Biography of Cincinatus C. Wiley

Cincinnatus C. Wiley, born October 8, 1842, in Franklin County, Massachusetts, was a successful businessman and Civil War veteran. The son of Dr. Hazare Wiley and Mary Pierce, he enlisted in the Tenth Massachusetts Infantry in 1861, participating in key battles such as Gettysburg and Spotsylvania. Post-war, Wiley pursued the lumber business in Vermont before moving to South Dakota in 1876. He engaged in mining and real estate, co-founding the successful firm Wiley, Allen & Company in Watertown. Wiley also served as county and municipal treasurer. Married to Harriett P. Sprague in 1865, he had five children. Wiley was active in the Grand Army of the Republic, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Harriett passed away on December 4, 1902.

Cincinnatus C. Wiley.—In the career of this enterprising businessman and gallant ex-soldier of one of the greatest wars in the annals of history, the reader will not only find much that is interesting but may also profit by those experiences which, when properly applied to prevailing conditions, invariably lead to success. Cincinnatus C. Wiley, of the firm of Wiley, Allen & Company, real estate dealers, Watertown, is a New England product and inherits many of the sterling qualities for which the people of that historic section of the Union have long been distinguished. His father, Dr. Hazare Wiley, a well-known physician and surgeon, was a native of Massachusetts and of Scotch descent, and his mother, who bore the maiden name of Mary Pierce, was also born and reared in the same state. Cincinnatus C. is one of seven children, two now living, and was born in Franklin County, Massachusetts, on the 8th day of October, 1842. At the proper age, he entered the public schools of his native place and prosecuted his studies therein until a youth in his teens, the meantime spending his vacations on a farm, with the rugged duties of which he early became familiar. After acquiring his education, he followed agricultural pursuits until the breaking out of the great Civil War, when, with true patriotic fervor, he tendered his services to the country in its time of need, enlisting, in 1861, in Company B, Tenth Massachusetts Infantry, for three years, being mustered in at the city of Springfield on June 21st of that year. Mr. Wiley’s regiment was assigned to the Army of the Potomac and took an active part in many of the noted Virginia campaigns from the beginning of the war until near its close, participating in some of the bloodiest battles of the struggle. Among these were Fair Oaks, second Bull Run, Antietam, Milburn Hill, Mine Run, first and second battles of Fredericksburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Gettysburg, and a number of others, to say nothing of numerous skirmishes and minor engagements, in all of which the subject bore himself as a brave and gallant soldier, prompt in his response to every duty and ready at all times to face danger and death in defense of the great principles for which so many patriots gave the last full measure of their devotion, to the end that the union of the states might be preserved inviolate. He was wounded at Spotsylvania, but not seriously, and on July 1, 1864, at the expiration of his enlistment, was mustered out of the service, immediately after which he returned home and the following spring engaged in the lumber business in the state of Vermont. Mr. Wiley devoted his attention to this line of activity from 1865 to 1876, a period of eleven years, and then disposed of his interests in New England and came to South Dakota, arriving at Yankton on March 27th of the latter year. The following May, he went to the Black Hills and for some time thereafter devoted his attention to prospecting and mining, with Deadwood as his headquarters, returning to Yankton the ensuing fall. In the spring of 1877, he came to Codington County, driving from Yankton with an ox-team and taking possession of one hundred and sixty acres of land, which he had previously entered by filing a soldier’s claim and on which he lived until the spring of 1879, when he moved into town. Some months later he had his buildings moved to Watertown and, putting up an addition thereto, started a hotel which he conducted from 1880 to 1894, inclusive, and which in the meantime became a well-known hostelry and one of the most popular resorts of the traveling public in the eastern part of the state. Disposing of his hotel interests, he again turned his attention to mining and after prosecuting the same almost exclusively until the spring of 1899, principally in the Black Hills district, he began dealing in real estate. The real estate firm of Wiley, Allen & Company does the largest business of the kind in Watertown and one of the most extensive in the state, having lands listed in all parts of the Dakotas, Oregon, California, and other states and territories, their operations being far-reaching and important and of a magnitude which demonstrates their capacity as enterprising, progressive, and thoroughly reliable businessmen. In addition to his real estate business, Mr. Wiley owns valuable mineral properties in various parts of the west, the most important of which are his interests in the group of gold, silver, and lead mines on Kettle River, one hundred and twenty-eight miles north of Spokane in the state of Washington. These are being developed as rapidly as circumstances will admit and the richness of the territory and the vast quantity of ore in sight indicate independent fortunes for the owners at no distant day. Recently Mr. Wiley removed to Lents, Oregon, a suburb of Portland, where he is engaged in the real estate business under the firm style of C. C. Wiley & Company.

Mr. Wiley is a wide-awake, public-spirited citizen, deeply interested in the public welfare, and he encourages with his influence and financial support all laudable enterprises to promote the same. He has taken an active part in county and municipal affairs, served two terms as treasurer of each, and as custodian of the people’s funds made a record unshadowed by the slightest suspicion of anything dishonorable. In politics, he is a Republican and for a number of years has been considered one of the leaders of his party in Codington County. Fraternally, he is identified with the Grand Army of the Republic, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and Ancient Order of United Workmen and he has been honored with the highest offices within the gift of the different local lodges to which he belongs.

Mr. Wiley was married April 12, 1865, in North Adams, Massachusetts, to Miss Harriett P. Sprague, a native of Vermont and the daughter of Farnum and Harriett F. Sprague, the union resulting in the birth of five children, namely: Lewis E., of Butte, Montana; Elmer, who died at the age of seven years; Alice F.; Cora A., wife of Oscar Eichiger, of Watertown; and Birdie, who died in childhood. Mrs. Wiley departed this life on December 4, 1902, and her loss was deeply mourned in Watertown, where she had a large circle of friends and acquaintances who held her in the highest personal esteem. She was a devoted member of the Congregational Church, always profoundly interested in religious and benevolent enterprises and her beautiful Christian character and zealous endeavor in every good work endeared her to all who came within range of her influence.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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