Hendrick Bradley Wright was born on April 24, 1808, the oldest child of a farming and merchant family at Plymouth, Pennsylvania. He attended local schools and the Wilkes-Barre Academy. In May 1829, he entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with the class of 1831 but did not graduate. Instead, he returned to Wilkes-Barre in early 1831 to study law.
Admitted to the bar later that year, Wright began a legal career in the area. By the age of 26, thanks to his reputation in court and his active support for Andrew Jackson, he was a colonel of militia and district attorney for Luzerne County. He served in the Pennsylvania House and in 1843 was its speaker. Circumstances of politics, including an animus with James Buchanan, halted his national political aspirations, but he was elected to Congress in 1852 and again in 1860 as a Democrat. He returned to private life in 1863, supported George McClellan for president in 1864, and began to write extensively on matters of labor. He drifted slowly from the older elements of the Democratic Party, though he was elected to Congress in 1876 and 1878, with labor support.
He married Mary Ann Bradley Robinson in 1835 and the couple had ten children. Hendrick Bradley Wright died on September 2, 1881 in Wilkes-Barre and was buried in the Hollenback Cemetery.