Heritage \ Writings \

Chesley Wheeler (1823-1911)
Shipbuilder, son Frank W. Wheeler was major shipbuilder.

1905: Historical bio. (Added, Dec., 2008)

History of Bay County, MI, by Augustus H. Gansser, 1905


One of the oldest and most prominent citizens of Bay City, is a retired ship-builder, who was born in Warren County, New York, June 17, 1823, and is a son of George and Sally (Padden) Wheeler.

George Wheeler was born in Eastern New York, and devoted his entire life to farming. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, and was stationed at Sackett's Harbor. There the United States government had built a large vessel for war purposes, which, peace having been declared, was never launched. The subject of this sketch well remembers going over this vessel, after it had been housed in and placed on exhibition. The father died in 1831 in Jefferson County, New York. His death was the result of diseases cause by over exertion, and exposure incident to frontier life.

Chesley Wheeler's mother had six sons and four daughters, of whom he and three sisters are the only survivors. Of these, Mrs. Mary Ann Eaton, who is next order than he, lives in St. Louis, Michigan. Another, Mrs. Emma Williams, lives in Columbus, Pennsylvania. The third sister, Mrs. Melissa Casselman, resides in Chautaugqua County, New York. The mother of this family was a native of New York, but of Scotch extraction. In religious faith, she was a Presbyterian.

Chesley Wheeler grew up in Jefferson County, New York, where he received his mental training and where he was married. Before and after his marriage, he was engaged in farming. Subsequent to that event, he learned the trade of ship carpenter, which he followed until within the last few years. Before coming to Bay City, he built a few small vessels on contract.

Mr. Wheeler arrive in Saginaw, Michigan, in the fall of 1865 and started a shipyard there. Eight years afterward he moved to West Bay City, where he started another shipyard, having discontinued the one at Saginaw. He remained in West Bay City until about 1878, when his son, Frank Willis Wheeler, who up to that time had been in partnership with his father, became sole owner of the yard.

The “Elfin Mere” was the property of Chesley Wheeler, and was operated by him as freight steamer until 1901, when the boat was destroyed by fire. Mr. Wheeler gave employment at times to a force numbering 300 to 400 men.

On February 14, 1843, Mr. Wheeler married Eliza Hoselton, of Jefferson County, New York. They had five children, four of whom grew to maturity, as follows: Jane L., wife of William Durand, of Bay City; Fred D., deceased; Emma, wife of John R. Goodfellow, of Los Angeles, California; and Frank Willis. The mother of this family died December 12, 1891, aged 65 years. She was a member of the Congregational Church.

Mr. Wheeler subsequently married Mrs. Chauncey Greenman, nee Imogene Thurber, a daughter of Noah Thurber, of Penn Yan, New York.

Chesley Wheeler is a Republican in politics. In West Bay City he was quite active poltically, and exercised a powerful influence in public affairs, although he was absorbed in business to such an extent as to preclude the idea of holding office. Fraternally, he is a member of Joppa Lodge, No. 315, F. & A. M.

1911: Death of. (Added May, 2004)

Bay City Tribune - Monday, June 5, 1911


Chesley Wheeler Died At The Age Of 88 After Illness Of Six Months.

Chesley Wheeler, age 88 years, one of Bay City's oldest and most respected residents died at his home at Fifth and Jackson street, yesterday morning, after a six months' illiness.

Mr. Wheeler was born in Jefferson county, New York, in 1823, and in 1865 came to Saginaw where he lived until 1875. In that year he came to Bay City and founded the well known Wheeler shipyard on the west side, which was taken over on his retirement by his son, Frank W. Wheeler.

The deceased is survived by a wife, two daughters, Mrs. J.R. Durand of this city, and Mrs. J.R. Goodfellow of Colton, Cal., and one son>, Frank W. Wheeler of Detroit.

The furneral services will be conducted by Rev. T.S. Anderson at the family home at 2:30 o'clock Tuesday afternoon. Interment will be in Elm Lawn Cemetery.

Related Pages & Notes

Related Pages:
Wheeler, Frank W.
Wheeler, Frank W. Pol. Bio
People Referenced
Anderson, T.S. (Rev.)
Casselman, Melissa, Mrs. (sister)
Durand, Jane R. Mrs. (dau.)
Durand, William
Eaton, Marry Ann, Mrs. (sister)
Goodfellow, Emma Mrs. (dau.)
Goodfellow, John R.
Greenman, Chauncey
Hoselton, Eliz (1st wife)
Padden, Sally (mother)
Thurbur, Imogene (2nd wife)
Thurbur, Noah
Wheeler, Chesley (subject)
Wheeler, Frank W. (son)
Wheeler, Fred (bro.)
Wheeler, George (father)
Williams, Emma, Mrs. (sister)
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
Chautaugqua Co., NY
Columbus, PA
Colton, CA
Congregational Church
Detroit, MI
Elm Lawn Cemetery
Jefferson County, NY
Penn Yan, NY
Sacketts Harbor
Saginaw, MI
St. Louis, MI
War of 1812
Warren Co., NY
West Bay City, MI
Wheeler shipyard
Internet References
  • None at this time.
  • WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.