Seelig Wise

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Seelig Bartel "Bushie" Wise
Mississippi State Senator from Coahoma, Tunica, and Quitman counties
In office
1964–1968
Personal details
Born (1913-08-07)August 7, 1913
Died September 4, 2004(2004-09-04) (aged 91)
Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi, USA
Resting place Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) (1) Miriam Swann Wise

(2) Melba Taylor Swift Wise

Children Daniel Reese Wise, Sr.

Three grandchildren

Residence (1) Jonestown
Coahoma County
Mississippi

(2) Jackson, Mississippi

Alma mater Mississippi State University
Occupation Cotton and soybean farmer
Religion Southern Baptist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Captain
Battles/wars World War II

Seelig Bartel Wise, sometimes known as Bushie Wise (August 7, 1913–September 4, 2004), was a cotton and soybean farmer and businessman from Clarksdale, Mississippi, who was the first Republican to serve in the Mississippi State Senate since Reconstruction.

Background[edit]

Wise was a captain in the United States Army during World War II. He graduated from the Chinese Language School in Berkeley, California and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from Mississippi State University in Starkville. For a time, he was a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[1]

His family farm, owned with his brothers, was located at Jonestown in Coahoma County near Clarksdale in northwestern Mississippi.[1]

Wise was twice married, first, to Miriam Swann and then to Melba Taylor Swift. He had one son, Daniel Reese Wise, Sr., a 1968 graduate of Coahoma County High School and a former resident of Hattiesburg who lived in Costa Rica at the time of his father's death. He also had three grandchildren. Wise was a Southern Baptist. He died at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson[1] and is interred there at Lakewood Memorial Park.[citation needed]


Political life[edit]

In 1963, Wise ran for the state Senate seat encompassing Coahoma, Tunica, and Quitman counties[1] on the Republican ticket headed by gubernatorial nominee Rubel Phillips of Corinth and Jackson, Mississippi and the candidate for lieutenant governor, Stanford Morse, an outgoing state senator and lawyer from Gulfport on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Democratic Governor Ross Barnett was term-limited in the 1963 election. While Phillips and Morse were defeated by the Democrats Paul B. Johnson, Jr., and Carroll Gartin, respectively, Wise won his race. Buoyed by the Barry Goldwater landslide in Mississippi in 1964, Wise ran unsuccessfully in 1966 against the veteran Democrat Jamie L. Whitten for Mississippi's 2nd congressional district seat. In 1967, though Paul Johnson was ineligible to seek reelection as governor, a provision that has since been changed, Rubel Phillips again carried the Republican nomination for governor, but he was handily defeated by the Democrat U.S. Representative John Bell Williams of Mississippi's 3rd congressional district. By this time, Clarke Reed of Greenville had replaced the original chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, Wirt Yerger, an insurance agent in Jackson. Wise lost his Senate seat after a single term, as did two freshmen Republican members of the Mississippi House of Representatives, Lewis Leslie McAllister, Jr., a businessman from Meridian and later, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Charles K. Pringle, a lawyer from Biloxi.[2]

In 1969, the administration of U.S. President Richard M. Nixon named Wise the state director of the Farmers Home Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. He also headed the Mississippi office of the Agricultural Stabilization and Soil Conservation Service.[1]

Later years[edit]

Wise served on the board of directors of the Mississippi Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and was the board president of the Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, a 195-bed hospital in Clarksdale. He co-founded the Mississippi Hospital Association of Governing Boards.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Seelig Bartel "Bushie" Wise, September 7, 2004". Clarksdale Press Register. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Challenging the Status Quo: Rubel Lex Phillips and the Mississippi Republican Party (1963-1967)", The Journal of Mississippi History XLVII, November 1985, No. 4, p. 240, 242, 262