John V. Wise
Morris Co. Up


Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County New Jersey. Illustrated. Vol. II., Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1899.

This citizen of Morristown was born in German Valley, Morris county, March 23, 1848, and is a son of John H. and Margaret (WISE) WISE, both of whom were natives of Washington township, Morris county. The father, who was born in 1810, died in German Valley, at the age of seventy-eight years. He was a son of Andrew WISE, one of the pioneers of that place. By trade he was a tanner and followed that pursuit up to the time of the Civil war, when he turned his attention to farming. He was a successful business man and accumulated a handsome property. His political support was given the men and measures of the Democratic party, but he never aspired to political office. He was esteemed and respected by a wide circle of acquaintances, and was one of the prominent citizens of German Valley. His widow still survives, being in her ninety-fifth year, and is still well preserved.

John V. WISE was reared in the place of his nativity, and acquired his early educational privileges there. He was afterward a student in Chester Institute and then completed a business course in Eastman's National Business College, at Poughkeepsie, New York. His business career began as a merchant and farmer, and to these pursuits he continued to devote his energies until the fall of 1886, when he removed from German Valley to Morristown, where he has since resided and where he purchased the business of George A. ABED, the leading auction business house in Morristown. He formed a partnership with his father-in-law, Joseph VAN DYKE, under the a partners firm name of Van Dyke & Wise, and has since engaged in the real-estate and insurance business and in dealing in second-hand goods. In this line they have met with a gratifying measure of success. Mr. WISE is also a member of the firm of Foster & Wise, street sprinklers.

In 1876-7 Mr. WISE spent six months in Iowa, going there to examine lands—in four different counties—belonging to his father, which had been bought when Iowa was a territory. After his return from the west he taught school.

In the presidential campaign of 1896 he bore a conspicuous part in advocacy of Democracy and was an active and firm supporter of the freesilver plank of the platform. For three years, while residing at German Valley, he served as clerk of Washington township, and in 1886 was elected a member of the Morris county board of chosen freeholders. He is now chairman of the county election board.

In 1878 Mr. WISE was united in marriage to Miss Ellen H. VAN DYKE, and they have five children. Her father, Joseph VAN DYKE, is the veteran auctioneer of northern New Jersey. He was born in Somerset county, March 26, 1834, a son of John and Margaret (CUNNINGHAM) VAN DYKE, both of whom were natives of Somerset county, New Jersey. The former was a son of James VAN DYKE, also a native of the same county.

Joseph VAN DYKE, who was the youngest of a family of six children, was reared to manhood in the county of his nativity, and gained a common-school education. His father died when he was a lad, and he began the battle of life for himself when only ten years of age. For four years he worked on a farm, and then followed shoemaking for two years, after which he was employed at carpentering for a short period. Through the succeeding eight years he was in the butchering business. In 1862 he removed to German Valley, Morris county, and in 1864 established a stage line between that place and Highbridge, conducting the same for two years, when he sold out. He next turned his attention to railroading for the New Jersey Central Rail- road Company, and later engaged in the machine business. Since 1879 he has been a resident of Morristown, and on his arrival here he accepted a position with the Voorhees Brothers, hardware dealers, having charge of the machinery department in their establishment until 1892, when he resigned his position. In 1886 he formed a partnership with his son-in-law, under the firm name of Van Dyke & Wise, and operations were begun as dealers in real estate, insurance and second-hand goods. They have been quite successful in this venture, their business bringing to them good financial returns. In his early manhood Mr. VAN DYKE began auctioneering, and from that time until the present has continued in the business. He has cried sales throughout Morris and surrounding counties, and is said to be the oldest auctioneer in northern New Jersey.

Mr. VAN DYKE has always been a stanch Democrat, and has been honored with local office. He served for five years as justice of the peace, and in 1895 was elected a member of the county board of chosen freeholders. In 1860 he married Lydia HOFFMAN, and his children number four. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

This biography was scanned and contributed by Catherine Smith DeMayo.


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