Luke Edward Wright

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Luke Wright
Luke Edward Wright.jpg
43rd United States Secretary of War
In office
July 1, 1908 – March 11, 1909
PresidentTheodore Roosevelt
Preceded byWilliam H. Taft
Succeeded byJacob M. Dickinson
United States Ambassador to Japan
In office
May 26, 1906 – August 13, 1907
PresidentTheodore Roosevelt
Preceded byLloyd Carpenter Griscom (Minister)
Succeeded byThomas O'Brien
Governor-General of the Philippines
In office
February 1, 1904 – April 1, 1906
PresidentTheodore Roosevelt
Preceded byWilliam H. Taft
Succeeded byHenry C. Ide
Personal details
Luke Edward Wright

(1846-08-29)August 29, 1846
Giles County, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedNovember 17, 1922(1922-11-17) (aged 76)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (Before 1896)
Republican (1896–1922)
Spouse(s)Katherine Semmes
EducationUniversity of Mississippi, Oxford
Military service
Allegiance Confederate States
Branch/service Confederate States Army
RankConfederate States of America Second Lieutenant.png Second Lieutenant
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

Luke Edward Wright (August 29, 1846 – November 17, 1922) was a United States political figure. He served as Governor-General of the Philippines between 1904 and 1906 and also as Secretary of War from 1908 to 1909.


Luke Edward Wright was born in Giles County, Tennessee, and moved with his family to Memphis in 1850. He attended the public schools, and enlisted at fifteen in the Confederate States Army with Company G of the 154th Senior Tennessee Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War. In 1863, Wright was cited for bravery under fire in the Battle of Murfreesboro and promoted to second lieutenant. After the Civil War, Wright attended the University of Mississippi from 1867 to 1868, but he did not graduate. He was a member of the Delta Psi fraternity ( AKA St. Anthony Hall ) In 1868 General Luke Edward Wright was married to Miss Katherine Middleton Semmes, a daughter of Admiral Raphael Semmes of the Confederate States navy.

After studying law in his father's office, Wright was admitted to the bar and entered into practice in Memphis. For eight years, he served as Tennessee Attorney General, and he was instrumental in establishing a relief committee during an epidemic of yellow fever in 1878. Before the nomination of William Jennings Bryan, Wright was a Democrat.[1][2] In 1900, Wright was a member of the second Philippine Commission and was appointed vice-governor of the Philippines in 1901. Wright became full Governor-General of the Philippines in 1904 and continued in that office until 1906. From 1906 to 1907, Wright served as the first full United States Ambassador to Japan.

From July 1, 1908 to March 11, 1909, Wright served as United States Secretary of War under President Theodore Roosevelt. He stressed actions to eliminate unfit officers and sought to take advantage of aviation technology. He served less than a year before resigning. He returned to private life and died in Memphis in 1922.


The "Pool of Pines", better known as Wright Park in Baguio, Philippines was named after Governor Luke E. Wright, the architect of this long, shallow reflecting pool. A street in Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental province is named after him.


  • Bell, William Gardner. "Luke Edward Wright". Secretaries of War and Secretaries of the Army.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by U.S. Secretary of War
Served under: Theodore Roosevelt

Succeeded by
Preceded by Civil Governor of the Philippines
February 1, 1904 – April 1, 1906
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Japan
Succeeded by