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AfriGeneas States Research Forum

Re: [Nationwide] Uriah Wise, only 1 African-Americ

Hollis, thanks for all your suggestions. Some I have tried. I will continue searching for more information, following your helpful advice. But each piece of information I've found so far has left me with more questions. I'd never even thought my ancestor might be a Civil War veteran until I found his name in the veterans census fragment of 1890.

Part of the problem is how to interpret the data I have collected already. There are several discrepancies and unknown factors that make it difficult to be certain about my ancestor's possible Civil War service, which is now my primary research question. I've been to PA State Archives and also to NARA. At the time I was told they had no record of Uriah Wise in USCT. So I used my time at those archives to work on different research questions. But now I'm back to this same old mystery.

I had hoped to find him in the GAR because I've so far been unable to connect him to any specific Union Army regiment. (I have to eliminate one more Civil War soldier of the five or six recorded named Uriah Wise, the man who served with Co. H & G, 6th KS cavalry.) The 1890 Veterans Schedule identifies the veteran in Chambersburg, PA only as Uriah Wise, US Soldier, House #308. The nearest veteran, at #311, is Franklin A. Miller of Co. G, 126 PA Infantry.

Franklin County had several Miller families; but I know that my ancestor lived near William W. Miller (for whom Miller St. was named). Those numbers apparently refer only to the order of each house visited by the census taker. My ancestors' street address, from 1899, is 278 Miller St. Before that, it was "rear North Franklin St." William and Ella Miller lived on North Franklin (across from Cedar Grove Cemetery), and the Wises probably lived behind them on an alley or private road. I believe Uriah might have purchased the property from William Miller, or from William's parents John & Mary C. Miller, who owned a farm and an inn. I wasn't able to locate a deed in a visit to the local courthouse. (Maybe if I'd had more time to search?)

Regarding the year of Uriah's death, according to the city directory, he was still a resident of Chambersburg in 1908 and 1909, working as a teamster or day laborer. In the directory he's listed as "colored" one year; the other year not identified by race but listed at his home address, Miller near N. Franklin. Hannah was counted as a widow in 1910 census. So I was pretty sure Uriah must have died in 1909-10. However, PA Vital Records was unable to find a death record for Uriah in those years. I was told they don't have records before 1901. Hannah was indexed in records of the Chambersburg historical society, so I was able to find her exact date of death in a published obituary and then apply for her 1925 death certificate; but Uriah was not found in the local historical index or the state vital records.

When I searched the tax assessment records, I found Uriah listed as freeholder (property owner) only in 1899. His wife or widow Hannah was listed as freeholder from 1900 on. In the 1900 census, both Hannah & Uriah were counted. Hannah as wife; Uriah as of head of household (although his name was spelled incorrectly as "Wise, Hugh R."). The 1900 census indicates that they owned their home free and clear (after living in Chambersburg since 1879-80). Perhaps Hannah paid the tax in 1900 and Uriah died in 1909-10 as I'd previously thought.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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