine Wright.

Milton Wright was born in Rush county, Ind., and is well remembered by the older residents of this county, having lived in the county for about fifteen years. It was in Henry county, near Millville, in Liberty township that his eldest son, Wilbur Wright, now dead, was born.

While in this county, Mr. Wright was a minister in the United Brethren church. He was bishop in the U. B. church for a total of thirty-two years. On leaving here, he went to Dayton, the headquarters of the U. B. church, where he has lived since. His wife died in 1889.

When visiting here, during the more recent years, he always stayed with Jacob Byer and family. Mr. Byer was one of the pillars of the U. B. church here when Mr. Wright was minister.

Family links:

 Dan Wright (1790 - 1861)
 Catharine Reeder Wright (1800 - 1866)

 Susan Catherine Koerner Wright (1831 - 1888)

 Reuchlin Wright (1861 - 1920)*
 Lorin Wright (1862 - 1939)*
 Wilbur Wright (1867 - 1912)*
 Ida Wright (1870 - 1870)*
 Otis Wright (1870 - 1870)*
 Orville Wright (1871 - 1948)*
 Katharine Wright Haskell (1874 - 1929)*

 Samuel Smith Wright (____ - 1842)*
 Milton Wright (1828 - 1917)
  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum Dayton Montgomery County Ohio, USA



Milton Wright, Wilbur and Orville's father, in the 1860s Bishop Milton Wright Orville-Wright-with-Family

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Bishop Milton Wright's Timeline

November 17, 1828
Rushville, Rush County, Indiana, United States
Age 31
Franklin, Indiana, USA
March 17, 1861
Hartsville, Bartholomew, Indiana, United States
November 18, 1862
Hartsville, Bartholomew, Indiana, United States
April 16, 1867
New Castle, Henry, Indiana, United States
February 22, 1870
Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio, United States
February 22, 1870
Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio, United States
August 19, 1871
Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio, United States
August 19, 1874
Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio, United States