Volume 3, Number 1
The writer of this sketch remembers a giant oak that stood upon a commanding eminence in his native village. It grew and seemed, at a distance, to fill the highway with its outstretched branches. It could be seen for miles against the sky, a familiar and conspicuous object.
It seemed almost human, waving its branches and welcoming in friendly recognition. In summer heat it cast a grateful shade, in sudden showers offered shelter to the passerby, and withstood the winter storm. One cold night the sleet and snow fell upon the sleeping village-the wind grew fierce and the giant oak, exposed and weighted with a mail of ice and snow was torn by the violence of the storm from its native soil, and fell with a mighty crash. Next morning the landscape was all changed, a great open space had been torn in the familiar picture, the town seemed deserted and friendless. The oak which had stood alone for years, had fallen, and lay wrapped in a winding sheet of pure snow, and there was none to take its place.
The death of Mr. Wise in all particulars seems to touch at every point with the word picture I have drawn. Transplanted from the hills of Sunny Tennessee to the Southwest Missouri, at the age of eleven, and growing to manhood through all the experiences of an eventful life in the neighbor hood where he died, made him truly the oak of Osa and the stalwart tree by the roadside in the valley of Crane.
Monday morning he had eaten breakfast as usual, sat by the fire and talked with two men, gone to the barn to feed his stock, and while in the act of husking corn, with three ears in the basket, he was taken desperately ill, went to the house, sent for a doctor, was laid upon his bed and passed into the spiritual world in one swift shock, as when a tree smitten by the woodman falls.
The funeral of Mr. S. M. Wise, Mack Wise, as he was familiarly known and as he often signed his name, was held at two o'clock Tuesday at his late residence. The winter weather had changed to spring so friendly seemed the day the exercises were held in the Wise cemetery near by. Here the people assembled from Aurora, Marionville, Crane, Scholten, and from every nook and corner they came, until the burying place was filled. As we waited for the hearse to come the people seemed free to express their feelings as neighbors and old- time friends, grasped hands, would say: "A good man has fallen; he was the best man I ever knew." Carr McNatt said to J. J. Sullivan as they met:
"We'll miss Mack in camp and on the trail following the hounds." I saw tears in the fox hunters' faces and knew these men were deeply moved. The groups of men and women talked together and told their experiences with Mr. Wise -eulogies so honest, so sincere, so plain spoken and so informal, there was no need of an orator to make a place for the old pioneer in the minds and thoughts of the people; the oration had already been spoken. However, Elder Allman spoke briefly and appropriately, and the body was lowered to rest in the presence of two generations who had known him.
From the place where he sleeps can be seen the lovely valley where his bare feet in childhood walked, the old home and the new, monuments of his wisdom and industry, and the places where his children were born.
Some things remain, but the sudden overthrow of this stalwart Christain gentlemen who has braved the storms of 63 winters, under whose sheltering friendship many have rested and who has been a comfort and a defense to the poor, to all these, and many more, there will seem to be a loss and a vacancy which cannot be filled. The oak of the Ozark has fallen and there is no one to take his place.
Mr. Wise was born in Bedford Co., Tenn., March 14th, 1842. Came to Missouri in '53, settled on the Bradley farm; went to Buck prairie and thence to the place where he died Dec. 19th.
Married John Smith's daughter, at head of Crane, Aug. 28, 1864. Three sons, Lee and Albert, of Crane, M. H. Wise, at Osa, and three daughters, Mrs. Sarah B. Butler, Butler, Bertha Ellis, near Osa; Myrtle Hilton, near Oak Grove; four dead, two infants and Mrs. Susan Johnson and Quilla Wise.
He was a Soldier under Gen. Lyon and Comrade on the march and in camp with Uncle Billy Neil and Granville Smith, Co. K, 72 Mo. E. M. Capt. Jas. M. Moore.
His father died 16 years ago at the age of 84; his mother was 75 when she passed away.
His brothers, William, James, Benjamin, and Wiley, have passed on before. Marion Wise lives near Marionville, his sister, Susan Forbes near Osa, Joseph Wise in Granada, Cal, and Sarah
Mr. Wise did his trading and banking mostly in Marionville.
John I. Smith, the father-in-law, was shot near the Wise residence by a U. S. scout. Car McNatt's father, also a scout, came upon the scene and with difficulty was restrained from shooting Jenkins who had killed Mr. Smith, in the excitement of following confederate raiders.
Seventeen years ago there were only four buggies in Crane Tp. and one of them was Mr. Wise's. Twenty three years ago there were Tour factory made company chairs and three of them belonged to Mr. Wise. A good farmer, stock raise, frugal and good provider, his home a comfort in manhood, a resting place in old age and the mount of ascention for his soul.
"The Southwest Weekly Miner"
December 29, 1904
'Boatlanding' Stoner, Hollister, Mo.
"Uncle Ike's son in the old rocker with cane and hat at Notch, Mo. Shepherd of the Hills Country, Missouri"
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