John Wesley Wiseman

Carey, Charles Henry. "History of Oregon." Vol. 3. Chicago and Portland: Pioneer Historical Publishing Co., 1922. p. 164.


After long connection with ranching interests during which he met with sousing flat success, John Wesley Wiseman is now living retired in Portland, enjoying in well earned rest the fruits of his former toil. He was born in Andrew county, Missouri, In 1845, a son of John and Catherine (Von Doran) Wiseman, the former a native of Kentucky, while the latter came of German parentage. In an early day John Wiseman removed from Kentucky to Indiana and later to Missouri and in 1852, accompanied by his family, he crossed the plains with ox team and wagon, arriving in Oregon in the fall of that year. He located at Brownsville, where he took up a donation claim of six hundred and forty acres of rich prairie land and at once began the development and improvement of that place, upon which he spent a few years, transforming it into a highly cultivated farm on which he erected a residence and made all modern improvements. His remaining days were spent residing with his children.

John W. Wiseman was but seven years of age when the family crossed the plains and the mountains to become residents of the northwest. He was educated in the schools of Brownsville and at the age of fourteen years entered the employ of a farmer in that vicinity with whom he remained for three years. He saved his earnings during this period and then began buying and selling stock on his own account in a small way. He prospered in the undertaking and continued in the business for several years.

It was in 1871 that Mr. Wiseman was united in marriage to Miss Bettie Jane Barton, a daughter of Benjamin R. and Rebecca Jane (McClung) Barton, the former a native of North Carolina, while the latter was born in Ohio. Both were taken to Iowa by their respective parents in an early day. In 1853 they crossed the plains, arriving in Oregon in the fall of that year. They first settled in Lane county, in Camp Creek valley, where Mr. Barton engaged in agricultural pursuits and from there to Brownsville, Linn county, where he farmed a number of years. In later years he removed to Colfax, Washington, where he and his wife spent their remaining days.

It was in 1871, the year of his marriage, that Mr. Wiseman went into the Walla Walla country where he engaged in farming and stock raising until 1875. He then disposed of his interests there and took up his abode in Whitman county, Washington, where he secured a homestead and preemption claim. He also bought adjoining tracts of land from time to time as his financial resources increased until his holdings comprised more than twelve hundred acres of rich agricultural land which he greatly improved, bringing his fields under a high state of cultivation and gathering therefrom substantial harvests annually. Year by year he tilled the soil, producing large crops and he continued to reside on and operate this land for more than thirty-eight years, In the meantime, however, be sold a part of the land but he Still owns five hundred and twenty-five acres which is cultivated order his supervision, his son being fit charge of the property.

Mr. Wiseman has often been solicited to become a candidate for office but has usually refused. On one occasion his friends wanted him to accept the nomination for the state legislature but he also refused this. He has been a stanch republican through out his entire life, giving unfaltering allegiance to the party.

To Mr. and Mrs. Wiseman have been born four children: Dora, now the wife of A. C. Warner, a real estate dealer of Seattle, Washington; Edith, the wife of W. E. Vaughn of Sacramento, California; Effie H., who passed away in April, 1915, was the wife of J. F. Derry of New York city; and Fay Rialto, who lives on his father's farm, which he is now cultivating. Both Mr. and Mrs. Wiseman are members of the United Artisans and lifelong members of the Methodist church. They now occupy a pleasant and attractive home in Portland and are enjoying a well earned rest, for the success which Mr. Wiseman achieved as a ranchman and farmer now enables him to enjoy all of the comforts and some of the luxuries of life without further recourse to labor.

Transcriber's Additional Notes:


May 22, 1921; Oregonian, p 6
     About 150 guests attended the 50th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Wiseman, who celebrated that event in their country home near Colfax May 11. One of the most interesting features of the programme was the song sung by Mr. Wiseman, "When You and I Were Young, Betty."      Mrs. Wiseman was gowned in white satin. Miss Bess Ferguson played the march. Rev. A. A. Callendar repeated the wedding service. E. B. Smith acted as best man. Miss Harry Pollard attended the "bride." Mrs. Leo Carter sang. Miss Lillye Hale and Mrs. Roy Pollard giving readings and Mr. Wiseman sang his favorite song, "Dodgers." Roy Pollard also gave a vocal selection.
     Mr. and Mrs. Wiseman were married at Halsey, Or., May 11, 1871, and moved to the Palouse country in 1875, where he took a homestead, which he added to from time to time, and now has one of the most desirable places in all the favored Palouse. Surrounded by friends who had known them for nearly 50 years, they were young and happy, and the event was one of the most noteworthy ever held in the Palouse country.
     At 4 o'clock in the afternoon a dinner was served to all the relatives present, which included the following: Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Wiseman, Mr. and Mrs. Fay Wiseman, Mrs. Eugene Vaughn, a daughter who lives at Sacramento; Mrs. Harry Pollard, a sister; Mr. and Mrs. Roy Pollard, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Pollard of Huntsville, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Barton and John Barton, brothers, of Spokane; Mrs. Joe Barton and son Ross, Mr. and Mrs. Will Hickman and Mrs. Mary Bliss, a friend from Portland. Mrs. A. C. Warner, a daughter, is ill in Seattle, and was unable to attend.

Feb. 25, 1923; Oregonian, p 38
Unfurnished Rooms
1 Furnished and 1 unfurnished room, suitable for bachelor, sleeping or storage. J. W. Wiseman, 149 1/2 1st st. Violin maker.

Feb. 6, 1929; Oregonian, p 19
     John Wesley Wiseman, 73, who crossed the plains to Oregon in 1852, died Monday at the family home in Portland, 732 Brazee street. He was born in Andrew county, Missouri, June 6, 1845. Upon arrival in Oregon he settled with his father near Brownsville. He was married to Betty Jane Barton in 1871.
     For a time he was engaged in the cattle business at Walla Walla and later moved to Colfax, where he engaged in farming. He moved to Portland about 25 years ago.
     Mr. Wiseman is survived by his widow, two daughters, Mrs. A. C. Warner of Wenatchee, Wash., and Mrs. W. E. Vaughn of Portland, and a son, Fay R. Wiseman of Portland. Three grandchildren also survive.
     The funeral services are in charge of Bruning-Howell-Skewes. Details have not been completed.

Feb. 7, 1929; Oregonian, p 13
Wiseman -- At 702 Brazee st., Feb. 4, John Wesley Wiseman, beloved husband of Betty Jane Wiseman, loving father of Mrs. A. C. Warner of Wenatchee, Wash., and Mrs. W. E. Vann and Fay R. Wiseman, both of this city. A member of United Artisans. Friends may call at the Little Church Chapel of Bruning-Howell-Skewes, 3d and Clay sts. opposite auditorium. Notice of funeral later.

Feb. 9, 1929; Oregonian, p 11
Wiseman -- In this city, Feb. 4, John Wesley Wiseman. Friends may call at the home until 5 P.M., Saturday. Funeral services will be held Sunday, Feb. 10, at Colfax, Wash. Arrangements in care of Bruning-Howell-Skewes.

Feb. 25, 1929; Oregonian, p 13
Vaughn -- In this city, Feb. 24, Edith Vaughn, beloved daughter of Mrs. Betty Jane Wiseman and the late John Wesley Wiseman; loving sister of Mrs. A. C. Warner of Wenatchee, Wash., and Fay R. Wiseman of this city. Friends may call at the Little Church Chapel of Bruning-Howell-Skewes, Third and Clay sts., opposite auditorium. Notice of funeral later.

March 13, 1929; Oregonian, p 9
"Wiseman Estate $65,000"
     An estate valued at $65,000 was left by J. W. Wiseman, who died February 4, according to a petition for probate of will filed with Circuit Judge Tazwell yesterday. The widow, Betty Jane Wiseman, and three children are heirs under the will. Mrs. Wiseman is nominated as executrix.


This Mandolin is labeled with Mr. Wiseman's name. The photo was contributed by Phillip Kirby, who is researching and documenting instrument builders (Luthiers) of the 17th through 20th centuries for various publications. Mr. Kirby may be contacted at:

Submitted to the Oregon Bios. Project in July 2011 by Diana Smith. Submitter has no additional information about the person(s) or family mentioned above.

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