Henry Wheeler
City of Troy

This biography is from Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, Volume III, by Rutherford Hayner, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York and Chicago, 1925. It was submitted by Debby Masterson.

HENRY WHEELER—In 1914 Henry Wheeler, cashier of the Union National Bank of Troy, New York, was tendered a dinner at the Troy Club by the officers and directors of the bank in honor of his completion of half a century of continuous connection with the bank. He entered the bank as a lad of fourteen years, December 12, 1864, and by steady application to his duties and absolute fidelity to every trust reposed in him, he has gradually risen, occupying every position in the service of the bank up to president, the position which he has now held for many years. Affable, courteous, kindly and helpful, no man of his city holds a higher position in the esteem of their fellowmen than he. As a banker of executive ability and keen financial insight, he has won the entire confidence of the public, and has acted as administrator of some of the largest estates in Troy.

The Wheeler family has figured notably in the history of Connecticut since the earliest years of the New Haven Colony. In 1638 Moses Wheeler, an Englishman of considerable wealth according to the standard of that period and evidently a man of weight in the community, settled in New Haven, Connecticut, and was among the first to receive an allotment of land. He subsequently settled in Stratford, where he was a leader in public affairs until his death. Moses Wheeler was the first of the name to settle in Connecticut, and his descendants have been of more than passing prominence in the public, professional and industrial life of the State. The English family of which Moses Wheeler is believed to have been a member was seated in the County of Kent, four centuries prior to the coming of the Pilgrims to New England. The name Wheeler is of the class of names derived from an occupation, and signifies literally "the wheelwright." The name "Hugh le Welere" appears on the Hundred Rolls (1273), his residence in Cambridgeshire. The family armorial bearings were:

Arms—Vert, on a fesse or, three lions rampant of the first.
Crest—Out of a mural crown or, a griffin's head issuant argent.

Henry Wheeler, of Troy, New York, is a son of James Wheelock Wheeler, and a grandson of George Wheeler, of the New Hampshire branch of this ancient and honorable family. George Wheeler was born November 2, 1782, and died in 1870, in Troy, New York, a graduate of Dartmouth College and a lawyer of great prominence in his day. He married, June 6, 1816, Mary Wheelock, born July 15, 1788, and died in 1828, daughter of James Wheelock, who was a son of Eleazer Wheelock, founder of Dartmouth College. Eleazer Wheelock was born in Windham county, Connecticut, son of Ralph and Ruth (Huntington) Wheelock, and a great-grandson of Ralph Wheelock, a graduate of Cambridge University, England, and a famous preacher, who left Shropshire, England, in 1637, settled in Dedham, Massachusetts, and later in Medfieid, where he spent the remainder of his life teaching and preaching. Eleazer Wheelock, a son of Rev. Ralph Wheelock, was a captain of militia during King Philip's War, and being later a man of prosperity, left a sum of money for the education of his grandson and namesake, Eleazer Wheelock, founder and first president or Dartmouth College. The latter was a graduate of Yale, class of 1733, studied theology, and became a teacher and preacher to the Indians. He founded Dartmouth College under a charter dated December 13, 1768, and confirmed by King George a little later. Later President Wheelock took up his abode in the township of what is now Hanover, living in a hut in the woods, and two weeks later was joined by his students, some thirty in number, who came to him on foot. In 1771 there was a class of four, including the president's son, John Wheelock, who succeeded his father in 1779, the year of the latter's death. His second wife, Mary (Brinsmaid) Wheelock, was the mother of President John Wheelock. Both these first presidents of Dartmouth were remarkable men. George and Mary (Wheelock) Wheeler were the parents of four children: James Wheelock, of further mention; Lucia P., born April 16, 1819; Mary Eliza, born August 26, 1820, and Abigail K., born July 24, 1823.

James Wheelock Wheeler was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, March 23, 1817, and died in Troy, New York, June 29, 1896. He was educated in Hanover schools, then moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he was engaged as a bookkeeper with a leading mercantile house. In 1861 he settled in Troy, New York, where he was engaged in the manufacture of shirts and collars for five years, as a member of the firm, Wheeler, Colburn & Company. In 1867 he retired from active business, but continued his residence in Troy until his death, thirty years later. He married, April 10, 1849, Mary Sargeant, born September 4, 1827, daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Kingsland) Sargeant, her parents born in Parsippany, New Jersey, and members of the Second Presbyterian Church of Troy. Children: Henry, of further mention; Margaret Burt, of Troy, New York, born March 1, 1852; Edmund S., born March 8, 1856, died December 9, 1911, married Clara H. Alden, of Troy, New York and left two children: Henry S. and Margaret A. Wheeler; and James S., a biography of whom follows.

Henry Wheeler was born in Glenville, Connecticut, February 21, 1850, and when young was brought by his parents to Brooklyn, New York, and in 1861 to Troy, New York, which city has ever since been his home (1851-1923). He attended the public schools until twelve years of age, then became a boy merchant through the purchase of a newspaper route, to which he added two others, these routes many miles in extent, over which he supplied customers with the "Troy Times," "Troy Whig," and the New York papers. This was the beginning of a business career that culminated in the presidency of the Union National Bank half a century later. He also attended school and was emploved around the shirt factory operated by his father until December 12, 1864, when, a lad in his fifteenth year, he became office boy at the Union Bank of Troy, then a State Bank, now the Union National Bank. The years brought him just reward for his fidelity to the interests of the only institution which has ever commanded his services, and he reviews from the president's chair his career from that day, fifty-eight years ago, when he began his long and honorable connection with the bank. Fromoffice boy he was made assistant bookkeeper, bookkeeper, teller, 1874- 1897; cashier, 1897-1915; president, 1915 to the present (1923). He is also a trustee of the Troy Savings Bank, a governor of Marshall Infirmary, one of the founders and for seventeen years president of the Troy Boys' Club, for many years director and now honorary vice-president; treasurer and trustee of Troy Cemetery Association, and in all these he has been an untiring worker. He was for six years treasurer of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, and is yet an active member, participating in all the movements conducted under the auspices of the Chamber to aid in Troy's commercial development. During the World War, 1917-18, he took active part in the various drives and movements to aid the government, and was treasurer of the Red Cross War Fund for the Troy district. He is a member of Troy Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; Troy Commercial Travelers' Association; the Troy and the Republican clubs. His favorite church is the Second Presbyterian of Troy.

Henry Wheeler married, January 31, 1894, Rebecca Robinson, daughter of John and Mary (Moore) Robinson, of Troy.

Such is the life story of one of Troy's eminent citizens, a self-made man in the best sense of the word, and one held in the highest esteem by his fellow-citizens of the city to which he came a lad of eleven years in 1861. He has won his way to the highest office in the institution which he entered in the lowest position, and has never had a promotion which was not fully earned. In his work outside the business world his deepest interest has been in boys. He has ever been a strong, unfailing friend of the Boys' Club, and long was its faithful president. His life has been a worthy one, and may encourage every boy to strive for advancement, no matter how lowly placed in rank.

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