June 9, 1910: Death of Sarah Wheeler

On this day in Duluth in 1910, pioneer Sara Wheeler passed away. Born Sarah Caroline Brewster in 1828, Wheeler was direct descendant of William “Elder” Brewster, who came over on the Mayflower. With her father James Brewster, a painter by trade, Sarah moved to Byron, Illinois in 1841, and then to New Diggings, Wisconsin, about the same time Henry W. Wheeler arrived in town. They married November 25, 1847, at New Diggings, and eventually made their way to St. Paul. In 1856 Sarah, with three small children in tow, traveled to Duluth following Henry, who had walked there to set up the first sawmill on the “Minnesota side” of the head of the lakes. The Wheelers helped found the town of Oneota with the Merrits and Elys. Sarah Wheeler, mother of ten, was the personification of the pioneer woman, acting as cook, comforter, doctor, and midwife for her family and her neighbors as well. She also taught Sunday Schools and “waged a real war against alcohol and tobacco among her Sunday School boys.” Described as a tiny, spritely woman, she still fit into her wedding dress on the day of the Wheeler’s 50th anniversary of their marriage. She died June 9, 1910, as her youngest son Bert wrote, “tired out, yes worn out, in service to her family and friends.” In 1922 Bert closed a biography of his parents lives with this poem:

They lived a life of upright usefulness,
They were just, true and neighborly,
They raised a family in the fear of God,
They carried on.
Who can do more?

You can read much more about the Wheelers here.

Sara Wheele. (Image: Tom Wheeler)wheeler

Subscribe to This Day in Duluth!