Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Beeks line: The Wise men of Lagro

I've learned a couple of things in the past week about David Wise and his father, Andrew.

One is that I found David's veteran enrollment card for the 1890 census in a book prepared by one of my heroes, Ron Woodward.  In my last post about David, I had wondered where he was between 1870, when he is in Dallas township, Huntington county, Indiana and 1900, when he was in Lagro, Indiana living as a widower with his son-in-law and daughter, John and Elizabeth Wise Beeks.

I now know that he was in Lagro in 1890, which helps some.  Other surprises on the enrollment card were that he was in indigent circumstances, (defined as impoverished), which is possibly explained by the answer to the question "If disease was contracted during service, give nature of disease".  It said "partial loss of sight" there, so of course now I am wondering what that means and how he acquired this disease. I'm still saving my pennies so I can send for his Civil War records.  Brother Philip also had a disease contracted during service, "disease on right leg and ankle," but the question about being indigent is not answered.  Philip was also in Lagro, Lagro Township, Wabash County, Indiana.

To go back one generation, to Andrew Wise, the father of these two men, I found a cool document in a book about early ear marks in Wabash county.  An earmark was an early form of branding, because one would mark all one's cattle (or sheep) in the same way and then register the mark with the recorder, in case of a neighborly dispute, theft, or runaway animals.  I found one for Andrew Wise, of Lagro Township, Wabash County, dated November 30, 1844.  I was excited about this because my earliest sighting of Andrew in Indiana had been in the 1850 census, so this puts him in Indiana at least 6 years earlier than that.  If he had been there long enough to acquire cattle or sheep, then he may have been there even earlier.  Also, this indicates that Andrew had at least enough "wealth" to own animals.

One other fun fact was that I found a reference to a John Surfoss in Lagro Township in 1840.  He was about the same age as Mary Serfass, wife to Andrew Wise.  I'm wondering if he was possibly a brother to Mary.  I don't have any siblings for her so it is nice to think she may have had a brother living nearby, if Mary was still alive when the Wise's arrived in Indiana. 

It's been a fun week researching! If you know anything about the Serfass/Surfoss family, or about the Wise family, I'd love to hear from you at happygenealogydancing AT gmail DOT com.