Catherine Reeder Wright
March 17th, 1800 – September 24th, 1866
Milton Wright's mother was born to George Reeder and Margaret Van Cleve in Cincinnati, Ohio. Margaret Van Cleve was one of the first women of European ancestry to live in the Miami River basin. By 1818, Catherine lived in Centerville, Ohio, where she met her future husband, Dan Wright, Jr. They married there on February 12, 1818. She and Dan had seven children, five of whom survived to adulthood. Milton Wright was their fifth surviving child and fourth son. In 1821, Catherine and Dan Wright moved to a farm in Rush County, Indiana. They relocated a short distance in 1823 and moved to a farm in Fayette County, Indiana that grew to a full quarter-section (160 acres) in size in 1840. Modern historians mention little else of Catherine’s life in their writings; she died in the autumn of 1866 and is buried at her farm in Indiana.
Dan Wright, Jr.
September 3rd, 1790 – October 6th, 1861
Milton's father was born in Thetford, Vermont, to Dan Wright, Sr., and Sarah Freeman. The third of six children, Dan married Catherine Reeder in Centerville, Ohio, on February 12, 1818, after moving to Montgomery County with his parents and siblings. While he taught school for a term in Vermont before moving west, Dan spent most of his life as a farmer. In 1821, Dan, Catherine, and their two young sons moved to an 80-acre farm in Rush County, Indiana. After wintering in a crowded cabin with the family of the land’s seller, Dan built his own cabin, complete with a wood floor. The Wrights grew corn on this farm; lacking livestock, they plowed their furrows by hand.
In 1823, Dan sold this farm and moved his family to a farm 1.5 miles (2.4 km) southwest of their first home. This second farm grew over the years to cover a full 160-acre quarter section. Catherine gave birth to Milton Wright, the fifth of five surviving Wright children, at this farm in 1828. Later in life, Milton Wright described his father as “grave in his countenance, collected in his manners, hesitating in his speech, but very accurate.” After converting to Christianity in 1830, Dan – who worked in a distillery for a time while living in Centerville – became a teetotaler who avoided alcohol and refused to sell his corn crop to distillers to convert into whiskey. Dan also strongly supported the abolition of slavery, voting for Liberty Party candidate James G. Birney in the presidential election of 1844 (an election won by Democrat James K. Polk). Dan also opposed the activities of secret fraternal societies such as the Masons. Milton inherited strong views towards religion, slavery, and fraternal societies from his father. In 1840, Dan sold the second Rush County farm and moved to another in Orange Township, Fayette County. He died at this farm in 1861 – the site of Lorin Wright’s birth in 1862.