Martin J. Wright (1894 to 1902)

Photo of Martin J. Wright

Martin Jeremiah Wright was born in Killingworth, Connecticut on October 26, 1829. Nothing is known at this time of his background or education.

In 1860, Wright and his family returned to California and settled in Vallejo, Solano County, they lived for many years. Wright engaged in some farming and also ran a store between 1867 and 1888.

From approximately 1889-1893, Wright served the United States Land Office in Visalia. In 1894, his years of activity in the Republican Party were apparently rewarded by his nomination to the office of State Surveyor General, he was 65 years of age at the time of his first election, the oldest man to hold the position. He was subsequently re-elected in 1896, 1898 and 1900.

From careful scrutiny of the Biennial Reports of the Surveyor General between 1892 and 1902, it is apparent that few of the duties originally mandated to that position by the Legislature in 1850 remain to be accomplished. In 1850, the Surveyor General was responsible for numerous tasks badly needed in a new state, where neither the borders of the State nor the counties were known, and where large portions of its area were totally unexplored. By 1890, these duties had been accomplished and no new tasks with the exception of the licensing of surveyors in the State had been assigned to fill the void.

In 1902, at the age of 73, Wright retired from public office, and moved to San Francisco. In 1903, Wright suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed. Although he lived another six years, he succumbed to the effects of a second stroke on November 25, 1909.

Bi-Annual Reports

Surveyors General

The following include a short biography, photo of, and the annual reports from each Surveyor General, documenting some of the activities and observations of the Surveyors General, and record the early geographical development of the new state.