I missed a couple days in the challenge, but I'm back and now able to post to my blog. I plan on posting my first couple of writing exercises later on this blog but I want to get back into "just writing" what I know about my great grandfather, James Edward Wise.
Just a note - I watched the Storyboard video suggested in the newsletter and thought it was very good. Definitely something to watch. Thank you Lynn.
Here is my post for today for the Family History Writing Challenge
By 1881 with a population of 1200, Franklin township supported seven
different school districts each with a one-room school house. The
1840 population of Franklin township was listed as 1100 so in the 20 years elapsed the population changed
very little. The school districts in
existence during James’ school years would be very similar to those of 1881. From the landowner plat map for Monroe county
it can be determined that James lived very close to the 3rd district
school, named the Swazey School and located on land owned by Richard Gibson which was only a mile or so from the
Wise farm. The school was listed as
being six miles north of Stafford. There was also a M.E. (Methodist Episcopal)
church adjacent to the school and it is probable James spent many a Sunday
morning in attendance. His great
grandfather, Jacob Wise Sr. was known to have established a M.E. Church in
Summit township in 1815. His
grandfather, Jonathan Wise also held M.E. church services in his home during the
1830’s. Education was a precious gift to
these rural families and was supported by the residents with many donating land for
the schools and the churches. In a
letter written in 1901 by James to his family, it can be seen that he was a
literate and educated individual. His
spelling was accurate and his sentence structure appropriate. The content of the letter is about prices he
can get for poultry, cheese, eggs, etc. and displays an understanding of
mathematics as well. Although his
handwriting is not extremely clear, it is definitely readable.
It is probable that he only attended school perhaps through 8th
grade and probably only during the winter months. The standard curriculum would include
reading, writing and arithmetic. It is
apparent he was able to master these tasks.
A study of the 1880 census shows James as well as other members of the
family as able to read, except his mother, Mary Dunn appears to have not been
able to read.