SAMUEL W. BRIGHT
Among the residents of Jackson, Amador County, who have long made their homes in California is Samuel Wales Bright, whose boyhood days were spent on the Atlantic coast. He was born in Massachusetts, on the 27th of May, 1831, and is of English lineage. His grandfather, Jesse Bright, was a native of England and became the progenitor of the family in the United States. He crossed the briny deep and established a home in Massachusetts, where he carried on agricultural pursuits. He had six children, four sons and two daughters, and two of the number still survive, Warren and Bobbie D., the former eighty years of age, and the latter about seventy, both residents of Massachusetts. Michael Bright, the father of our subject, was born in the old Bay state in 1804 and having arrived at years of maturity he wedded Alvira Richards. They made their home in Massachusetts, where they were honest and industrious farming people and enjoyed the respect of friends and neighbors. The mother was a member of the Baptist Church, and he was a man of high moral character, being accounted one of the valued citizens of the community in which he resided. He passed away in the sixty-fifth year of his age, and his wife was called to her final rest when fifty years of age. In their family were eleven children, six of whom are now living.
Mr. Bright, their eldest child, was educated in the public schools of his native town and there learned the two trades of shoemaking and butchering. In 1851 he took passage on the Philadelphia, bound for California, and by way of the Isthmus route came to this state landing at San Francisco on the 10th of December of that year. He made his way direct to Mokelumne Hill, and on the 20th of the same month began mining on his own account, but, not meeting with the success he had anticipated, he turned his attention to the dairy business, owning twenty cows. He did the milking and then sold the milk among the people of the locality, receiving three dollars a gallon. Corn meal was then the principal mill product that could be obtained, and twenty-five cents a pound was paid for it. Mr. Bright continued in the dairy business for two years, and then he began butchering at West Point, in Sandy Gulch. It was a rich gulch, where many miners were engaged in the search for the precious metal, and he there conducted three shops, meeting with excellent success. He also became connected with mining interests, employing others, however, to do the practical work. In 1858 he sold his butchering business and for two years gave his attention to quartz mining. In 1860 he came to Jackson where he purchased the meat market of the Wiley Brothers and for forty years he has conducted his present store, enjoying a large and profitable trade. He has a very wide acquaintance among the old settlers of this section of the state and has through long years supplied their tables with choice meats at reasonable prices. His honorable business methods and his earnest desire to please secure for him a very liberal patronage and he derives therefrom a comfortable competence. He has been connected with mining interests from the time he located here and is still the owner of considerable mining stock. He has also made judicious investments in real estate and now owns a number of business blocks and dwellings in Jackson, being accounted one of the well-to-do citizens of the place. In 1862, when a disastrous fire swept over the town, his losses amounted to four thousand dollars, for he had no insurance upon his property. This did not discourage him; however, for with renewed effort he continued his work and soon regained all that he had lost.
In December, 1861, Mr. Bright was united in marriage to Miss Martha T. Bradbury, a native of the state of Maine. They have lost their only child, a little son, who died at the age of ten months. Mr. Bright has been a lifelong Republican, having cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. He has kept well informed on the issues of the day, yet has never sought office nor has he joined either fraternal or religious organizations. He has depended entirely upon his own efforts for his advancement in life, and his worth and ability have commended him to the public confidence and therefore to the public support. As a citizen he is interested in whatever pertains to the welfare of his town, county and state, and has contributed to many interests which have advanced the material, social, intellectual and moral welfare of Jackson.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.