George A. Wheeler

Geo. A. Wheeler. Came in 1873, landing in Grand Forks on Thanksgiving day, from Mille Lac county, Minn. He settled upon land just below town and resided there till a few years ago when he moved to the city. He was here with Gen. Sibley’s expedition in 1862. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Friday Morning, December 11, 1891, Volume XXI, Number 35, Page 2)

Page 811. GEORGE A. WHEELER, one of the pioneers of Grand Forks, North Dakota, is now living in retirement and is one of the honored citizens of that region. He was born in Worchester county, Massachusetts, September 28, 1832. The parents of our subject, Aaron and Hannah (Dane) Wheeler, were natives, respectively, of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. His father was a stone cutter and owned a quarry and passed his life in Massachusetts. The grandparents of our subject, on the paternal side, were descendents of Elisher Wheeler, a resident of Lexington, who served in the Revolutionary war, at Bunker Hill and Valley Forge. Our subject had one brother, Horace E., who served in the Thirty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers and was in the service three years and died in Massachusetts many years after the close of the war.

Mr. Wheeler was reared and educated in his native state and lived there and followed various occupations until 1857, when he went to Minnesota, then a territory, and settled in Dakota county and assumed charge of a lumber yard at Nininger until the breaking out of the Civil war. In 1862 he enlisted in Company F, Seventh Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and served three years. His regiment was sent to quell the Indian uprising in Minnesota in 1863 and assisted in the capture of the Indians and their hanging at Mankato. They then were with General Sibley on the Missouri river and returned to Minnesota in September, and in October were sent south. The first engagement was at Tupelo, Mississippi, and then followed campaigning in Arkansas and Mississippi. They were with General Thomas at Nashville and then moved to Mobile bay, assisting in the capture of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, and then marched northwest to the Mississippi river and were finally taken to their homes by boat up the river. Our subject was discharged from the service at Fort Snelling, in August, 1865, and he then moved to Princeton, Minnesota, and followed farming there eight years. He came to Dakota in 1873 and entered claim to land one mile north of Grand Forks and after proving his claim entered another, which he still owns.

Page 812. He was in the employ of the Hudson’s Bay Company and had charge of their saw-mill there for two years. He then followed agricultural pursuits for some years, but for the past twelve years has lived in retirement and has a comfortable competence. Our subject was married, in 1858, to Ellen Mudgett, a native of Maine. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler, as follows: Mary E., now Mrs. R. Reeves; George A., Jr., Ella M., now Mrs. T. J. Devitt, and Grace, now Mrs. N. M. Shaw. Mr. Wheeler was appointed county superintendent of schools upon the organization of Grand Forks county, and was later elected to that office. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity and G. A. R. Politically, he is a life-long Republican. He is one of the oldest settlers of North Dakota and is highly respected and esteemed by his many friends throughout the state. (Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1900)

DEATH OF EARLY SETTLER. George A. Wheeler, Sr., Dies After an Illness of Little More Than Month. George A. Wheeler, Sr., who for 30 years had been one of the prominent residents of Grand Forks, died at the family home on South Fourth street, shortly before 9 o’clock yesterday morning, following an illness of a little more than a month, of a general breaking down of an unusually rugged constitution. George A. Wheeler, Sr., was born in Massachusetts Sept. 28, 1832, and was but a few weeks over 70 years of age at the time of his death. In early life he came to Minnesota, and settled at Hastings, where he was married. Later the family moved to Princeton and were located at that place at the breaking out of the civil war. Mr. Wheeler enlisted in Company F, Seventh Minnesota regiment and served until the close of the war. In 1872 the family reached Grand Forks, locating on a government claim on a part of which the suburb of Riverside Park is now located. The deceased acquired another farm west of the city, selling much of this property in the boom days of 1880. He was one of the charter members of Willis A. Gorman Post, G. A. R., and for many years had held the position of quartermaster. Early during his residence in Grand Forks he became a member of Acacia lodge No. 3, A. F. and A. M., and for a dozen or more years had held the position of treasurer.

The deceased was a familiar character in Grand Forks during his 30 years’ residence, and had been prominently identified with the growth and development of the city during that period. He was a man of the strictest integrity and for a number of years was a member of the board of county commissioners. A widow and four children, George A. Wheeler, Jr., Miss Grace Wheeler, Mrs. Dr. Devitt, and Mrs. Robert Reeves, are the surviving members of the family who in their bereavement have the sympathy of many friends. Mrs. Harry Tenney, living at Torrington, Conn., and Mrs. John Barry, living in New York City, are sisters. The funeral will be held from the family residence, 302 South Fourth street at 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon, and will be under the auspices of Acacia lodge A. F. and A. M., of which the deceased was prominently identified for many years. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Saturday Morning, December 6, 1902, Volume 22, Number 33, Page 8).


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