09 July 2018

Basil Augustus Wise Sank Peacefully to Rest in April 1873

Rose Hill - Feb 2009 041B. A. Wise was born 1 October 1827 at Statesboro, Bulloch County, Georgia. He was one of several children born to John Wise and Rachel Jones (d. 1871). An elder sister of Basil's was Sophronia (1821-1891), wife of Aaron Cone (1810-1881).

Basil came to Macon, Bibb County, Georgia about 1848. He married Louise Lynde Clisby (1846-1934), daughter of Joseph Clisby (1818-1885) and Margaret Amanda March (d. 1852), on 28 October 1868 at Bibb County. Basil and Louise had at least three children: Basil Augustus (1869-1901), Joseph Clisby (1871-1930), and Emma Celetta (1873-1933).

Basil eventually settled in the wholesale dealership of household and crockery goods, doing quite well for himself. According to the 1870 Bibb County census – after the Civil War – his personal estate was valued at $30,000. His real estate was counted for $25,000. And two domestic servants were noted in the household, serving just three family members.

Basil didn't live long enough to retire at a ripe age and enjoy his successes, however. He died in April 1873, three weeks before the birth of his third child.

Rose Hill - Feb 2009 038Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia)
Tuesday, 8 April 1873 - pg. 6 [via GenealogyBank]

Death of Basil A. Wise, Esq.
This estimable and public spirited citizen sank peacefully to rest about 8 o'clock A.M. yesterday. His death creates a painful void in the community, while to his bereaved wife and tender babes the loss is irreparable.

Mr. Wise died of congestion of the brain after a brief illness, during which he was often delirious and unconscious of the presence even of his nearest friends. Toward the close of his sickness, under the influence of narcotics, he became calm, and even recognized his beloved wife, and caresses his child. He died without a struggle.

The subject of this brief sketch was born in Statesboro, Bulloch county, Georgia, and came to Macon about 1848, at a very early age. Possessed of excellent natural abilities, indomitable perseverance, and a reputation for integrity which has never been called in question, from very humble beginnings, he steadily advanced, step by step, first from an employee's position, to that of retail dealer in a small way, then to a more extended business, and finally to the front rank of Macon's wholesale merchants. He was engaged in the crockery, tin, and house furnishing business, and was widely known and respected both North and South, and even across the ocean, for his purity of character and the promptness with which he met all of his commercial obligation. Identified with the city which was the scene of his early struggles and proudest triumphs, no one was more keenly alive to all that pertained to its material and moral progress. Hence he was ever in the van when the calls of charity, religion or public necessity appealed to the generosity of the people.

Rose Hill - Feb 2009 040When the tocsin of war sounded, Mr. Wise, then in the full tide of successful business, at once turned his back upon the store, and joining the Macon Volunteers under their gallant leader, Robert A. Smith, left for Virginia on the 19th of April, 1861. There amid the ensanguined plains and historic scenes of the old Dominion, he passed a year in conflict with the foes of his country, and was afterwards appointed Adjutant of Ross' Battalion, which was stationed on the sea coast of Georgia. From this position he retired, to take command of a company of cavalry, and in that capacity served his country faithfully in Georgia and Florida to the close of hostilities.

To his other qualities of head and heart, Mr. Wise added the crowning grace of earnest piety. Rev. J. O. Branch, the pastor of Mulberry Street Methodist Church, of which the deceased had been a consistent member for eighteen years, told the writer that for several years past he has observed a remarkable development in the Christian character of our departed friend. The good he did in a quiet and unostentatious way, will never be revealed until the final day, and many will miss his noble charities and kindly sympathy. Even amid the delirium of his last illness, his thoughts seemed ever to dwell upon holy things, and the glories of the redeemed. From the first hour of his sickness, a strong presenitment [sic] of approaching dissolution seemed to possess his mind. And more than once, he expressed the hope that his dear wife would be reconciled to give him up. Not once dis his own faith falter, or a single cloud obscure the horizon of the future.

Thus passed away this excellent man in his 46th year, and the very meridian of his vigor and usefulness. Possessed of a graceful person and noble mien; blessed with an abundance of this world's goods, robust health, and great popularity, surely of him it might be said, "his mountain was strong." But alas! the battle is not to the strong nor the race to the swift; and again are we admonished that life is but a fleeting shadow which endureth but a little while and then vanishes forever.

Basil was buried in the Central Avenue Division of Rose Hill Cemetery (block 1, lot 83), a lot he purchased in 1854.

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