Wisdom Family of Nova Scotia

Last update of page: 7 April 2012.

This is the lineage of Harriet Wisdom, wife of William Muir, b. 1827. Her ancestors had been in Nova Scotia for a few generations but had been resident before that in New England. Her grandmother was Lucy Scott, who most likely came from MA and who I previously believed could be traced back to the Mayflower; I no longer think this can be substantiated.

In the family tree below, bolded names are individuals that are covered on this web page. Hyperlinked names lead to other chapters of this site on related family lines. In the text below, bolded names are my direct ancestors.

What we know of the Wisdom lineage is the following:

Henry Wisdom, b. abt 1699 --- m. --- ?


John Wisdom, b. 1733 --- m. --- Mary Maker


Henry Wisdom, b. 1750 --- m. --- Lucy Scott


William Wisdom, b. 1797 --- m. --- Mary S. Elliott


Muir, b. 1827 --- m. --- Harriet Wisdom


Graham --- m. --- Mary E. Muir, b. 1867


Paul Graham, b. 1894 --- m. --- Mildred


William Graham, b. 1929 --- m. --- Margaret


Douglas J. Graham, b. 1958 --- m. --- France


Camille, b. 1992 and Stéphanie Graham, b. 1994

What clearly seems to be the best established genealogy of this line appears in the section below starting with “Henry Wisdom, m. Hester”. First however, I present information on two other versions of his ancestry which seem to be mostly incorrect but are certainly interesting and may have certain elements of truth.

Mrs. Brown West Indies Version

The evidence for this version comes primarily from a handwritten card that came from the bible of Agnes Muir (b. 1870) as well as various scraps of paper in the papers of my late great-aunt Ethel Graham (probably dating from at least the 1940s). None of this information has been independently verified and I doubt it is very reliable.

The bible card, perhaps written by Agnes, but really of unknown origin, states:

Mrs. Brown went from England to the West Indies with her brother for her health, there she met and married Mr. Wisdom who also came from England. They came to Halifax and had two sons Stephen and John. John married and he and his wife are both buried in the cemetery on Pleasant Street, Halifax. One of their children Henry married a Lucy Scott who lived near Truro. She had a son William Wisdom who married Mary Elliott and who had their daughter Harriet Wisdom [who] married William Muir November 18, 1850.
Mrs. Brown, next Mrs. Wisdom and then Mrs. Godfrey.

Presumably the last sentence implies that Mrs. Brown had a Mr. Godfrey as her third husband? Indeed, see below where Henry Wisdom’s widow is known to have married a Godfrey. It seems also to be implied that John Wisdom is the son of Mrs. Brown but elsewhere I have a note that states "Mrs. Brown married John Wisdom (1720-____) and their son, Henry Wisdom, b. 1750, married Lucy Scott. John lived near what is now Dartmouth, NS. He was known as "John in the forest" and is apparently buried in St. Paul's Cemetery”. With the Mrs. Brown version also comes the information that John Wisdom (representing at least two generations?) emigrated to Virginia in 1660 or 1675 from England and Ireland and then to Nova Scotia in 1740.

Abner Wisdom Version

The second version comes from a book published in 1910 on the Wisdom genealogy by George W. Wisdom (1). I have in my possession a booklet with a small extract from the book, prepared by Gertrude Grant Sanborn (the booklet is not dated but was received by my great-aunt Ethel Graham in 1955). I have also a typed extract from the book which has a note on it written by Ethel: "August 8, 1948, Full of errors, Ethel Graham". I briefly consulted the full book in the New England Genealogical Society Library in Boston in 1999 and verified that the booklet I have does come from the book.

George W. Wisdom wrote that he had "succeeded in tracing the name back as far as the reign of Charles II [1660-1685], King of England. Few perhaps can even imagine the long and tedious efforts that have been made to accomplish this end". The booklet starts with Abner Wisdom:

Abner was born near the border of Wales [1675] and although it is not known who or when he married it is believed he married at a young age. He was a man of high intellectual powers and was a member of the House of Commons during the reign of George II [1727-1760]. He was a very brilliant lawyer and was reputedly quite influential among his colleagues. Abner had five sons: Brinsley Mortimer, Pollard William, Francis Torrence, Abner Jnr. and Tavner.

The three elder brothers emigrated sometime around 1730 to America and settled in Virginia. Later they moved and took up land near present day Dansville, Kentucky. These brothers were the first of the name Wisdom to come to America. A few years after his arrival Brinsley married a lady of Scotch-Irish ancestry. He was a Baptist missionary and at one time he went on an evangelistic mission to Armagh, Ireland. In Armagh, he met two of his nephews (sons of Tavner) and it is he who probably induced one of them, Henry, to come to America. Brinsley fought in the American Revolution on the side of the Americans.

Pollard and Francis also fought in the Revolution where Pollard was a captain of a company. A grandson of Francis' named John died with George Washington's army. These two brothers had each married shortly after their emigration. Pollard married a German woman and Francis married an English woman.

Abner Jr., the fourth son, remained in England and was eminent in both military affairs and in literature. He had one son Robert who was a colonel in the British Army.

Tavner, the fifth son was born about 1720 and lived near London where he was a wealthy farmer and stock raiser. He and his wife also kept a girl's seminary which was "the most elaborate institution of that kind in the country". He had three sons: Moses, Hezekiah (or Henry), born about 1750 and Aroclia. Henry and Aroclia were members of the British Army and while stationed at Armagh, Ireland they met, as previously stated, their Uncle Brinsley from America.

This Henry Wisdom came to America after he left the Army and settled in South Carolina. He married Lucy Scott who had been born 19 February 1756. George Wisdom writes: "It is not known where she was born but she was in America at the time of the Revolution in 1776". Henry and Lucy moved to Halifax where she died 19 February 1854 on her 98th birthday.


Henry Wisdom

According to (4) we have: Henry Wisdom, m. Hester, b. abt 1699.

The source (11) indicates that this Henry Wisdom “was probably born between 1700 and 1710 and was living in Portsmouth, MA at time of John and Esther's [= Hester] birth. His name was taken from baptism records of his children. His name was not among those people receiving lot grants in Halifax in 1749 and he was not listed in people being victualled in 1750 but Hester was, so he had probably died by then - perhaps before the family came to Halifax. He had definitely died by 1760 when Hester remarried.”

Of his wife Hester, (11) notes: “Birth: abt 1691 (I subtracted age from death date to get this date); Death: 27 Sep 1792, Halifax, Nova Scotia, age: 101. Her first name is taken from her childrens’ baptism records but there was no maiden name mentioned. MG4 number 83 - victualling lists for Halifax. On page 144 a Hester Wisdom appears. Her second marriage is from St. Paul’s Anglican Church records, Halifax, Nova Scotia to Edward Godfrey, a widower. Death notice was in Royal Gazette of 2 October 1792 - Mrs. Hester Godfrey, age 101, died Thursday last. Age is somewhat suspect as she would have been in her 40s when John, Hester and Obediah were born.”

According to Wayne Morgan (12), her second husband was “Edward/Edmund Godfrey, a pharmacist, I believe, in Halifax”.

Some databases on the Web give a long Wisdom ancestry of Henry. E.g., the WorldConnect database “akita256” of Marion Wingfield, traces the Wisdoms back to the 1500s in Sussex but there are no sources provided so difficult to judge how reliable this information is. It would be very interesting to know if there is a sourced genealogy on the Wisdoms of MA linking them back to England.

John Wisdom (m. Mary Maker)

Henry Wisdom of Newbury, MA had at least three children:

John Wisdom, b. and christened 17 September 1733 (one also finds the dates of 1729 and 1730 in unsourced web databases) in Newbury, MA (4). The source (10) in 2010 wrote: “Henry's son John was christened in Newbury, MA, but I went there myself last summer and the original record says the father was "John Wisdom of Portsmouth." This does not seem to fit with other information known about John but If this is true, it throws into question the name of his father.

According to (10) he moved from Newbury, MA to NS in 1749. He married 17 [sic?] July 1750 in Halifax to Mary Maker and he died 19 Dec. 1794 in Halifax. Mary was b. about 1731 in Halifax. She died 28 Sept. 1820 in Halifax (4). According to (10), John and his wife are both buried in the pioneer cemetery in Halifax and there names are also on the plaque honoring the first settlers.

According to source (11), he was christened 17 Sep 1733, Portsmouth, Essex, MA (also cites Newbury Records, from Queen Anne's Chapel and notes that the christening is cited in Vital Stats and church record and seen in MA Archives by her). He was given a lot in the South Suburbs of Halifax in 1749 at the time of the founding of that city. A Stephen Wisdom was also given a lot but so far there has been no connection made between the two families.

Dorothy Wiggs (11) further notes the marriage took place at Saint Paul's Church, Halifax (copy seen at NS Archives) on 15 [sic] July 1750. He was victualed at Halifax in 1750 (and in subsequent years). He appears in the Halifax Census of 1752: “1 male adult, 1 female adult, 1 female child. (County -South suburbs)”. Death: 19 Dec 1794, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, age: 64 (source is vital stats from newspaper); Burial: 21 Dec 1794, Halifax, NS, Saint Paul's Church cemetery. (11) notes he has a headstone there and I have a picture of it.”

Of his will (11) states: “I, John Wisdom, master house carpenter, of the Town of Halifax, 25 Jun 1794 give to wife Mary (what amounted to everything). After her death I give 3/5 to be equally divided between my 2 sons Henry and Edward Godfrey, 1/5 to my daughter Mary King and 1/5 to my daughter Abigail Tuttle. Wife Mary executrix. Son Edward and Alexander Anderson, executors.”

Citing a Land Memorial 1791 (?), (11) notes he “has lived in N.S. upwards of 40 years and brought up a large family. He and his sons served at the defense of Quebec when besieged by the Americans. Not having sufficient employment for his family in their trades he wished to settle them on lands. He wants for himself and family 1000 acres; Henry, wife and 6 children 500 acres; Edward, wife and 2 servants 250 acres and Joseph Holman, wife and 4 children 350 acres. There is a suggestion that [Joseph Holman] was related to John’s wife Mary in some way.”

Of his wife (11) notes: “Spouse: Mary MAHER/MAKER, Birth: abt 1731 (I subtracted age from death date); Death: 12 Sep 1820, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, Burial: Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint Paul's Cemetery, Halifax Nova Scotia.; Death - N.S. Vital stats from newspapers (age 89)”.

2) According to (11) “(H)Ester” was christened 17 September 1733 in Portsmouth, Essex, MA (citing baptism record from Queen Anne’s Chapel Church records (cited in MA vital stats.) A Hester Wisdom was being victualled in Halifax in 1750 (there were 2 Hesters on list, the other presumably her mother). She married 22 October 1750 (St. Paul’s Church records) to Preserved Cunnabel. He was born 29 October 1727 in Windsor Township, NS (township records). Eight children are recorded (11).

Preserved married a second time, in Windsor Township in 1774 so his first wife was presumably deceased at that time.

3) Obediah (11). Christened 19 May 1735 in Boston, MA. An Obediah Wisdom is on list of settlers being victualled at Halifax
between 18 May and 4 June 1750. She notes she could not find any other mention of this man so he may have died young.

Henry Wisdom, b. 1754

John Wisdom and Mary Maker had six children:

1) Sarah, b. and christened 16 Jan. 1752, Halifax. She m. Richard Wooden on 5 April 1770 in Halifax. She died 2 July 1789 in Halifax (4).

According to (11): “Birth: abt 1751, Christening (Saint Paul's Church records, Halifax) 16 JAN 1751/1752, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Died before 1794 as she was not mentioned in her fathers will. There is a marriage of a Sarah Wisdom in 1767 to Robert Collins and one in 1770 to Richard Wooden but it is not known at this time whether either was her husband.”

Henry Wisdom, b. 7 July 1754, Halifax (4). He married in Halifax to Lucy Scott. The source (8) indicates that the marriage bond between Henry Wisdom and Lucy Scott is dated 5 Nov 1777 in Halifax, signed by Henry Wisdom and John Wisdom. This is presumably the groom and his father. Dorothy Higgs [ID-401] checked the original paper record at the Nova Scotia Archives and confirmed the transcription was correct and that he was listed as a carpenter on marriage bond.

Of Henry, (11) writes: christening 7 Jul 1754, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (Saint Paul's Church records, Halifax).

A number of land records are at the archives [ID-401] which record land grants from Henry Wisdom, carpenter, and his wife Lucy to various of their children. A selection of them, noting there were many others not consulted, covered grants from 1803 to 1818, although all were registered in 1818, to John, William, John and William, and to Sylvester Smith, their daughter Hester’s husband.

(11) notes “Oversize collection PANS #295 - Deed selling town lot #3 Dartmouth on Nov. 20, 1822. It had been granted to Seth Coleman (boatbuilder) April 20, 1820.”.

No death date is known for Henry, but it must at least be in or after 1820 (when he was about 66), the year he sold a lot of land. Death after 1822 according to (11).


Lucy Scott and her Origins

What do we know about the Ms. Scott that was the wife of Henry Wisdom in Halifax? I found in 1999 the death notice of Henry Wisdom's wife (2) which reads: "Mrs. Mary Scott Wisdom, having on that day completed her 98th year (funeral from residence of her son, W. H. Wisdom, Halifax. Died 18 February 1854 (Acadian Review)". This record created quite a confusion as to her first name but Dorothy Higgs (11) notes that it is simply a case of mistranscription from the obituary to the death notice. She consulted the original obituary in the Acadian Recorder, dated 25 February 1854 (Volume 42, No. 8) and it reads as follows: “Died on Saturday last, the 18th inst. having on that day completed her 98th year, Mrs. Lucy Scott Wisdom, leaving a large number of descendants, even to the fourth generation to lament their loss.”

Her birthdate and birthplace: If she was 98 when she died in 1854, she would have been born in about 1756. Of her origins, George Wisdom (1) writes: "Lucy, born February 19, 1756. […]. Web databases (e.g., 4) give this same birthdate. Although it matches with her age at death, I am not aware of any original source that confirms this exact birth date. Unsourced web databases put her birthplace as Boston, MA but again, confirmation is needed.

Dorothy Higgs (11) notes that from the Stayner Collection at PANS (Nova Scotia Archives) her birth was 5 November 1756/58, South Hadley, Mass., but that this “may be incorrect”. Original source for this is unknown.

Her parents: In the Wisdom booklet (1) a further section on Mayflower descendants (written by George Wisdom in his original book or added by the compiler of the booklet?) states that Lucy was daughter of Joseph Scott and Mary Edmonds, thus linking back through the Edmonds (or Edmunds or Edmands?) family to Degory Priest of the Mayflower. The same parents are repeated in many on-line databases (including formerly my own). I don't however know of any original source that supports this theory of her parents and this now seems unlikely and therefore a Mayflower link in
A Family Reunion does not seem substantiated.

A fair bit of information on the Scott family is available (in my own records but not on-line, I have further information on this Scott family) and there is no indication that he had a daughter Lucy. Joseph had a daughter Mary, bapt. 21 August 1753 at Ware, MA. Mary would have been about nine or ten years old when she would have travelled to Onslow NS in 1763 with her mother, stepfather, and her siblings. There is evidence that she is the Mary Scott who married John Graham, son of James Graham and Rosanna MacLaughlin of Annapolis, NS; see the careful work done on this family by George King (5) (this James Graham is of Irish origin and not related to my Graham line). I have other information however noting that Mary, son of Joseph Scott and Mary Edmunds, was married to Caleb Johnson and that she is buried in Williamsburg, MA. The origins of our Lucy Scott remain to be found, perhaps in South Hadley or Boston, MA?

3) Mary (all information from (11)), christened 6 January 1761, St. Paul’s Church, Halifax. She married 22 July 1778 to Samuel King, of Halifax (St. Paul’s Church records). He was listed as a truckman on the marriage bond. She died 21 November 1842 at Dartmouth (noted in the Acadian Recorder of 26 November 1842, widow of Samuel King of Halifax, aged 82). Samuel King was born about 1751 and died 21 March 1822 in Halifax, aged 71 (from St. Paul’s church records quoted in Deaths, Burials and Probate of Nova Scotians 1800-1850 by Allan Everett Marble; noted as a hayweigher). They had a son Samuel.

4) Abigail (all information from (11)), b. 27 March 1763 in Falmouth, Hants County, as confirmed in Falmouth Township records. She m. on 23 (sic) January 1781 to Jacob Tuttle, of Halifax citing church records and the NS Gazette. She was buried on 19 July 1797 (St. Paul’s Church records), aged only 33.

5) Edward Godfrey (all information from (11)), b. 1765, Halifax. Note that his middle name comes from second husband of his grandmother Wisdom. He married 21 July 1790 in Halifax to Elizabeth Greenwood (St. Paul’s Church Records). Information from on-line web sites that he married her in 1790 in Boston would thus be in error. He died 27 June 1844 (notice from Times of 2 July 1844). They had no children.

Dorothy Wiggs (11) cites a Notice in Nova Scotian 12 Jan 1831 dissolving business partnership of Wisdom and Greenwood by mutual consent. She notes, citing the Stayner Collection, that “he was a man of considerable property who lived on Brunswick St. in a house afterwards occupied by the Cunards. He provided money for his nephews Samuel and Theophilus Greenwood to engage in business. They failed and he lost most of his wealth. He had been in the jewelry business. He moved to Dartmouth till his death in 1844 at age 83.

Elizabeth Greenwood, son of Samuel (abt 1740-1826) and Elizabeth (abt 1735-1798) was born in 1772. According to Stayner Collection in Archives she lived with her brother John V. Greenwood after her husband died (it is also noted that she lived with her niece Ann Greenwood in Halifax, presumably John V.’s daughter). She died 3 January 1861 in Halifax aged 89 and was buried 5 January (Presbyterian Witness of Saturday 12 January 1861). She was buried in Camp Hill Cemetery in a lot bought by James T. Greenwood.

6) Wisdom (apparently unknown first name), b. 1767 Halifax, m. Joseph Holeman [sic?]. Source of this last child not sure, perhaps (4).

William Henry Wisdom. b. 1797, and Siblings

Various sources all seem to agree that Henry Wisdom and Lucy Scott had eight children. The source (4) gives the dates provided here. They were:

1) John, b. 1779 in Halifax (about 1779 according to (11)). He married in Halifax on 4 January 1806 to Betsy Elliott (Elizabeth Elliott in (4)) and they had at least ten children (from handwritten notes of Ethel Graham, noted in the original text of A Family Reunion; see also (4) for the same 10 children). John died 28 September 1823 in Halifax. Elizabeth was b. 13 May 1786 in Halifax, daughter of Jonathan Elliott and Almy Green. She died 14 April 1822 in Halifax. One of his great-granddaughters, Jane Wisdom, a friend of Ethel Graham, was on the staff of Montreal's McGill University. Her observation on the Wisdoms, often quoted by Ethel, was that "the Wisdom men didn't have much brains, the Wisdom women had all the brains".

Carol Murray (ID-396), a correspondent, is descended from this John.

2) Mary, b. 3 June 1781 in Halifax, m. a Bethune according to our own family records. A correspondent Dave Bethune (6) located a marriage bond in Halifax for her marriage to Daniel Bethune on Jan 11, 1799. The bond was witnessed by Henry Wisdom, who must certainly have been her father. They later moved to Yarmouth, NS (12). Mary died July 4 1866 in Pleasant Valley, NS, buried July 12 1866 in Carleton, Yarmouth Co., NS, and Daniel died Sept 1887 (6).

The family line of the famous Dr. Norman Bethune is laid out in some detail in a book by Mary Larratt Smith (7) and there seems to be no discernible link between this Daniel Bethune and the Bethunes of Norman’s line, which settled in Ontario and not in Nova Scotia.

Dave Bethune (6) and Wayne Morgan (ID-402), correspondents, are descended from this Mary. In my files I have several pages of information on descendants of this couple from Dave Bethune.

3) Lucy, b. 1783 in Halifax, m. Charles Reeves. Unsourced information on their 9 children can be found in WorldConnect databases, e.g. “akita256” of Marion Wingfield. She died in 1847 (11).

4) Sarah, b. 28 March 1786 in Halifax (called “Sally Sarah" in one of my earlier sources, perhaps (1) or (9)). She m. on 4 January 1803 to Titus Smith, Jr. Sarah died 17 November 1864. Titus was the brother of Sylvester Smith below, sons of Titus Smith Sr. and Damarius Nash. Titus Smith Jr. was born in Granby, MA on 4 Sept. 1768. He made several notable surveys of Nova Scotia and later became an authority on Nova Scotia's natural history. He was known as the "Dutch Village Philosopher". In some of his publications, he deals with plant succession, differentiation of forest types and humus layers, and other topics in ecology. It has been said in a paper by E. Gorham in the journal Ecology, that his "brilliant observations upon the vegetation of Nova Scotia may well comprise the first major contribution to plant ecology in North America. He died of jaundice on 4 January 1850 aged 81. For further information on their children and on the Smith Family see the original Family Reunion.

Chloe Hayes, grandmother of the 19th President of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, was a first cousin of Titus Smith, Jr. and thus the President is only very remotely related through marriage to my family!

Two of their 13 children maintained important ties with our family. A daughter, Olive L. Smith, b. 1811, m. John P. C. Bayer, b. 1811 of Halifax (see my files for more information on the Bayer family). One of Olive's children was Rufus Osborne Bayer who married his second cousin Elizabeth Jane Muir, b. 1858 (see Muir chapter). Another daughter, Harriet Sophia, b. 1827, m. in 1848 to William A. Hendry, b. 1823 of Halifax. One of their two daughters was Harriet who m. C. J. Creighton. Their son Norman Creighton, who lived in Kentville, NS, was interested in family history and corresponded with my great-aunt Ethel Graham (his third cousin), my father, and myself on that topic.

5) Hester, b. 1789 in Halifax, m. 26 January 1806 in Halifax to Sylvester Smith, brother of Titus above. She died 23 November 1877.

6) Abigail, b. 1793 in Halifax (4) but in 1790 according to (11). According to (8) she married in 1810 to Thomas Davie (other spellings in various sources are Davey or Davis). The marriage bond is dated 17 November 1810 St. Paul’s Church in Halifax, NS. It is signed by the groom Thomas Davey and by Loran DeWolf (of unknown relationship). It is quite certain that this Abigail Wisdom belongs in this family because Thomas Davie signs various other marriage bonds of family members, including her younger brother William Henry (the signatures of Thomas Davie and W. H. Wisdom match up on these different records (all the records are from Halifax). (8) confirms that a family member has checked the church records and the marriage to Thomas Davey did eventually take place. Linda Haslin (8) notes that strangely Abigail Wisdom appears in another marriage bond dated 12 November 1810 signed by the groom Michael Eisen and Henry Wisdom. The latter is presumably her father and suggests she is the same person.

Abigail died in 1878 (11).

Several of my correspondents are descended from this Abigail (Linda Heslin [ID-398], Dorothy Higgs [ID-401]).

7) Olive, b. 1795 in Halifax (before 1797 in (11)). She m. (4) George McDonald on 10 July 1812.

William Henry Wisdom, b. 12 March 1797 in Halifax. He lived in Halifax and married Mary S. Elliott on 15 May 1819, also of Halifax. The source (8) indicates that the marriage bond between William Henry Wisdom and Mary Elliott is dated 5 May 1819 in Halifax, signed by W. H. Wisdom and Thomas Davie. This is presumably the groom and his brother-in-law (Abigail’s husband). William was a carpenter and a contractor in Halifax.

We know virtually nothing of Mary; she was perhaps the sister of Betsy Elliott who married William's brother John Wisdom. In the database of (4), Elizabeth Elliott ("Betsy") is shown as coming from a large family and one of her sisters is indeed called Mary. This source however does not give the parents of Mary so this remains a hypothetical link which would need to be checked by perhaps finding their marriage record. She died in Halifax on 5 July 1866. Two years later her widow went with his son Alonzo to New Zealand. He died at Cobden, Greymouth, N. Z. on 17 September 1883 aged 86. Their 15 children are in the next section.

Harriet Smith Wisdom. b. abt 1830?, and Siblings

From handwritten notes of Ethel G. Graham, we know of 15 children of William Henry Wisdom (chronological order unknown). It would be interesting to do some more research on these lines. They are:

1) Olive, married twice, the first time to a Carter. They lived in the US and had two sons (9). The source (8) indicates that she has found a marriage bond between Elizabeth Wisdom and James Carter dated 29 September 1841 in Halifax, signed by W. H. Wisdom (presumably her father) and the groom. Perhaps some information was confused by (9) between Olive and her younger sister Elizabeth?

2) Elizabeth Mary, known as Libbia or Lib. She married James Farquhar. Libbia had a bad scoliosis.

3) Abna.

4) Louise (Lucy), married William Beck in Truro. They had three children: Louise, George, and William. George became a minister.

5) Charles Smith.

6) Ann, born in Halifax on 4 August 1823. She married on 26 September 1843 to Edward Stephens who, like her father was a carpenter and contractor. They moved to Maine.

7) Herbert.

8) William Henry Jr.

9) Alonzo, married Abigail. He emigrated to New Zealand, taking his elderly father. His brother Stephen preceded him by about two years; they traveled to this area where there was a minor gold rush at that time. The following was written by Jessie Wisdom Malcolm, Alonzo's granddaughter (in the small Wisdom booklet):

"The Wisdom family settled on the west coast of the South Island – in Cobden, across the river from Greymouth. Grandfather was a carpenter-cabinetmaker of the old school – a very fine man, liked by all, very religious, and to us as small and not-so-small children, the nicest grandfather."

Alonzo and Abigail Wisdom had nine children, eight of whom were born in New Zealand. Their first child was born in the US (3) so they must have passed through the US on their way to N. Z. See the original Family Reunion book for their names as well as further details in (3).

My parents Bill and Marg Graham had a terrific visit to Cobden in 1993 (3). Much information was provided to them by Beatrix Ashmore ("Trixie") McNeil, born 1919, a granddaughter of Alonzo. They learned that Alonzo founded a line of no less than seven generations of Wisdoms in Cobden. Alonzo had built a great many buildings in Cobden. He died in 1922 at age 79. My parents visited both his grave and that of our ancestor William Henry Wisdom. Alonzo's wife Abigail died in 1914 aged 72.

10) Stephen Elliott, apparently emigrated to New Zealand about two years before Alonzo. He married but had no children; he ran a post office (3). He died August 1919 aged 92 and is buried in Cobden.

Harriet Smith Wisdom, m. William Muir. See the Muir chapter for further details. She married in Halifax on 17 or 18 November 1852. We have no information on her, not even her birth or death date.

12) Alma Russell, b. 1831, Halifax. She married in 1859 to John Donald from Glasgow. John Donald and his brother-in-law William Muir were good friends. The Donalds had one child, Alma Mary Donald, b. 1868, m. John Forsyth from Maybole, Scotland. They had one daughter and two sons. One son was Ian Keith Forsyth, b. 1900 in Dartmouth. In 1935 he m. Winnfred ("Winnie") Killam from Moncton. Ian was much interested in his family history and contributed some of the information included here during a long period of correspondence with his second cousin Ethel Graham.

Of their four children, their youngest daughter Margaret m. Francis Harun Muchemi Wanyeki, a Kenyan. My parents met the Wanyekis in 1976 while they were living in Kenya and this connection has been maintained.

13-15) The names of the other three children (all boys) are not known; they undoubtedly all died as infants.


The original text on this family for
A Family Reunion of July 1982, was written by Douglas Graham. A complete rewrite and update with some new information was undertaken in late 2005.


(1) Genealogy of the Wisdom Family 1675 to 1910. George W. Wisdom. Privately printed about 1910, Seattle, WA. A copy held by ID-400. (2) Nova Scotia Vital Statistics from Newspapers. A multi-volume listing (those covering 1769-1854 consulted by me in Boston in July 1999 for the name Lucy Wisdom). The death notice for Mary Scott Wisdom was found in the volume for 1852-1854.
(3) "A Day in Greymouth/Cobden", William M. Graham, April 24, 1993. The account of my parents' visit to find Wisdoms in Cobden, NZ.
(4) WorldConnect database of Susan Bunker (s-bunker) checked in Aug. 05. Seems to be based on LDS records and archive and newspaper records.
(5) Web site on “
Five Families of Nova Scotia” (http://http://www.george-king.com/), with information on family of James Graham and Rosanna MacLaughlin, by George W. King. Updated in 2011.
(6) Email correspondence with Dave Bethune in July 2006 (ID-228).
(7) "Prologue to Norman: The Canadian Bethunes", Mary Larratt Smith, Mosaic Press/Valley Editions, Oakville, Ottawa (1976).
(8) Personal communication with Linda Heslin, ID-398, 2008.
(9) Hand-written notes of my great-aunt Ethel Graham.
(10) Personal communication with Kirk Lovenbury, ID-399, 2004-2010.
(11) Personal communication with Dorothy Wiggs, ID-401, who provides some excellent and sourced material on early Wisdoms.
(12) Personal communication with Wayne Morgan, ID-402. He says he has specific sources for John Wisdom in Portsmouth and Boston records, so would be interesting to follow up on this.