Hon. Thomas Wheeler, who has been at the head of the coal firm of Wheeler, McQuade & Company for
the past seventeen years, is now serving as postmaster of Utica. He is numbered among the worthy native sons of
this city, his birth having here occurred on the 5th of October, 1845. He is a son of George Wheeler, a native
of Ireland, who came to America with his father (John Wheeler) when very young and made his home in Utica, New
York, until called to his final rest in 1858. He was engaged in the trucking business.
Thomas Wheeler attended the public schools in the acquirement of an education and when fifteen years of age entered
the Utica Steam Cotton Mill, while subsequently he became an employe in the woolen mills. On the 30th of August,
1862, he enlisted for service in the Union army as a member of Company A, One Hundred and Forty sixth New York
Volunteer Infantry, was later promoted to the rank of second lieutenant and on July 25, 1865, was mustered out.
He was with the Army of the Potomac, participated in most of the battles of his regiment, was wounded at White
Oak Road on the 31st of March, 1865, and was confined in the hospital till shortly before his discharge.
Returning to Utica, Mr. Wheeler followed various employments until 1870, when he was appointed patrolman on the
police force. In 1873 he entered the district attorney's office under D. C. Stoddard, remaining there for about
eight years. He was also chief detective for the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad Company, having charge
of their detective department from Albany to Syracuse and holding this position for about eleven years. On the
1st of May, 1894, the coal firm of Wheeler, MeQuade & Company was formed and our subject has since remained
at the head of the enterprise, having won a gratifying measure of success in this line of activity.
On the 26th of April, 1886, Mr. Wheeler was united in marriage to Miss Helen Frances, a daughter of Lawrence Doyle,
of Utica. He belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Arcarnim Club and the Republican Club
and maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades through his membership in Bacon Post, G. A. R.
Politically Mr. Wheeler has always been an active republican. In 1888 he was nominated and elected county sheriff,
serving until his term expired on the 31st of December, 1891. He was elected mayor of Utica on the 1st of March,
1892, and held the office from March 8, 1892, until March 13, 1894. During his term as mayor he conducted the fight
against the Warren Seharf Asphalt Paving Company and broke the prices for street paving, being the first man in
the United States to attempt such a movement. On the 19th of February, 1895, he was appointed assistant superintendent
of public works by State Superintendent Aidridge, holding the position until September 15, 1907. On the 26th of
January, 1911, he was appointed postmaster to succeed Mr. Roberts and took the office on the 1st of April following.
He has always been a representative of that public spirited class of men who see and utilize the opportunities
for promoting the general welfare, withholding his cooperation and aid from no movement which he deems of value
in promoting the best interests of the city. In his own business career he has been recognized as a man of stern
integrity and honesty of purpose, who has despised all unworthy or questionable means to secure advancement or
success in any undertaking or for any purpose.
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Oneida County, NY
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