Open main menu

History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Loring Wheeler

LORING WHEELER was one of the first lawmakers who represented Iowa in a legislative body. He was born in Westmoreland County, New Hampshire, July 16, 1799. His early education was acquired in the common schools. In 1829 he came to Galena, Illinois, and engaged in lead mining. He enlisted in the army raised to prosecute the Black Hawk War and served under General Henry Dodge. After the war he located at Dubuque and was appointed by the Governor of Michigan Territory Chief Justice of Dubuque County, which was then in that jurisdiction. When the Territory of Wisconsin was created Mr. Wheeler was elected a member of the House of the First Legislative Assembly from Dubuque County which then embraced half of the present State of Iowa as well as a portion of Minnesota. He also served as a member of the Second Legislative Assembly of Iowa in 1839-40. In 1841 he removed to De Witt, in Clinton County and, after Iowa became a State Mr. Wheeler was elected to the Senate of the First General Assembly, representing Scott and Clinton counties, where he served four years. He was a Whig in politics until 1856 when he helped to organize the Republican party, with which he was affiliated until his death. He had been a prominent official and citizen of Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa when they were Territories and was an intimate friend of George Catlin the famous historian and portrait painter of notable Indians of those times. Mr. Wheeler's portrait was painted by Catlin when he was about thirty years of age and that was probably the only portrait of an Iowa man ever painted by that noted artist and author. Mr. Wheeler died at De Witt on the 26th of January, 1889, at nearly ninety years of age.