1673. Wheeler


  1. Henry Wheeler (d. 1577) m. Isabel ____; Cranfield, Beds., Eng.
  2. (poss.) Thomas Wheeler (d. 1648?) m. ____; Cranfield, Beds., Eng.
  3. George Wheeler (1606–bef. 1686) m. (2) 1630 Catherine Pin (d. 1685); Concord, Mass.
  4. Capt. Thomas Wheeler (1633–1686) m. 1657 Hannah Harwood (d. aft. 1686); Concord, Mass.
  5. John Wheeler (1661–1721) m. 1684 Elizabeth Wells (d. aft. 1725); Concord, Marlborough, Mass.
  6. Rachel Wheeler (b. 1689) m. 1711 Charles Rice (b. 1684); Marlborough, Westborough, Mass.

Related surnames

209, 3345. Rice

No additional information on the Pin and Wells families is available at this time.

Comment 1: The Origin of George Wheeler

For all the expert attention that the Wheeler families of Concord, Massachusetts, have received, they remain all too frequently shrouded in confusion. Especially troublesome is the position of George1 Wheeler, whose relationship to the other Wheelers has been subject to much speculation.

Threlfall’s hypothesis demands a reassessment of the evidence presented by Coddington. The latter’s extracts from the Cranfield parish register show that the child of Thomas baptized before George was Timothy, on 28 December 1604, and the child after was Susan, on 31 May 1607.[16] The difference is 15 months between Timothy and George, and 14 months between George and Susan. These intervals are closer than normal and particularly unexpected, at first sight, in view of Timothy’s outstanding postnatal health (he died in Massachusetts in 1687).[17] Still, there is no reason to believe this pattern uncharacteristic of the testator of 1627. According to tradition, his last two children were baptized 13 months apart, and both of them lived to marry.[18]

We must next consider how far Threlfall is justified in postulating more than one Thomas Wheeler in Cranfield. To be sure, there are two Thomas Wheelers listed in the Lay Subsidy for 1627–8, distinguished as senior and de Ameley, each assessed 20 shillings for lands and four shillings for goods.[19] If we take Thomas senior to be identical with ThomasA, we almost necessarily presume Thomas de Ameley to be his eldest son, later of Fairfield. In effect, Threlfall is inviting us to assume the existence of a third Thomas, who would have been of age at the time of the Lay Subsidy where Capt. Thomas1 was not.

If this third Thomas shows himself in the baptisms registers as Threlfall alleges, he would have to do so before the 1613 marriage of Thomas1 Sr. Although the children of Thomas appear in unusually rapid succession, however, there is no inherent conflict until after that date:

Threlfall has apparently gone through this list in search of children who have no evident connection to either ThomasA or Thomas1 Sr. On this basis he gives a third Thomas as father of Thomas (1603), George (1606), John (1608), Elizabeth (1611), and Richard (1614).[20] Certain it is that none of them, if children of ThomasA, could have lived as late as 1627, and only the last can possibly be attributed to his eldest son.[21] Even attributing their parentage to ThomasA is difficult without supposing that he desired another son John or daughter Elizabeth as well as a second son Thomas. Also striking is the manner in which these baptisms alternate with those of the documented children of ThomasA. The dates of baptism are not technically in conflict with each other, but they very nearly are, and the onomastic patterns further militate against assigning all these children to one household.

Threlfall proceeds to speculate that Thomas was the son of Henry Wheeler of Cranfield. Henry’s will, dated 9 July 1577 and proved 11 October 1577, implies that his children, including son Thomas, were all under age.[22] This will was not abstracted by Coddington, and the incompleteness of pre-1600 records gives further reason to take this identification cautiously.

Comment 2: Hannah Harwood

John Harwood of Bednall Green, Middlesex, England, in his will dated 13 November 1684, gave equal cash bequests to his “brother” Thomas Harwood, Nathaniel Harwood, Hannah Wheeler of Concord, and Sarah Tucker formerly Scotto. Although the testator specified his kinship only to Thomas, all four of the recipients are widely presumed to be siblings of John, being relatively close to him in age and date of first marriage.[23] A deed of 4 November 1657, in which John Harwood calls Sarah’s first husband Thomas Scottow a brother, further strengthens the presumption.[24]

It has been further conjectured that they were the children of one John Harwood of London, testator of 1654.[25] In the course of their research on the Wheeler family, however, Dean Crawford Smith and Melinde Lutz Sanborn re-examined the will and found its description of John’s family to be inconsistent with the one that later established itself in Boston and Concord.[26]


1 George Tolman, The Wheelers of Old Concord, Mass. (1908; reprint, Concord, Mass.: Joseph Wheeler, 1981), 1, 47.

2 American College of Genealogy and Albert Gallatin Wheeler Jr., The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler Family in America (Boston: American College of Genealogy, 1914), 200.

3 Ibid., 134, 350, 573.

4 Donald Lines Jacobus, History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield, Connecticut, 3 vols. in 4 (Fairfield, Conn., 1930–34; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1976), 1:663-4. Jacobus’s further identification of Capt. Thomas with the man of the same name who died 18 December 1686 was later found to be mistaken (ibid., 2:1077-8).

5 Donald Lines Jacobus, Additions and Corrections to History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield, Connecticut: Supplement to The American Genealogist, October 1943 (Fairfield, Conn., 1943), 37-9.

6 Homer W. Brainard, Captain Thomas Wheeler and Some of His Descendants, American Genealogist 12 (1935/6): 4-17, 135-51 at 5.

7 Donald Lines Jacobus, The Father of the Concord Wheelers, American Genealogist 14 (1937/8): 1-4 at 1.

8 Ibid., 2.

9 John Insley Coddington, The Wheelers of Bedfordshire and New England, American Genealogist 27 (1951): 35-40, 119-25, 28 (1952): 139-48, 257-9.

10 Ibid., 27:38.

11 Ibid., 27:119.

12 Ibid., 27:120.

13 Ibid., 27:125, 28:146-7.

14 John Brooks Threlfall, The Ancestry of My Children: Anna Maarit Threlfall, John Hyyrylainen Threlfall, Margaret Ellen Threlfall, Robert Andrews Threlfall, 3 vols. (Madison, Wis., 1970–97), 2:no. 1044.

15 Dean Crawford Smith, The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton, 1878–1908, Part III: The Ancestry of Henry Clay Bartlett, 1832–1892, ed. Melinde Lutz Sanborn (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004), 439.

16 Coddington, Wheelers of Bedfordshire, 27:119.

17 Jacobus, Father of the Concord Wheelers, 2. See also Concord, Massachusetts Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1635–1850 (Concord: town, n. d.), 432.

18 Brainard, Captain Thomas Wheeler, 5; Jacobus, Father of the Concord Wheelers, 2; Coddington, Wheelers of Bedfordshire, 27:120; Jacobus, Families of Old Fairfield, 1:663, 665. It is probably for chronological consistency that Threlfall assigns this Thomas, bp. 8 April 1620, to Thomas1 Sr. (Ancestry of My Children, 1:nos. 262, 524), and instead assigns to ThomasA the son Thomas who was bp. 8 December 1621, nearly 21 months after Ephraim (ibid., 2:no. 1048), but was traditionally assigned to Thomas1 Sr.

19 Coddington, Wheelers of Bedfordshire, 28:258.

20 Threlfall, Ancestry of My Children, 2:no. 1044. The appearance of Richard in this list signifies acceptance of an earlier supposition of Coddington’s regarding Ann, bp. 30 Jan. 1613/4: It is suggested that this child, who was buried 16 July 1615, may have been the eldest child of Thomas and Ann (Halsey) Wheeler, later of Fairfield, Conn., rather than the Richard who was bapt. 13 June 1614 (Wheelers of Bedfordshire, 27:120). The only self-evident fact about Ann and Richard is that, being baptized five months apart, they could not have been siblings.

21 As by Brainard, Captain Thomas Wheeler, 5.

22 Threlfall, Ancestry of My Children, 2:no. 2088, citing Bedfordshire Will ABP /W 1577/52.

23 Henry F. Waters, Genealogical Gleanings in England: Abstracts of Wills Relating to Early American Families, with Genealogical Notes and Pedigrees Constructed from the Wills and Other Documents, 2 vols. (1907; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1981), 1:256-7.

24 Annie Haven Thwing, Inhabitants and Estates of the Town of Boston, 1630–1800, CD-ROM (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society and Massachusetts Historical Society, 2001), refcode 54010, citing Suffolk Deeds, 3:361a.

25 See, for example, Watson H. Harwood, A Genealogical History of the Concord Harwoods: Descendants of Nathaniel Harwood, Son of John Harwood, of London, England, New England Harwood Genealogy, vol. 3 (Chasm Falls, N. Y., 1912), 4-6.

26 Dean Crawford Smith, Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton, Part III: The Ancestry of Henry Clay Bartlett, 1832–1892, ed. Melinde Lutz Sanborn (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004), 187.

Created 9 June 2003; last updated 1 September 2005.
Austin W. Spencer | email: spencer@rootedancestry.com