Wheeler Name Study

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Surname/tag: Wheeler
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This is a One Name Study to collect together in one place everything about the surname Wheeler and its variants. As of the end of December 2017, the Wheeler Name Study contains 2,993 profiles (click here for current total).

This study was started by Lisa Murphy trying to find an almost completely unknown part of her family, "I know the family has at least one war hero and many, many members. I love learning about where we come from and who added to our heritage. Come join me and lets find, not only each other, but also all those who helped us be here to find them."

Feel free to add categories to your profiles, add your questions to the bulletin board, add details of your name research, etc.

Please add '''{{One Name Study | name = Wheeler | category = Wheeler_Name_Study }} to the profiles. This will put it in the study and add the sticker to the profile.


Origin of the Wheeler Name

If one does a cursory google search of the Wheeler name, they might be lead to believe the name Wheeler refers to an occupation, that of a maker of wheels. However, the Wheeler name has a much more rich and meaningful beginning than a person who made wheels. In his book The Genealogy of the Wheeler Family (Washington, D.C., 1919) William Wheeler describes the beginnings of the Wheeler name as follows:[1]

Away back in the days of the Teutons, there was among them in one of their communities a great giant of a man noted far his bravery and fearlessness as a warrior, who, "because of the good fortune which seemed always with him in his daring exploits, his neighbors called the "wela hari" or "Welhar - the lucky warrior. When this personage lived I know not "[2]

In his book, The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler Family in America (American College of Genealogy, Boston, Massachusetts, 1914), Albert Wheeler provides a more academic look at the origin of the name, The story told by William Wheeler is notable when looking at Albert Wheelers analysis of the early spelling "Wielher."

"The name first appears in history in the eighth century, when one of the Saxon chieftains is recorded as bearing the name "Wielher". . . [which is] "a compound of two Anglo-Saxon words "wel" or " wiel" meaning "prosperous" or "fortunate," from which derivation the modem word "weaP" and "wealth" may be traced; and the Anglo- Saxon word "hari" or "heri" a warrior, a root traceable in the modern word "hero." The present spelling of the family name "Wheeler" therefore, is a spelling of words which in their modem form would be "Weal-Hero" or in the Anglo-Saxon words "wel-hari." The meaning of the family name, therefore, is clearly "the lucky warrior," or "the prosperous hero."[3]

Each of the Wheeler authors take a different approach to describing the early origins of the Wheeler name. Both however, agree the Wheeler name owes its origin, not to a mere maker of wheels but instead to a great giant of a man, know as the Lucky Warrior.

Both Wheeler authors present a picture of colonial American with many Wheeler families.

[Wheeler families] were among the early emigrants to this country [and] were exceedingly numerous. They settled principally in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia. "Between 1650 and 1680," says Shattuck, "there were in Concord, Mass., alone, thirty distinct Wheeler families." And Parmer records as an interesting fact that twenty-six of the name had graduated from New England colleges in 1826.[4]

Albert Wheeler notes that in Colonial records, the variations in spelling the old "Wel-hari" name are as follows: Weler and Weeler; Wheler, Whelir and Whelor; Whaler(which has nothing to do with whaling) and Whalor; Wheef (probably a misspelling), Wheelar and Wheeler; Whealer and Whealor; Wheller, and Wheter (which is probably a misspelling).[5]

Both sources suggest that while there were many Wheeler names, the families were not all related. Albert Wheeler makes a final observation about the origin of the Wheeler name, and more importantly the people who bore the name:

Bearers of any of the above names, however, may be reasonably sure of tracing back their ancestry to a Teutonic origin, and may rightfully think of their forbears as having been men and women of a rugged warlike race, fortunate upon the battle-field and prosperous upon their home estates, whose principal characteristic in those semi-barbaric times was that of solid worth. To this, the elapsing centuries have added honor and renown in many fields, and in America it is doubtful if any family can show a loftier standard or a more untarnished shield that can that one whose members, scattered throughout every State in the union, bear the name of "Wheeler"

The rich history of the Wheeler name and how its evolved over time may be demonstrated here on Wiki Tree by tracing the family of Thomas Wheeler. One can trace Thomas descendants forward to some of the first Wheeler families in America. However, one can also start at the profile of Thomas in the year 1561 and journey back in time through 25 generations of Wheeler families and arrive in the year 819 at the profile of Thomas B Wielher. While many of the profiles lack sources, this long line of profiles demonstrates some possible interesting changes in the Wheeler name over the years. This line is highlighted not for its genealogy accuracy but as an example of how the Wheeler name may have evolved over time.

Wheeler Immigrants to America

Some of the earliest Wheeler families in America where

  • Henry Wheeler - Was born 4 Sep 1604 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, , England and had a son born in Virginia in 1627. He died 1693 in Isle of Wight, Virginia, United States.
  • Thomas Wheeler - born in 1602, in England. He first appears in 1635, in Lynn, Massachusetts Colony, when he was elected constable and held other official positions while he live there (b.15 Mar 1602 in Hampshire England to d. 6 Mar 1686 in No. Stonington, New London, Connecticut)
  • Capt, Thomas Wheeler - He may nave come to America with the Rev. John Jones Company, in the ship Defiance, which landed in New England Oct. 3, 1635, with his wife, children and most probably some grandchildren. He was in Concord as early as April 17, 1636- 7, when he was made freeman there.(b. 8 Apr 1620 in Bedfordshire, England and 26 Nov 1672 in Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States)
  • Moses Wheeler - sailed from London in 1638, and settled in the New Haven colony. (b.1598 in Kent, England to d. 15 Jan 1698 in Stratford, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA)
  • George Wheeler - George Wheeler came to Concord [Middlesex County,Massachusetts Bay Colony] about the year 1638 with his wife Katherine and several children (b.25 Mar 1605 in Wharley, Cranfield, Bedfordshire to d. 2 Jun 1687 in Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts)
  • Isaac Wheeler (b. 13 Sep 1607 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England to d. 1712 in Charlestown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA)
  • John Wheeler - John arrived in Maryland in January, 1652, on the ship "Thomas and John", under the command of Captain William Mitche (b, before 22 Jan 1630 in Wiltshire/Bedfordshire, England to d. before 8 Jan 1694 in Charles Co., MD)
  • William Wheeler (b. 30 Jan 1630 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England to d. 31 Dec 1683 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts)

The Many Men Named Thomas in Colonial Connecticut

This section is under construction Thomas Bentley was one of the first Wheeler names to appear in America. Thomas Wheeler whose name appear first in Massachusetts in 1635 and Capt, Thomas Wheeler believed to have come to America in 1635 and was in Connecticut in April 1636. The following are some Thomas Wheeler profiles found in early colonial America (its not a complete list and changes as merges take place or new information is discovered)

  1. Thomas, "The Elder" was born 1561 in Cranfield, died 1635 Cranfield. While this Thomas only lived in England, two of his sons died in Connecticut.
    1. Thomas the oldest son was born 1591 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire. England and died on 16 Jul 1654 in Fairfield, Fairfield County, Connecticut. He married Ann (Halsey) Wheeler on 5 May 1613 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire. They also had a son named Thomas
      1. Thomas Wheeler (son of Wheeler-197) born 8 Dec 1621 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire died 24 Dec 1704 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts. He married twice Sarah (Meriam) Wheeler and Ann (Halsey) Wheeler
    2. Thomas born 1620 in Bedfordshire, England and died 1676 in Milford, New Haven, Connecticut. Married to Ruth (Wood) Wheeler
  2. Thomas of Stonington, CT Born 15 Mar 1602 in Hampshire England and died 6 Mar 1686 in No. Stonington, New London, Connecticut. Married a Mary.
  3. Captn Thomas (born 8 Apr 1620 in Bedfordshire, England (parents currently unknown) died 26 Nov 1672 in Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, United States. He married of Joan (Bryan) Wheeler

Wheeler Sources


  1. Wheeler, William. The Genealogy of the Wheeler Family (Washington, D.C., 1919) Page
  2. Wheeler, William: Page
  3. Wheeler, Albert Gallatin The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler Family in America (American College of Genealogy, Boston, Massachusetts, 1914)Page
  4. Wheeler, William: Page 24.
  5. Wheeler, Albert page xiii

Memories: 4
Enter a personal reminiscence or story.
Thanks, everyone, for all of the any Wheeler stories and contributions. Wheeler is my surname, and I directly descended from:

Thomas Wheeler - b. 1737/38 in Virginia; buried in Bedford County, Virginia - John Wheeler - b. in Virginia; buried in Roddy Cemetery in Blount County, Tennessee (Roddy was his 3rd wife) -- John A. Wheeler - b. in Tennessee; migrated to Alabama when the Cherokee nation was incorporated into Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee & North Carolina. He and his wife, Millie Mayes, migrated to Arkansas around 1856. --- Gardner Wheeler - b. in Tennessee; remained in Palestine/Borden Springs, Alabama, after his family migrated to Arkansas. He is buried in the Borden Springs Church of Christ cemetery. He is my gr-gr-gr-grandfather.

My understanding is that there has always been a roadblock at Thomas Wheeler (b. Virginia, 1737/38). But I received some info from the Wheeler Cousins folk who advised that a book has been published (sorry, the title escapes me) concerning the Wheelers of Virginia, and this fellow ties Thomas back into the ancestry of David Wheeler, born in Salisbury, England, and who came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony around 1635. I've heard positive and negative feedback concerning this lineage. I currently have my Wikitree tied into this line. I'm wondering if anyone has an idea of how valid this lineage may be.

Thank you, again, everyone.

posted 30 Sep 2019 by Darren Wheeler   [thank Darren]
John Wheeler, born 1629 in England and died in Charles County, Maryland, married Mary Causine and had a son, Francis Wheeler, born about 1670 in Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland. Francis married Winifred Greene on August 28, 1690 and had a daughter, Mary Wheeler, born November 14, 1693 in Prince George's County, Maryland. She married Joseph Noble II at St. John's Parish, Maryland. They had nine children that I know of. One of them being my ancestor.
posted 1 Apr 2017 by Eileen (Warren) Hook   [thank Eileen]
Thanks for starting a Name Study for Wheelers. I just added https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wheeler-10044

I'm related to the Wheelers on my mother's side. The above Wheeler is my road block. If anyone can help me find sources for his patents Id appreciate it.

I also started the Bentley One Name project so Id be happy to discuss one name studies as well. Check out the Bentley One here https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Bentley_Name_Study


posted 30 Nov 2016 by John Bentley   [thank John]
Obadiah Wheeler (1650-1715)

Obadiah died after March 28, 1712 at which time he and his wife Elizabeth conveyed half of their estate to their son Obadiah.

Obadiah and Elizabeth had at least 9 children: Obadiah, Josiah, Uriah, Samuel, Jonathan, Elizabeth, Joseph, Benjamin and Joshua.

Obadiah married Elizabeth White in Concord, MA on July 17, 1672.

- findagrave #108588291

  • * * * * * *

This memorial links to that of his father, Obadiah Wheeler (1608-1671) which includes this comment:

Married his possible cousin Susannah Wheeler and probably had a second marriage.

Obadiah's will was dated October 6, 1671, "aged about three score and three years". The will of Obadiah Wheeler was imperfect in that it was not witnessed, and administration of his estate was granted to "Thomas Wheeler the kinsman and John Wheeler the son" of the testator. The document names "son Joshua first born and heir;" 2nd son Samuel"; "son Obadiah"; "son John"; "youngest son Josiah, and daughter Susanna".

  • * * * * * *

This memorial links to "The Wheeler Families of Old Concord, Massachusetts" at http://www.concordlibrary.org/scollect/wheeler.htm#Obadiah

posted 13 Jan 2016 by Ramona (Larson) Pekarek   [thank Ramona]
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Comments: 14

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Hi there, I am Dee Hicketts-Young and also new to WikiTree. I have Wheelers' in my tree. My George Wheeler was 40 years old in the 1881 Census in Manchester, Lancashire, England. Married to Ellen Wheeler aged 39 who was born in Warrington, Lancashire, England. George was a Japaner and worked in the potteries. He moved from Birmingham to work in the glass industry in Warrington. This family has a colourful history and I would love to find out more about their sons who became Gymnasts on the Music Hall circuit (my grandmother Hannah was a maid looking after the children of the acts - or so I am lead to believe) and a brother who emigrated to America.

Would love to hear from anyone with advice on how to go forward with this. Thank you.

Hello! I am Terri Wheeler Roberts and just joined Wikitree. I would like to be in the Wheeler Name Study but am not sure how?? I have my Wheeler side traced back to Henry Wheler, born approx. 1482, married to Alice Sugar. I'm also having trouble adding in ancestors as their profile already exists and they need to be merged. Any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks!
I just adopted a Wheeler Study orphaned profile and it lacks source information. I haven't made any changes to the profile but did add the unsourced template and a research note as the only source- a web url- went straight to a page not found. I left the source in a notes section so it doesn't get lost. I am working on a Breed name study (on my own, not WikiTree) and this person is married to someone I am currently studying. I will discuss any/all changes before making any edits.


Welcome back Lisa!!!!
posted by T Counce
William Wheeler (est 1760- known 1798) (Wheeler-99820) is my (suspected) 4th great-grandfather and was spouse of Barbara Ream (Ream-247), Berks County, PA. A last name spelling of Wuhler in a marriage document and I've found a couple times him referred to as a first name "Wilhelm", as the deputy surveyor of Berks County. The area is known to have been popular with German immigrants. I'm researching the possibility that he was a Wuhler or Wuler and changed his name to Wheeler. Another possibility is the recording was simply done with a German accent and his original last name was Wheeler. We cant find documentation of his parents. Any help on the subject is much appreciated.
posted by Jack Wheeler
Just a heads up, most of the new profiles going in and that have recently been added, need some love. They are from as far back as early 2011 and have not been worked on since they were entered. I will be getting to them eventually but any help in the meantime would be awesome.
posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy

According to my information on Ancestry.com George Wheeler, born appx. 1500 in Marston, Bedford, England is my 14th Great- Grandfather. The only information I have for a wife is Elizabeth. My 12th GGF, John Wheeler also has wife listed only as Elizabeth. Ann Halsey and Thomas Wheeler are listed as my 10th Great Grandparents. There are also Connections through/ into the Crane Family. I Believe they start with the Sarah Crane, that married Joseph Wheeler. I would Appreciate any Assistance with the Accuracy of my information. Thank You So Much.

Thanks for the message Dave. The section on the 7 Thomas profiles had not kept up with merges, etc. I believe I have updated to reflect what the profiles currently reflect. Since the name Thomas appears so many times in colonial america, I thought this section might had some clarification. If it adds to the confusion, I might take it out all together. Thanks for pointing out it needed some work.
posted by John Bentley
Merger of Wheeler-9580 and Wheeler-197 has taken place, but the section below on the 7 Thomases seems to state he had 2 sons named Thomas. But he only had one, Wheeler-579 (the second one listed). That description mistakenly says one of his wives was Ann Halsey. His profile correctly lists his wives as Sarah Meriam and Sarah Beers Stearns. In addition, Wheeler-5954 was born 1602 and died 1602. Why merge w/ Wheeler-197? Thank you. Jenkins-761.
posted by Dave Jenkins
I am a descendent of Wheelers. My question is how this surname (in any of its forms) be used before about 1400 since surnames were not used in England prior to that time. Is there any documentation for this?
posted by Taylor Ruhl