Biography of Merritt B. Wiseman

Merritt B. Wiseman, a native of Grant County, South Dakota, was born in 1879 and holds the distinction of being the first white child born in the county. Coming from a pioneer family, he grew up in Milbank and received an education from the local schools, later graduating from Milbank High School in 1897. After gaining experience in the printing trade, Wiseman served as deputy auditor in the county auditor’s office. He also had affiliations with various fraternal organizations and remained an active member of the Republican Party. In 1902, he married Lillian Lau from Wisconsin.

MERRITT B. WISEMAN has the distinction of being a native of this county and a scion of one of its honored pioneer families, while he enjoys distinctive popularity in the community which has been his home throughout life, and is one of the representative young men of this section.

He was born on the parental homestead in Osceola township, Grant county, on the 28th of May, 1879, and was the first white child born within the confines of said county. He is a son of Marcellus H. and Josephine P. (Palmer) Wiseman, the former of whom was born in Vermont, a representative of a family established in New England in the colonial era, while the latter was born in Illinois, where their marriage was solemnized and where the father was engaged in farming until 1879, when he set forth for the territory of Dakota, transporting his family and their few household goods in a covered wagon and making the entire journey overland with horse teams. He became one of the first settlers in Grant county, where he became the owner of valuable property, and he and his wife still reside in Milbank, being held in the highest esteem by all who know them. Marcellus H. Wiseman was for a number of years a trusted employee of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company, and was thus engaged for a number of years after coming to South Dakota, being now practically retired. He has ever been known as a man of force and progressive ideas and has manifested distinctive public spirit, having taken a particularly active part in the contest which resulted in the establishing of the county seat at Milbank. He is a Republican in politics. They have four children, the subject of this sketch being the only son.

Merritt B. Wiseman, whose name initiates this review, has passed practically his entire life in Milbank, though the village was not founded until some time after his parents’ location in the county, and he duly availed himself of the advantages of the excellent local schools, having completed the course in the Milbank high school and been there graduated as a member of the class of 1897. He then practically continued his educational work by the valuable discipline gained through association with the “art preservative of all arts,” having worked at the printer’s trade for about four years, while for the past four years he has rendered efficient service in the office of the county auditor, having been appointed deputy auditor in 1900 by John E. Truran. At present, he is associated with the chief carpenter of the Jim River and of the H. and D. division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. In politics, the subject is one of the alert and enthusiastic young Republicans of his native county and takes a lively interest in public affairs of a local nature, while he also keeps well informed on the national issues. Fraternally, he is identified with Milbank Lodge, No. 20, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of which he is secretary at the time of this writing, and with Banner Lodge, No. 57, Knights of Pythias, and Milbank Camp, No. 1887, Modern Woodmen of America.

On the 24th of June, 1902, Mr. Wiseman was united in marriage to Miss Lillian Lau, who was born in Wisconsin.


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

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