Moore Memories: Capt. William E. Wright, R.N.

Many of the earliest settlers along the Moore Township shoreline of the St. Clair River had served in the British navy and army.  These retired officers received grants of land in recognition of their service.

One of these settlers was Capt. William E. Wright, R.N.  Capt. Wright had joined the navy at the age of 13 years and was promoted over the years through the ranks from midshipman to captain.  He served in various areas, including in the East Indies and on the Atlantic Coast of North America.  Capt. Wright retired from the navy in 1818.

Capt. Wright married Miss Jane Leech and together they had 7 children.  The Wright family arrived in Canada in 1833.  They stayed at York (Toronto) and later at Amherstburg.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Wright did not live to see their new home in Moore Township.  She died of cholera while the family was at Amherstburg.

In Moore Township, the Wrights settled on lot 57, Front Concession (just south of Corunna).  Following here are excerpts from Capt. Wright's diary (Source:  University of Western Ontario, Archives and Research Collections Centre, VF 163), beginning with an entry made on the day they departed Amherstburg for Moore.

"May 23, 1835

  • embarked on board the Genl [General] Gratiot steamboat for Moore, with my sister and my seven children, with all our goods, Tiger the dog, a cat, a cow and heifer calf 4 weeks old, a boar and sow 4 months old of the Bayfield breed, a very fine sort, a cock and 5 hens having previously taken up a boar and sow 5 months old of the Grass breed, some fowls and ducks, bought a wooly cow and calf when up in April for 18 dollars
  • Mary Sewel [Sewill?] our servant accompanyied [sic] us

May 27, 1835

  • thunderstorm from the North, with heavy rain and hail of very large dimensions which broke 33 panes of glass in front of the house

July 8, 1835
Assisted in skiff in chasing and killing a deer swimming across the river, a doe in full milk, kill'd by Fisher – got a quarter [of the doe]

July 18, 1835

  • attended the Court of Requests as a Commissioner for the first time at Sutherland – rec'd 6 shilling currency as my share of fees

Aug. 26, 1835

  • had Clem Bertrand to secure 8 uprights to the log walls & plates for the security of the latter and roof

Sept. 6, 1835

  • Major Lachlin late 19th Regt brought note of introduction from Mr. H. (Henry?) Jones – a very gentlemany [sic] agreeable personage, from Lara Green near Plymouth – looking out for land – left his family at home

Sept. 17, 1835

  • went to the Rapids [Sarnia] in the skiff 4 hours going, 1 3/4 (hours) coming back

Sept. 25, 1835

  • set off with William [Wright, his son] to Fishers wharf to embark for Toronto – Gratiot not appearing, return'd home

Dec. 17, 1835

  • today went with Malcolm & Mr. (Louis) Rhendt to look at my land at the back of the front lots on the 12th concession commencing 1¼  mile from the river.  From Rhendt's opinion, who is an old experienced settler of 17 or 18 years standing in the Province, the land is of a very excellent quality from the nature of the wood on (it) viz. principally, bass oak, white and black ash, elm, etc. – undulating and easily kept dry & naturally so from its elevation dry

Jan. 4, 1836

  • presided at the first Township meeting according to a new act for electing Commissioners and other officers

Feb. 5, 1836

  • today received letter from Mr. Allen offering command (of the) Canada Company steamboat Mennisitunk [sic] – accepted it"

The name of the ship was the Minnesetung, the second ship built for the company.  It recalled the Chippewa name for what later became known as the Maitland River which emptied into Lake Huron beside the headquarters of the Canada Company in Goderich.  It ran intermittently for a few years until it was destroyed in a collision with an American vessel. (Memories of Goderich, the Romance of the Prettiest Town in Canada.  Goderich, ON:  Jubilee 3 Committee, Publication Committee, 1979 [Second Edition] p. 9 & 19)