Wise Bros. Inc. History

In 1877, brothers John and James Wise purchased 2 farms across a dirt road from each other, southwest of McCredie MO. Little did they know that that dirt road would one day become Interstate 70.

James & John Wise - The original Wise Brothers - late 1800s

James & John Wise - The original Wise Brothers - late 1800s

In 1927, in the summer between his junior and senior years of high school, John Wise's son Lowell decided to open a gas station on the south side of the new highway 40. He rented five acres of land from his uncle, James Wise, and built a small station with two pumps. At that time, he became a dealer for Sinclair gasoline products. At the end of the summer, when he returned to school, he enlisted his parents and uncle to run the station during the day. After graduating from McCredie High School in 1928, Lowell also became a dealer for Goodyear tires. In 1930, he became a dealer for Standard Oil.

Lowell & Owen Wise binding wheat

Mr. Buckner picking corn, 1940s

John Wise's other son Owen Wise moved his family to a new house on the north side of the road in May, 1931. At that time, Owen started another gas station on the north side of the highway. He sold Shell products and later Texaco.

Owen Wise's home and the north gas station, 1934

South gas station/garage, 1934

The view from Highway 40, 1934

Owen Wise in front of his Allis-Chalmers WC Tractor

In 1937, J.O. Wise, Owen Wise's son, graduated from high school and became an equal partner in the business.

Owen, Lowell, and J.O.

Lowell Wise plowing potatoes, 1938

In front of the north station, June 1943

Sowing wheat and fertilizer, late 1950s

Almost immediately, the south station was extended to the west for a repairs shop, and then east and south again, until it was a sizeable structure. At one point, Wise Bros. sold Standard on the south and Texaco on the north.

The south station after expansion, early 1950s

Aerial view of Wise Bros. before Interstate 70, including both stations in 1961

Wise Bros. acquired other lines of merchandise, the most important being the agency for the sale of Allis Chalmers farm equipment in 1934, with the attending repair parts and service. Allis-Chalmers marketed a small, efficient W.C. Model tractor and an all-crop pull-type combine that worked well. That year, they sold 4 W.C. tractors, a threshing machine, a plow, and a disc. The time was ripe for a change to mechanized equipment and the market was good. Wise Bros. even took a few horses and mules as "trade-ins."

Seed Shed, mid 1930s

Seed shed, 2015

In the farm store, Wise Bros. handled many lines of merchandise through the years. They augmented the Allis-Chalmers farm equipment with machinery from the following manufacturers: Massey-Harris (especially combines), Case tractors, New Idea, New Holland Balers, Kewanee, Butler grain storage bins with drying fans, Behlen Crop Dryers, elevators (both auger and drag), Sheffield Steel fencing equipment, baler wire and twine, Philco white goods and televisions, Armour, Swift, and Olin-Mathieson fertilizer, chemicals from several companies (both pesticides and herbicides), seed (with re-cleaning by their own equipment, growing certified seed under their own label). In addition, they had a Dodge-Plymouth car agency for several years.

3 W.C. tractors pulling 3 All-Crop combines, 1940s

J.O. on an Allis Chalmers W.C. tractor pulling an All-Crop combine, 1940s

Between all this, they sold gasoline to many tourists, being dealers for Sinclair, Standard, Texaco, Shell, and DX. They also did custom planting and harvesting for several farmers in the area, and sold thousands of candy bars, bottles of "pop," and packages of cigarettes.

Unloading All-Crop combines in McCredie, 1938

J.O. and Andy Buckner plowing with 2 W.C. tractors, 1940s

Meanwhile, since land was cheap, Wise Bros. continued to expand their farmland as land became available. They practiced soil conservation at all times, and were innovative in crop selection, cropping lespedeza and soybeans early. In the 1940s, Wise Bros. grew hybrid seed corn for Missouri Hybrid Seed Company. They experimented with pesticides and herbicides early in the game.

The merchandising side of the Wise Bros. business came to a halt the very day the barricades were taken down on the new highway, Interstate 70, in 1963. The business building and gas station on the south side of the road had already been razed to make way for the south lane of the highway. The same year, they built a new metal building on the north side of the new interstate to house their farm equipment dealership. That shop became the main center of business for Wise Bros., and the north gas station was closed.

In 1964, Wise Bros. hosted the Missouri State Corn Picking Championship, which featured hand picking by both men and women, and mechanized picking with corn pickers and combines. The contest was located on the McCredie Farm west of the railroad tracks in McCredie MO on the south side of St. Charles Road. The event attracted thousands of people from across the state.

Corn Picking Contest, McCredie MO, 1964

Lowell and Owen Wise continued running Wise Bros. until their deaths in 1976 and 1984 (respectively).

Owen and Lowell Wise in front of the shop

Lowell Wise showing off his corn crop, 1960s

After the passing of Lowell and Owen, J.O. continued to run the business and farm with Robert Hopper and Wilbur Glover, his longtime employees. When Deutz-Fahr of Germany bought Allis Chalmers in the mid-80s, an aging J.O. ended Wise Bros.' long running Allis-Chalmers dealership but continued selling short line equipment.

Wilbur Glover and his son

J.O. and Blanche Wise

Robert Hopper and Wilbur Glover continued to work for J.O. on the family property until 2013 and 2014 (respectively). J.O. passed away in March 2014 and Wilbur followed in June, after working at Wise Bros. for 67 years.

Robert Hopper,2005

Wilbur Glover

A short time later, J.O.'s wife Blanche Wise formed a partnership with her nephew David Backer, who rejuvenated the business and runs it today. He conducts company business, administers sales, oversees employees, and tends the Wise Bros. farmland with his sons Harrison and Matthew Backer.

David Backer

Matthew Backer

Harrison Backer

Wise Bros. has recently updated the buildings and changed the buildings' color scheme to white and green.

Wise Bros. Shop, 2014

Wise Bros. Shop, 2016