William Fletcher Wheeler papers, 1859-1894  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Wheeler, William F., 1824-1894
William Fletcher Wheeler papers
1859-1894 (inclusive)
1 linear foot of shelf space
Collection Number
MC 65 (collection)
William Wheeler (1824-1894) served as U.S. Marshal and as Montana Historical Society Librarian in Helena, Montana. Papers consist of outgoing correspondence (1859-1860, 1869-1871), including discussion of problems of Montana Territorial law enforcement; and biographical writings on Montana pioneers. [Portions same as MF 12].
Montana Historical Society, Research Center Archives
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives
225 North Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT
Telephone: 406-444-2681
Fax: 406-444-5297
Access Restrictions

Collection open for research.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

William Fletcher Wheeler was born in Warwick, New York, July 6, 1824. After attending several New York academies, he moved to Columbus, Ohio, in 1842, at the age of eighteen. For several years he worked for the Ohio Statesman as a printer and reporter, and studied law in his spare time. In 1848, he was admitted to the bar. In 1853, Wheeler married Charlotte Jersey. Three years later the Wheelers moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where Wheeler obtained the post of private secretary to Colonel Medary, newly appointed Minnesota Territorial Governor. Wheeler also served as territorial librarian. By September 1861, Wheeler had helped to raise a company for the Fourth Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. He fought in the Civil War battles at Iuka and Corinth, and later was part of the Vicksburg campaign. As a result of illness, Wheeler was discharged from the service in the spring of 1864.

In June 1869, Colonel Wheeler arrived in Montana as the newly appointed U.S. Marshal. He served in the position for three successive terms until 1878. During this time he was also ex-officio superintendent of the U.S. Penitentiary at Deer Lodge.

For the next decade Wheeler worked as a journalist and writer and was employed in 1884 by the Montana Historical Society to interview and write the biographies of former employees of the American Fur Company. In 1889, he accepted the position of librarian of the Montana Historical Society. He filled this post until his death in June 1894.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers consist primarily of biographical and historical writings done by Wheeler. Also included are correspondence (1859-1894) concerning personal business, his service in the Civil War, and his service as U.S. Marshal; materials related to the Meagher County vote fraud (1874); miscellaneous financial records and legal documents, and scrapbooks of writings, letters, and clippings.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of the Montana Historical Society. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all materials in the collection. In some cases permission for use may require additional authorization from the copyright owners. For more information contact an archivist.

Preferred Citation

Item description and date. Collection Title. Collection Number. Box and Folder numbers. Montana Historical Society Research Center, Archives, Helena, Montana.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection

Biographical Material Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 1
Biographical sketch of William F. Wheeler, by Charlotte J. Wheeler

Incoming Correspondence Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 2
A-N (correspondents include C. C. Bateman, E. S. Bennett, Alex C. Botkin, J. M. Bronson, A. J. Falls, Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, Hezekiah L. Hosmer, Hiram Knowles, Martin Maginnis, James H. Mills, Minnesota State Historical Society, George W. Newkirk)
1 / 3
Benjamin F. Potts
1 / 4
S-W (correspondents include Lucy W. Stedman, Ed Stone, U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bob Wilson, unidentified)

Outgoing Correspondence Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 5-6
Letterpress books
1859-1871, 1875-1878
1 / 6a
Letter to his wife Charlotte J. Wheeler from Oxford, Mississippi, and LaGrange, Tennessee, during Civil War

Financial Records Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 7
Receipts (includes some for Wheeler Estate and Charlotte J. Wheeler's purchase of a lot in Great Falls)
1 / 8
U.S. Marshal's Office: accounts, receipts
1 / 9
U.S. Marshal's Office: weekly statements of public monies received

Legal Documents Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 10
Appointments as Deputy U.S. Marshal; power of attorney; Charlotte J. Wheeler's will
1878-1879, 1890, 1901

Subject Files Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 11
Meagher County vote fraud during 1874 capital contest
1 / 12
Congressional reimbursement to Wheeler for losses in Helena fire of 1874
1875, 1877-1878

Writings Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 / 13
Biographical sketches: Baptiste Aeneas
1 / 14
Biographical sketches: Louis Brown
1 / 15
Biographical sketches: Joseph Cobell
circa 1885
1 / 16
Biographical sketches: Walter W. DeLacy
circa 1894
2 / 1
Biographical sketches: Robert Dempsey
2 / 2
Biographical sketches: James Gemmell
2 / 3
Biographical sketches: Caleb Ewing Irvine
2 / 4
Biographical sketches: William Kennedy
2 / 5
Biographical sketches: Benjamin Keyser
2 / 6
Biographical sketches: Mortimer H. Lott (includes capture of George Ives)
2 / 7
Biographical sketches: George W. Lovell ("Captain of the Miners Guard at the Trial of George Ives")
2 / 8
Biographical sketches: Angus McDonald
2 / 9
Biographical sketches: Eli W. McNeal
2 / 10
Biographical sketches: Louis R. Maillet
circa 1885
2 / 11
Biographical sketches: Henry H. Mood
2 / 12
Biographical sketches: Joseph O'Neill
2 / 13
Biographical sketches: William H. Parkinson
2 / 14
Biographical sketches: Henry Robert
2 / 15
Biographical sketches: Sacajawea [typed copy]
2 / 16
Biographical sketches: Francis L. Worden
2 / 17
"Personal histories of early pioneers of Chouteau County" (interview notebook for Charles Mercier, George Weippert, Louis Rivet, Joseph Cobell, Antoine Juneau, and Henry Robert; and Fort McKenzie history)
2 / 18
Unidentified fur trader biography
2 / 18a
"The Battle of Corinth [Mississippi]: full account of that battle"
2 / 19
"How the Bitterroot or Coeur d'Alene Mountains Were Made the Western Boundary of Montana"
2 / 20
"The Keelboat" [typed transcript]
2 / 21
Libraries; educational institutions; and common schools of Montana
2 / 22
"The Mackinaw Boat" [typed transcript]
2 / 23
"Medicine Tree Hill: an Indian Legend" as told by Caleb E. Irvine
2 / 24
"Missoula" (re origin of the name)
2 / 25
Montana names
2 / 26
"Story of course de Femmes" as told by Caleb E. Irvine (re Indian women's foot race at Evaro, in 1840s)

Miscellany Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Oversize Folder
MC 65-71
Notary public certificate [Map Case-See folder MC 65-71]
3 / 1
Notebook (includes "Extracts and descriptions from D. D. Owens' Geological Survey of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota"; clippings of letters to the editor; expense list for survey trip)
3 / 2
Scrapbook (includes clippings of letters to the editor)
3 / 3
Scrapbook (includes clippings of articles re "Our artist abroad"; Missoula county fair, Nez Percé War; Northern Pacific Railroad; Helena; Sun River, Montana's forests, etc.)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Capitals (cities)--Montana
  • Corruption (in politics)--Montana
  • Elections--Montana
  • Fur trade--Montana
  • Law enforcement--Montana
  • Missouri River--Commerce
  • Prisons--Montana
  • Salish Indians
  • Steamboats--Missouri River
  • Vigilantes--Montana--Virginia City
  • Personal Names :
  • Wheeler, William F., 1824-1894 (creator)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Alder Gulch (Mont.)
  • Bitterroot Range (Idaho and Mont.)
  • Bitterroot River Valley (Mont.)
  • Chouteau County (Mont.)
  • Deer Lodge (Mont.)
  • Fort Benton (Mont.)
  • Fort McKenzie (Mont.)
  • Helena (Mont.)--Biography
  • Jocko Valley (Mont.)
  • Madison County (Mont.)
  • Meagher County (Mont.)--Politics and government
  • United States-- History--Civil War, 1861-1865.