GEORGE B. WHEELER, editor and proprietor of the Daily Leader, of Bloomington, is a native of Kennebunkport,
York Co., Me., and was born Aug. 1, 1853, being the son of John A. and Louisa M. (Bourne) Wheeler, natives of the
same State. Of their three children only two are living, George B., our subject, and his brother, Frank K. John
Wheeler engaged in mercantile pursuits through life, and was Postmaster from 1869 until his death. Both parents
were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the mother was especially devoted to Christian and charitable
duties. The latter is still living at her old home in Maine.
The subject of this biography received a good common-school education, and afterward graduated from the preparatory college course of the Maine Wesleyan Seminary at Kent's Hill. He entered Bowdoin College at Brunswick and graduated with honors in the class of 1874. After leaving college he taught school one year, and then entered the office of the Portland Advertiser, to learn the printer's trade. In 1876, he purchased the Merrimac Journal, at Franklin, N. H., which he conducted for two years, in partnership with his brother, Frank K. During his residence at Franklin, he was a member of the Board of Education and Chairman of the Republican Central Committee.
He came to Bloomington, Ill., in June, 1880, and in company with his brother-in-law, Maj. W. F. Crawford, purchased a one-half interest in the daily and weekly Leader, and in 1886, they purchased the balance. Mr. Wheeler at once assumed the editorial management of the paper, which position he has since held, and has distinguished himself as an able journalist and excellent business man. In 1882, on account of the appointment of his partner, Mr. Crawford, to a Government office, Mr. Wheeler became business manager of the establishment, and in his varied duties has met with remarkable success.
The Leader [weekly] of Bloomington, was established in November, 1868, by John S. Seibird and O. Waters, with Elias Smith as editor. On the 22d of February, 1870, the Daily Leader was started, with A. F. Diggs as editor. Subsequently a stock company was organized to conduct the paper. Later on, O. Waters and J. W. Nichols became the proprietors. In 1875, M. F. Leland purchased the plant, and Mr. Nichols continued as editor. In 1880, Messrs. G. B. Wheeler and W. F. Crawford, of Maine, purchased a half interest, and assumed the control of the Leader, Mr. Wheeler taking the editorial, and Mr. Crawford the financial management. In August, 1886, this firm purchased the entire interest in the paper, and have since owned it. Mr. Crawford, however, retired from the management to take charge of his bank in Cameron, Tex. The Leader is an eight-column folio paper, neatly and attractively gotten up, and is, and always has been, a stalwart Republican journal. The weekly Leader is a ten-column folio. This journal has a large circulation, is devoted to the interests of its patrons and the principles of the Republican party, of which it is an able advocate. It is bright and newsy, and is one of the prominent and influential journals of the State.
The circulation of the Bloomington Leader is steadily increasing, and its prosperity and influence are greatly due to the shrewd business tact and journalistic ability of its present editor and business manager.
Mr. Wheeler was married in 1880, to Miss Laura E. Crawford, of Brunswick, Me., a charming lady socially, and a noted elocutionist. Of this marriage there has been born one child, a daughter, Helen Louise.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 719. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.