St. Charles (Illinois) Chronicle, Aug. 12, 1904
"Passing In Review, Reminiscences of Men Who Have Been Residents of St. Charles." (Note: There are portions of the newspaper that have fallen away, so there will be blanks. This is likely available on microfilm at the St. Charles Library.)
James T. Wheeler - I remember one time hearing a man say that "no one but Jim Wheeler would ever have taken on that farm," meaning the homestead north of St. Charles, along the Fox river and Ferson's creek, so long occupied by that worthy gentleman and his family. The location was certainly commanding and the home was ideal. There was some timber, any quantity of gravel, some excellent meadow and a fair share of tillable land, and Mr. Wheeler certainly made the most of it. The site of the original log house on the place was a little below the present road, and a fin spring nearby furnished an abundance of pure water. There was much about the place to endear it to the heart of every member of the family. When the more pretentious brick house was built, a site was chosen on the summit of a gravel knoll, above the road, from which a splendid view of the valley could be obtained. The structure was put up on a somewhat rambling plan, but it always seem to satisfy the members of the household. There was always good cheer and hospitality in this home of a pioneer and some of the pleasantest days of my youth were spent visting in this house and on that farm. The house, which is still a prominent landmark, is a little more than a mile from Main street in St. Charles. The distance seemed much greater when I was a "little fellow" and even yet, as I look back, it seem about twice as far as the same distance in town. The boys of course attended school inSt. Charles, and when skating was good they would come down on the ice. They were good walkers and made the most of this faculty in after years. James T. Wheeler, although coming of good old Yankee stock, was born in New Brunswick September 20, 1808. In the fall of 1834 he came west from that far away region with a small colony, reaching Chicago September 19. After a short tarry with Gideon Young, who had come (missing) the previous year and located near Naperville, they came on the the Fox river valley. Mr. Wheeler took up a claim on the southeast quarter of section 21 and the southwest quarter of section 22, including a piece of timber land on the east side of the river. He and Joel Young put up the log house previously mentioned and purchase bread (missing) family of John Kittridge, who had taken a claim a little before on sections 15 and 16. Robert Moody, another member of the colony, built the chimney for the house and did much of the inside work. (Missing) afterward a well known citizen of St. Charles and prominent (missing) until his death in December, 1847. Two members of the (missing) united their fortunes when Mr. Wheeler and Miss Jerusha Yo(missing) married. Stephen Young, still another of the company, (missing)eeler's house May 8, 1835, and his was the first death in the (missing).
Mr. Wheeler did not depend (missing) the products of his farm for a living. He was possessed of a (missing)entive genius, was a good talker and with these two talents (missing)iny a needed shekel from the people near and far. (Missing) manufactured a washing machine which found great (many words missing) Wheeler and his washing machine could have been almost a lonesome affair. He had a deep, strong healthy voice, and could converse with his sons across the farm with little trouble. He was a lover of music, a fine bass singer, and his rich voice was heard with excellent effect in the meetings of his church, or elsewhere as occasion offered. He and his good wife were for many years leading members of the Baptist church, in which Mr. Wheeler was a deacon. He possessed a vein of dry humor, and could appreciate the point of a joke which was against him as well as if it were in his favor. He was a good neighbor and a sterling citizen. In the days before the civil war he was a strong abolitionist, and more than one fleeing slave was assisted along the famous "underground railway" to Canada and freedom through his efforts. He hated slavery with all the strength of his nature, and when the great conflict came on sent three of his sons to do battle for the cause he so long had championed. On finally retiring from farm life he moved down into town and his remaining yeas were quietly spent. His death occurred April 22, 1890. Mrs. Wheeler has also long since joined the silent majority. Of their sons, Brainard alone remained steadily a citizen of St. Charles and here his record has been made. Hiram achieved prominence in the newspaper world. Kittridge, named for the man who was their first neighbor in their new home, won honor and fame from the pulpit. Charles Cooke made both farming and manufacturing his line, and Joel Niles dabbled in mapping, newspaper work, canvassing and finally manufacturing with greater or less success in all. The daughter, Mary, married a man who subsequently became a well known and able publisher in Minnesota.
Pliny A. Durant
August 7, 1904