Wright was born in Purdy, Tennessee, in McNairy County. He completed preparatory studies and attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he pursued courses in medicine and law. After graduating from the law department, he was admitted to the bar, and he commenced practice in Purdy.
He was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-fourth, the Thirty-fifth, and the Thirty-sixth Congresses. He served from March 4, 1855 to March 3, 1861.
Wright served as a judge of the circuit court of Tennessee, and then as a chancellor and judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court. He practiced law in Nashville in 1885 and 1886. He was an unsuccessful candidate as an Anti-Repudiation Democrat for governor of Tennessee in 1880. He was chairman of the Northwest Indian Commission in 1886 and a member of the commission to treat with the Great Sioux Nation in Dakota. He was appointed to the law division of the General Land Office in 1887 and served until his death in Washington, D.C.. He was interred in Rock Creek Cemetery.
de:John Vines Wright