Wright, Thomas

Identity area

Type of entity

Authorized form of name

Wright, Thomas

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence


Thomas Wright was born ca. 1740 in England. He studied drawing and mathematics at Christ's Hospital and went to North America in 1758 as an apprentice to the Surveyor-General of Georgia. Returning to England in 1763, he came out the following year as deputy to Samuel Johannes Holland, Surveyor-General of the Northern District of North America and he assisted, among other duties, in the survey of St. John's (Prince Edward) Island. After an interval of two years in England (1767-1769) he returned to North America to observe the transit of Venus from Quebec and to work with Holland along the Bay of Fundy and and in New England.

In 1770, Governor Patterson appointed Wright a member of the Island's Council and, in 1773, Surveyor- General, a post he would hold until his death in 1812 with the exception of a brief suspension of a few months. He also served for a time as Judge and Assistant Judge of the Supreme Court. In 1775 he and Phillips Callbeck, administrator of the Island, were taken prisoner by American privateers but soon released by order of George Washington. Wright's direct participation in the administration of the colony ceased at the trial of Patterson and the members of his government before the British Privy Council in 1789.

Thomas Wright married Susanna Turner of Cumberland, Nova Scotia, in 1769 and they had 10 children. He was active all his life in surveying and mapping the east coast of North America and his reports were used by surveyors such as Holland and DesBarres to prepare the first accurate maps of the region. Several of his sons, particularly Charles and George, and his grandson George, took up surveying, and for 80 years the post of surveyor general was held by a member of the Wright family.


Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion




Maintenance notes