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WISER NEWSLETTER

Volume 6 Issue 8                                                    September 2001

 

RESEARCH FINDINGS

 

For over six years, I have published this newsletter.  During the last few years, the number of subscribers to the newsletter have increased, so I thought now would be an appropriate time to summarize our major research findings. 

 

My great aunt, Effie Lenore Wiser, was a proficient genealogist.  She compiled a large amount of information on the Wiser family, including the life history of her grandfather, John McCormick Wiser.  From her personal knowledge and other early family records, we knew that John McCormick Wiser was born June 22, 1826 in Truxton, New York.  We also knew that he was the son of  Samuel and Betsey Wiser, and had the following brothers and sisters, Amanda, Temperance, Ezra, Samuel, Matilda Ann, William Henry and Albert Henry.  Johnís father died in 1834 in New York and his mother then married his fatherís brother.  His stepfather and mother took the family to JoDaviess County, Illinois soon after and both died there in 1839.  After their death, Johnís brothers and sisters were given to various families to be raised.  John went west in 1849 and never had any more contact with his siblings, though he tried to find them in his later years with no luck.  John also talked about his uncle and aunt, Asa and Susan Crandall, so the family incorrectly assumed that Johnís mother was Betsey Crandall.

 

For many years, various family members continued research on our family, but without much success.  Some said that John was a descendant of John Conrad Weiser, a famous American colonist, others mentioned Native American ancestry, but no conclusive information was ever found.  Thelma Woodland did research for many years and published a fine book about the Wiser family in 1981.  Prior to publishing the book, we had discovered that Samuel was the son of Benjamin and Kezia Wiser.

 

 Samuel had enlisted in the War of 1812, and was 5 feet 11 inches tall, had black eyes, dark hair, dark complexion, was a farmer, and was born in Haverhill, New Hampshire in 1784.  We found that he and three brothers, James, Theodore and Josiah were in the 1820 Census of Truxton, New York.  From New Hampshire records, we found Benjamin Wiser lived in Haverhill in 1790. 

 

The town records of Haverhill were invaluable as they mentioned all of Benjaminís family, as they were ordered out of town in 1784, including Benjamin and Kezia Wiser and their children; Allice, Alithea, Benjamin, Josiah, Samuel, Kezia and Abigail.   Theodore and at least another daughter were born after this order.   We also found that Benjamin had served in the Revolutionary War in Captain Luther Richardsonís company in defending the Connecticut River in April of 1778.  We found that Samuelís wife was Betsey Babcock, daughter of James and Temperance Babcock.  Betseyís sister, Susan, had first married a Kingsley and then married Asa Crandall.

 

Since the 1970s, a large number of additional records became available or were indexed.  We found a large number of Johnís sistersí families, including the families of Amanda Wiser Cottle McManus, Temperance Wiser Adams and Matilda Wiser Gregory.  We found Albert Henry Wiser living with Temperance in 1850, but we still have never found more about Ezra, Samuel, and William Henry Wiser.  Family tradition says that they went West, but we have never found proof of it. 

 

We also found that Benjamin Wiserís son Benjamin stayed in Haverhill, New Hampshire, had a large posterity, and many of his descendants still live in that area.  We also found many descendants of  Samuelís brothersí, James, Josiah and Theodore Wiser, though we still havenít proved some of these relationships.  We concluded that Betsey Babcock Wiser married Theodore after Samuel died, and that they had William Henry and Albert Henry; and therefore were half-brothers of Samuel, though we still donít know if this is true.  We also found that Alithea married Luther Morse, on September 2, 1788 in Haverhill. 

 

This is essentially where we were in our research when the newsletter began six years ago.  Since that time, we have had major breakthroughs.

 

When detailed research began on Alithea and Luther Morse, we found an incredible document at the Morse Society.  Sent in over a hundred years ago by descendants of Alithea, it listed the names and birth dates of all their children, Elizabeth (Betsy), Sally, Jemima, Abigail, Sabra S., Anna and Joseph Morse.  The record also gave the birth date of Alithea, September 27, 1768/1769 and her birthplace as probably Westborough, Massachusetts, and her father was listed as Benjamin Wiser, and no motherís name was given. Lutherís ancestry was well documented; he was a son of Joseph and Jemima (Wheat) Morse.  His father, Joseph Morse, was shot through the head at the battle of Saratoga in the Revolutionary War.  His mother and the rest of the family then moved to Concord, Vermont from Massachusetts.  Joseph and Jemimaís family had lived in Hopkinton, Brookfield, Westborough, Athol, Barre and various other towns in Massachusetts prior to the Revolutionary War.  Luther died about 1823 in Truxton, New York.  We found many descendants of at least three of Luther and Alitheaís children: Elizabeth Morse, wife of David Morse; Sabra S. Morse, wife of James Albro; and Joseph C. Morse.  Many grandchildren of Alithea were noted as being full-blooded Indian.

 

We found many additional records of our Benjamin Wiser in New Hampshire and New York.  We found that Benjamin left New Hampshire in the late 1790s and was in Road Township, Cazenovia, New York by 1800.  Road Township is part of present day New Woodstock, a village in the township of Cazenovia.  Benjamin owned and farmed land there, and based upon records, probably passed away in 1818, being about 74 years old.

 

During this same time, the family of John Conrad Weiser became better documented and it became evident that our Benjamin Wiser could not be a member of this family.  We had also previously done quite a bit of research on the Wiser Indian family of Natick, Massachusetts. Because of the similarity of family names, Alitheaís birthplace listed as Westborough, Massachusetts, and with various descendants being listed as ďfull-blooded IndiansĒ, we now believe that the Wiser Indian family of Natick is ours.  A Benjamin Wiser listed, as being six in 1749, in the will of his grandfather, Samuel Bowman, seemed a likely fit.  This Benjamin was living with his uncle and aunt, Zachariah and Betty Equi in Sturbridge, Massachusetts in 1749.  His father and mother had both passed away, his mother being Ruth Bowman Wiser, and his fatherís name being unknown. 

 

We knew this unknown Wiser must be a son of a James Wiser of Natick, Massachusetts who had at least four sons, James, Joseph, John and another Benjamin Wiser.  This last Benjaminís family was well documented and we knew we could not be part of this family, we knew from another record, that John had died without children in 1746 in Louisbourg, Nova Scotia; so the unknown Wiser, husband of Ruth Bowman, must be the Joseph or James Wiser.  We found that James disappeared about 1744 while on the expedition to Carthagena, Columbia fighting for the British.  We concluded that this James is probably our Benjaminís father.

 

James Wiser, father of this James, was the son of James Quanahpohkit Rumneymarsh Wiser, who was a spy for the British during King Philipís War.  James was born about 1636 in Rumneymarsh (now Chelsea, Massachusetts) and died in 1712.  He was the son of Yawata, an Indian princess, who was the daughter of New Moon Nanapashemet, Grand Sachem of Massachusetts.  These Wisers were members of the Nipmuc tribe of Massachusetts.

 

Benjamin Wiser, born in 1743, married Abigail Thomas, June 25, 1767 in Sturbridge.  We believe they left Sturbridge and went to Westborough, Massachusetts.  It would appear that Abigail must have died and then Benjamin married Kezia (surname unknown).  It is possible that Alithea was a daughter of Abigail as she named one of her six daughters, Abigail, but none were named Kezia.  However, realize we still have not absolutely proven any of the relationships outside of Benjamin and Kezia Wiser, who are listed as parents of Samuel, Alithea and their other brothers and sisters. 

 

There were also a number of records on the Bowman family.  Samuel Bowman, father of Ruth Bowman Wiser, was the grandfather of Hepsibeth Bowman Crosman Hemenway.  Her portrait, painted about 1840, hangs in the Worcester Historical Museum and is one of the very few Indian woman portraits in existence.  She would be our Benjamin Wiserís first cousin.  New records are still becoming available and additional research is adding new insight into our family.  This is an exciting time for doing our family research.  I am hopeful that this newsletter will continue for many years in the future exploring any new findings.

 

POSTSCRIPT

Please let me know if you find any new information in your research.  I appreciate any thing you can add to our research efforts.

Once again, thanks for your contributions to our family newsletter.  You may contact me at or 6 Baton Rouge, Roswell, NM  88201, or (505) 623-2534.