Biography - Robert Wise

ROBERT H. WISE, Esq., Justice of the Peace of New Burnside, was born in Haywood County, W. Tenn., July 22, 1832. His father, William J., who was a son of William Wise, a native of Wayne County, N. C., was born and reared on his father's farm in that State. The grandmother of our subject was a Miss Howard, of the same vicinity, an aunt of the well-known and highly distinguished Member of Congress from the Seventh Illinois District, Thomas J. Henderson, who served in Congress twenty-eight years. William, the grandfather, was in the War of the Rebellion, rising from a Colonel to be Brigadier-General. He reared three sons and three daughters, of whom William J. was the eldest. The grandparents both lived to a ripe old age, and died in North Carolina within a few years of each other. The wife of William J. Wise, and mother of Robert H. Wise, was a Miss Rebecca Lawhorn, of North Carolina. He and his wife, within about one year of their marriage, came from North Carolina to Illinois with one daughter, and lived a year in Vienna Township, whence they removed to West Tennessee and lived there about eleven years on a farm. They then sold the farm and returned to Vienna Township, making these journeys by teams, and the first trip was made in the old-time one-horse cart drawn by two horses driven tandem style. They began life together with about $300 capital, and experienced all the rough and rugged realities of pioneer life.
When the father and mother of our subject came to Illinois the second time, they brought six children, of whom Robert H. was the youngest, and the baby, but this move was made in a more comfortable manner, in a covered wagon drawn by a team of horses. After returning to Illinois they lived three years in Vienna Township, from the spring of 1837 to the spring of 1840, when they removed to New Burnside and bought a claim of one hundred and sixty acres of Government land of a squatter, and at once moved into his rude log cabin. This they made their home for many years, but at length erected a good hewed-log house and purchased two hundred acres more land. In 1857 they sold this farm of three hundred and sixty acres for $1,800, and purchased two hundred and forty acres five miles to the northward from it in Williamson County for $1,000. Here Mrs. Wise died in 1871, at the age of seventy years, and Mr. Wise followed her to the tomb in 1873, aged seventy years. They had buried one daughter at the age of one and a-half years, and a son, Thomas C., at the age of five. A daughter, Sarah, the wife of W. W. Hall, died in the prime of womanhood, before the death of her parents, and left four sons and one daughter. The eldest of these, Thomas W. Hall, is now Cashier of the First National Bank of Harrisburg, Saline County, Ill. The youngest brother of Robert H. Wise, Oliver J. Wise, died in New Burnside at the age of forty-seven years, leaving three children. Lewis E. Wise, the eldest brother of Mr. Wise, and the first-born of the family, was in the South at the breaking out of the war. He was one of the wounded "Louisiana Tigers" in the first battle of Manassas and was sent to the hospital, this being the last tidings that were ever received of him.
A sister of Mr. Wise, Elizabeth J., wife of William R. Mounce, died at their home farm in Williamson County, Ill., in 1880, aged forty-eight years, leaving two sons and four daughters. Those of the family now living are as follows: Hiram Wise, aged sixty-five years, a farmer and a lawyer, retired from active labor, but living on his farm in Johnson County; William J. Wise, sixty-three years old, a retired fanner living in Union County, Ill.; Curtis P. Wise, forty-nine years of age, a farmer of Saline County, Ill.; and Robert H. Wise, who was reared on the farm, and has followed farming most of his life.
Our subject was married in the spring of 1857 to Miss Emily C. Wright, a daughter of John and Mary (Arnold) Wright, both from Tennessee, and pioneers in this part of Illinois, who settled in Williamson County. This daughter was born in 1841, and her father died on his farm in 1860, her mother dying in 1885, when nearly eighty years of age. Mr. Wise's first wife died in her forty-second year, February 16, 1883. She bore him nine children, five sons and four daughters, all but two of whom have died: Mary E., widow of Christopher Heir; and Robert H., a youth of seventeen years, at home and in school. August 6, 1883, Mr. Wise was married a second time, to Sarah E. Boozer, who was born in Kentucky, and is the daughter of Thomas J. and Eliza (McEuan) Boozer.
Mr. and Mrs. Wise reside in the village of New Burnside, which has been their home since May, 1883. Mr. Wise enlisted August 15, 1862, in the One Hundred and Twenty-eight Illinois Infantry, as a Sergeant in Company F, and was transferred to Company G, Ninth Illinois, under the command of “Old Ike" Clemets, Captain. On July 28, 1864, the regiment was consolidated with six companies of another regiment, and Mr. Wise became Commissary Sergeant of Company A, of the consolidated regiment, and served in that capacity until he was discharged, July 18, 1865. During his service in the army of nearly three years, while he had some very close calls, he was never wounded, and participated in ninety-four battles and skirmishes, being on duty all the time he was a soldier. He was farming when the war broke out, and left the field of husbandry for the field of carnage, his wife and four small children remaining at home to be cared for by neighbors and friends. He returned from the war to his old home, where he continued to live until 1871, when he sold his farm and bought one hundred and twenty acres in Williamson County, to which he then removed. There he lived from 1871 to 1880, and was County Commissioner from 1873 to 1877, during which time the notorious bandits of the county were brought to grief, one going to the gallows and seven to prison for twenty-five years. In the winter of 1879-80 he removed to Howell County, Mo., where he was for three years engaged in purchasing supplies for the Kansas, Springfield & Memphis Railroad, then in process of construction. In May, 1883, he returned to New Burnside and bought out a grocery store, which he sold again within six months, and since then he has most of the time been Police Magistrate, Justice of the Peace, etc. He is fifty-six years old, and has never had any legal papers served on him worse than a subpoena. He has been a Mason and an Odd Fellow, and is now a member of Post No. 538, G. A. R., having joined the Grand Army of the Republic in 1885. Up to 1874 he was a Democrat, but since then he has been a supporter of the Republican party in politics.

Extracted 16 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 338-339.

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