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RG5217.AM:  Wheeler Family

Records:  ca. 1883-1990

Hastings, Adams County, Nebraska

Size:  approximately 1.5 cu.ft.


William Forester Wheeler was born in Brooklyn, Iowa on November 8, 1858.  He attended Hastings College and worked as a farmer, banker, and rancher.  It is also clear that William owned portions of land in Nebraska as well as a cigar store.  He married Cora Ellen Chapman on April 25, 1889 in Hastings Nebraska.  Cora was born on June 20, 1865 in Chariton, Iowa.  She also attended Hastings College in Nebraska.  Soon after their marriage, the couple moved to Giltner Nebraska.  William died in 1935 and Cora died in 1932; both are buried in Aurora Nebraska.

William and Cora had three children, all born in Giltner, Nebraska:  William H., Marion, and Virginia.  William H. was born on February 11, 1894 and Marion was born on April 14, 1900.  Not much more is known about them.  Virginia was born on May 13, 1902.  The Wheeler family was Presbyterian and all three children where brought up under this tradition.  Virginia attended Longfellow elementary school in Hastings Nebraska.  From there she went on to Hastings High School and graduated in 1920.  She then attended Mills College in Oakland, California, in 1920, the University of Nebraska in 1927, and lastly Hastings Presbyterian College where she majored in Public School Music and minored in English and Education.  She received her BA in 1931.  During this time, Virginia worked at Wolbach and Brach department store in Hastings, the Hastings Piano Company, and for the Agricultural Adjustment Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture from 1934-1941.

After graduating from college Virginia moved to Hot Springs, New Mexico, where she began teaching music at the high school level.  She was fluent in French and Spanish as well.  After teaching for a few years in New Mexico, Virginia began working for the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, D.C.  Though she stayed there the majority of her life, she also lived in El Paso, Texas (by 1973).  Virginia Wheeler died on December 25, 1994.  Her last known address was in Hastings, Nebraska, where she was also buried.  She never married.  More information about the family history can be found in the “Family Record Book” in the collection.


This collection consists of records relating to the Wheeler family arranged in six series:  1) Wheeler family general correspondence, 1883-1962; 2) Wheeler family history and related materials; 3) Virginia Wheeler personal items; 4) William Wheeler land & financial records; 5) Miscellaneous; and 6) Newspaper clippings.

Series 1 contains Wheeler family general correspondence between family members and friends from 1883-1962, with the majority dating from 1900-1949 and written either by or to Virginia Wheeler.  The letters are arranged in chronological order.  Series 2 consists of Wheeler family history materials, including the Wheeler coat of arms, certificate of family name, genealogical and historical sketch, Wheeler family record book that was turned into a scrapbook and included some photographs, W. F. Wheeler and Cora Chapman marriage certificate dated April 25th, 1889, Book entitled, Old Memories written by Mr. Wheeler, a New Testament Bible filled with newspaper clippings of family obituaries, and a recipe book also filled with newspaper clippings.

Note:  Some loose materials from the recipe book have been removed and placed into their own folder.

Series 3 contains documents relating to Virginia Wheeler including a resume dated 1949, high school diploma dated 1920, college degree dated 1931, music notation book used from November 1923-May 1924, war ration books dated 1942-1945, employee earnings statements, Hastings High School yearbook, The Tiger, dated 1920, song book entitled Baby Work, written by Sonia Serova, and a book entitled Wheat, written by Virginia Wheeler.  Also includes a scrapbook.  Series 4 contains William Wheeler land and financial records including bank account statements dated March 1924-March 1927 and September 1929-April 1931, tax statements and receipts, checks, business agreements, homestead certificates, warranty deeds, and bills of sale.  Many of these items are fragile and should be handled carefully.

Series 5 consists of Wheeler family miscellaneous materials, including postcards, a poetry collection, event programs, holiday greeting cards, a description of available land for sale in Florida considered by Ms. Wheeler, and undated, unsigned personal invitations.  Series 6 contains newspaper clippings from 1920-1937, some undated

Note:  A large number of Wheeler Family photographs are available in the photo component [RG5217.PH].


Series 1 – Wheeler family general correspondence, 1883-1962

Box 1


  1. General correspondence, 1883-1913

  2. General correspondence, 1917-1927

  3. General correspondence, 1931-1933

  4. General correspondence, 1933-1936

  5. General correspondence, 1936-1949

  6. General correspondence, 1957-1962

Series 2 – Wheeler family history

  1. Certification of Wheeler Family Name

  2. Genealogical and Historical Sketch

  3. W. F. Wheeler and Cora Chapman marriage certificate

  4. Book, Old Memories

Box 2


  1. Obituaries and death cards

  2. Loose items removed from Family recipe book

  3. Wheeler Family Crest (see oversize)

Oversize volumes

  1. Family Record Book, turned into a scrapbook, some photographs

  2. New Testament

  3. Recipe Book

Series 3 – Virginia Wheeler

  1. Personal resume, 1949

  2. School records

  3. Financial records

  4. High school yearbook

  5. Book, Baby Work

  6. Book, Wheat

  7. Scrapbook [includes photographs], 1920-1937 (see oversize)

Series 4 – William Wheeler land and financial records

  1. Land & financial records

  2. Land & financial records

  3. Land & financial records (see oversize)

Series 5 – Miscellaneous

  1. Poetry collection

  2. Miscellaneous cards, postcards, programs and invitations

Box 3


  1. Miscellaneous cards, postcards, programs and invitations

  2. Miscellaneous

Series 6 – Newspaper clippings, 1920-1937

  1. Miscellaneous newspaper clippings


Subject headings:

Authors — Nebraska

Education — Nebraska

Wheeler family

Wheeler, Cora (Chapman), 1865-1932

Wheeler, Virginia, 1902-1994

Wheeler, William F., 1858-1935


Ian Hartfield/kfk         04-28-2004