Biography of Frank W. Wheeler
Will County, Il Biographies





Frank W. Wheeler, clerk of the probate court, at Joliet, Ill., is a well known and highly respected citizen of Will County. He was born at Waterloo, Seneca County, N. Y., June 13, 1865, a son of Charles R. and Evalee (Van Riper) Wheeler, the former a native of Waterloo, and the latter of Warren, Ohio.

Charles R. Wheeler, deceased, when a youth learned the hardware business from his father. In 1867 he established a. hardware store at Greenville, Mich., which he conducted until 1873. He was an expert copper mechanic and worked in various places throughout the United States after leaving Michigan. He worked for the Pierce-Arrow Automobile Company at Buffalo for some time prior to his retirement. He died in 1909 and is buried at Waterloo, N. Y. During the Civil War he enlisted in the 133rd New York Volunteer Infantry and served a two year enlistment, and then reenlisted for the duration of the war. He was honorably discharged June 15, 1865, as a color sergeant, at Geneva, N. Y. He was a Democrat and a member of the Episcopal Church, and the Grand Army of the Republic, Tyler J. Snyder Post. His widow resides at Waterloo. To their union three children were born: Frank W., the subject of this sketch; Eva H., the wife of McClelland Stetson, resides at Reading, Pa.; and LaVancha, deceased, buried at Waterloo, N. Y. Charles R. Wheeler has three brothers who also served in the Civil War, George, Clarence, and Howard. Two were prisoners for a time at Andersonville, and one in Libby prison. They all died from the effects of wounds received during the war.

Frank W. Wheeler was graduated from the Waterloo High School in 1883, and immediately learned the shoemaking trade at Auburn, N. Y. from the Reilly & McGarr Shoe Manufacturers. Later he went to Rochester, N. Y., with the P. Cox Shoe Company. In 1888 he was with the Phelps, Dodge & Palmer, Shoe manufacturers, Chicago, resigning in 1890. For two years he was with Tilt-Smith & Co., resigning March 1, 1892, when he came to Joliet and worked for Selz-Schwab & Company, manufacturers of shoes for the Joliet prison. He remained with this concern until 1904 when their contract expired. In September, 1904, the state of Illinois began the manufacture of shoes for the prison inmates and Mr. Wheeler was made superintendent and remained there for ten years. In 1914 he went to Jefferson City, Mo., for his former employers, the Selz-Schwab Company, and was foreman of the making room of this factory, resigning in August, 1914. He then went to Sheboygan, Mich., where he worked a year for the Sheboygan Shoe Company, and in 1915 returned to Joliet as an inspector for the Illinois Steel Company. Later he was with the American Can Company. In 1916 he was appointed clerk of the board of improvement of the city of Joliet, and on March 1, 1918 he became deputy probate clerk. In November, 1922, he was elected clerk of the probate court of Will County, and was reelected in 1926.

In 1886 Mr. Wheeler was married to Miss Mary E. Hood, of Clyde, N. Y., and to them was born a daughter, Mae H., now a clerk in her father's office. Mrs. Wheeler died Feb. 26, 1922. Mr. Wheeler married (second) Miss Harriet M. Welch, on July 25, 1923.

Mr. Wheeler has greatly interested himself in the labor movement, and has held several important appointments in the various organizations. He belonged to the Knights of Labor in Auburn, N. Y., and in Chicago he served as secretary of the Knights of Labor. He was business agent for the Shoemaker's Union of Chicago. He is a Republican, and fraternally is affiliated with Matteson Lodge, A. F. and A. M. No. 175, of which he is secretary; Joliet Chapter, R. A. M. 127; Joliet Commandery K. T. No. 4; Ansar Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., Springfield, Ill.; Masonic Veterans Association of Illinois; B. P. O. Elks, No. 296; Paul Revere Lodge, No. 271, K. P.; L. O. O. Moose, No. 300. He is a member of the Chicago Motor Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Rival's Club, the Irving Club, the Isaac Walton League, and the Sons of Veterans. He holds membership in the Episcopal Church.

From:
History of Will County, Illinois
By: August Maue
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1928


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