Located within walking distance of shops and attractions WISE MANOR is one of the oldest BED & BREAKFAST homes in Jefferson. Built in 1851 on the ferry road into pre-Civil War Jefferson, the home has been in the same family since 1908. Jacob & Ernestine Sterne, Jefferson postmasters, were distinguished residents.
The Sterne Fountain was given to the city in 1913 to honor the contribution of Jacob and Ernestine Sterne, a Jewish couple who settled in Jefferson before the Civil War and became prominent citizens who were involved in numerous civic and cultural projects. The fountain includes a statue of Hebe, the Greek goddess of Youth, by Guiseppe Moretti.
The defeat of the Confederacy led to the military occupation of Jefferson by Union troops under the command of General George P. Buell, who was a guest at Wise Manor before commandeering the house across the street which no longer stands. Buell was later instrumental in the surrender of the Quahadi Comanches under Quanah Parker at Fort Sill in 1875.
The Goldberg family acquired this property after the Sternes passed on (he died; she moved to NYC to live with her daughter and son-in-law, a mister Stern, no”e”). My great aunt Mamie BALLAUF married Isiah Goldberg who was mayor of Jefferson and built the feed and grain store east of downtown now called “Old Mill Antiques.” This house and the house next door were used as rental property until 1927, when my grandmother, Mamie’s sister, Julia BALLAUF RAMSAY and grandpa, Asa E. RAMSAY, and their family returned to Jefferson from Kansas City and moved into it. My mom, KATHERINE RAMSAY WISE was twelve years old and finished school here in Jefferson.
KATHERINE RAMSAY WISE, Jefferson’s town historian, lived in this Houston Street home from 1927 until her death in 2000, at the age of 85. Mrs. Wise worked at restoring the Victorian cottage throughout her lifetime. She opened WISE MANOR to overnight guests in the 1970’s when Jefferson needed accommodations for visitors to its annual Historic Pilgrimage. Your innkeeper is KATHERINE’s daughter, me, Susan Wise.
I am retired from 30 years teaching high school Theatre Arts followed by 13 years as an Acquisitions Librarian, the last 10 years for the Shreve Memorial Library system in Shreveport, Louisiana. I bought books. Presently, I am enjoying putting all my energies into the restoration/renovation/improvement of Wise Manor, my home and cottage business.