Thomas Wheeler, of Stonington

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Thomas Wheeler, of Stonington

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Wharley, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England
Death: Died in Stonington, New London, Connecticut
Place of Burial: Old Whitehall, Cemetery, Stonington, Connecticut
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas "of The Town and Wharley End" Wheeler and Dorothy Wheeler
Husband of Mary Wheeler
Father of Capt. Isaac Wheeler; Elizabeth Witter and Sarah Stanton
Brother of George Wheeler; Richard Wheeler, of Dedham and Mary Wheeler
Half brother of John Wheeler, of New London

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas Wheeler, of Stonington

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nanc/wheeler/aqwg01.htm#2936C

Thomas WHEELER was born 1602 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England and was christened 20 Nov 1603. He died 6 Mar 1686 in Stonington, New London Co., Connecticut and was buried in Old Whitehall Cemetery, Stonington, New London Co., Connecticut.

Thomas was christened 20 Nov 1603.

Thomas married Mary on 1645 in Lynn, Essex Co, Massachusetts. Mary was born in England. She died 1680 in Stonington, New London Co., Connecticut and was buried in Old Whitehall Cemetery, Stonington, New London Co., Connecticut.

They had the following children:

F i Elizabeth WHEELER was born 1648 and died 5 Aug 1672.

M ii Isaac WHEELER was born 1646 and died 5 Jun 1712.

F iii Sarah WHEELER was born 1650 in Lynn, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Sarah married Daniel STANTON, son of Thomas STANTON and Ann LORD, on 1673. Daniel was born 1648 in Hartford, Hartford Co., Connecticut. He died before 1688 in Barbadoes, West Indies. Source: History of the Town of Stonington by Wheeler. Married June 1, 1671, to Daniel Stanton, Wheeler concludes.

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Thomas Wheeler (1602-1686)

Thomas Wheeler(3) was born 1602 in Wharley,Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England. He was baptized on November 20, 1603 at Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England. He died in Stonington, CT(America) on March 6, 1686. His father was also Thomas Wheeler(2) born 1561 at Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England. He was called the Thomas of the “Town and Wharley end”. He married Dorothy Holloway on April 13, 1600 at Chalgrave, Bedfordshire. He died February 11, 1635 in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England. His father was John Wheeler(1) born 1539 in Odell, Bedfordshire, England. He married Alice Sayre (1541-1567). He died in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England on April 15, 1567. Thomas(2) and John(1) were buried in the churchyard at the Parish Church of Cranfield, Bedfordshire.

Thomas Wheeler(born 1602) spent his childhood and young adulthood in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England. Bedfordshire is a rural area with no large cities. Along its western border and midway north and south are the parishes of Marston Mortaine and Cranfield. Families named Wheeler lived in these parishes as far back as the 15th century. I am not sure of Thomas Wheeler’s education, possibly taught at home. His family’s occupation has not been determined. The exact reason why Thomas left his country to seek out a new life in a young America is unknown, but as history dictates, it may have been to escape religious persecution. He saw an opportunity to perhaps practice the religion of his choice in the new world. Other families from his township had left and records show that his brother George also went to America, Concord Massachusetts, in 1638 with his wife Catherine Penn and their three children. Consequently, George Wheeler’s will dated 1685 proves that he owned large tracts of land and was a wealthy, contributing member of society in Concord, Massachusetts. (America)

Thomas Wheeler married Penelope Nichols, date unknown. She must have died shortly after, because they did not have any children. He married a second time to Mary Beckley on April 6, 1635. This very same year he left England at the age of 33 with his new bride aboard the ship “James”. He sailed to Salem, Massachusetts, America settling in nearby Lynn Massachusetts. In that very same year he was elected constable and held other official positions. According to C.M. Babcock, author of The Babcock Family in America, Thomas Wheeler was a miller by trade. In 1642 he was admitted to the privilege of a freeman of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. He purchased large tracts of land there, including a mill site, upon which he built and operated a saw and gristmill. Thomas and Mary had three children, all born in Lynn, Massachusetts. They were Isaac(b. 1646, d. June 5, 1712), Elizabeth(b. 1648, d. Aug. 5, 1672) and Sarah(b. 1650, d. 1688 in Barbados, West Indies).

Thomas and Mary remained in Lynn until 1667. He then, at the age of 65, sold his businesses and land and decided to move to Stonington, Connecticut. Judge Richard Anson Wheeler wrote in his book, The History of the Town of Stonington, that Thomas came to Stonington with his close friend the Rev. James Noyes who moved to Stonington the very same year.

According to C.M. Babcock, Thomas Wheeler had large tracts of land given to him by the town of Stonington. He also made large purchases of his own until he owned nearly 4,000 acres. He was at one time the largest landholder in the Stonington Township. The land encompassed Wheeler Road from the Pequot Trail to points as far as the village at North Stonington. His family’s legacy can still be seen today in the Wheeler Library and School, The Wheeler Road, and Wheeler High School. All named after this illustrious family.

Soon after Thomas and Mary moved to Stonington, he and his son Isaac built a home. The homestead was built in 1673 on the site of Col. James F. Brown’s house. It was a double, two story, wood-colored house. It was taken down in the mid to late 1800’s due to structural problems. (Grace Denison Wheeler) Isaac later built a home for himself and his family. This home still stands today. It is on a corner in the middle of the Wheeler Road and was once owned by the Judge Richard Anson Wheeler. His daughter, the famous local historian, Grace Denison Wheeler lived in the house her whole life. When she died in 1953, the home was sold out of the Wheeler Family.

Thomas Wheeler was made freeman in the Connecticut Colony in the year of 1669. Also in that year, he became a member of the General Court committee that authorized the layout of the various county highways and roads in Stonington. Thomas became the constable and first selectman in Stonington and was nominated and elected one of the Stonington representatives to the Connecticut General Court in the year of 1673. On June 3, 1674 Thomas Wheeler was one of the “immortal” nine who organized the first Church of Christ in Stonington. (This was known as the meeting house and later as the Road Church.) Thomas Wheeler was among the “partakers” at the ordination of the church’s first minister and his friend, the Rev. James Noyes on Sept. 10, 1674.

The will of Thomas Wheeler was lost in the burning of New London by the infamous Benedict Arnold and the British on September 6, 1781. This event coincided with the attack at Fort Griswold in Groton, Connecticut. The existence of his will is proved by his descendants referring to it later by conveying the real estate that belonged to him and given to them in his will. Thomas Wheeler died March 6, 1686. he was 84 years old. Thomas is buried beside his wife, Mary in the old White Hall Burial Place in Mystic, Connecticut. His legacy and history makes me a very proud descendent of such a brave and successful man.

Sources Cited

1. History of the First Congregational Church of Stonington, Connecticut, 1674-1874. Published T.H. Davis and Company 1875. By Richard A. Wheeler.

2. History of the Town of Stonington. Published 1900. By Richard A. Wheeler.

3. Ancestors of Alden Smith Swan and His Wife Mary Althea Farwell. The Hills Press, New York, MCMXXIII, page 229. By Josephine C. Frost.

4. The Wheeler Family in America, The Descendants of Thomas Wheeler, Stonington, Conn. Pages 289-349. By Inez E. Coolby-Brayton, 1934. Located in the DAR Library in Washington, D.C.

5. A History of the Babcock Family in America. By C. Merton Babcock.

6. Fifty Great Migration Colonists to New England & their Origins. By John Brooks Threlfall, Madison, Wisconsin, 1990.



      
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Thomas Wheeler, of Stonington's Timeline

1602
1602
Wharley, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England
1603
November 20, 1603
Age 1
Warley, Cranfield, Bedford, England
November 20, 1603
Age 1
Warley, Cranfield, Bedford, England
1613
May 5, 1613
Age 11
Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England
1640
1640
Age 38
Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts
1648
1648
Age 46
Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
1650
1650
Age 48
Stonington, New London, Connecticut
1685
March 6, 1685
Age 83
Stonington, New London, Connecticut
1903
November 17, 1903
Age 83
1905
March 30, 1905
Age 83