George Frederick Wright was born on 22 January 1838 in Whitehall, New York, where he attended local schools and was deeply impressed with his family's abiding interest in religion, a heritage that had manifested itself since Puritan times. Charles Finney had been a notable revivalist during the Second Great Awakening, and when he became President of Oberlin College, Wright's admiring parents sent him to study at that institution in Ohio. Graduating with a BA degree in 1859 and then a BD from Oberlin Theological Seminary in 1862, he set out on a ministerial career. He also volunteered upon graduation to serve in the Union army, but poor health prevented his acceptance. Instead he became pastor of a Congregational church in Bakersfield, Vermont, and performed standard clerical duties there for a decade. During his tenure at this town in the Green Mountains Wright developed an interest in geology, exploring on his own and gathering insights that slowly qualified the young minister for activities in a second career that paralleled and supported the primary one.
From The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers in Oxford Reference.