Wilbur Wright (1867 - 1912)

A photo of Wilbur Wright
Wilbur Wright
1867 - 1912
April 16, 1867
New Castle, Indiana USA
May 30, 1912
Dayton, Ohio USA
Wilbur Wright was born on April 16, 1867 in New Castle, Indiana USA. He is the child of Susan Catherine (Koerner) Wright and Milton Wright, with siblings Orville, Katharine, Reuchlin, Lorin, Ida, and Otis. He died on May 30, 1912 in Dayton, Ohio USA at age 45.
Updated: May 13, 2022
Along with his brother, Orville, Wilbur Wright is known for being a pioneer in aviation in the U.S. They invented, built, and flew the world's first successful motor-operated airplane in 1903. Their first enterprise was a bicycle shop - they repaired and sold bicycles! Neither of the brothers had middle names as their father wanted to give them "unique enough" first names.
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Wilbur Wright
Most commonly known as
Wilbur Wright
Full name
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Other names or aliases
Unknown. Did Wilbur move a lot? Where was his last known location?
Last known residence
Wilbur Wright was born on in New Castle, Indiana USA
Wilbur Wright died on in Dayton, Ohio USA
There is no cause of death listed for Wilbur.
Cause of death
June 1, 1912
Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio USA
Burial / Funeral

Ethnicity & Lineage

English and Dutch from his father (Milton Wright) German and Swiss from his mother (Susan Catherine Koerner) It is said that his grandmother (Milton's mother) is a descendant of the Vanderbilt family.

Nationality & Locations

Wibur was born Near Millville, Indiana in 1867. As his father was a Bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, the family moved a lot including spending time in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (1878-1881), Richmond, Indiana (1881-1884), and eventually settled in Dayton, Ohio in 1884.


Wilbur was said to be a bright young student and did graduate from a public high school nut never received his diploma due to moving so frequently. He originally had planned to attend Yale University, but suffered an injury in winter 1885 that caused him to go into a depression and bail on his plans for college to stay home, read, and care for his mother who died of tuberculosis in 1889.


Not much is said about Wilbur's religious beliefs, but it is known that their father was a Bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Orville was named after clergyman "Willbur Fisk", and he never worked on Sundays, used tobacco or drank alcohol (similar to the beliefs of his father).


Was Wilbur baptized?


In 1889, the bothers opened a writing business and began a weekly newspaper by the name of “West Side News”. Their next venture began in 1892, when the brothers opened a bike repair and sales shop called “the Wright Cycle Exchange” which spurred due to the national bicycle craze. IN 1892 they began manufacturing their own bikes and changed the name of the shop to the “Wright Cycle Company. This business gave the two the monetary funds to start their flight research. In 1899 the brothers began testing out wing warping, by building and flying a biplane kite which would be their start towards the first successful flight. The brothers then moved to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to further their flight studies and theories and begin their first test flights. Once in Kitty Hawk the brothers worked on gliders using other known facts at the time to improve and better their flying capabilities. Some information has led us to believe that Wilbur did all of the gliding until 1902 as his big brother duty to protect younger brother Orville. After more testing, they built their third full scale glider that ran perfectly during test flights at Kill Devil Hills in Sept 1902. In the Winter of 1902, they built a wind tunnel, a gasoline engine powerful and light enough to propel a plane, airplane propellers, and a powered aircraft. With all of this ready, they headed back to Kill Devil Hills to assemble and test their powered flying machine for 7 weeks in September 1903. It was on December 17 1903 that Orville made the first successful flight flying a distance of 120 feet in 12 seconds. The brothers then took turns trying to beat each others record for a total of 4 flights that day. 1st flight Orville: 120 feet, 12 seconds 2nd flight Wilbur: 175 feet, 12 seconds 3rd flight Orville: 200 feet, 15 seconds 4th flight Wilbur: 825 feet, 59 seconds

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Wilbur Wright passed away on May 30, 1912 in Dayton, Ohio USA at age 45. he was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio USA. He was born on April 16, 1867 in New Castle, Indiana USA. He is the child of Susan Catherine (Koerner) Wright and Milton Wright, with siblings Orville, Katharine, Reuchlin, Lorin, Ida, and Otis.

1867 - 1912 World Events

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In 1867, in the year that Wilbur Wright was born, on January 8th, African-American men were given the right to vote in the District of Columbia when Congress overrode President Andrew Johnson's veto. This was the first place in the U.S. to give African Americans the right to vote.

In 1874, at the age of only 7 years old, Wilbur was alive when on November 4th, the Democratic Party regained control of the US House of Representatives - the first time since 1860. The Democrats now held 183 seats - up 94 - and the Republicans held 106 - down 93.

In 1886, Wilbur was 19 years old when on October 28th, President Grover Cleveland officially dedicated the Statue of Liberty. A gift from France, the base for the statue had been built using donations from the American public. The unplanned but enthusiastic celebration after the dedication led to the first ticker tape parade.

In 1898, Wilbur was 31 years old when magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company controlled 84% of the oil and pipelines in the United States. Rockefeller grew Standard Oil through the merger of several other small oil companies throughout the U.S., creating a monopoly.

In 1912, in the year of Wilbur Wright's passing, the Girl Scouts of the USA was started by Juliette Gordon Low with the help of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts in Great Britain. She said after a meeting with Baden-Powell, "I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!" And she did.

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