Maj. Louis C. Wise biography

MAJOR LOUIS C. WISE is one of the early residents of Abilene. In fact he visited this locality before the town was established and when it was founded he returned and took up his abode here. His history forms an integral chapter in the annals of the city, for his efforts have contributed in large measure to its material progress and up building. He is a native of Norfolk, Virginia, born June 23, 1844. His father, John C. Wise, was a brother of Henry A. Wise, governor of Virginia, and the ancestry of the family can be traced back to 1635 when John Wise came from Devonshire, England, on the ship Transport and settled in Accomac county, Virginia. There is an unbroken line down to John Cropper Wise, the father of Major Wise. He married Ann Finney, a daughter of Colonel John Finney, a soldier of the Revolutionary war, and they became the parents of seven children, five sons and two daughters, all of whom are living in Virginia with the exception of one son, who makes his home in Baltimore, Maryland, and Louis C. Wise, of this review.

In his youth Major Louis C. Wise became a cadet of the Virginia Military Institute, from which he was graduated in 1864. He participated in the battle of Newmarket, Virginia, the cadets from this school being an important factor in securing the victory in that engagement. The Confederate troops were under command of General John C. Breckinridge, while the Federal troops were commanded by General Franz Siegel. There were three hundred and fifty cadets who entered the engagement, of which number fifty-two were either killed or wounded. Henry Wise, brother of Major Wise, took a very important part in the struggle. Colonel Ship was in command of the battalion, but being wounded, the command devolved upon Henry Wise, who was the senior captain and who was martial, his efforts bring success to the Confederate army. He never received credit, however, for the valor and courage he displayed in taking the command and making the charge on that occasion. Thirty-nine years after the battle of Newmarket, Virginia, the cadets met in a reunion which was held at Lexington, Virginia, in June, 1893, and Major Wise considers these two events—the battle and the reunion—as among the most important things in his life history.

Following the close of the war Louis Wise went to Mexico as an engineer on the survey of the Vera Cruz and Mexico Railroad, spending about eight miles in that country, when, owing to the hospitality between the Liberals and the Imperialists, the work was suspended. He then came to Texas in 1866, settling first at Bastrop, where he engaged in teaching school. He was afterward employed as a draftsman in the state land office, at Austin, but in 1880 he resigned that position and went on a land surveying expedition for the Houston and Great Northern Railroad Company, visiting northwest Texas, principally the counties of Dickens, Crosby, Kent and Garza. There he remained for about eight months and through the present site of Abilene in 1880 and in 1881 he returned at the time of the foundation of the town. He has since made his home here with the exception of a period of eight years when he was appointed as chief draftsman at the land office at Austin. He has been engaged in real-estate dealing since coming to Abilene except for a short time when he devoted his attention to the sheep industry. His business affairs have been well directed, his ability gaining his success for its has rested upon sound judgment, unfaltering perseverance and strong determination. Major Wise has been married three times. His present wife was Barbara Scott, a native of Princess Anne county, Virginia. They have two sons, John C. and Louis S. Wise.

Major Wise won his title through service with the Fourth Texas National Guards, with which he was connected a number of years ago. He is a gentleman of the old Virginia school and is an earnest advocate of several enterprises that tend toward the uplifting of humanity and the general interests of the country.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 425-426.