Wright Family History


From the begining...


1790 Dan (Father of Milton) born

1818 Dan married Catherine Reeder

1828 Milton Wright was born on a farm in Rush County, Indiana on Nov 17.

He was the fifth child of Dan and Catherine Reeder Wright

1831 Susan Catherine Koerner, born in Hillsboro, Loudon County, VA on April 30

Susan’s parents immigrated to United States from Saxony, Germany in 1818

1832 Susan’s family moves to Union Co, 7 miles S of Liberty, Indiana

1840 The Dan Wright family moved from Rush County, Indiana to Grange Township, Fayette County on Mar 1

1843 Milton was converted in the month of June in his father’s corn field at the 

Age of 15 

1845 Original Milton, Indiana birthplace house built

1845 Susan experienced conversion and joined the Brethren Church at age 14

1847 Milton & Susan attended Hartsville College, in Bartholomew, County, Indiana

1847 Milton joined United Brethren Church of Christ

1847 Milton baptized by immersion in Sane Creek by Joseph Ball

1849 Milton taught school from 1849 – 1857.  School examiners certified Milton 

as a “gentleman of good moral character”

1850 Milton gets exhorter’s license at age of 21. On the evening of the day of his twenty-second birthday, upon the encouragement of his pastor, Milton preached his first sermon.

1852 In January, Milton was licensed to preach by the quarterly conference to preach. He cast his first presidential vote, for John P. Hale, the Liberty candidate. 

1853 Milton taught at Hartsville in Bartholomew County & met Susan Koerner . In August, Milton became a member of the White River Conference. During this winter he made a preaching tour to Salem Church in Henry County, to Economy, to Sugar Grove Church in Wayne County, and to Waterloo (all in Indiana)

1854 Milton farmed in Grant County

1855 White River Conference appointed Milton to his first pastorate in Indianapolis Mission Station.

1856 Milton ordained near Arlington (Wayne County) & appointed to Andersonville Circuit

1857 Milton proposed to Susan. She accepted proposal but refused to go to Oregon with him.

1857  Milton left home on June 26 to begin his journey to Oregon, having been appointed as a missionary to Oregon. He went via Dayton, Ohio, through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to New York City and through Panama and San Francisco to Portland, Oregon. July 6 he sailed from New York to Oregon, going by way of Panama. August 5 he landed at Portland, Oregon

1857-1859 Milton taught at sublimity College Milton ill with Panama fever 

1859 Milton left Oregon and returned by ship to New York, and then to his parent’s home in Indiana, arriving there November 14. Milton & Susan married on Nov 24, Thanksgiving Day. Milton was 30 and Susan was 28. They moved to a farm in Rush County, Indiana. They moved 12 times in 30 years of marriage. Milton taught school in Rush County, Indiana 

1860-1869 During these years Milton taught school some, served as circuit rider, pastor, and      Presiding Elder in White River Conference in Indiana. Milton earned $25 a month for 

teaching. Milton spoke out for Women’s Right’s, rejected Freemasonry, supported abolition of slavery and preached temperance. Family lived in Andersonville, Franklin County, Indiana

1861 Johannes Reuchlin Wright born in Grant County, Indiana near Fairmount at his grandparents 

Home on Mar 17. Reuchlin walked at 12 months

1861 Milton’s father died, moved to Fayette County

1862 Lorin Wright was born in Fayette County on Nov 18. Lorin walked at 11 months

1862 Milton & Susan with Reuchlin & Lorin live in Dublin, Indiana.  Milton taught in Rush & Grant county, Indiana

1864 Milton & Susan with Reuchlin & Lorin purchased a 5.6 acre, 3 bedroom farm near Millville, Indiana. They paid $550 in cash with promise to pay $200 in the next 2 years. Milton’s pay from the church was $200 a year. Milton was writing for New Castle Daily Times.

1865 Milton Wright family moved to farm north of Millville, Indiana. Neighbors – Elias Bowman, Henry Shults, Jacob Kesler, Phillip Heddrick, Cornelius Horning.

1865 Milton ill with Typhoid fever

1866 Milton elected trustee of Hartsville College

1867 Wilbur Wright was born in Millville, Indiana on April 16 – delivered by Dr. James Stafford. Wilbur named after Wilbur Fiske. Susan says she has a hard time finding hats for Wilbur because he has a large head and looks a bit top heavy. Milton says when Wilbur entered a room he chose the source of greatest mischief and headed straight toward it

1867 Wilbur “Willy” took first steps at home in Millville, Indiana on Feb 4 at age 10 ½ months. Wilbur was also called “Will” and “Ullam”. Lorin started school.

1868 Milton and his family moved to Hartsville, Indiana, where he became the first theology teacher in The United Brethren College, where he served as pastor 

1869 Milton Wright family moved to Dayton June 28. Milton now owns 2 farms in Indiana and a home at 7 Hawthorn in West Dayton.

1869 Milton became editor of Religious Telescope in June. Milton condemned slavery and advocated the Union cause.

1870 Reuchlin and Lorin taught Wilbur how to roll grape leaf cigars. Wilbur burned his fingers and dropped the cigar and started a “lively blaze.” Reuchlin and Lorin abandoned Wilbur on the way home from Sunday School. Wilbur said “I’ll squall” and that expression became a family saying. 

1870 February 25th, twins, Otis and Ida, were born. Ida died at birth and Otis in about a month.

1871 Orville Wright was born at 7 Hawthorn Street in Dayton, Ohio on August 19. Orville walked at 1 year of age. Orville was called “Bubo” by Katherine. Orville named after Orville Dewey.

1874 Katherine was born on August 19 to Milton & Susan. Katherine walked at 10 mo. Wilbur told Katie and Orv stories. If he couldn’t remember the end of the story he would say “and then the boiler busted”. That statement became a family joke.

1875 Wilbur started school, already knowing how to read. Orville started Kindergarten but quit when Susan stopped walking him to school. Wilbur called “Ullam” by family

1876 Orville, at age 6, sold bones to fertilizer factory. Milton gave boys gyroscope

1877 Milton elected Bishop

1878  Family moved to Adams Street in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in June. Bishop Wright gave Wilbur (age 11) and Orville (age 7) a toy Penaud helicopter, which stimulated their first interests in flying. Wilbur’s teacher described him as a good student but too dreamy to get into trouble. Orville, Lorin and Reuchlin had diphtheria. Reuchlin graduated from Coe’s Collegiate Academy

1879 Orville made a wagon with tricycle wheels. Susan made Orville & Will a sled with a rudder

1880 Milton built new home in Adair, Iowa. Reuchlin received teachers certificate. At age 13 Wilbur received his last spanking for hitching his sled to a horse drawn wagon for a ride thru town

1881 Milton’s family moved to Richmond, Indiana. Reuchlin & Lorin attended Hartsville College. 

Milton is no longer a Bishop in the United Brethren Church. Orville cooks tar and sugar to make chewing gum…says it made them all sick. Wright’s moved back to Henry County, Indiana near Wilbur’s birthplace

1881-1884 Wright’s lived in Richmond, Indiana. Milton founded the “Richmond Star” newspaper. Wilbur had to help fold newspapers so he invented a folding machine. Orville and Wilbur have circus with trophies their father brought home. Wilbur and Orville visited grandfather and made a lathe like his. Used clay marbles as bearings.

1882  Susan ill. Milton preached at Dublin, New Lisbon, Honey Creek and Mt Pleasant, Indiana

1883 to June 1884 Wilbur is a Senior at Richmond Indiana High School. Wilbur excelled in gymnastics and academics…headed for Yale. Orville and Wilbur put on Circus

1884 The Wright family moved to 114 N Summit Street and then to 7 Hawthorn in Dayton, Ohio  Wilbur read the Encyclopedia Britannica through. Also, read religious and science books

1884 Wilbur is a senior at Richmond High School. Wilbur’s grades averaged 95. Wright family moved to Ohio from Richmond a few days before Wilbur’s graduation. Wilbur had completed curriculum. Wilbur can’t decide between teaching and ministry

1884 Fire badly damaged the birthplace house and was rebuilt and restored. Wilbur and Ed Sines forms printing company

1885 Milton elected to serve the Pacific Coast District. Bishop spent 6 months on the coast and 6 months home each year.  Wilbur and Orville excels on vault, swimming, football and bicycling

1885 Wilbur was injured in an ice skating accident playing a game called  “Shinny” and went from an active athletic young man to depressed and withdrawn. He began having heart palpitations and digestive complications

1886  Wilbur – age 19 – living at 7 Hawthorn St, Dayton, Ohio. Grocery clerk at J. I. Hoffman’s St

Susan now an invalid

1886 Reuchlin Wright married Lulu Billheimer April 27 – had daughter Catherine Louise. Milton wrote “Wilbur’s health is restored.” Susan became helpless invalid. Orville assigned “trouble maker” seat on front row in High School so he left school.

1887 Wilbur age 20 – Mailing Clerk Christian Conservator. Orville enters Dayton Central High School

1888  Wilbur age 21 - unemployed

1889 Susan Wright died July 4 of consumption (tuberculosis) at age 58. Burial at Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio.  Wilbur aged 22 – Clerk at Christian conservator

1889  Orville quits High School

1880-1890 In the late 1880’s and early 1890’s Wilbur and Orville were in the publishing and printing business in Dayton. By 1893 their interest in bicycles led them into repairing and manufacturing them. For a time they also continued their publishing business but before the turn of the century they were fully into the bicycle business, with the study of flying as a growing hobby. The Bicycle “boon to all  mankind”

1890 Wilbur – age 23 – worked at Wright & Wright Job Printers. Orville leaves school before graduating

1891   Wilbur – age 24- Job Printer

1892 Lorin Wright married Ivonette Stokes on January 12. Had 4 children

1892 Wright Brothers opened Bicycle shop in Dayton. They manufactured 2 bicycles models, “The Van Clive” and the “Wright Flyer.” Wilbur stricken with appendicitis. Put on bland diet – no operation. Wilbur – age 25 – job printer

1893 - 1904 Wilbur – age 26 – Bicycle Manufacturer. Built new gigantic bicycle built for two

1896 Wright Brothers became interested in flight. Orville  ill  with  typhoid  fever.

1898 Katherine Wright graduated from Oberlin College.

1900 The Wright Brothers set up Kitty Hawk camp in North Carolina. Orville plays mandolin and Wilbur plays harmonica. Milton deeds 80 acres of Iowa farm to each of 4 boys. Deeded Dayton House to Katherine

1901 Wilbur proclaims that man will never fly in a thousand years. Wilbur & Orville built 16 X 25 feet shed 

1901-1902 Glider experiments at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. 250 flights were attempted  in a 2 day  period. Wilbur glided first.  Wind tunnel used to test wings.

1902 Orville crashes and destroys glider.  Milton has Cholera

1903 Plane crash at Kill Devil Hill, North Carolina on Dec 14. Wilbur accompanied Milton to a Church Conference in Messick, Indiana (church still there). Last time Wilbur was in Henry County, Indiana. Orville and Wilbur invented “snorter”, a gas nozzle for heating radiators. Wilbur & Orville ordered a chain to drive the propeller to power their plane from Indianapolis Chain Manufacturing Company

1903 Dec 17 at 10:35 am – Orville flew for 59 seconds. 4 flights made that day

1903  Filed patent for Wright flyer on March 23. Milton ill with Cholera

1905  Wilbur – age 38 – Manufacturing Bicycles and Airplanes. Milton watches Wilbur fly for 11 minutes

1906 Wright Brothers received patent on flying machine on May 22

1908 Wilbur went to Spain & Italy. Wilbur took sister Katherine up in plane for first time

1908 Orville severely injured in plane crash at Fort Myer, Virginia and Lt Thomas Selfridge fatally injured. By early 1909 Orville had recovered sufficiently to travel with Katherine to Europe, where Wilbur was continuing his highly successful flight demonstrations.

1909 Wilbur, Orville and Katherine returned home in May. Dayton honored them with a celebration. June 27 Milton and Reuchlin went to Washington, D.C. to witness flights by Orville for government tests. Wright Brothers incorporated - $1 million capitol stock. June 11 - Milton writing for New Castle Daily Times. United Stated government purchased Wright flyer for $24,000. Wilbur surprised his family by playing mouth organ

1910 Orville took his 81 year old father for his first and possibly only airplane ride. It took six minutes and 55 seconds and reached a height of 350 feet. His comment reportedly was “Higher, Orville, Higher.” Wilbur and Orville issued aviator licenses. Planes being manufactured in quantity at Wright Company factory in Dayton. June 10 – Five aeroplanes to Indianapolis for public flying exhibition. June 13 - First public exhibition of the “Wright Flying Team” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Wilbur and Orville flew together for 6 minutes at Huffman Prairie, Dayton Ohio. They never had flown together because they promised their father they would never fly together. Wilbur 43 and Orville 38

1912  Wilbur Wright died on May 30 in Dayton Ohio at age 45 from Typhoid fever. It was believed by his family and close friends that the illness was fatal because of his weakened physical condition when he became ill, and that the weakened condition was due by overwork and strain connected with lawsuits over patent rights, which started soon after the Brother’s international recognition. Wilbur estate willed $50,000 each to Reuchlin, Lorin and Katherine. He gave $126,000 and his part in the business’s to Orville. $1000 to his father.

1913   March 25th Milton, Orville, and Katharine were forced from their home when the great Dayton flood reached Hawthorn Street. About a month later life at 7 Hawthorn Street was nearly back to normal even though the flood waters had risen to about six feet on the first floor

1914  In April Milton moved with Orville and Katherine to their new home, Hawthorn Hill, Harmon Avenue, Oakwood, a suburb of Dayton.

1915 Wright Company sold

1916 At Hawthorn Hill Orville tinkered with both the heating and cooling systems, designed special  glasses and chairs for his own comfort and automated his phonograph to change records.

1916 Orville sold aircraft factory

1917  Milton Wright died April 3 at age 88

1920 Reuchlin died May 23

1922 Movement started by State of Indiana to purchase the 5.6 acre farm where Wilbur Wright was born

1923 Orville, Katherine, Lorin and Ivonette Wright visited the Wilbur Wright Birthplace on April 15

1923 William & Lula Smeltser lived in Birthhouse and kept visitor records

1923 Tablet mounted on large boulder at Memorial Park in memory of Wilbur Wright on April 15 by Phi Delta Kappa

1926 Katherine married Harry Haskell and moved to Kansas. Orville refused to speak to her for 3 years

1928 Orville wanted original 1903 Flyer put in Smithsonian Institute. Government refused so Flyer was taken to England 

1928 Captain Benjamin B Lipsner started memorial project

1929 Phi Delta Kappa fraternity of New Castle took the initiative in the movement and the New Castle Chamber of Commerce staged a banquet and program here in the Masonic Hall Feb 4

1929 State Representatives Evans and Trowbridge introduced house bill 321 to purchase the Wilbur Wright birthplace for $3500. Bill passed the General Assembly. Land purchased from Martin and Pearl Lundy. Orville feud with Smithsonian Institute

1929 Katherine died March 3 at age 55

1932 A National Monument to the Wright Brothers is dedicated at Kitty Hawk on March 3

1936 Original Commission E J Llewelyn, Sam Bufkin and Dr. H W McDonald. Original Wright Home moved from Dayton, Ohio to Dearborn, Michigan

1939 Lorin died December 19 at age 77

1946 Headlines in the New Castle paper “Wilbur Wright Memorial still remains unmarked and neglected 17 years after purchased by state”

1947 Alfred Chamberlain wrote the Governor concerning the property

1948 Wright Flyer flown at Kitty Hawk returned from London

1948 While Orville was in the hospital with a heart attack he tried to figure out a way to improve the oxygen tent.

1948 Orville died January 30 at age 77 from heart disease. Estate valued at $1,067,105.

1949 Committee to save house: John Snyder, Howard Tucker, John Kelley, Thelma Reneau, Alfred Chamberlain, and Georgianna Kelley

1953 Wilbur Wright Memorial committee of 32 formed. Col. Roscoe Turner is head of Commission. John  “Bus” Kelley, Clem Conway, Charles Weaver and Cliff Payne, John Snyder, and Georgianna Kelley are also on Commission. Celebrated 50th Anniversary of flight. State erected Memorial 

1954 Demolition of house

1955 State General Assembly started Wilbur Wright Birthplace Commission - $10,000 allotted by State. Paul McCormick involved.

1956 Wilbur Wright Birthplace Commission established. State Senator Charles F. Rutledge, Carl A Helms, Paul Bitz, Clem Conway, Clifford Payne, Donald Ream, Roderick M Wright, Thelma Reneau and Howard Tucker

1961 Meeting at Patrick Henry Hotel to incorporate. Charles Rutledge, Lowell Smith, Woody Meggs, Paul Baker, Richard Miller and John Kelley. 

1962 John Kelley and Joel Rhodes, President, signed papers affirming the acceptance of Articles of Incorporation

1972 State spent $50,000 on a replica of the Wrights home. Governor Whitcomb resurrected the Wilbur Wright Birthplace Commission. Articles of Incorporation obtained

1973 Commission: C. Alan Helms, Dr Charles Wise, Betty Cull, and John Kelley.

1974 New Birthplace house built by State of Indiana and dedicated on April 16

1974  Wilbur Wright Memorial dedicated by Gov Otis Bowman on April 16. Walter and Nancy Fitzsimmons, Phyllis Shafer and Clifton Chamberlain

1978 Celebration of 75th year of flight

1988 DNR voted to close Wilbur Wright Memorial. State wants to move Birthhouse to Summit Lake. Local citizens, lead by Ted Blevins stopped the  move. Veterans Service Office and Morris Evans ,and State Representative Tom Coleman involved State leased the Wilbur Wright Birthplace Memorial to the Preservation Society on November 1. Obtained Certification of Incorporation

1989 Thomas Thompson hired as care taker

1992   Wilbur Wright Preservation Society formed. Senators Beverly Gard and  Tom Coleman sponsored bill 

1992 DNR considered moving the house, but the Preservation Society granted 3 year trial period to prove it could maintain the Birthplace

1993 Articles of Incorporation. Wright flyer was built by Buford Gross of Peru on June 14. Society paid $85,000 for Wright Flyer Replica

1995 State of Indiana deeds ownership of Wright Farm to Wilbur Wright Birthplace Preservation Society.  Henry County Food & Beverage Act donated $250,000 to build museum

1996 Museum opens next to farm house. Birthplace had visitors from 27 states and 8 foreign countries. Board: June & Marvin Luellen, Jim Overmyer, Ed McConnell, Harold Hilbert, Clifton Chamberlin,