Tuesday, March 25, 2008

William P. Wise and Sophia Dunfee

William Pythagrus Wise, my Great-Great Grandfather, was the oldest child of seven children born to Jacob and Malissa Ann (Stem) Wise. According to my grandmother's notes, they were living in Miami County, Indiana on January 1, 1852 when William was born. William grew up on the family farm in the northern part of Thorncreek Township, Whitley County, Indiana near the Noble County line and near Malissa's parents, Conrad and Indiana (Sisley) Stem.

On October 5, 1864 Jacob Wise was drafted into the Army, just a little over a month after his son Sylvester (not quite two years old) had died and two weeks before the birth of his daughter Rosilla. William had probably been responsible for doing chores around the farm prior to his father being drafted, and I can imagine the talk that his father gave to him before departing. After all, he was the oldest child and his mother would be giving birth again soon, not to mention the death of little Sylvester.

A little over seven months later, on May 17, 1865 Jacob died of chronic diarrhea at an army hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. So it was that William became the "man of the house" when he was a little over 13 years old. His mother would remarry, but not until 1876, when the children were older.

On October 9, 1873 William P. Wise was married to Sophia Elizabeth Dunfee. She was the daughter of Catherine Jones and William Hamilton Dunfee and was born September 18, 1850 in Columbia City, Whitley County, Indiana. The notice of their marriage appeared in the Whitley County Commercial on October 16th. "Married. Wise-Dunfee. By the Rev. John Miller, on Oct. 9th, 1873, William Wise, of Thorncreek, and Miss Sophia Dunfee, of Columbia City."

They soon purchased a farm in Troy Township, north of Columbia City and a few miles west of his mother's farm. This is where they would live out their lives and raise a family of four children.
  • Harry H. Wise was born August 10, 1874. He would move to Lorain County, Ohio in the late 1890s, living near his aunt, Rosilla Wise Zinsmeister, and her family. He married Emma Klieman and they had four children.
  • Maude Catherine Wise was born December 9, 1877. Maude is my Great-Grandmother. She married Charles Romain Brubaker on February 7, 1897 and they had four children.
  • Maurice James Wise, twin brother of Maude, was born December 9, 1877. Maurice never married. He owned and ran a restaurant in Sturgis, Michigan and was killed in an auto-truck accident in July 1943.
  • Hazlette Ann Wise was born October 10, 1885. She married Harlo Asher Burns on October 10, 1911. They lived on a farm in Troy Township, Whitley County and had two children.
Harry, Sophia, Maude, William, and Maurice. Hazlette, seated in front.

Sophia Dunfee Wise died on December 6, 1916; her obituary was published in the Columbia City Post on December 8, 1916:
Mrs. William Wise, of Troy township passed away Wednesday at 1:30 o'clock from blood clots on the brain and paralysis. She has been confined to her bed for the past two weeks and although her condition varied at times, she seemingly grew weaker and the end was not altogether unexpected by members of the family who were familiar with the ailments of the patient.

Mrs. Wise was a daughter of William and Catherine Dunfee and was born in this city September 18, 1850; she being aged 66 years, 2 months and 18 days at her death. She spent her childhood days in this city and received her education here. On October 9, 1873, she was united in marriage to William Wise, who survives. To this union four children were born; Harry Wise of Lorane, Ohio; Morris J. Wise, of Elkhart; Mrs. Maude Brubaker, of North Webster, and Mrs. Harlow Burns, of Troy township.

Mr. and Mrs. Wise took up their residence on a farm northwest of this city following their marriage and have resided there ever since. Mr. Wise was a successful farmer and was greatly assisted by his devoted wife who was constantly caring for her children and their home. She was loved and respected by her many friends. Mrs. Wise was a member of the Thorncreek township Christian church and was a faithful worker in the cause of the Master.

Besides her husband and children, she is survived by one brother, William Dunfee, of Columbia township, and one sister, Miss Rebecca Dunfee, of Troy township.
William would live for nearly 20 more years, passing away on October 12, 1935. His obituary was published in the Columbia City Post two days later:
William P. Wise, past 83 years old, well-known Whitley county farmer, died Saturday night at 8:45 o'clock at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Harlo Burns, in Troy Township. He had been in declining health for the past year but for the past two weeks his condition, due to a complication of diseases, had grown steadily worse until death ensued.

Born in Allen county on January 1, 1852, William P. Wise was a son of Jacob and Malissa Stemm Wise, and had reached the age of 83 years, 9 months and 11 days. He resided all his life except one year in Whitley county, for when but a year old his parents brought him to Thorncreek township where he grew to manhood.

On October 7, 1873, William P. Wise was united in marriage to Sophia Dunfee, who preceded him in death in 1916. Since her death Mr. Wise made his home with his daughter in north Troy township. In addition to Mrs. Wise, the deceased was preceded in death by two brothers and three sisters.

Surviving are two sons and two daughters, namely, Harry H. of Lorain, Ohio; Maurice, formerly of Elkhart and now of Troy township, who is a twin brother of Mrs. Joseph Yontz, of Columbia City, and Mrs. Harlo Burns. Two sisters; Mrs. David Anspaugh, of Ray, Ind., and Mrs. Rosie Zintz, of Lorain, Ohio, eight grand children and sixteen great-grandchildren also survive Mr. Wise.

Early in life Mr. Wise united with the Thorncreek Christian church east of Cresco and though this church has been long since abandoned he never changed his membership. William P. Wise was a farmer by occupation all his life and was regarded as an upright and honest Christian character and a fair dealer with all his neighbors, each of whom characterized Mr. Wise as one of the finest neighbors a person could have and one who never spoke anything but kind words of everyone with whom he was acquainted.

The body was brought to the DeMoney Funeral Home in Columbia City and was removed from there to the Harlo Burns home Sunday. Funeral services will be held Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. at the Burns home. Dr. E. C. Lindsay, of Goshen, will conduct the services and burial will be in Scott cemetery.
The notice of his funeral was published on October 16th in the Columbia City Post. My mother says she vaguely remembers attending the funeral; she would have been seven years old at the time. Her brother, Billy, was only five.
Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon from the Harlo Burns home in Troy Township, for the late William Wise, Dr. E. C. Lindsay, of Goshen, officiating. Ray Estlick and Mrs. Fern Marker sang the hymns.

The pallbearers were Charles Yontz, William Brubaker, Charles Anspaugh, Victor Phend, William Anspaugh, and Charles Jacobs. The flower bearers were Patsy, Phyllis, Virginia and Billy Phend, great-grandchildren of Mr. Wise. Interment took place in the Scott cemetery.

Those attending the funeral rites from a distance were Mr. and Mrs. Harry Wise, Lorain, Ohio; Mrs. Rosa Zintsmeister and daughter, Lorain, Ohio; Mr. and Mrs. David Anspaugh, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Anspaugh and Mr. and Mrs. William Anspaugh, Ray, Ind., Mr. and Mrs. William Brubaker, Elkhart.
Wise Family - Index to Posts

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