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Centennial History of Hurricane: Archibald Wheeler Family

In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. Since the Centennial History is now out of print, the Breeze is reprinting articles from the book as space allows. This week’s selection will be the 241st installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by Jane Wheeler Miller

On Sept. 16, 1824, not far from a stage coach stop at Hurricane Bridge on the James River Turnpike, John Wheeler married Margaret Paul and became the head of our Wheeler clan in Putnam County. John and Margaret settled at the mouth of Clymers Creek on Trace Fork River and opened a large farm on the banks of those streams. They were the parents of six children: Margaret (1827), Elias (1828), Noah (1830), Archibald Robinson (1832), Nancy (1836), and Charles (1838). Elias (married Elizabeth Harbour) and Noah (married Amanda Cooper) were farmer/merchants and owned stores in and around Hurricane. Nancy married James Nichols. Arch married Minerva Jane Wheeler on Oct. 1, 1857. Jane was born in Little Rock, Ark., the daughter of Alexander and Mary Wheeler, and was reputed to be of Cherokee Indian descent. She was born during the “Trail of Broken Tears” episode, so it is possible.

When the Civil War began, Noah enlisted immediately, but Arch enlisted a year later when Capt. Morris Kirtley came through Putnam County recruiting for a new company of Confederate cavalry. He was captured in late 1864 and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner at Ft. Delaware. Arch was a master stone mason, and after the war, he resumed working at this craft, moving often and traveling extensively about the state. Evidence of his skill can still be seen in the chimneys on old farm houses and perhaps on some stone bridges in the Charleston area.

Arch and Jane were the parents of five children: James (1858), Mary (1860), John (1864), Lee (1866), and Andrew (1870). James married Elizabeth Garrett and followed the craft of his father as a stone mason and farmer. They were the parents of nine children, including three sets of twins: William, Hezakiah, George, Jeff, Myrtle, Owen, Ola, Guy and Nye. James also had two sons by a second marriage – Ernest, who lives in Milton, and Henry, who lives in Beckley. William, who married Neta McAboy, was perhaps the most prominent Wheeler to live in Hurricane. In 1925, he began operating a grocery store on Main Street that was later owned by Delmar Pullen. When water and sewer came to town in the early 1930’s, Bill moved across the tracks to the old McCallister store building and opened a plumbing and hardware business. He plumbed most of the houses in town and wired many of them for electricity. He continued to operate the business until his death in 1962.

George married (1) Ollie Elkins and worked for the gas company. Their children were: Finley, Broad, Asa, Waldo, Arta, Arlie, Sherman and Fred. George married (2) Alice Johnson Campbell and their children were: Tom, who married Lois Hodge and lived in Hurricane; Lossee, who married Maria Steed and moved to Oregon, and are the parents of Michael, Mary Ann, Angela, Joseph and Elizabeth Jane; Jane, who married Okey Miller, lives in Hurricane and their children are Wayde, who married Robin Curtis and lives in Kentucky, and Sandy, who married Biff Larch and they are with the Army in Germany; and Charles, who married Marie Faulkner and lives in Hurricane. Their children are Rhonda, who attends Marshall University, and Tommy, who attends Hurricane High School. The Wheeler heritage lives on today.


A digital copy of the Centennial History can be obtained from the Hurricane City Hall for a small donation. For more information, call the City of Hurricane at (304) 562-5896.

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