Biography of William H. Wheeler of Barada

William H. Wheeler, born November 11, 1859, was a lifelong resident of east Barada, Richardson County, Nebraska. He was the son of pioneers Henry Duke and Malinda (Buchanan) Wheeler. William inherited and developed the family’s 120-acre homestead. Henry, originally from Kentucky, served in the Mexican War before settling in Nebraska in 1855. William assumed farm responsibilities at a young age after his father’s death in 1870 and significantly improved the farm. He married Amanda Brinegar in 1882, and they raised six children. William was a respected community member, actively involved in local civic and social affairs.

William H. Wheeler, one of the well-known farmers of the precinct of East Barada, this county, living on the old homestead of one hundred and twenty acres in section 33 of that precinct, was born on the farm on which he now lives and has lived there all his life. He was born on November 11, 1859, a son of Henry Duke and Malinda (Buchanan) Wheeler, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Missouri, who became pioneers of Richardson county and here spent their last days.

Henry Duke Wheeler was born in Mason county, Kentucky, January 24, 1830, son of Levi and Mary Wheeler, the former a native of Germany, born on February 14, 1787, and the latter, of Ireland. Levi Wheeler was a soldier of the War of 1812 and was a well-to-do-farmer in Mason county, Kentucky, where Henry D. Wheeler grew to manhood. When the Mexican War broke out, Henry D. Wheeler, though then little more than a boy, enlisted for service as a member of Company E, Third Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, and served with that command until mustered out at Louisville at the close of the war. He later came West and on August 2, 1855, was married, in Holt county, Missouri, to Malinda Buchanan, who, was born in that county on April 24, 1838, her parents having been among the very earliest settlers of that region. Immediately following his marriage he came across the river and bought a half section in the Barada half-breed strip in this county, paying for the same nineteen hundred dollars to Huse Knuckles. There was a log cabin on the place at that time, but no other improvements of any consequence, and the white neighbors were few and far between, Indians still being in dominant numbers thereabout at that time. Mr. Wheeler set about clearing his land and getting the place ready for cultivation and had done considerable development work before 1861, in which year he returned to his old home in Kentucky to take care of his aged and invalid mother. After her death, about 1863, he returned to his home in this county and here he spent the rest of his life, his death occurring on July 21, 1870, he then being about six months past forty years of age. He was one of the most active and progressive pioneers of that section and was the organizer of school district No. 25. His widow survived him many years, her death occurring on April 19, 1915, she then lacking but a few days of being seventy-seven years of age. They were the parents of five children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the second in order of birth, the others being Dora, who died when seven years of age: Lawrence, who is engaged in the insurance business at Falls City; Mrs. Mary E. Riley, of Dawson, a biographical sketch of whose husband is presented elsewhere in this volume, and James, deceased.

William H. Wheeler was not yet eleven years of age when his father died and as the eldest son of the family the responsibilities of the home farm early fell upon his young shoulders and he always has made his home on that pioneer place, having thus participated in the development of the same since territorial days, one of the best-known of the native sons of Richardson county of the first generation on the plains. On the tract of one hundred and twenty acres of the old home that he inherited he made extensive and substantial improvements and he and his family are very comfortably and very pleasantly situated there. Mr. Wheeler is a Democrat and has ever given a good citizen’s attention to local civic affairs, but he has not been particularly active as a political worker.

On July 30, 1882, William H. Wheeler was united in marriage to Amanda Brinegar, who was born across the river in Holt county, Missouri, February 20, 1867, daughter of Andrew J. and Emily ( Rusk) Brinegar, natives of Kentucky, who died when she was a child and she was reared by an uncle. David Brinegar, one of the pioneers of Richardson county, who came over here in the fifties and who is still living here, now a resident of Salem. Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler have six children, namely: Ralph, who married Jennie Marsh, of Des Moines, and has three children, Tillie, Virgia and Phyllis A.; Ruth, who married William McGowan, of Halley, Idaho, and has one child, a daughter, Helen Ruth; Susan M., who is a telephone operator in the exchange at Falls City, and Bryan, Hiram and Lila, at home with their parents. The Wheelers have a very pleasant home and have ever taken an interested part in the general social activities of their home community, helpful in many ways in promoting movements having to do with the advancement of the general welfare thereabout.


Edwards, Lewis C., History of Richardson County, Nebraska : Its People, Industries and Institutions, Indianapolis : B.F. Bowen, 1917.

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