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   Volume 2 Issue 1 January 1997   

James Wiser

James Wiser, son of Benjamin and Kezia Wiser, was born 1785, probably in Haverhill, New Hampshire. The following summarizes information that has been compiled on his family much of which has not been proven.

It appears that James was married sometime before 1812. In the Cazenovia Pilot, 6 Apr 1814, William Malloy, advertised a child about 18 months old was taken by James Wiser, without provocation. The child was bound to him by authority of the town of Cazenovia. This child would appear to be Mary (Polly) Wiser, who was born 1812. James and the mother must have taken the child back from William Malloy.

My guess is that the first wife of James Wiser was Anna Kingsley. Anna Kingsley was the daughter of Simeon Kingsley and his first wife whose name is unknown. Simeon married Susan Babcock after the death of his first wife and this is the same Susan Babcock who married Asa Crandall after Simeon's death in 1812. Susan was the sister of Betsey Babcock who married Samuel Wiser. My ancestor, John McCormick Wiser referred to Susan's husband as "my uncle Asa Crandall". In the 1820 Census, James was living in Truxton, Cortland County, New York, with his family. He had 2 daughters under 5. The school records of Truxton School District Number 7 in 1829, list a Am Wiser with 2 children attending school. This was probably Anna. It is possible by this time that she had separated from James and she would soon make her way to Harrison County, Indiana with her four daughters and other family members. Her brother, Simeon Kingsley Jr., her sister Cynthia who married Erastus Swift, and another sister Chloey who married 1) Mr. Young and 2) Jefferson Burgess were all early settlers (by 1831) of Harrison County, Indiana. In 1850, Anna Kingsley Wiser was a resident of District No. 45, Harrison County, Indiana, age 54. James and Anna appear to have had the following daughters:

1. Mary (Polly) Wiser, born 1812, who married 17 Aug 1831 in Harrison County, Indiana, Fielding Steele. Mary died after 1870. Mary and Fielding lived in Heth Township, Harrison, Indiana. They had the following children; Thomas, James M., Fielding, Andrew J. and Elizabeth (Isabel).

2. Mariam Elis Wiser, who was born between 1812 and 1823, and married George Washington Benton, 26 Jul 1841 in Harrison County, Indiana. Mariam died 28 Jul 1850 in New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana, shortly after the birth of her third child. The first two children were Aaron Jones and Nancy Ann. Their descendants still live in the Harrison County, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky area.

3. Lucy Ann Wiser, born 1823 in New York, and married 9 Jul 1840 in Harrison County, Indiana, Joseph Claspill. Lucy Ann died after 1883. Joseph died 10 Jul 1853. Their children were Aaron C., Mary Ann and David.

4. Cloe S. M.D. Wiser was born 1824 in New York and married 25 Apr 1840 in Harrison County, Indiana, Thomas F. Thornburg. They had one child, Nathan Thornburg. Nathan was somewhat of a mystery. He changed his name a number of times and was also known as Nathan Burgess, Nathan Inman, Nathaniel P. Dyer, and Doctor Miles B. White. He had at least nine children and was married at least 3 times.

Cloe also married 19 Apr 1845 in Harrison County, Indiana, Washington Canady. And third, she married 17 Feb 1852 in Harrison County, Indiana, James (Jack) Bean.

Anna Wiser was also in the 1860 Census of Boone Township, Harrison County, Indiana. It would appear that she died shortly after.

James stayed in Cortland County, New York and appears to have married again. This time to Amanda who was born 1800 in Massachusetts. Amanda's father was a shoemaker, as were many of the Babcocks, and on the 3 Dec 1844, she was admitted to the Cortland County Farm. At that time it was stated that she had one child known to be living, who was self supporting, she was destitute and dependent upon the county. She died 16 Mar 1885 at the county poor house.

James and Amanda appear to have had one son, Levi Wiser who was born 10 Jan 1835 in Truxton, Cortland County, New York. He married 15 Jul 1850 in Cheningo, Cortland County, New York, Lucy Amelia Pike, the daughter of Ensign and Samantha (Crane) Pike. Levi fought in the Civil War, Company K 157th New York Volunteers. Levi died 8 Mar 1903 in Virgil, Cortland County, New York and was buried 11 Mar 1903 in McGraw, Cortland County, New York. Levi and Lucy had the following children; Frank L., Jessie Evlin, Edwin Ernest and Fannie J. The descendants of Levi Wiser still live in the Cortland County, New York area.

James was not living with any family members when enumerated in the 1850, 1855 and 1860 census records. In 1850, he was living with Elkanah and Nancy Taylor in Truxton. In 1855 he was also living in Truxton. In 1860, he was living in Cortlandville. James must have died shortly after this time, having lived a long life of at least 75 years.

This has been a difficult line to trace as there are few extant records for this time and area. James appears to have lived a very interesting life. If anyone has any additional information on this line, it would be most appreciated.


Theodore Wiser

Even less is known of Theodore Wiser. Theodore was listed in the 1820 Census of Truxton, Cortland, New York. Supposedly, Theodore married my ancestor, Betsey Babcock, after the death of Samuel Wiser and had at least one son, Albert Henry Wiser, who was born 1838 in New York. Albert Henry was in the 1850 Census of Clayton County, Iowa living with his half sister, Temperance Adams, wife of William Jefferson Adams.

I also believe that Theodore was the father of at least two other children; 1) Prudence Wiser, who was born 10 Sep 1817 near Elmira, Chemung, New York, and married 4 Dec 1845 in JoDaviess County, Illinois, Earl S. Emmons. The family often referred to an aunt "Prudence Temple", who appears to be identical to this woman. Prudence died 19 Feb 1903 in Henrytown, Fillmore County, Minnesota. Her death record, listed Mr. Wiser as her father, and Elisa Hunt as her mother. Elisa may have been the first wife of Theodore Wiser, though I have found no other record of their marriage.

2) Samuel Henry Wiser, who was born 3 Feb 1819 in Truxton. Samuel is definitely related to the family though I have no proof of his parentage. He married 18 Nov 1841 in Canton, Stark County, Ohio, Elizabeth Joney, who was born September 1825 in Nova Scotia. Samuel and Elizabeth had the following children; Theodore L., Alonzo, William H. and Florence Belle. Samuel died 21 Mar 1893 in Joliet, Will County, Illinois and is buried in Wilmington, Will County, Illinois. He kept a meat market with his brother-in-law, Phillip Sternberg and his death notice refers to him as Captain Samuel Wiser. His tombstone was remarkable, and read as follows; S.H. Wiser, born at Truxton, Madison County, New York, 3 Feb 1819, died at Joliet, Ill. 21 Mar 1893, and also listed his sister-in-law, Mary E. Sternburg, her husband, Captain Phillip who served in the Civil War and died 26 Oct 1863 at Vincent Cross Roads and two of his children, Alonzo and Theodore L. Good luck on your research-Ron.