Wheeler, Alpheus

Born: 1807 Virginia

An "eccentric" preacher and lawyer, Wheeler moved from Virginia to Illinois around 1832, after the Black Hawk War. He eventually settled in Pittsfield, where he practiced law. A Democrat, he won election to the Illinois House of Representatives, representing Pike County from 1836 to 1838. He lost his bid for reelection in 1838, but won again in 1840. In the legislature and in his law practice, he was known for his peculiar speeches and sense of humor, and like his colleague Abraham Lincoln, he was "tall" and "ungainly." Wheeler moved to Missouri and practiced law in Taney County, where he owned $3,000 in real estate in 1850. Sometime before the Civil War, he moved to Bates County, Missouri. He died sometime before 1876.

William A. Grimshaw, History of Pike County: A Centennial Address (Pittsfield, IL: Democrat Job Rooms 1876), 28-30; History of Pike County, Illinois (Chicago: Chase C. Chapman, 1880), 399-401, 876; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 206, 209; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Taney County, MO, 342; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 300, 310, 345.