John E. Wright

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 9, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 465

JOHN E. WRIGHT was born at Wheeling, December 19,
1862, his father, the late John Wright, having been one of
the twenty-three men who in 1852 organized the LaBelle
Iron Works, long one of the leading industrial concerns of
the Wheeling District, he having been a practical man in
the business and having had charge of motive power, as
superintendent, from the time of the erecting and equipping
of the original plant. He retired from active service in
1876, but retained his financial interests in the business
until his death in 1907, at the venerable age of eighty-five
years. John Wright was born at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
and came to Wheeling in 1852, at the time of the organiza-
tion of the LaBelle Iron Works. He was an expert iron
man, he having learned his trade in one of the largest of the
old-time iron mills in Pittsburgh. He was also a director
of the Jefferson Iron Works at Steubenville, Ohio, and was
active in political affairs, first as a whig and later as a
republican, though he had no ambition for public office.
His wife, whose maiden name was Eleanor Madden, was
born at Cincinnati, Ohio, and their companionship of more
than fifty years was severed by her death in 1903. They
became the parents of seven children: Anna Virginia,
widow of F. J. Hugens, resides at Wheeling; Miss Eliza-
beth died in 1921; Eleanor G. is the wife of C. A. Robinson.
of Wheeling; William F. died at the age of twenty-three
years; John E., of this review, was the next in order of
birth; Margaret is the wife of C. L. Taylor, of Los Angeles,
California; and Carie M. is the wife of Thomas Stewart, of

John E. Wright gained his early education in the public
schools and as a youth he became a skilled operator of a
nail machine in the plant of the LaBelle Iron Works. Later
he was made paymaster in the office of the concern, and he
continued his advancement through various grades until
ho became president of the company in 1898. He thus con-
tinued until 1903, when he sold his interest in the business.
In the following year he engaged in independent business
as a broker and contractor, devoting five years to the iron
and steel brokerage business and to contracting in public
work. While president of the LaBelle Iron Works he pur-
chased the Jefferson Iron Works at Steubenville, Ohio, re-
built the plant and made the business a success, the same
being still a subsidiary of the LaBelle Iron Works.

Mr. Wright wedded Miss Bessie Baron, daughter of
Abraham Baron, and her death occurred nineteen years
later, in 1914. She is survived by two children: Mary
Eleanor is the wife of David W. Sloan, of Baltimore, Mary-
land; and John E., Jr., is superintendent of a plant at Elm
Grove, a suburb of Wheeling.