Thomas WHEELER (b. April 08, 1620, d. December 10, 1676)
Thomas WHEELER (son of Thomas WHEELER and Rebecca ?)1113 was born April 08, 1620 in Cranfield, Bedford, England1113, and died December 10, 1676 in Concord, MA. He married Ruth WOOD on 1640 in Cranfield, Bedford, England1113.
Notes for Thomas WHEELER: Captain Thomas Wheeler, of Concord Massachusetts, this 'gallant and intrepid' Indian fighter was among the most interesting and important characters of our colonial period, and was preeminent among the few pioneers through whose restless daring the frontiers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were so persistently extended. The date of his arrival in America and the name of the ship in which he came are not known. Several historians assert that he was a resident of Concord as early as 1640, and even before this date was in this country trading among the Indians. The first written record that refers to him, however, is in 18 May 1642, when he took the oath of freeman at Concord, Massachusetts.
The first definite information concerning his trading with the Indians is on 1 July 1657, when, with three others, he bought from the colony the privilege of trading with the Indians, paying therefor the sum of 25 pounds.
These trading operations he conducted principally along the Merrimac River at a point which afterward became Nashua, New Hampshire, where, it is recorded, he and his son Lieutenant Joseph owned a farm 'a little south of the Salmon brood.' Upon this estate he lived with his son a portion of the time until at least as late a date as 19 September 1673, when they both, with 24 others, appear as signers of a petition to the General Court for 14,000 acres of land which was granted to them. It is evident that in these operations Captain Thomas did not give up his official position in Concord, nor his residence there, with its thirteen acre 'house lot,' for upon the formation of a Horse Company he was appointed Lieutenant 12 October 1669, and by further appointment became its Captain in 1671.
On 12 January 1669, he received from the town of Concord, a lease for twenty-one years, of 200 acres of upland and 60 acres of meadows lying west of Nashoba Brook; he to pay a yearly rental of 5 pounds after the expiration of seven years, and to build a house and barn. The house was to be 40 feet long, 18 feet wide, and 12 feet stud, 'covrd with shingles, with a payer of Chimes.' That there must have been a dispute over this lease is evidenced by what appears in the 'Copy of Instructions' given to the Concord selectmen in 1672, viz.: '5--To treat with Captain Thomas Wheeler about his lease of the Towns Farme and if it may be upon Reasonable Termes to alter that particular wherein the Towne is Jn Jnoiyned to send such a nomber cattle yearly to be hearded yearly by him.'
He was one of the original proprietors of the Ockoocangansett Plantation -- the land purchase from the Indians which became part of Marlborough, Massachusetts. His high standing is proved by the important part taken by him in the direction of the welfare of the various communities in which he dwelt; on several occasions being one of those to take title from the Indians, and to hold in trust, lands intended for the establishment of new colonies. His greatest historical prominence was reached during King Philips' War in which he took a very active part, receiving wounds of so severe a character that he died the following year. This exciting encounter he made the subject of the following 'Narrative,' often referred to as an 'epic of colonial times.'
(go to http://www.smokykin.com/ged/f001/f22/a0012270.htm for full text)
In connection with Thomas Wheeler the following letter, while it does not contribute much of historical value, possesses much interest:
'To the honored Governor and Councell of the Massachusetts Colony in New England.
These are to signyfie that Cornellius Consert the Dutchman was Vppon the Contryes Servis att Quabauge and the Councel of Warre there was sent out Captain of the forlorn And According to my best Advice Continued in the Countryes servis six weeks Cornelius being Reddy to depart the Country and myselfe being here att boston the Major Willard being Absent I granted this ticket.
Thomas Wheeler Captain Boston October ye 13 1676
Thomas Wheeler died at Concord, 10 December 1676, the record of his death identifying him fully by stating explicitly that he was the 'husband of Ruth.'
Source: 'History of the Wheeler Family in America', 1914, Albert Gallatin Wheeler, Jr., p 1-12.
More About Thomas WHEELER: Christening: April 09, 1620, Bourne End, Cranfield, Bedford, England.1113
More About Thomas WHEELER and Ruth WOOD: Marriage: 1640, Cranfield, Bedford, England.1113