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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Wheeler

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 228-232 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The Wheeler family is of English origin. It is recorded that during the reign of Charles II. (1649-1685) Sir Charles Wheeler was appointed "Captain General of the Caribee Islands," and that in 1693 the English fleet under command of Sir Francis Wheeler put into Boston to recruit. Orcutt, the historian of Stratford, Connecticut, says "Wheelers were in and around London four hundred years."

Between 1620 and 1650 many families of the name came from England and settled in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia. In Hotten's Lists of Emigrants to America, 1600-1700, it is stated that Henrie Wheeler embarked at London, May 16, 1635, in the "Plaine Joane," for Virginia; that July 24, 1635, John Wheeler embarked in the "Assurance" from London for Virginia; that August 1, 1679, John Wheeler, junior, sailed on the ship "Returne" from New England. There was a John Wheeler in Newbury, Massachusetts, whom, Savage [James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England] says, "came in the 'Mary and John' in 1634." His will (1668) mentions children and grandchildren here, and sons Adam, Edward and William in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. George Joseph and Obadiah Wheeler were among the early settlers of Concord, Massachusetts, and may have been members of the first party that settled therein 1635. There was a Thomas Wheeler in Boston in 1636; an Isaac in Charlestown in 1643; a Joseph in Newbury, who died in 1659; a Thomas in Lynn in 1642; a Moses in Stratford, Connecticut, whom Orcutt says was born in Kent, England, in 1598. Shallick says that between 1650 and 1680 there were in Concord alone thirty distinct families of the name. Parmee records as an interesting fact that twenty-six of the name graduated from New England colleges in 1826. The name is particularly distinguished in medicine, and is a noted one in military history.

(I) The line of Dr. John Thorne Wheeler begins with George Wheeler, who came from England to Concord, Massachusetts, about 1640, and died before June 2, 1687. He married Katherine, who died at Concord, January 2, 1684.

(II) Thomas, son of George and Katherine Wheeler, was born in England, died before September 21, 1687. He married, October 10, 1657, Hannah Harrod.

(III) Thomas (2), son of Thomas (1) and Hannah (Harrod) Wheeler, was born at Concord, Massachusetts, January 1, 1659, died there October 21, 1734; married, November 13, 1695, Sarah Davis, born March 11, 1555-6, died August 5, 1728.

(IV) Thomas (3), son of Thomas (2) and Sarah (Davis) Wheeler, was born at Concord, August 14, 1696, died January 21, 1769; married (first) Mary ————, died March 18, 1740.

(V) Henry, son of Thomas (3) and Mary Wheeler, was born September 11, 1717. He married Deborah Underhill, born August 6, 1723, and settled in Dutchess county, New York.

(VI) Thomas (4), son of Henry and Deborah (Underhill) Wheeler, was born October 23, 1752, died November 23, 1820. He married Elizabeth Connor, born March 19, 1750, died May 4, 1826. Children:

  1. Deborah, born December 21, 1774, died September 2, 1784;
  2. Rebecca, born January 20, 1777, died September 6, 1798;
  3. William, of whom further;
  4. Phoebe, born October 16, 1782;
  5. Henry, October 31, 1784;
  6. Thomas, February 25, 1787;
  7. Elizabeth, June 25, 1789, died at Pawtucket, Rhode Island, December 27, 1836, married Calvin Philleo.

(VII) William, son of Thomas (4) and Elizabeth (Connor) Wheeler, was born in Oyster Bay, Long Island, June 1, 1780, died December 17, 1851. He was a wheelwright and farmer of the town of Westerlo, Albany county, New York. He married Martha Thorne, born March 3, 1776, died July 21, 1833. Children:

  1. Samuel Smith, born July 16, 1801, died March 22, 1835; married Maria Boardman, died June 17, 1836; children:
    1. William Boardman, died December 19, 1841, aged fifteen years;
    2. Samuel Edwin, died March 21, 1855, in his twenty-first year.
  2. Phoebe Ann, born April 28, 1803, died at Hempstead (now Mineola), Long Island, May, 1862; married, October 5, 1826, George Jerome, manufacturer of agricultural implements, deceased.
  3. Alonzo Wheeler, born January 12, 1805, died in Albany, New York, January 21, 1867.
  4. Romelia, born April 10, 1807; married, October 22, 1833, Robert W. Murphy.
  5. Mary Eliza, born May 8, 1809; married, December 20; 1832, Solomon Crandall, a merchant, now deceased.
  6. William Connor, born June 21, 1811; married, October 21, 1852, Frances Wright Allen.
  7. Alexander Frazier, born July 18, 1813; a lawyer; died in Poughkeepsie, New York, August 16, 1863; married, March, 1841, Anna Elizabeth Barnes.
  8. Stephen Titus, born May 9, 1815; enlisted in the civil war and is believed to have been killed at the battle of Chancellorsville.
  9. Joseph Thorne, of whom further. 10. Thomas Barnes, born April 11, 1820, died in Albany, New York, June 18, 1862; married, December 30, 1851, Rebecca C. Markle.

The above sons were all members of the agricultural implement firm of Wheeler, Melick & Co., the endless chain inventors and patentees.

(VIII) Joseph Thorne, son of William and Martha (Thorne) Wheeler, was born at Westerlo, Albany county, New York, September 23, 1817, died at Chatham, New York, June 1, 1856. He resided in Coxsackie and Chatham, and later, from 1849 to April 15, 1856, at Albany, New York, where he was the partner of Wheeler, Melick & Company, manufacturers of agricultural implements, corner of Hamilton and Liberty streets. Later the family removed to Chatham, New York, where he died June 1, 1856. He married, September 29, 1842, Mary Ann Backus, born in Chatham (one mile east of the village) December 1, 1821, died August 15, 1884. Children:

  1. Harriet, born at Chatham, New York, at the Backus homestead, August 15, 1847, and now lives at the old Wheeler homestead in Chatham.
  2. Dr. John Thorne, of whom further.
  3. Mary Crandall, born in Albany, New York, January 29, 1853, died at Chatham, May 14, 1883.

(IX) Dr. John Thorne Wheeler, only son of Joseph Thorne and Mary (Backus) Wheeler, was born at Albany, New York, December 30, 1850, died at Chatham, New York, December 3, 1908. His father's failing health necessitated his retirement from business, and a few months before his death he purchased a home in Chatham, where he died at the early age of thirty-nine years. Chatham was ever after the family home. John Thorne attended private schools in the village, and for one year was a clerk in the Columbia Bank. He prepared for college at schools in Claverack and Amenia, New York, entering Yale University, class of 1873. His health not being equal to the rigorous New Haven climate, he left Yale in his sophomore year and entered Cornell University, where he took special courses and later prepared for the practice of medicine with Dr. Edward R. Hun, of Albany, and there had some hospital experience. He then entered Bellevue Medical College, New York. Ill health continued seriously to interfere with his plans. His letters home written during his school and college years give pathetic evidence of his constant struggle to keep the frail body in condition to serve the active mind. In January, 1875, he was declared by a high medical authority in New York City as suffering incurably from tuberculosis. He returned to Chatham to die, but at once began to improve under the open air treatment he had prescribed for himself. He resumed his medical studies, was graduated M.D., and was a successful practitioner in Chatham the remainder of his life. After his graduation in 1875 there were few interruptions to his practice. Two seasons were spent in study in New York City and a few months in Europe for rest. In 1895 a serious bicycle accident, resulting in a long and critical illness, withheld him for several months from his usual activities; a few years later a recurrence of pulmonary trouble sent him by advice of physicians to the Adirondacks and thence to Asheville, North Carolina, and led to serious consideration of a change of residence to the western mountain region. At the end of three months, improved in health and convinced anew that his manner of life in Chatham had been on the whole beneficial, he came back to resume with indomitable courage his ministrations to his people.

Dr. Wheeler was greatly interested in education, and was the most potent influence in establishing the exceptionally fine school in which Chatham takes just pride, and had entered upon his tenth term of three years as a member of the village board of education. The securing of a good school library, the enlargement of its scope by the gift of Mr. Andrew Carnegie of $15,000 for the erection of a fine library building, were ends attained largely through his interest and energy. His ability in his profession was recognized far beyond the limits of his home town. He was a helpful member of the County Medical Society, and for some time its president; was vice-president of the State Medical Society, and a director of the Division of Communicable Diseases in the State Department of Health. He was also vice-president of the State Bank of Chatham, and a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal church. Although prevented from finishing the course at Yale, he was an intensely loyal Yale man, as evinced by his devotion to the University by sending his two sons there, and in attending whenever possible his class reunions, occasions which he greatly enjoyed and to which he was always heartily welcomed. He was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, and prominent in the Masonic order, having been made a Mason in 1877. Of the profound sorrow and sense of loss which Dr. Wheeler's death occasioned, many testimonials are borne in the local papers of Chatham and Albany, in the Bulletin of the State Department of Health, and in heartfelt tributes from his associates in the profession and from numberless friends. A fitting tribute was in the resting of the remains for a brief period in the beautiful library building which stands as an especial monument to his untiring and persistent energy. He was given a Masonic burial service by his brethren of Columbia Lodge, No. 98, Free and Accepted Masons, conducted by Senator Smith of Albany, past district deputy grand master, after which his remains were returned to the family for private interment. Many noted physicians from Albany and New York City were present to pay their last respects to their honored brother. All business was suspended in Chatham between the hours of two and four p. m.

Dr. Wheeler married, in 1881, Gertrude Lake, of Chatham, born at Shokan, Ulster county, New York, June 20, 1858. They had one son, Thorne Lake, born June 8, 1888, prepared for college at the Chatham School and Albany Boys Academy, and entered Yale University, whence he was graduated in the class of 1909.

On the death of a dear friend, Dr. William Duncan, of New York City, his son, William Wheeler Duncan, became the adopted son of Dr. and Mrs. Wheeler. He attended the Chatham School, completed his college preparation at Hotchkiss school, Lakeville, Connecticut, and was graduated at Yale University in the class of 1902.

Gertrude (Lake) Wheeler survives her husband, a resident of Chatham, as does his sister Harriet Wheeler.

(Colonial ancestry of Dr. John Thorne Wheeler)

Robert Feke came to Massachusetts Bay in the fleet with Governor Winthrop in 1630. He married Elizabeth, widow of Henry Winthrop, son of Governor Winthrop, daughter of Thomas and Anne (Winthrop) Pones, of London. She was also a niece of Governor John and first cousin of Henry Winthrop, her first husband. Among the children of Robert and Elizabeth Feke was a daughter Hannah, who married May 7, 1656, John Bovine, from Matlock, England, son of Thomas Bowne, born 1595, at Matlock, Derbyshire, England.

(II) John, son of Thomas Bowne, was born 1627, at Matlock, England, died 1695. He married (first) Hannah Feke. They were residents of Southold, Long Island. Hannah was a zealous member of the Society of Friends, and had "received a gift in the ministry." Her husband embraced that faith, and they together visited England in 1675-76, holding service in Ireland, England and Holland. She died January 31, 1677-8, at the residence of John and Mary Elson, at the Peele meeting place in St. John street, London. She was buried in the Friend's burial place in Cheque Alley, Bunhill Fields, but her grave is unmarked. Among their eight children was Samuel.

(III) Samuel, son of John and Hannah (Feke) Bowne, was born 1667; married Mary Becket.

(IV) Mary, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Becket) Bowne, married, 1698, John Keese.

(V) John (2), son of John (1) and Mary (Bowne) Keese was born 1729; married, 1750, Elizabeth Titus.

(VI) Sarah, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Titus) Keese, born 1750, died 1845; married Joseph Thorne, born 1745, died 1819.

(VII) Martha, daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Keese) Thorne, married William Wheeler.

(VIII) Joseph Thorne, son of William and Martha (Thorne) Wheeler, was born September 23, 1817, died June 1, 1856; married, September 29, 1842, Mary Ann Backus.

(IX) Dr. John Thorne, son of Joseph and Mary Ann (Backus) Wheeler, married Gertrude Lake.

(X) Thorne Lake, son of Dr. John Thorne and Gertrude (Lake) Wheeler, born at Chatham, New York, June 8, 1888.

(The Titus Line)

Elizabeth Titus, wife of John Keese (2-q. v.), was a descendant of Robert Titus, first of the name in America, who was born in England in 1600, probably in St. Catherine's parish, near Standard Abbey, thirty miles north of London. He embarked for America, April 3, 1635, with wife Hannah and two children. He first settled in Boston (Brookline) then in Weymouth. In 1644 he removed to Rehoboth, where he was court commissioner. He got in trouble with the authorities for harboring a Quaker, and in 1654 removed to Long Island. His son Edmund settled in Old Westbury. He became a member of the Society of Friends, for which he suffered much persecution. He married Martha Washburn. Their eldest son, Samuel, was born June, 1658, married (second) Elizabeth, daughter of John Bowne and widow of John Prior. Their son, Samuel Titus (2), married Mary Jackson, a descendant of Richard Jackson, who had a grant of land in Southold, Long Island in 1640.

Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Jackson) Titus, married John Keese (2), son of John and Mary (Bowne) Keese. Sarah, daughter of John and Elizabeth Keese, married Joseph Thorne, and they were the parents of Martha Thorne, wife of William Wheeler, the grandparents of Dr. John Thorne Wheeler.

(The Underhill Line)

Deborah Underhill, wife of Henry Wheeler (V), was a descendant of Captain John Underhill, born in Harwichshire, England, came with Governor Winthrop to America in 1630. He married (second) Elizabeth Winthrop, daughter of Henry, son of Governor Winthrop and Elizabeth (Pones) Winthrop. Elizabeth (Pones) Winthrop later became the wife of Robert Feke (or Feake), through whom Dr. Wheeler traced another line of colonial descent. Captain Underhill took a prominent part in all the Indian wars of his time, freely exposing himself in hand-to-hand encounters with the savage foe. He had seen service in the Netherlands during the war of that country before he was selected in 1630 to drill and command the Boston militia. Notwithstanding his life of warfare and hard fighting, Captain Underhill became in his latter days a respected and sincere member of the peace-loving Society of Friends. He was a freeman of Boston, 1630, and subsequently of New Haven, Connecticut, Southold, Long Island, Greenwich, Connecticut, and in 1667 purchased one hundred fifty acres of land from the Indians at Killingworth, Connecticut. One line of descent from Captain Underhill is through his son, Nathaniel.

(II) Nathaniel, son of Captain John and Elizabeth (Winthrop) Underhill, born 1663, married, 1685, Mary Ferris.

(III) Thomas, son of Nathaniel and Mary (Ferris) Underhill, married Phoebe Davenport.

(IV) Charity, daughter of Thomas and Phoebe (Davenport) Underhill, was born about 1752. She had three husbands, of whom the first was Joseph Thorne.

(V) Joseph (2), son of Joseph (1) and Charity (Underhill) Thorne, married Sarah Keese.

(VI) Martha, daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Keese) Thorne, married William Wheeler, and they were the grandparents of Dr. John Thorne Wheeler.

(The Montagne Line)

Gertrude Lake, wife of Dr. John Wheeler, as a lineal descendant of Dr. Johannes de la Montagne, born at Saintas, Province of Santoigne, West France, educated in medicine at Leyden University, Holland. Here he became acquainted with Jesse De Forrest, the originator of the famous "Leyden petition" to the English government in 1622 for permission for himself and sixty families to emigrate to Virginia. Among the sixty was Monsieur Jean La Montagne, "Student of Medicine." This matter fell through for want of encouragement from the British government, and De Forrest then negotiated with the West India Company and in 1623 with thirty families sailed in the ship "New Netherlands," and landed in New Amsterdam, making the first permanent settlement there after the trading station. La Montagne accompanied the party being (it is supposed) engaged to the young daughter of De Forrest. Jesse De Forrest died and his family returned with Montagne to Holland. He continued his studies, obtained his degree, and married Rachel De Forrest in the Leyden church. He again emigrated to New Netherlands in 1637, and seems to have interested himself more in the public affairs of the colony than in the practice of his profession. His wife died and he married (second) in 1647, widow Agnes Storm (born Ten Woert), who bore him sons Gillis and Jesse. The children by first wife were Jolant, Jesse, John, Rachel and Mavis.

(II) John, son of Dr. Jean and Rachel (De Forrest) La Montagne, was born in 1632, died 1672-3; married, in Holland, Petronelle Pikes, and had John, Vincent, Necissus, Alvan, Jelente, Isaac, Petronelle and Johanna.

(III) Vincent, son of John and Petronelle (Pikes) La Montagne, born in New Amsterdam, April 29, 1659, married Adriana Aiken.

(IV) Thomas, son of Vincent and Adriana (Aiken) La Montagne, married Rebecca Bruyn.

(V) Vincent (2), son of Thomas and Rebecca (Bruyn) La Montagne, married Catherine Howe.

(VI) Peter, son of Vincent (2) and Catherine (Howe) La Montagne, was born December 25, 1757, in New York, died 1828. He was a soldier of the revolution, serving in Colonel Philip Van Cortland's regiment. He married Gertrude Keator.

(VII) Isaac, son of Peter and Gertrude (Keator) La Montagne, married Mary Longyear.

(VIII) Gertrude, daughter of Isaac and Mary (Longyear) La Montagne, born 1810, died 1841, married Thomas Hill.

(IX) Eliza, daughter of Thomas and Gertrude (La Montagne) Hill, married Rundell J. Lake.

(X) Gertrude, daughter of Rundell J. and Eliza (Hill) Lake, married Dr. John Thorne Wheeler, whom she survives, a resident of Chatham, New York.

(X) Thorne Lake, only son of Dr. John Thorne and Gertrude (Lake) Wheeler, born June 8, 1888; unmarried; now in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, class of 1911.

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