Background in Richmond Hill and Markham, Ontario
Born in Leeds County, he moved with his family to Richmond Hill, where he seemingly abandoned his education to become a farmer and mill-owner. In 1850 he becomes reeve of Markham Township, but lost in 1854.
In 1857 Wright chaired a meeting which pressed for Richmond Hill's incorporation as a village. This goal, though not immediately achieved, was eventually fulfilled in 1873.
From 1852 to 1867 Wright represented East York as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, and was noted as an ally of George Brown. Following Confederation, and after William Pearce Howland resigned to become Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Amos Wright gained his seat in the Canadian House of Commons in a federal by-election on August 14, 1868 and came to represent York West. He retired from politics on July 8, 1872, before the next election.
In 1875 Wright was appointed Federal Indian Agent and Ontario's Crown Agent for the Thunder Bay area; (Wright resided in the then-named Port Arthur). While his Provincial appointment lasted until 1886, he was involved in alleged conflict of interest controversy in his Federal capacity of Indian Agent. In this controversy, religious issues are also said to have played a part; in any case, Wright, a Methodist from an essentially Protestant background, was replaced as Federal Indian Agent in 1883.
Amos Wright was active in public life well into his seventies. Known as a well-liked figure with very wide connections, in his policial life was seen as a representative who, particularly in his earlier career, took a nuanced position on some of the key issues of the day: arguably, such a stance at times both smoothed and hindered his political advancement, but his popularity was undoubted. The 'Toronto Daily Patriot and Express' even disobligingly stated he was “as bewildered with unexpected honors as an interesting widow giving herself away in matrimony for the fourth time”. While undoubtedly unfair, this comment serves to hint at the transition which his life encompassed from his early days in farming and involvement in local parish affairs, to the sometimes tumultuous political events of the Federal Parliament, as the new Dominion expanded westward.
Richmond Hill Heritage Centre
- "Amos Wright". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.
- Amos Wright – Parliament of Canada biography
|Parliament of Canada|
William Pearce Howland
|Member of Parliament from York West