Wheeler Surname Genealogy
conventional and usual explanation of the Wheeler name is that it is
occupational, describing a master wheel-maker or wheelwright. The
root here was the Old English word hweogol
or hweol meaning
However, there is an alternative explanation: that
the word comes from the Anglo-Saxon combination of words wel and hari meaning “lucky/prosperous
Wheeler Resources on
- The Wheeler Family
Wheelers in Ireland.
- Wheeler Family Genealogy
Early Wheelers in Dutch New York.
- Wheeler 1820 Settlers
Wheelers in South Africa.
- Wheeler DNA Project
is clearly a name of southern England. Early
records of the name were John le Whelare in Worcestershire in 1275;
Hugh le Welere
in Cambridgeshire in 1279; and Gilbert Whyler in Surrey in
1351. Later concentrations of the name
suggest two focuses – one around London and another southwest in a line
running north from Hampshire into
Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire.
Wheler family with a coat
of arms were said to have been seated in Worcestershire since the early
1300’s. The first recorded was
William Wheler who through marriage came into possession of the Martin
1541. John Wheler, a goldsmith in
London, sold the estate in 1619. Later
Whelers of his line became baronets:
- the main branch based themselves at Birdingbury in
- while other Whelers, Royalists who briefly went into exile, were
to be found at Charing near Ashford in Kent. This line included Sir George
Wheler who undertook a tour of Europe in the 1670’s which
extended as far as Constantinople. He was an early travel
has had the largest number of
Wheelers in the southwest. The Wheelers
of Millcourt manor in Binsted dated from the early 1600’s.
The Wheeler name was particularly common on
the Isle of Wight. One family line was
traced back to 1475 and William Willier at Freshwater.
The spelling changed over time from Willier
to Whillier to Wheeler.
The 18th century saw the rise of the notorious Wheeler
smuggling gang on the Isle of Wight – from their base at Box Cottage on
Chale Bay. James Wheeler, not maybe
connected to the
smuggling, kept track of the shipwrecks there.
He recorded sixty shipwrecks at Chale Bay between 1746 and 1808. Robert
engage in a little
Rev. Jonas Wheeler, born in 1543, served as chaplain to Queen Elizabeth
appointed Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin in 1594. He died in Ireland in his 97th year in
1640. Our line from him in county
Kildare were mainly medical men, two of whom attained the Presidency of
Irish College of Surgeons. There were
also English Wheeler branches in Limerick and Kilkenny.
Wheeler’s 1914 book History of the
Wheeler Family in America provided extensive coverage of the
Wheeler lines in New England.
New England. One
point for these Wheelers was Concord, Massachusetts.
The Wheelers from Cranfield in Bedfordshire
were congregating there in the 1630’s and 1640’s. The
relationship between George, Obadiah, and
Timothy Wheeler is not quite clear, but they were all clearly related. And Obadiah had married his cousin Susannah
George was a selectman in 1660. His
house lot was at the present
corner of Main and Walden Streets, together with Timothy Wheeler’s. Many
of his descendants remained in Concord. Some
were to be found at Shrewsbury by the
1730’s, others at Grafton nearby (including the unfortunate
There were later lines in New Hampshire and Vermont. Meanwhile Thomas Wheeler had
arrived earlier than his brother George
and made his home at Lynn where he operated a gristmill.
There was a Captain Thomas Wheeler of
uncertain origins at Concord by 1640. He
was later trading with the Indians along the Merrimac river. Although he was constantly moving
kept his home base in Concord and died there in 1676.
John Wheeler from Wiltshire came to
Newbury, Massachusetts with his family around 1634. His
son David arrived on the Confidence four years later
Sarah Wise there in 1650. The 1984 book Wheeler Cousins covered his lineage.
There were also early Wheelers in Connecticut:
Wheeler from Kent came around 1638 and
first settled at New Haven and then in Stratford. Moses became a
sizeable landowner there and died in 1698 at the grand age of
100. A descendant Nathaniel Wheeler was a pioneer in the
manufacture of sewing machines in the mid-19th century.
Thomas Wheeler, formerly of Lynn, later
settled in Stonington where he died.
Wheeler Homestead on Wheeler Road in Stonington was built by Thomas’s
in 1687 and remained with the Wheeler family from that time. Sadly the homestead burned to the ground in
Edward or Evard Wheeler came
to Dutch New York sometime in the 1680’s and to land along the Hudson
south of Fort Orange. He made his
at Kinderhook. Within two generations
this family had spread up and down the Hudson on both sides of the
river. George Wheeler of this family was a
who fled to New Brunswick in Canada after the Revolutionary War and
line from immigrant Moses Wheeler who had settled in Stratford,
Joe Wheeler, a
General revered in the South.
born in Georgia, his roots were in Connecticut and he spent much of his
life there. However, when the Civil War
broke out, he joined the Confederate ranks and distinguished himself in
battle. After the war was over he moved to
and represented the town there, now known as Wheeler, no fewer than
times. Then in 1898 when war with Spain
broke out, Fighting Joe volunteered for service, even though he was
and was appointed the general in Cuba overseeing groups such as Teddy
Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.
West. The Wheeler name was a
prominent one in the history of the early West.
Included in their number were:
Ozias Wheeler had left Connecticut for Florida in 1844 and then took
California in 1849. He and his brother
Horace were early merchants in Los Angeles and he also started
first newspaper The Southern Californian.
His immigrant forebear was Thomas Wheeler of
Wheeler were English Mormons from Herefordshire who had made the trek
to Salt Lake
valley in 1852. The Henry J. Wheeler
farm in South Cottonwood, built by their son in 1898, is one of the few
19th century farmsteads extant in the Salt Lake valley.
H. Wheeler operated mail and stage lines
from the Dalles to Canyon City in Oregon territory in the 1860’s. Wheeler county in Oregon was named after
him. He came from Pennsylvania.
Wheeler served as US Marshal for
Montana territory from 1869 to 1878. He
had come West from upstate New York. His
grandfather Moses Wheeler had been a Revolutionary War soldier and
Sheriff of Orange county, New York.
- while Dr. Henry
Wheeler was one
of the best
physicians and surgeons in the Northwest in the 1880’s, making his home
Grand Rapids, North Dakota. His father
was a drover and stock raiser in Northfield, Minnesota and his line
to immigrant Thomas Wheeler in Concord, Massachusetts.
M. Wheeler was a pioneering explorer and
cartographer of the American West in the 1870’s, although he made his
Wheeler was the son of a fisherman and lived in the Black Gang area of
of Wight, a place once well-known for smuggling.
In 1885 he emigrated to the
Canadian Prairies, following his uncle who was already homesteading
there. By 1897 he had established his
Farm to grow wheat just outside Rosthern in Saskatchewan.
His innovative wheat seedlings and farming
methods made him famous and he was soon being called Canada’s Wheat
King. He would get some 700 visitors a
week to see
his farm during the 1920’s. He lived
South Africa. There were two
early Wheeler families in South Africa:
Wheeler and his family from
Wiltshire were among the 1820 settlers, one of Wilson’s party that came
out on La Belle Alliance. James
farmed near Grahamstown but died from
war wounds in 1831.
Thomas and Sarah came from Berkshire on the Susan in
1845 and made their home at
Middelburg in the Transvaal where they farmed. A
branch of the family trekked to new farming land in
Rhodesia in 1899.
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
George Wheler who
undertook a Grand Tour of Europe in the 1670’s was an early English
Joseph Wheeler was a Confederate cavalry general from 1862 to 1865
and a major general in the war against Spain in 1898.
was called Canada’s Wheat
King during the 1920’s.
is considered the father of modern British archaeology.
Charles Wheeler has
been the longest-serving BBC foreign correspondent, from 1947 until his
death in 2008.
Select Wheelers Today
- 33,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 49,000 in America (most numerous in California)
- 21,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)
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