In 1912, a Congressional committee met to investigate allegations that the Secretary of Agriculture had suppressed a report by J. O. Wright on drainage in the Florida Everglades. The following seven months of committee hearings uncovered a veritable horror-show of corruption, self-dealing, misuse of government personnel and property for private gain, the tarring of reputations in order to protect high-level officials, and outright blackmail within the Department of Agriculture and the state governments of Florida and North Carolina.
The “Wright Report Incident” is most commonly understood in its connection to the Everglades, and few histories have included its effects on the North Carolina Pocosin wetland and other coastal plain swamps. This book seeks fills that gap. It details the timeline, intricate politics, and webs of corruption that make up the story of the Wright Incident and, specifically, its connection to land management practices in coastal North Carolina that continue to impact the industries of the state almost 100 years later.