Monday, May 8, 2017

A Good Southerner

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to meet one of the descendants of Henry A. Wise of Virginia. I was not familiar with this gentleman's famous ancestor, but learned an interesting fact that probably isn't documented in any history book.

According to WikipediaHenry Alexander Wise (December 3, 1806 – September 12, 1876) was an American lawyer and politician from Virginia. He was a U.S. Representative and Governor of Virginia, and US Minister to Brazil. During the American Civil War, he was a general in the Confederate States Army. He was the father of U.S. Representatives Richard Alsop Wise and John Sergeant Wise.

There's even a book about Henry A. Wise available on Amazon called A Good Southerner. The book blurb says, "Wise (1806-76) was extremely active on the Virginia and national political scene from the early 1830s to the mid-1860s, drawing popular support because of his projection of hopefulness and energy. Regarded as eccentric, Wise is given, in this study, an interpretation that finds consistency in his life-long controversial and impulsive behavior. Simpson stresses Wise's ambivalent attitude toward slaves and slave-holding, authority and authority figures, and Virginia and the United States."

I am currently writing an interracial historical romance, so talking to Mr. Wise's descendant helped me a lot! The gentleman I spoke to is an African American, descended from Wise's son, William Henry Gray, who was born to Elizabeth Gray, Wise's slave. I learned about the loving relationship between Wise and Gray and that provided some great insight for developing my story. 

 Ever heard of Henry A. Wise? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!


William Kendall said...

I've probably heard of him in passing, but not beyond that.

Norma said...

Another one I'm unfamiliar with. Thank you, Maria.

Maria McKenzie said...

@William: That's more than I can say;).

@Norma: You're welcome. Your trivia for the day!