A Guide to the Wise Family Collection, 1787-2012
Collection Number SC 0001

Compiled by: Kate Morris, November, 2014

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Title: Wise Family Collection, 1787-2012
Collection No.: SC 0001
Creator: Wise Family
Extent: 1 half-Hollinger, 1 oversized folder; .17 cubic feet
Language: English
Abstract: The Wise Family Collection consists of genealogical records related to the Wise family of Rockingham County, Virginia and information about the Wise family home in Bridgewater, Virginia. The family Bible has been separated from the collection and cataloged as the Wise Family Bible.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.
Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).
Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], Wise Family Collection, 1787-2012, SC 0001, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
Acquisition Information: Hiram Joseph Wise III donated the family Bible and the materials in this collection in October, 2014.
Other Formats Available: Digital images of the Family Record are available for this item.

Bio/Historical Note:
The Wise family were settlers of German and Swiss descent who came to Rockingham County, Virginia in the eighteenth century. Originally spelled as Weiss, the name has had several different spellings, including Weis, Wiss, and Wise. Adam Wise I, 1761-1839, moved from his parent’s home in Moorefield, Virginia (what is now West Virginia) to near the current town of Bridgewater, Virginia around 1782 [1] and is documented as owning land in Staunton and Harrisonburg, Virginia during his lifetime. In the late 1790s he built a limestone farmhouse that still stands today [2]. The area around the home was and is still known as Wise Hollow. The Wise family home in pictured in this collection was built around the time of the Civil War by Samuel Wise and Catherine Evers Wise in the Wise Hollow area. Generations of Wise family lived in the home and worked on the farm, raising cattle, hogs, and horses. St. Michael’s Church, located across the dirt lane from the family home, was originally a German Reformed Church, and existed as early as the 1790s. The church was at one point known as Wise’s Meeting House, and one acre of land for the church and cemetery was officially deeded by Adam Wise I in 1828. [3]

See genealogical materials in this collection for additional information on the family home and individual members of the Wise family.

Scope and Content:

The materials in this collection accompany the Wise Family Bible, a 1788 German Bible passed down to the youngest son in the Wise Family each generation. The Family Record is a two page pamphlet that was kept inserted within the Bible that contains birth, death, and marriage information for members of the Wise family with entries dated from 1787-1852. The Family Record has been removed from the Bible and is housed flat with this collection. Other materials in this collection include genealogical research into the Wise family and their relatives and as well as information about the Wise family home built by Samuel and Catherine Evers Wise, located in Bridgewater, Virginia. Includes a 2012 photograph of the home.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged topically in 3 folders. There is no series arrangement.

Bibliography: [1] Wise, Harvey W. IV, From the Rhineland to the Promised Land of the Shenandoah, Lynchburg, VA: Warwick House Publishers, 2009, pg 121.
[2] Ibid, 123.
[3] Ibid, 122-123.

Separated Material: The Wise Family Bible


  Box : Folder
Family Record, 1787-1852 [OVERSIZE] Map Case 1:3
Genealogical Material, undated 1:1
Wise Family Home circa 2012, undated 1:2