The papers in this collection consist of letters and documents written by Silas Wright between 1816 and 1847, and a few letters written by Wright's family and friends after his death in 1847. The letters are of both a personal and a business nature and include documents signed by Silas Wright Jr. and his father Silas Wright, Sr., of Weybridge, Vermont.
Silas Wright, Jr. was born in 1795 in Amherst, Massachusetts, the fifth child of Silas and Eleanor (Goodale) Wright. After graduation he studied law at Sandy Hill, New York and was admitted to the bar in 1819. Silas Wright Jr. began his law practice in Canton, New York where he lived with his father's friend Medad Moody whose daughter, Clarissa, he married in 1833.
Almost at once Wright became active in local politics. In 1821,he became county surrogate and within the next ten years, he held a number of public offices and attained the rank of brigadier-general in the militia. In 1823, Wright was elected to the New York State Senate where he served until 1827 where he then took his seat in Congress. He served in Congress until 1829 when he resigned to become comptroller of the state of New York.
In 1833, Wright was chosen to replace William Marcy in the U.S. Senate. Marcy had resigned to become governor of New York. While a member of the Senate, Wright served on the agriculture, commerce, finance, post office and post roads committees, where he came to hold a high ranking position for "solid judgment and unselfish service". Wright resigned from his Senate seat in 1844 to become governor of New York, a position he held until 1846 when he was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election.
Silas Wright returned to Canton where he died in 1847.