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Wise Family collection

Identifier: SC 0001
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The materials in this collection accompany the Wise Family Bible, a 1788 German Bible passed down to the youngest son in the Wise Family each generation. The Family Record is a two page pamphlet that was kept inserted within the Bible that contains birth, death, and marriage information for members of the Wise family with entries dated from 1787-1852. The Family Record has been removed from the Bible and is housed flat with this collection. Other materials in this collection include genealogical research into the Wise family and their relatives and as well as information about the Wise family home built by Samuel and Catherine Evers Wise, located in Bridgewater, Virginia. Includes a 2012 photograph of the home.


  • Creation: 1787-circa 2012


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Bio/Historical Note

The Wise family were settlers of German and Swiss descent who came to Rockingham County, Virginia in the eighteenth century. Originally spelled as Weiss, the name has had several different spellings, including Weis, Wiss, and Wise. Adam Wise I, 1761-1839, moved from his parent’s home in Moorefield, Virginia (what is now West Virginia) to near the current town of Bridgewater, Virginia around 1782 and is documented as owning land in Staunton and Harrisonburg, Virginia during his lifetime. In the late 1790s he built a limestone farmhouse that still stands today. The area around the home was and is still known as Wise Hollow. The Wise family home in pictured in this collection was built around the time of the Civil War by Samuel Wise and Catherine Evers Wise in the Wise Hollow area. Generations of Wise family lived in the home and worked on the farm, raising cattle, hogs, and horses. St. Michael’s Church, located across the dirt lane from the family home, was originally a German Reformed Church, and existed as early as the 1790s. The church was at one point known as Wise’s Meeting House, and one acre of land for the church and cemetery was officially deeded by Adam Wise I in 1828.

See genealogical materials in this collection for additional information on the family home and individual members of the Wise family.


0.17 cubic feet (in 1 box and 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



The Wise Family Collection consists of genealogical records related to the Wise family of Rockingham County, Virginia and information about the Wise family home in Bridgewater, Virginia. The family Bible, Biblia, das ist: Die ganze Heilige Schrift dess Alten und Neuen Testaments, has been separated from the collection and cataloged as the Wise Family Bible.


The collection is arranged topically in 3 folders. There is no series arrangement.

Acquisition Information

Hiram Joseph Wise III donated the family Bible and the materials in this collection in October, 2014.

Separated Materials

The family Bible, Biblia, das ist: Die ganze Heilige Schrift dess Alten und Neuen Testaments, has been separated from the collection and cataloged as part of Special Collections' rare book collection.


  • Wise, Harvey W. IV, From the Rhineland to the Promised Land of the Shenandoah, Lynchburg, VA: Warwick House Publishers, 2009.
A Guide to the Wise Family Collection, 1787-circa 2012
Kate Morris
November 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

820 Madison Drive
MSC 1706
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612