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Biography of Giles Wheeler
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Giles Wheeler, who has superintended the construction of several public buildings in Concord, was born in this city, August 7, 1834, son of Captain Benjamin and Eliza (Ordway) Wheeler. His grandfather, Benjamin Wheeler, son of Daniel Wheeler and a native of Hollis, N.H., in his earlier years was a miller in Bedford, Mass. Benjamin settled in Concord in 1802, on the farm formerly known as the Towle place, which he bought of Ebenezer Dustin. He followed agriculture for the rest of his active period, and died in December, 1848. He assisted in hauling the stone for the erection of the State House and the old prison buildings. His first wife, in maidenhood Mary Fitch, a native of Bedford, Mass., and a relative of John Fitch, the founder of the city of Fitchburg, Mass., reared two children-Benjamin Wheeler, Jr., and Mary.
Captain Benjamin Wheeler, who was born in Woburn, Mass., and accompanied his parents to Concord, succeeded to the homestead, and was an energetic and prosperous farmer. He was drafted during the War of 1812, and afterward became a Captain in the State militia. His death occurred June 4, 1870. His wife, Eliza, who was a daughter of Giles and Elizabeth (Webster) Ordway, became the mother of four children, namely: John C., who died in 1895; Giles, the subject of this sketch; Isaac F., who married Harriet E. Ordway; and Albert F., who died in childhood.
Giles Wheeler was educated in the public and private schools of Concord. When a young man he learned the carpenter’s trade, which he followed for sixteen years. From 1860 to 1864 he was engaged in the manufacture of soldier’s writing cases in Plymouth, Mass. During the Civil War he was drafted in Massachusetts and New Hampshire at the same time, and furnished a substitute for New Hampshire in the person of William Gilson, a native of Pelham, N.H., who was captured by the Confederates, June 3, 1864, at Cold Harbor, paroled March 10, 1865, and died at Annapolis, Md., March 22, 1865. After relinquishing his trade, Mr. Wheeler entered the business of architect in partnership with Edward Dow, a connection that lasted until 1885. He was appointed by Daniel R. Manning, Secretary of the Treasury, to superintend the erection of the Concord postoffice. He acted in a similar capacity in the erection of the State library. He was building agent in connection with the High and Kimball Schools, the Statesman Building, and the Pillsbury Hospital and Library; and he was a member of the committee selected to superintend the erection of the Soldiers’ Arch. He has been a member of the Police Commission and its clerk since the establishment of
Mr. Wheeler married Sarah W. Abbott, a daughter of Charles Abbott and a descendant of one of the first families to settle in this section. He is connected with the Order of the Golden Cross, and is a member of the Unitarian society. In politics he is a Democrat, and he cast his first Presidential vote for James Buchanan in 1856, and voted for Stephen A. Douglas in 1860.
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