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TO THE

DEMOCRATIC PRESS OF VIRGINIA,

FOR ITS

POWERFUL INFLUENCE

IN THE

GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1855,

THIS SKETCH

IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

BY

THE AUTHOR.

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PREFACE.

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The Gubernatorial Campaign in Virginia, in 1855, will long be remembered as one of unprecedented excitement, of unu-, sual bitterness, and of a character and caste unknown to her States Rights citizens. When all other States had faltered and wavered under the wily and Protean forms of Federalism, the true conservatives of all sections looked, and that not in vain, we are proud to say, to the “Mother of States and Statesmen,” to bear aloft, untarnished and untainted, that flag of principles, the strict adherence and unfaltering devotion to which have alike made us the most powerful, the most happy, and the most respected among the States of the Union. The politics of Virginia in 1855, was never, in all her history, in a more critical and alarming condition. Assailed, as she was, on all sides and in all places, by emissaries, tricksters, and all manner of invisible influences, her situation at that time was one of inexplicable delicacy.

The people of Virginia knew their responsibility; and that their course in the contest then pending, would more or less govern the elections of the Southern States. With this knowledge, animated by their love of Democracy, they resolved to preserve the dignity and reputation of their Statė, and to rise in all their majesty and power, as terrible as an army with banners, and, headed by her noble and gifted son, who knew no defeat, to fight the great political battle, then to come off, of the nation.

It is of him we now offer to give the merest sketch, leaving the interim of his life, with the particulars of his antecedents, which would fill volumes, and his subsequent course, which will doubtless fill more, to be chronicled by one more skilled, more competent, and more practiced, than the subscriber.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.

THE BIRTH, PARENTAGE, AND ANCESTRY OF HENRY A. WISE.

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HENRY ALEXANDER WISE was born December 3d, 1806, at Accomack court-house, called Drummondtown. The house in which his father lived at that time is now (1855) occupied as a tavern-house by William Waddy. His parents were John and Sarah. His father, John Wise, was the son of John Wise, a commissioned colonel of the king, and one of the earliest immigrants to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He was a man of distinction and consideration in his day. He and his brother Tully, came from the North of England and purchased lands upon the Chesconessex and Deep creeks in Accomack. John Wise, the great grandfather of Henry A., bought 1000 acres of land, upon the Chesconessex, from the Indians, for seven Dutch blankets. Upon a farm of the old original Dutch blanket tract, called Clifton, lie the bones of most of the Wise family. After the death of Col. John Wise, this estate descended by primogeniture to John Wise, the father of Henry A., at his death was devised to his two eldest sons, George Douglass and John James Wise. George died unmarried and intestatem and John James took the whole of the manor tract; and his two sons, John James and George Douglass Wise, (nephews) of Henry A., now own it under the original grant. The mother of John Wise was Pegsy Douglass, one of the daughters of George Douglass, a Scotch lawyer, who was the first immigrant of this family to this country. His Law books, the old English Reporters, and elementary works, such as a Natura Brevium of the first edition, Coke upon Littleton, printed in 1629-are still in the possession of Governor Wise.

The father of Governor Wise was married twice. His first wife was Mary (called Polly) Henry, daughter of Judge James Henry of Fleet's Bay in Northumberland county, Virginia. By her he had two sons, George Douglass and John James. By his second wife he had four children, William Washington, born in 1800, and died in 1813, Margaret D. P., Henry A., and John C. Wise who is now residing in

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