Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Beginning of the Story for James Edward Wise

Iowa’s beautiful days of summer were a perfect backdrop to the wedding of James Edward Wise and Sarah Loranz.  The wedding which took place on Thursday, August 8, 1878, may well have been in the Presbyterian church of Clarinda, Iowa,  a church built through the sponsorship of the bride’s father, Anthony Loranz in 1860.  The church tower bell, freighted overland from Fulton county, Illinois in 1860 also and through the efforts of Mr. Loranz, would have rung in joyous celebration of this marriage of his youngest daughter.  Perhaps the weather accommodated a wedding dinner held outside under the trees on the Loranz family's property in Clarinda.  Many of the prominent citizens of Clarinda would have been in attendance as well as a large family contingent for both the bride and groom.  The Loranz family were early pioneers of Page county, arriving in 1858.  The groom’s family were newcomers to the county, arriving in September of 1875 from Monroe county, Ohio.  The patriarch of the Wise family, Jacob Wise and his wife Mary Dunn, surely contributed to the  wedding picnic or dinner, perhaps supplying the mountainous platters of delicious chicken, turkey and beef, and overflowing kettles of Iowa corn, famous as the best in all of Iowa.   It is safe to assume these items were provided from the produce of the Wise farm, tended by their own hard work and prepared with their loving hands.  A wedding cake was most certainly baked by one of the numerous female relations, as well as pies and treats of all varieties.  The splendor of the harvest of fruits and vegetables would have provided a hearty banquet for all guests.

Although born and raised in rural America, these young people were not country bumpkins.  Photos of what is presumed to be wedding portraits, show James dressed in a formal black suit with a sparkling white collared and button down shirt.  Sarah wore a stylish fitted silk dress with dark lace and darker velvet at the v-neckline.  A high collar of white lace and ribbon provided a beautiful contrast to the dark velvet.  Sarah’s dark, abundant curls were secured in a fashionable french twist or braid, with only her bangs giving away her natural curl.  Beautiful dangling earrings and a matching choker completed her exquisite ensemble.

Just  twenty-two years before, on a Friday, the 16th of  February, in 1855, James came into this world welcomed by a cold Ohio winter day and two loving parents, Jacob and Mary Dunn Wise of Franklin township in Monroe county.  He was their fourth child and second son.   James spent his youth as most young men who were farmers’ sons did;  working on his father’s farm, learning the skills he would later depend on to earn his living as an adult.  He attended school when able, usually during the winter months, perhaps walking or riding the mile or so to the icon of rural American education, the Swazey one room schoolhouse.  This small but mighty institution provided scholarly education to James, his eight siblings and numerous cousins.  James surely spent his  Sundays in fellowship with family and neighbors in the adjacent M.E. church and the cold days of winter learning the three “R’s” … “reading, riting and rithmatic.”   

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 11 - Family History Writing Challenge

My family has a saying, "everything depends on everything else."  That couldn't be more true than when it comes to my writing my ancestor's story.

Of course I have to have all my information about this individual before I can start writing.  Opps, I don't have it all in the software, at least not the version I am currently using.  Ok, so I will input the information because I really want that Timeline, right?  And my "old" software doesn't do that.  There is the first "everything depends on everything else" moment.

Ok, now I'm ready to start writing ... oh, wait, what about all that "other stuff" I have found but have not entered into my software ... yet.  Yeah, I really need those details because that is what will provide the "meat on the bones" of my story.  So I go hunting in my digital filing cabinet.  Really?  I have got to get organized.  I can't find what I know I have.  Those newspaper articles have to be here somewhere!  Maybe on my desktop computer, or maybe the laptop, or maybe one of the five or six flash drives, no wait maybe on the sd card.  There is the second "everything depends on everything else" moment.

Ok, so I'll get all these pieces organized.  This would be a great time to utilize Evernote.  I have heard great things about the organizational advantages of Evernote.  I have had Evernote downloaded and on my computer for a couple years but ... well I never really bothered to read any articles about how to use it.  Just jumped in and made another mess.  So this time I read about it, watch a few youtube videos and decide yes, this is something that is EXACTLY what I want and need now.  There is the third "everything depends on everything else" moment.

So, I have located all the pieces of information I have gathered.  I have put them in Evernote with tags so I can find them easily.  I have entered all the facts in my current software of choice with correct source citations.  Yeah!!!  I have printed my timeline.  I am now ready to start writing my great grandfather's story.

There are research holes of course.  I am a researcher at heart.  That is what I love to do and what I always tend to fall back on, but, I want to become a family history writer, so I will take what I have, dates and facts, and I will weave a story of a man's life using the skills I am learning through the February Family History Writing Challenge sponsored by The Armchair Genealogist and I will continue to modify and revise the story until I have it just the way I want it. 

There is the fourth "everything depends on everything else" moment.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Day 7 - James E. Wise and the Civil War

James E. Wise and the Civil War

James would have been only 6 years old at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.  No evidence has been found yet to support the hypothesis that his father, Jacob Wise, born 1825, joined the forces on either side.  An analysis of the children of this family however might suggest just such an event.  Starting with the first child born in November of 1848 just eleven months after their marriage, a child was born about every eighteen to twenty-four months until 1861.  Then a son Charles was born in March of 1861 with the next child, a daughter Evaline not born until November of 1865.   It seems possible that Jacob Wise may have been a soldier in the Union army, just as several of his uncles served on the side of the Union from Ohio and West Virginia.  Jonathan Wise Jr. was in Co. D, 27th Ohio Infantry and received a pension.  Thomas Wesley Wise received a Civil War headstone and probably enlisted from the new state of West Virginia.  A search of the 1863 Civil War Draft Books found Jacob Wise, age 37, in Franklin township as registered so it appears he did not enlist, at least as of 1 July 1863.   How did the war affect James and his family?  From a military perspective, there was only one battle in Ohio at Buffington Island on 19 July 1863.  Buffington Island is about 100 miles south of James’ home in Monroe county.   James probably would not have been aware of the battle but likely his parents were acutely aware of the military activities.  Being only eight years old, the war may not have had a huge impact on James except for possibly having added responsibilities around the farm and perhaps a lack of some of the more frivolous foodstuffs. The impact of the war on his life was probably quite low and more emotional because of close family members who were in many of the battles.