Like all good mysteries, it started with a long-distance call. The caller from B.C. thought he was calling the museum and when I told him the museum was closed for the season and forwarded to my number, he sighed noticeably. “I have some stuff from a former resident of Virden, a guy called John E. Wright. But nobody will talk with me. Will you listen to my story?”
I decided to listen, and I am glad I did. As you can see from the photos included, Mr. John E. Wright was not only a Virden Pioneer, but he also was the second owner of the house which would eventually become the Pioneer Home Museum. In 1958 when he celebrated his 97th birthday, he was one of the last of the Virden and district pioneers.
The caller explained how he came into possession of these artifacts. His sister was cleaning a house in North Vancouver in the 1990s and these items were about to be thrown out. She kept them until she died. Now, he had them and wanted to find a home for them.
The museum now has these items and will undoubtedly mount a display in 2021. From the evidence provided, one of John E. Wright’s daughters lived in Vancouver. She even came back to Virden in 1969 for the opening of the Pioneer Home Museum and told the museum secretary of her life, growing up in the house.
But the mystery remains. Why were these items on the curb with the trash?
The full story, the Life of John E. Wright, will soon be on the Virden Pioneer Home Museum (VPHM) website, under the section on First Families.
- Rick Kristjanson, Chairman, VPHM