Monday, February 15, 2010
Horace Niles Wheeler
Horace Niles Wheeler was my great, great grandfather. He is by far one of the most adventurous family members, with the exception of our great ancestor, Thomas Wheeler. Horace was born on February 1, 1831 in Stonington, Connecticut. His mother, Esther Ann Potter died on October 10, 1837, Horace was only 6 years old. His father Gilbert, remarried quickly to Angelina Byron Wood on March 15, 1840. Family stories dictate that he struggled with his new family situation. Horace's relationship with his father, Gilbert became strained and distant. When he was only 16 years old, he went out to sea to earn money and to explore the world. He returned to Stonington village in 1852 and fell in love with Margaret Havens. They were married on June 21, 1853. The events that took place next altered their life forever. They boarded a ship in Stonington Harbor that was headed for San Francisco. The ship went around Cape Horn and the journey lasted almost six months. They spent nearly 20 years in a small mining town called Timbuctoo. Horace did not strike it rich, but found enough gold to return to the east coast. They left California in 1878 by stage coach to Indiana. From there they took a train back to Connecticut. Horace owned and operated a jewelry store at 123 Water Street in Stonington Village. He made a fine ring out of one of his last pieces of gold. This ring is still in our family today. His story has inspired me to write a book about his life.