The Events of 1901

Yesterday, I spent time going through box twenty-three of the four hundred boxes in my great uncle’s archives. The box was a treasure trove of documents that clearly defined what Uncle Richard was doing in January and February of 1901.

If Uncle Richard wasn’t discussing the purchase of tobacco through his Gorman Wright Leaf Tobacco Dealers, he was selling packaging machines to tobacco companies from all over the world. And in order to transport the machines overseas, he had to be discussing how to get the best prices.

There are many documents going back and forth between Uncle Richard and the Rose Brothers of Gainsborough, England, the engineers of the packing machines. Most of the letters were lengthy descriptions of what they were working on and how to make sure the machines worked for their international customers.

If Uncle Richard didn’t have enough to do, he and Julian Carr began a company called the Durham Traction Company. A company that would install and run a trolley system throughout the city of Durham along with an ice plant.

As I worked my way through the box, past the letters with fancy letterheads, I found what I knew was coming. The first of many letters was dated February 27th. Letters that brought me sadness. My great grandfather, Thomas Davenport Wright had unexpectedly died on February 25th and for weeks to follow, sympathy letters were found among the hundreds of business documents.

From all appearances, Uncle Richard spent very little time grieving over his brother. Instead, he did what he always did, kept his focus on the business at hand and booked a passage to Japan.

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