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.”