Wade was born in 1831 in Morgan County, Ohio, where he lived with his parents on a farm. In 1852, he crossed the plains to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, arriving there in October. He was elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1862, serving until 1865. In 1865, he was appointed Registrar of United States Land Office in Oregon City, Oregon, by President Abraham Lincoln. He married Charlotte Johnson in Clackamas County, Oregon, in 1866. She was the daughter of Oregon pioneers Hezekiah E. and Eliza (Harris) Johnson. They had three children: Harvey, Junia and Charlotte May. In 1872, he was chairman of the Republican Central Committee for Clackamas County. His wife died shortly after the birth of their last daughter in 1873. He retained the position of registrar until his resignation in January 1878. In 1879, he went to California and settled in Saint Helena. There, in 1883, he became a cashier at the Bank of St. Helena. In 1892, he was elected to the California State Assembly. He was re-elected in 1894 and again in 1898. He died in San Francisco on May 18, 1902. He was survived by his widow, the former Mrs. Margaret (Leisen) Ely, and his two daughters.
- History of Napa County
- The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 8, Volume 8
- Morning Oregonian (Portland, OR) Aug 11, 1866, p. 3.
- Morning Oregonian (Portland, OR) Feb 12, 1872, p. 4.