Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Day 5 - James Edward Wise

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

Education –

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.

1 comment:

Patt said...

Jo, this was a very good breakdown of a piece of the life of one of your ancestors... and perhaps that of each of us in the challenge. I see that you are writing with the same plan I am using. I think snippets of life in the olden days can keep the interest of the reader, in today's world with not a lot of time, without making the story dry and tedious. Kudos on a job well done for this story and the more recent one about the Civil War.