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WISER NEWSLETTER

Volume 4 Issue 9                                                    September 1999


 

RESEARCH FINDINGS

 

Last week, I returned from a one-week research trip to New York and Massachusetts.  Excluding Tropical Storm Floyd for one day, during which I watched ten inches of rainfall while seating in a motel room in Westfield, MA, it was a productive and rewarding trip. 

 

Much of the time was spent in Cortland and Madison Counties, New York, looking for the descendants of Luther and Alithea (Wiser) Morse.  I met many relatives and continue to compile much information about their families. 

 

I also was able to visit many cemeteries, town clerk offices, libraries and historical societies looking for relatives. 

 

I did not find any Wiser headstones, but did see many others belonging to our family.  I had the most success on Alithea’s family, finding many obituaries, vital and other records.

 

I was also able to spend one delightful evening with the family of Lois Wiser Dilworth, a descendant of Levi Wiser, son of James Wiser.

 

John Milton Earle Papers

 

In Worcester, Massachusetts at the American Antiquarian Society, I spent a few hours looking at the papers of John Milton Earle.  From the collection description, it states, “John Milton Earle (1794-1874) was born in Leicester, Mass., and moved to Worcester, Mass., in 1818.  From 1827 to 1858, he was proprietor and editor of the Worcester Spy.  He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1844 to 1852, and to the Massachusetts Senate in 1858.  From 1859 to 1862, he served as Commissioner to the Indians of Massachusetts.  This collection of John Milton Earle papers, from 1652 to 1863, includes papers and correspondence which Earle generated in his capacity as Commissioner to the Indians of Massachusetts.  There are also papers which he inherited from previous Indian commissioners and officials.

 

I went through a portion of this collection looking for additional information on Benjamin Wiser of Natick.  There were the following mention of Wisers:

 

Mar 14th 1791-No. 13 To cash paid Gardner Wheeler for sd Wiser to do paid said Wiser to answer for necessities, 3-0-0.

 

March 8-To cash paid Jonas Nichols for one hundred acres of land as pr his decd bought for the use and benefit of Benja. Wiser 27-0-0.

 

June 14th 1792.  No. 19 Cash pd Benja. Wiser Being part of the proceeds of his land this day sold 0-18-0.

 

To ditto pd Capt Harrington and Benja. Haywood for time and trouble in selling his land 0-6-0.

 

To ditto paid James Wiser for two endorsements in B. Wisers note 30-12-2.

 

To ditto pd on note given by Benj. To L. Rice 1-14-7

 

To ditto for Thomas Nichols and Moses Gilbert for a cow for Wiser’s wife 4-16-0

 

Aug 28-To ditto pd Joseph Grow against Benj. Wiser 1-1-6.

 

Israel Rumbleymarsh [son of James Wiser, alias Rumneymarsh, Quanapaug], 14 shillings and six pence money of Joseph  Barrett… for apple trees and other fruit trees, 26 May 1729.

 

December 10, 1784-Recd of Mr. Stephen Mainard two pounds and five pence in full of the last of two actions commenced against Benjamin Wiser at December Court at Worcester in favour of James Thomas, recd from Edward Rawson, December 10th 1784.  [This James Thomas was a relative of his mother, Sarah Printer].

 

Hassanamisco [now Grafton, MA] Indians-Spelling Book-Sarah Wiser, Sarah Lawrence, Deb David, Deb Abraham, Betty Sampson, Ab Burnell, Sarah Johns 2 Cape Indians, Mary Cumacher, Esther, Patience, Hannah-2, Patience David-2, Two at Sterns, Natick, Sarah Fortune, Submit Mungasut.

 

Hassanamisco Indians-Grafton, MA-March 30, 1763-Indians that want blankets, S. Wiser [most likely Sarah Wiser], S. Printer, Deb David, Deb Abraham, Betty Sampson, Al Burnee, Sarah Johns, Mary Comacheo, 2 of Sarah Lawrence’s Daughters.

 

It would appear that Benjamin and James Wiser mentioned above are sons of Benjamin and Sarah (Printer) Wiser.

 

The Sarah Wiser is probably Sarah Printer Wiser. 

 

John Milton Earle, as Commissioner of Indians, was asked by the State of Massachusetts, “to examine into the condition of all Indians and the descendants of Indians domiciled in this Commonwealth, and make report to the governor, for the information of the general court”.  His report was given to the State in 1861.  There is many letters in Earle’s papers, of which I only looked at a few, used as the basis for this report. 

 

One such letter reads as follows, “Leicester, Oct. 18, 1859; …Polly Johns, mother Allithea Johns lived with family of Reuben Swan and I believe died at the time you name in the family of William Denny-Polly lived with her mother until her death, lived in town a few years afterward, but not later than 1810.”

 

One of the great great grandsons of Benjamin and Sarah Printer Wiser was Charles Taylor Tatman, who was elected to the American Antiquarian Society in 1932.  His obituary, in their April 1946 minutes, states, “Charles Taylor Tatman died in Worcester, after a period of ill health on December 23, 1945.  A lineal descendant of Daniel Gookin, one of the three original Worcester proprietors of 1674, he was born in Worcester, December 16, 1871, the son of R. James and Susan M. (Taylor) Tatman.  [Reuben James Tatman, was the son of Reuben Tatman and Mary Ann Wiser].  Finishing high school in 1889, as president of his class, he entered Worcester Polytechnic Institute, but after two years of technology, he decided to change to the law and was graduated from Harvard Law School with the degree of L.L.B. in 1894.  He immediately began to practice in Worcester and so continued to the day of his death, building a high reputation for knowledge of the law, and for assiduousness and character.  He was active in political life, was one of the founders and the first president of the Young Men’s Republican Club of Worcester, and served as representative to the General Court, 1899-1900, alderman in the City Council in 1906, and delegate-at-large to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention in 1917.

 

Mr. Tatman soon became known as a collector in the field of American literature and also in numismatics.  From early manhood he had been especially interested in Edgar Allan Poe, and had gathered a sizable collection of books and biographies relating to that author. In 1904, he acquired from Mrs. James M. Lewin an original daguerreotype of Poe, presumably made by S.W. Hartshorn in Providence in November 1848, at the time of Poe's visit to Sarah Helen Whitman.  Mrs. Lewis, according to the story which she told to Mr. Tatman, had been an intimate friend of Mrs. Whitman, and this daguerrotype had been given by Poe to the poetess, and had subsequently been given by her to the late Timothy Cole, the noted wood engraver, engraved his portrait of Poe for Scibner's Monthly in May, 1880, according to his statement made personally to Mr. Tatman in 1924.  Mrs. Lewis also owned an envelope, with a New York postmark, directed in Poe's handwriting to "Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, Providence, R.I.," on the lower left corner of which was written in Mrs. Whitman's hand "this contained the Ms. of the Lines to Helen."  Both of these rare and interesting relics-the daguerreotype and the envelope-have been presented to the Society by Mrs. Tatman, in memory of her husband.

 

It was due to Mr. Tatman's interest in Poe and other American authors, and to his wide knowledge of Worcester history, that he was elected to the American Antiquarian Society in 1932.  He was much interested in the Society, a constant attendant at the meetings and a frequent donor to the Library. 

 

Another intimate association with the Society arose out of his friendship with William Willard, the artist.  Mr. Tatman and Stephen Salisbury were trustees for the sale of Willard's property, after the painter's death, November 1, 1904.  Several portraits were sold for the benefit of the heirs, with the result that Mr. Tatman became the owner of the portraits of Daniel Webster, Charles Sumner, and Senator Hoar, and Mr. Salisbury acquired the self-portrait of William Willard.  In 1933 Mr. Tatman presented to the Society his three paintings, and in the Librarian's Report for that year there is a lengthy description of the portraits, all of which were either sketched or painted from life.  Only this year the self-portrait of Willard has come to the Society, as a gift from the Worcester Art Museum. 

 

A life-long collector of coins, he was one of the founders of the American Numismatic Association in 1891, becoming its first secretary.  In 1893 he was made an honorary corresponding member of the American Numismatic Society, in recognition of his studies on coinage.  He published three numismatic treatises-Coin-Collecting, an Introduction to the Study of Numismatics in 1893, the Virginia Coinage in 1894, and The Beginnings of United States Coinage in 1895.  Due to his aid in recent years the Antiquarian Society's collection of the United States copper cents was properly arranged and completed.

 

Mr. Tatman was fond of travel, visited Central and South America, and made many trips to Europe.  Due to his wife's especial interest, he was particularly fond of France and the French language, was at one time president of the Worcester alliance francaise and made "Officier de l'Academie" by the French government.  He was a member, and officer, of several local clubs and societies. 

 

He married, August 28, 1901, Anna C. Svedberg of Worcester, who survives him.  The Society is indebted to both Mr. Tatman and his wife for gifts of historical value, which will be of usefulness to future researchers.  He had an active and honorable career in his chosen profession, but his avocations in the field of collecting left an even greater impress for the years to come.”

 

An interesting life and legacy to the Wiser Indians of which we appear to be a part.

 

OBITUARY

 

Logan Herald-Journal,  28 Aug 1999;  Logan, Utah-Leona Lowe Wiser was born in Franklin, Idaho, on Dec. 26, 1901.  She was a daughter of Joseph Heber Lowe and Mary Louisa Belnap.  She had six sisters and two brothers.  They all preceded her in death. She married Cliff Wiser [John Harvey, Samuel Frost, John McCormick, Samuel, Benjamin] in the Logan LDS Temple on Dec. 18, 1924. 

 

They lived in Lewiston for a short time and then moved to Trenton in May 1926 and remained there until June 1966, when they moved to Logan.  She kept a lovely home and always had a beautiful flower garden.  She made many quilts and enjoyed any type of handiwork.  She loved to read and keep family records.  She devoted her life to her family-she especially loved the grandchildren.  She held many positions in the LDS Church; she taught in the Primary, served in the Relief Society presidency and in the young women's programs.  She worked hard on the farm, helping with the crops and the dairy herd. 

 

She is survived by a son, Emery (Aliene) of Kennewick, Wash.; a daughter Carma Hawkes (Joseph) of North Logan; a son John (Marlene) from San Mateo, Calif.  She has 13 grandchildren, 48 great-grandchildren and seven great great-grandchildren.  The funeral will be at noon Monday, Aug. 30, in the Cranney Mortuary at 420 E. 1800 North, North Logan.  There will be a viewing from 6 until 8 Sunday evening and also Monday from 10:30 a.m. until the time of funeral services.

 

POSTSCRIPT

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Ron Wiser                                         6 Baton Rouge                        Roswell, NM  88201

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