The United States Biographical Dictionary and
Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Missouri Volume, New
York, Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City: United States Biographical
Publishing Company, 1878, pages 391-392
Joseph Wisby, Marshfield
Joseph Wisby was born December 29, 1847, in Schuyler county,
Illinois, and is the second son of Thomas Wisby and Sophia Davis, who
were married in 1839. His father was a farmer and moved to Webster
county, Missouri, in 1857, locating in what is now known as Marshfield,
when there was but a sparse population in that section. He was one of
the original founders of Marshfield, and a part of the town is known as
Wisby's Addition. In 1870 Thomas Wisby moved to Barry county, and there
died, December 28, 1872, aged fifty-seven years. His wife, Sophia
Wisby, had died twelve years before, in October, 1860, in the
forty-fifth year of her age. The Wisbys are of Welch descent, though
the family name is traceable in America for several generations.
William Wisby, father of Thomas and grandfather of Joseph, moved to
Schuyler county, Illinois, at an early date, having emigrated from
Ohio. He was engaged in farming till his death, which occurred in 1864,
when he was in his seventy-ninth year.
Joseph Wisby, of whom we write, attended the winter sessions of
the common schools, assisting his father on the farm during the
cropping seasons, until nearly sixteen years old. At that age, against
the wishes of his parents, he enlisted in Company H, 8th Regiment,
Missouri State Militia, and served in the army for six months. In
January, 1864, he joined the 12th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, under
Colonel Wells, in whose command he remained until the close of the war.
During the first six months of his service he was stationed in
Missouri, but with the 12th Regiment he was acting with the Army of the
Tennessee, and participated in the battles near Nashville and Franklin,
and the series of engagements with Hood's army. Afterward, under
General Wilson, he assisted in the capture of Selma and Montgomery,
Alabama. April 15, 1865, he was captured and held as a prisoner of war.
In May, he was paroled at Jackson, Mississippi, and not having been
exchanged, he was discharged July 9, 1865, and permitted to return home.
Returning to Marshfield, he attended the high school in that
place and then for five months the Steelville (Crawford county)
Academy. He was married, June 19, 1.866, to Miss Nancy Lee Huff,
daughter of Alpheus and Sarah Huff, who were among the earliest
settlers of Green county, Missouri.
Leaving the Academy, he taught school until in the latter part
of 1869, when he purchased the Marshfield Yeoman, a Republican
newspaper, and changed its name to that of the Marshfield Democrat, and
published the paper for over a year, when he disposed of his interest
in February, 1871, remaining, however, as editor till the latter part
of that year.
While conducting the paper, he had applied himself to the study
of law under the instruction of Messrs. Fyan & Rush, two of the
most distinguished lawyers in southwest Missouri. He was admitted to
the bar in September, 1871, and has steadily pursued his avocation
since, growing rapidly in popular favor and building up an enviable
reputation as a faithful attorney and conscientious counselor.
Mr. Wisby takes a deep interest in political affairs and is
known as a leading Democrat in his section of the State. He has been
chosen a delegate to every congressional and senatorial convention in
his districts since he attained his majority in 1868, and to every
Democratic State convention since 1870. In 1876 he was a delegate in
the Democratic National Convention, which met in St. Louis, and voted
for the nomination of Samuel J. Tilden for the presidency. He has held
the office of prosecuting attorney for two terms, discharging the
obligations of the position with zeal and fidelity.
Mr. Wisby is liberal in his religious views, but a member of no
religious organization. He is in full membership and fellowship with
the Masonic order, the Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, holding
prominent positions in these various societies, and in 1874 was elected
a member of the Odd Fellows' Grand Encampment of the State.
Five children have blessed his union with Miss Huff. His
domestic and business relations are most happy. His temperament is
genial and social; his spirits elastic; his conversation spirited and
entertaining; his address pleasant and attractive. Still quite young,
he has already achieved a large measure of success, and is destined, if
spared to the future, to stand second to none in his influence on the
society in which he moves.
[We publish the above against Mr. Wisby's earnest request for
its omission. We know this to be but the beginning of an interesting
and valuable life record, which he will honorably and successfully
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