Wise, Henry Alexander, 1806-76, American political leader and Confederate general in the Civil War, b. Accomac, Va. A lawyer, he was successively a Jackson Democrat, a Whig, and a Tyler Democrat in Congress (1833-44). He was minister to Brazil from 1844 to 1847. An outspoken defender of slavery, Wise defeated (1855) the Know-Nothing candidate for governor of Virginia by accusing that party of abolitionism, thereby breaking the Know-Nothing movement in the South. One of his last official acts as governor (1856-60) was to sign the death warrant of John Brown. Although he opposed secession, when war broke out he became a Confederate brigadier general, distinguishing himself in the defense of Petersburg against General Grant's first assault (1864) and in the retreat to Appomattox.
Wise, Isaac Mayer, 1819-1900, American rabbi, founder of organized Reform Judaism in the United States, b. Bohemia, studied at the Univ. of Vienna. He settled in the United States in 1846. Wise was liberal in his religious and political views. He was rabbi of Orthodox congregations in Albany, N.Y., and (from 1854) Cincinnati, both of which he turned into Reform synagogues. He energetically pursued his goal by founding (1875) the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and by organizing (1873) the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (1889). He presided over these organizations until his death. He founded and edited two periodicals, the American Israelite, in English, and Deborah, in German. He wrote several novels, two plays, his reminiscences (1901), and many historical and religious works, including History of the Israelitish Nation (1854).

See study by A. F. Key (1962); J. G. Heller, Isaac Wise: His Life, Work, and Thought (1965).

Wise, John, 1652-1725, American clergyman, exponent of the democratic principles of modern Congregationalism, b. Roxbury, Mass., grad. Harvard, 1673. He was pastor at Ipswich, Mass., from 1680 until his death, but his influence extended beyond his parish. For a short time, in 1687, he was deprived of his ministerial office by Governor Andros for having led his fellow townsmen in their refusal to pay taxes violating their charter rights. In 1689 he represented Ipswich in the Boston convention for reorganization of the colonial government. In opposition to Increase Mather and Cotton Mather, he resisted the plan to place individual churches under the jurisdiction of associations of ministers, stating his reasons in two pamphlets that carried great influence, The Churches Quarrel Espoused (1710) and A Vindication of the Government of New England Churches (1717). These expositions of church democracy were reissued and widely read before the American Revolution and again before the Civil War.

See biography by G. A. Cook (1952, repr. 1967).

Wise, Stephen Samuel, 1874-1949, American Reform rabbi and Zionist leader, b. Budapest, grad. College of the City of New York, 1891, Ph.D. Columbia, 1901. He served as a rabbi in New York City (1893-1900) and in Portland, Oreg. (1900-1906). Returning to New York, he founded (1907) the Free Synagogue, of which he was rabbi until his death. Wise worked for labor reforms, world peace, alleviation of the problems of the Jewish minorities in Europe, and relief for refugees. He was one of the foremost leaders of Zionism and Reform Judaism. Among the many organizations in which he was active were the American Jewish Congress, the World Jewish Congress, and the Zionist Organization of America. He founded (1922) the Jewish Institute of Religion for the training of a modern rabbinate and of Jewish educators and community workers. His writings include The Great Betrayal (with Jacob De Haas, 1930), As I See It (1944), and his autobiography, Challenging Years (1949).

See his personal letters (ed. by his children, J. W. Wise and J. W. Polier, 1956).

Wise, Thomas James, 1859-1937, English bibliographer and book collector. His famous Ashley Library of rare editions and manuscripts was acquired by the British Museum in 1937. His many bibliographies and catalogs of the works of English literary figures included those on Shelley, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Conrad, Coleridge, and Robert Browning. Wise also privately printed nearly 300 works of English authors, some of which were exposed by John Carter and Graham Pollard as forgeries in An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets (1934).

See Letters of Thomas J. Wise to John Henry Wrenn (ed. by F. E. Ratchford, 1944); W. G. Partington, Forging Ahead (1939, repr. 1973); and Thomas J. Wise: Centenary Studies (1959).

Wise is a town in Wise County, Virginia, United States. The population was 3,255 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Wise County. It was founded as the town of Gladeville in 1874. The town's name was changed to Wise in 1924. Wise is named after Virginia governor Henry A. Wise.

The town is also the home of The University of Virginia's College at Wise.


Wise is located at (36.978057, -82.577033).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km²), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 3,255 people, 1,424 households, and 868 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,059.4 people per square mile (409.4/km²). There were 1,594 housing units at an average density of 518.8/sq mi (200.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.24% White, 1.94% African American, 0.28% Native American, 1.14% Asian, 0.77% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.41% of the population.

There were 1,424 households out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 34.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.79.

In the town the population was spread out with 19.7% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 101.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $28,531, and the median income for a family was $36,875. Males had a median income of $30,170 versus $21,389 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,760. About 12.6% of families and 15.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.3% of those under age 18 and 11.6% of those age 65 or over.


Wise features four public schools of the Wise County Public School System, one private school, and one college.

Wise County School System Public Schools

Private Schools

Higher education


The largest highway in Wise is Orby Cantrell Highway (U.S. Highway 23 ), a north-south highway that runs through the west end of the town. Wise is also home to the Lonesome Pine Airport (LNP). The airport is located approximately three miles northeast of the central business district.

Theater and the arts

  • The Pro-Art Association offers a variety of theatrical, musical, and fine-arts events throughout the school year.
  • The Appalachian Children's Theater (ACT) promotes performing arts and fine arts education for children in Southwest Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, and Northeast Tennessee. In 2006, the organization opened it's newly renovated facility on Main Street.
  • The Charles W. Harris Art Gallery is located on the site of the Wise County Public Library.

Notable residents

Sister cities

The Town of Wise has one sister city:

Historic downtown

Three buildings in the town of Wise are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Colonial Hotel, now known as the Inn at Wise Court House, was added to the Register in 1991. The Wise County Courthouse was added to the Register ten years earlier, in 1981. In February 2006, the Register listed the E. M. Fulton House. All of these buildings are located on Main Street.


External links

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