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Captain Thomas Wheeler-baptized Apr 1620, commanding officer in Westchester 1654
Posted by: Rebecca Walch (ID *****7823) Date: October 31, 2008 at 07:50:51
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I am researching Lieutenant/Captain Thomas Wheeler. I am going to post here an overview of what I know about him. Most of the information is from Homer Brainard's July 1935 The American Genealogist article. However, it is my conclusion that Lieutenant Thomas Wheeler of Fairfield was the Lieutenant Thomas Wheeler who was the commanding officer in Westchester Village (now part of The Bronx). I have not found this connection made in any history or genealogy.

Thomas Wheeler, baptized April 1620 in Cranfield, England, was the son of Thomas Wheeler the Elder and his second wife. Thomas' older brother, Thomas Wheeler Sr., was born about 1591. The brothers went to New England and settled in Concord. A man named Thomas Wheeler (I assume it was Thomas Sr.) signed the petition in favor of Wheelright and Ann Hutchinson. In 1644, these Wheelers went to Fairfield, Connecticut with Reverend Jones' group. Lieutenant/Captain was referred to as Thomas Wheeler Jr. Thomas Wheeler Sr.'s son Thomas, baptized December 1621, returned to Concord. Thomas Wheeler Sr. died in 1654. He gave his land in Concord to his son Thomas and he named his brother Lieutenant Thomas Wheeler as one of the overseers.

In June 1654, Thomas Pell bought land from the Siwanoy Indians. About November, settlers began moving onto the land. Lieutenant Thomas Wheeler was the commanding officer in Westchester. When the Dutch learned of the settlement on land they claimed according to the 1650 Hartford Treaty, they warned the English to leave; the settlers stood firm behind Wheeler and insisted the land was under English jurisdiction. In September 1655, after the Peach War uprising, Lt. Wheeler was dealing with the Indians and trying to help the English remain safe. In March 1656, the leading men of the village were arrested by the Dutch. They were released on the 15th and instructed to leave the settlement. On the 16th, Wheeler and others petitioned the Dutch for permission to remain; they agreed to swear an oath of allegiance to the Dutch. Wheeler was named commanding officer by the Dutch. I would really like to know how the Indans felt about this.

In early March 1657, Wheeler received a gift of land from the Paugassett Indians in Connecticut (now Derby). Note: the two judges Whalley and Goffe hid in Paugassett and I suspect Wheeler assisted in hiding them.

In early 1644, Wheeler went to Massachusetts. (Later that year the two judges went to Hadley, Massachusetts.) Once settled in Concord, Wheeler became a captain.

I would also like to know more about the Natick Indian guides who seem to be the reason Wheeler and others were able to make it to Brookfield.


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