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Henry Wheeler, Page 277
HENRY WHEELER, a prominent farmer of the town of Plymouth, is well known throughout that part of the county, where he has made his home for thirty-nine years. Family tradition says that three brothers by the name of Wheeler came from England and settled in one of the colonies, where two remained, while the third returned to his native country. Our subject's father and grandfather both bore the Christian name of Henry, as have all the heads of the Wheeler family of which he is a member for generations back. The latter lived and died in New Hampshire, of which State the former was a native. When a young man the father of the gentleman whose name heads this record emigrated to New York State. the War of 1812 having broken out, he shouldered his musket in defense of American rights, and in recognition of his services received a Government land warrant. In Jefferson County of that State he married Mrs. Lucy Butterfield, whose maiden name was Barrett. She died when her son Henry was about seven years of age, leaving six children, of whom four are still living. Later Mr. Wheeler wedded Lucretia Hitchcock, by whom he had three children, one of whom died in early life; another died in the service of his country during the late war; and the third is also deceased. The mother of these children is still living, making her home in Oswego County, N. Y. The living children of the first marriage are: Philo, who resides in southwest Oswego; Henry; who is the next; Mrs. Louisa Bedient, who makes her home at Coronado Beech, Cal.; and Mrs. Lucy A. Gale, of New Haven, Conn.
Our subject is the fourth in order of birth in his parents' family. A native of Rodman Township, Jefferson County, N. Y., he was born April 16, 1830. He was reared to farm life, in which pursuit he has ever since been actively engaged, and in the district schools and in a seminary at Rodman his education was acquired, though he attended the latter school but a short time. When fifteen years of age he began to make his own living, working on the farm for wages, continuing thus employed for some eight years.
In Ellisburgh, N. Y., September 30, 1852, occurred the marriage of Mr. Wheeler and Miss Helen M., daughter of Horace and Sophronia (Lewis) Gardner, whose sketch will be found on another page of this work. By this marriage Mr. Wheeler had three children: Henry, Jr., a dealer in cheese at Plymouth; Philo K., a traveling salesman for F. Mayer & Co., the well-known boot and shoe dealers of Milwaukee; and Ella, who is the wife of Charles C. Reed, of El Paso, Colo. The eldest child was born in New York, and the other two in this county.
The year 1853 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Wheeler in the town of Plymouth, where he purchased eighty acres of timbered land. On this he erected a log house, where he and his young wife lived in true pioneer style. Mr. Wheeler now owns a good farm of one hundred acres, of which about ninety acres are cleared and in a good state of cultivation. It is needless to say that he has been a hard-working man, as everyone knows something of the labor required to convert a forest into a farm.
Mrs. Wheeler, who was a lady much beloved throughout the neighborhood, was called to her last home November 10, 1884. Mr. Wheeler was again married, November 14, 1885, this union being with Mrs. Elvyra Horth, daughter of Ebenezer Truesdell. Mrs. Wheeler was born in Ellisburgh, N. Y., and was a cousin of Mr. Wheeler's first wife. She was first married to George Royce, by whom she had two children, Elwyn E., and Lena M., who is the wife of Prof. W. J. Brier, who, for eleven years, was Principal of the Plymouth schools, but is now Institute Conductor in the River Falls (Wis.) Normal School. Mr. Royce having died, his widow became the wife of William Horth, and of this marriage was born one child, Alta E. After the decease of Mr. Horth, Mrs. Horth became Mrs. Wheeler, as above stated. Mrs. Wheeler is a member of the Congregational Church, and is a lady of intelligence and culture.
In politics, Mr. Wheeler is a reliable Republican, though he cast his first vote for the chief executive for a Democrat, Franklin Pierce. In the councils and conventions of his party he has been an active participant. His fellow-townsmen, in recognition of his ability, have called upon him to fill a number of official positions. For four terms he was a member of the County Board of Supervisors; Side-Supervisor one term; and for two years was Assessor of his town. Since 1881 he has been President of the Plymouth Farmers' Fire Insurance Association; for thirteen years in succession he was Clerk of the School Board of Plymouth; and four eighteen years he was officially connected with the County Fair, holding all the offices from the presidency down. Socially, Mr. Wheeler is a member of the Masonic fraternity.
Though a man of well-defined convictions, our subject is not aggressive. His views on any subject are not difficult to ascertain, but he accords to others the same right to think and act independently as he demands for himself.
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