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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


FREDERICK WISE is a veteran of two wars, and was born in Middletown, Snyder County, Pa., May 20, 1826. His father died when he was very young, after which Mr. Wise was reared by a man named George Rentschler. When he was ten years old he came to this State, reaching here in the fall of 1837. He made the entire journey driving a one-horse wagon. He located in Morgan County, still continuing work for his guardian until he was eighteen years old. Up to this time he had no educational advantages so at the age of eighteen he went to Jacksonville to attend school, after which he made an attempt to learn the trade of a tailor, but abandoned that and engaged in a printing office for a short time, but found this occupation too sedentary. He then resumed work on a farm until 1843, when he returned to Pennsylvania, and remained there about one year working at cabinet work. In the spring of 1844 he came back to Morgan County, and went to work on a farm, a business for which he was specially adapted. In the meantime, he attended school until the Mexican War broke out, in 1847. He enlisted as a volunteer from Illinois, and was transferred to St. Louis, thence to Mexico via the Mississippi, Gulf and Rio Grande to Monterey where he was mustered in Company G, 16th Regular United States Infantry. He joined the army at Monterey where his regiment remained for some time doing guard duty. From here the regiment was sent to New Orleans, thence to Newport, Ky., where it was mustered out in June, 1848. He saw no active service. The war being over Mr. Wise engaged in various pursuits. After one year of working in this manner he engaged in the carpenter business, which he followed for six years, and being a natural mechanic he made a success at this last venture, particularly as a contractor and builder. In 1856 he built a store in Concord, Morgan County, and then went into the mercantile business in which he was engaged for two years. The financial disasters of 1857 came very near taking him down financially, but he rallied, and then went into the confectionery business at the same place.

In 1862, and on the 10th day of August, Mr. Wise enlisted in the 101st Illinois Infantry, and was mustered in at Jacksonville. On the 20th of the same month his regiment went South. He enlisted as a Sergeant, but Gov. Yates tendered him a captain's commission, which he promptly declined, saying that he enlisted as a sergeant, and wanted no higher office. His regiment was engaged in doing guard duty at various places until the battle of Holly Springs, Miss., which occurred Dec. 20, 1862, where he and most of the regiment were taken prisoners by Van Dorn. They were afterward paroled and sent to Memphis, from which place they went to St. Louis, remaining there seven months before they were exchanged. The regiment then joined the main army at new Madrid, Mo., and assisted in building a fort, which occupied two weeks. While here Mr. Wise predicted that Vicksburg would surrender on July 4, which prediction was verified. This was in the year of 1863. From New Madrid the regiment went to Clayton, Ky., and from that place was ordered to Skirmish in the surrounding country, and finally the regiment came to Union City. At Clayton Mr. Wise was taken ill with rheumatism and other diseases, which caused him to seek the hospital, where he remained until January, 1864, and not being able to walk he was given a furlough to visit home. During his furlough he reported at Jacksonville, and from there was sent to the general hospital at Quincy, Ill., where in the fall of 1864 he was honorably discharged after serving his country well for two years and three months.

After the war was over he started a confectionery store in Concord, not being able to do manual labor. In this business he was moderately successful. A few years later he rented a little farm, and in 1877 he purchased the place on which he now lives. The farm at the time of the purchase had most of the present improvements. Mr. Wise has succeeded in cultivating a greater portion of the place, and among other good things on the farm, he has a fine orchard and a good vineyard. The place comprises 160 acres. He raises grain and stock, and does a general farming business, and is considered one of the solid farmers of his precinct. The St. Louis branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad runs through his farm.

Mr. Wise married in 1856 Miss Mary A. Hailey, a native of Tennessee. She was the daughter of James and Sarah Hailey, old settlers of Morgan County. She died March 10, 1867, leaving five children: William H., Mary A., Sadie, Katie A. and Martha (now deceased). William H. is married as is also Mary A. Sadie and Katie are at home, the latter is a teacher in the public schools. The family belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Mr. Wise takes great pride in gardening and fruit raising. His garden is kept in a nice manner, and excels all others in appearance. His small fruits and grapes are particularly fine. Mr. Wise is a man of good sound judgment, and is truly a self-made man, and he exhibits pardonable pride in the fact that he served his country in two wars. The hardships which he endured while in the army are now apparent in his halting step and snow-white hair. The country owes to such as he a great debt. Mr. Wise politically is a stanch Republican.

1889 Index
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