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Wise, Samuel 1845 1921


Posted By: Joy Moore (email)
Date: 5/16/2015 at 17:31:49


Samuel Wise, who has resided upon his farm in Pleasant township since he was eleven years of age, is numbered among the most able, progressive and successful farmers in this vicinity, his fine property of two hundred and ninety-three acres on sections 16 and 17, evidencing in its neat and attractive appearance his careful supervision and practical labors. He was born in Pine Grove township, Venango county, Pennsylvania, on the 24th of December, 1845, and is a son of Samuel and Phoebe (Merryman) Wise, natives of that state, the former of Dutch ancestry and the latter of German and English extraction. The parents came to Iowa in the spring of 1856, the father having purchased land from the government in the previous year, and they continued to make their home upon this farm for many years, Samuel Wise dying upon the property December 4, 1879, at the age of seventy-one. His wife, who was born in 1810, passed away March 21, 1886. They were the parents of eleven children: Keziah, who married Charles Reese, of Springport, Michigan; Elizabeth, who became the wife of Christian Kinch and who died in 1858; Wilson, of Artesian, South Dakota; Nancy, the widow of Daniel Price and a resident of Burr Oak, Iowa; Daniel, who makes his home in Carl Junction, Missouri; Elijah, of Pomona, California; Harrison, who passed away January 19, 1862; Phoebe, the widow of Nathan Drake, of Glenwood township, this county; Samuel, of this review; Allen, who was drowned in the Iowa river in 1867, when he was seventeen years of age; and Mary, the widow of Frank Stortz, of Norfolk, Nebraska. Of these children Daniel and Elijah are veterans of the Civil war, having enlisted from Decorah in Company D, Third Iowa Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Willet, and having served until the close of hostilities.

When Samuel Wise was eleven years of age he accompanied his parents from Illinois to Iowa and took up his residence with them upon the Wise homestead in Winneshiek county, whereon he grew to manhood. He has made his home upon this property ever since and now owns two hundred and ninety-three acres lying on sections 16 and 17. Upon this he has made many substantial improvements in buildings and equipment, his well directed efforts having been attended with a gratifying measure of success. In addition he is proprietor of one hundred and sixty acres in Dallas county, Texas, and this, together with his home property, brings him a substantial annual income.

On the 24th of December, 1868, Mr. Wise was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Barth, of Cincinnati, Ohio, born December 14, 1852. She came with her parents to Iowa in the fall of 1855. To their union were born fifteen children : Rosamond, who married Albert Ellingson, of Pleasant township; Phoebe, who became the wife of Charles Rima, of Decorah; Flora, who married B. E. Bucknell, of Decorah; Isaiah, who lives at home; Julia, the wife of E. F. Gueffroy, of Charles City, Iowa; Elizabeth, at home; Lucy, who married M. E. Anderson, of Washington, D. C.; Daniel E., at home; Allen, county recorder of Winneshiek county, with residence at Decorah; Mary, who is engaged in teaching; Lily, who is employed in the National Bank at Decorah; Keziah and Meda, engaged in teaching; Sylvester, who lives at home; and one child, who died in infancy. The mother died at the University Hospital, Iowa City, August 17, 1910.

Mr. Wise gave his political allegiance to the republican party until the nomination of Blaine for the presidency, when he affiliated with the democracy. He has held various public offices, serving as justice of the peace, constable, school director and road supervisor, and his public career has been useful and beneficial, reflecting credit upon his ability and public spirit. He is numbered among the early residents in Pleasant township and has witnessed practically the entire development of this part of the county, his work since reaching manhood forming an important factor in its advancement. Throughout the years of an honorable and upright life he has firmly entrenched himself in the regard and esteem of his fellow citizens and stands today in a high place among representative farmers and substantial business men.

In conclusion we present to our readers a story written by himself, entitled: "A Day in the Life of a Winneshiek County Boy."

"I went to work plowing in the morning about two miles from father's house. At about half past nine o'clock my brother-in-law, D. Price, came to us (my father and eldest brother, were working in the same field) to get a yoke of oxen to take his family to Decorah for safety. He told us that the Indians were coming and we had better clear out. He was very much excited.

"We held a council of war right there and decided to send word to the neighbors to meet at Locust Lane that evening to make arrangements to meet the enemy.

"The lock on father's rifle being broken, he went to Freeport to the gunsmith's to get it mended and at the same time bought all the gunpowder they had at the store in Freeport. From there he went to Decorah to buy lead and more powder. He couldn't get any powder there for they wanted all they had for the defense of Decorah.

"I went home and started making bullets. First I ran all the lead we had into bullets for father's T. Smith rifle. Then I ran all the pewter I could find about the place into bullets for the shot gun. When I was through, mother brought all her pewter spoons and I melted and made them into bullets. I also cleaned and oiled an old double-barrelled shot gun. (This gun belonged to A. K. Drake, a resident of Decorah at the present time.)

"About four o'clock Jake Powers came to our place to tell my folks the Indians were coming. He wanted to know what I was going to do with the shot gun and I said that I was going to shoot Indians. He laughed at me and said I couldn't shoot bullets with a shot gun and that he could stand by a tree and let me shoot at him all day and I couldn't hit him. And if I did, the bullet would not go through his clothes. I told him I could kill him at that distance so he went and stood by the tree and dared me to shoot. I locked the gun and raised it to shoot when my mother stepped out the door and grabbed the gun and wanted to know what we were doing. I told her and she gave Mr. Powers a scolding because I was only a boy but he was old enough to know better. He was about twenty-five years old. Then Mr. Powers put a mark on the tree and I was to see if I could hit it. I shot and the bullet struck the tree about two inches above the mark. He took his knife to take the bullet out but had to use an ax and cut into the oak tree about two inches for it. He then went to mother and thanked her for saving his life.

"At sun down I did the chores and then started for Locust, three miles away. When I had gone half the distance I saw three men coming towards me, each carrying a gun. I took them to be Indians. I dropped behind a bunch of brush locked both barrels of my gun and waited for them to come close enough for a dead shot. I felt sure of the first Indian, a good chance of the second, and then dodge into the bush returning home, and be ready for them again. But before they got close enough for me to shoot, the imaginary Indians vanished and Henry Kniss, Mr. Bowns, and James Morehead took their places. They were old neighbors, out hunting Indians. When I stepped into the road in front of them they were startled. When we were gathered at Locust we appointed a committee of five men to go north the next day to see if the enemy was coming."

Here Mr. Wise concludes his narrative of a day's experiences in a boy's life in the early days of the Red man's sway in Winneshiek county, giving an idea of conditions as they existed in his youth and presenting to our readers an interesting incident.

Source: History of Winneshiek County, Iowa Vol. II Chicago the S. J. Clark Publishing Company 1913

Locust Cemetery

Winneshiek Biographies maintained by Bill Waters.
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