James Wheelan was born July 1837 in Ireland (appears in 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 Pleasant Vale Twp., Pike Co., IL census), and died March 01, 1926 in Pleasant Vale Twp., Pike Co., IL4. He married (1) Isabelle Brown November 15, 1856 in Pike Co., IL6. She was born in Ireland, and died 1873. He married (2) Elizabeth A. Brown November 08, 1877 in Leaf River Twp., Ogle Co., IL8, daughter of John Brown and Isabelle McClain. She was born January 1849 in Ireland9, and died March 17, 19 in Pleasant Vale Twp., Pike Co., IL
James Wheelan, engaged in general farming on section 1, Pleasant Vale Township, was born in Ireland in 1837, and in 1848 accompanied his mother to St. Louis, Missouri. His parents were Richard and Mary (Scully) Wheelan. The father died about 1846, and the mother, as before stated, came to the new world, establishing her home in St. Louis. The voyage was made on a sailing vessel, the General Taylor, which dropped anchor in the harbor of New Orleans after six weeks and four days spent upon the Atlantic.
Mr. Wheelan of this review remained in St. Louis with his mother until 1855, there learning the blacksmith trade, and they then came to Pike County, Illinois, where he began working at his trade, being first employed by Horace Palmer, while later he engaged in business on his own account in New Canton. He followed that pursuit until 1873, when he abandoned the trade and removed to a farm, upon which he resided until 1877. The place upon which he now resides he purchased in 1870, and seven years later he took up his abode thereon, and has since made it his home. He has built here a beautiful residence, fine barns and other substantial buildings, and in fact, all of the improvements on the place stand as monuments to his thrift and labor. He has also purchased a farm adjoining the original property and yet owns this. His landed possessions aggregate two hundred and forty-five acres of rich and productive soil, which he has brought under a high state of cultivation, and from which he annually harvests abundant crops. He carries on general farming and stock-raising, and makes a specialty of shorthorn cattle and a good grade of hogs.
In 1857 Mr. Wheelan was married to Miss Isabelle Brown, who was born in Ireland, and unto this union have been born seven children, of whom four are living: Mary, the wife of John Kendrick who resides near her father's farm; Belle, who is the wife of Warren Spencer and lives upon an adjoining farm; William, who married Anna Brammel, who died, leaving three children, John B., James S., and George S., who with their father reside upon the old farm homestead; and James G., who married Anna Hoverland, also deceased, while he resides with his father. Those who have passed away are: Ella, who became the wife of John Lax and left one child; Alexander H.; Rebecca, who married Ed. Fesler, and both are now deceased, leaving two children, James W., and Ella W., the latter living with her grandfather Wheelan; and Richard. Mrs. James Wheelan died in 1873, and in 1877 Mr. Wheelan was married to Eliza Brown, who was born in Ireland in 1849 and came to America in 1870, making her home in Ogle County, Illinois, with her mother. She afterward came to Pike County on a visit and later most of her mother's family removed to this county.
Politically Mr. Wheelan is a Democrat, and for a number of years served as Village Trustee of New Canton. He was also Road Commissioner for six years, and for a long period has been a school director, doing everything in his power to advance the cause of public education, in which he is deeply interested. He belongs to Barry Lodge, No. 34, A. F. & A. M., and Barry Chapter, No. 88, R. A. M. The wife is a member of the Methodist Church. They reside on section 1, Pleasant Vale Township, about three miles from Barry and three miles from New Canton, and they are now pleasantly situated in life although when Mr. Wheelan came to Pike County he had a capital of but thirty cents. He has been an industrious, hard-working man, and all that he possesses has been acquired through his own labors. Toil - earnest unremitting toil - this is the secret of his prosperity, and his example should serve as a source of encouragement and inspiration to others who have begun life empty-handed as he did. In no country does labor receive its just reward as surely as it does in America, and with the improvement of business opportunities Mr. Wheelan, has made for himself a creditable place among the well-to-do residents of Pleasant Vale Township.
From Roger Cramer - Source: Past and Present of Pike County, IL Page 335-336
The Children of James and Isabelle (Brown) Wheelan are:
1. Mary A. Wheelan b. September 1857, Pike Co., IL d. 1926; Mary married John T. Kendrick, August 15, 1877, Pike Co., IL; b. June 24, 1855, Kildare, Ireland (appears in 1900 Pleasant Vale Twp., Pike Co., IL census); d. 1946. John and Mary Kendrick are both buried at Shearer Cemetery,
2. Belle Wheelan 25 Jan 1860 who is the wife of Warren Spencer and lives upon an adjoining farm; Belle died 1 June 1915
3. William Brown Wheelan Jan 1863 who married Anna Brammel 28 June 1882. He died 19 April 1931 leaving three children. Anna is buried in Shearer Cemetery.
4. Richard Wheelan 27 Dec 1865 - 28 Dec 1865 - buried at Shearer Cemetery
5. Ella M. Wheelan 14 Dec 1866 - 25 Apr 1895. Ella, who became the wife of John Likes and left one child;
6. James G. Wheelan b Feb 1870 who married Anna Hoverland 23 Dec 1897. She was born 23 Dec 1878 and died 4 April 1898, both are buried at Shearer Cemetery.
7. Rebecca Wheelan b 21 Mar 1873 - 15 Sep 1904 married Edward M. Fesler b 29 Sep 1870 and died 14 Aug 1903. Both are buried at Shearer cemetery