Monday, February 24, 2020

Getting Wise

The name's Wise. Ann Wise. She was the one who was supposed to be the mother of Jesse Rinehart who was, in turn the younger brother of Sarah Rinehart, the woman born in Kentucky in 1795 who returned with her father Simon to Greene County, Pennsylvania, and eventually married James Gordon there in 1819. This all happened before the whole bunch of them—Rineharts and Gordons—moved to Perry County, Ohio, by the time of the early 1830s.

Got that? Hopefully so, because that is all I know of Sarah Rinehart's mother, other than one report that Sarah's mother's maiden name was Wiley. And I don't know much more about her father, either, except that he was apparently not the same man as the Simon Rinehart that the history books indicate lost his life during the early days of Greene County's existence.

To make the research process more problematic interesting, years later, Sarah's kid brother Jesse apparently told the Perry County folks that his mother's name was Ann Wise, not Wiley, putting the skids on my progress even further.

In the hopes that there might have been a logical explanation for the conflicting reports of mother's maiden name, I thought I'd try to explore the "F.A.N. Club" in that southwest Pennsylvania region, to see whether there might be any families with either surname, Wiley or Wise. That tactic didn't provide any insights, as I discovered that, in Greene County in the early 1800s, there was both a Wiley family and a Wise family. Still, we checked out the Wiley family last Friday, and found some encouraging clues.

Today, we'll turn our attention to the Wise family of Greene County, to see if there are any tidbits to be found in that family's history. Once again, I turned first to the history found in the Tenmile Country book, where, conveniently, there was an entry headed, "The Wise Family."

As it turns out, there was not merely one family named Wise in Tenmile Country, but several. All apparently descended from one German immigrant said to have originated in Hesse-Darmstadt. According to the Tenmile Country history, this immigrant's name was likely John (Johann) Adam Weiss, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1748.

In a migration pattern sounding vaguely like one we've traced for both our Gordon family and that of the Wiley family, this John Adam Weiss—or Wise—removed from his landing place in the New World and settled first in Carroll County, Maryland. After twenty two years there, he, along with his second wife and family, moved to Tenmile Country, where he obtained four hundred acres of land. He remained there until his death in 1781.

According to the Tenmile Country history, Adam Wise had five sons by his first wife, with the final son born in 1763. He then (though not substantiated by other reports) had eight children by his second wife, Catherine—but none of them were named Ann. Tantalizingly enough, among those later eight children was one daughter named Mary Ann, though nothing was written about her history, not even to mention the date of her birth.

The Ann Wise we'd be seeking, if she turned out to be the first wife of Simon Rinehart and mother of Sarah Rinehart Gordon, would likely need to be born before 1777, which would be possible if she were the daughter of this Adam Wise. She also could have been the daughter of any of his older sons—a possibility which we'll need to check closely, as this family, like many others, favored naming children after older relatives. However, if my hypothesis holds—the thought that perhaps Simon Rinehart actually had two wives, the second of which would be this Ann Wise, mother of Sarah's half brother Jesse—she could well have been born much later than this.

Furthermore, as can be gleaned from another early history of Washington County, many in the extended Wise family opted to move further west to Ohio, land of opportunity sought by the Gordons and the Rineharts, hinting at the possibility of a community-minded move. Before dismissing this Wise possibility out of hand—after all, there wasn't much to be found on that Mary Ann Wise in the books I'd already checked—we need to explore the various branches of the extended family first. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...