The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), March 16, 1877

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Death of Captain Morgan M. Wheeler

Seldom has a more painful task fallen upon us than that which impells our pen to write the obituary of Captain Morgan M. Wheeler. The whole city was aware that Capt. Wheeler was seriously sick, and the various changes and probabilities of his case have been watched with deep anxiety as they have been noted from time to time. For the past three or four days his symptoms varied, and his friends were alternately moved by hope and fear. Saturday evening he slept an hour, and during the afternoon of that day retained some nourishment.

Yesterday, however, the indications were alarming, and he continued to decline till half past six this morning, when he died, passing away calmly and with scarcely a struggle.

That a frame so perfectly a model of health and vigor should have been so suddenly laid low seems almost inconceivable. Captain Wheeler was a man of the most careful, regular nd abstemious habits, and till the time last fall or early in the winter, when he contracted the falat disease his health had been perfect. During one of the violent storms of wind and snow in the early part of the season he worked all day on his vessels in the harbor , securing them from the storm.

He was without rubbers and did not think of it till at night he found his feet wet and himself exhausted. A severe cold resulted, followed by diphtheria, by which he was confined in his house for several weeks and became a good deal weakened. He got out, however, and came down the street, several times he dropped into the Palladium office and conversed cheerfully, and he attended one of the public meetings on the charter amendments and criticized the reduction made in teachers' wages, but soon thereafter he was again taken down.

It appears that his system did not clear itself of the diphtheria infection and it resulted in what is commonly called poisoning of the blood, of which he died. he had his will and arranged all his business affairs with great particularity. Previous to his death he had lucid intervals, when he recognized his friends, but much of the time he was unconscious.

Capt. Wheeler was born in Lyme, Jefferson County, May 12, 1832. His father, a New Englander, was in early life a settler of the Mohawk Valley, but subsequently removed to Northern New York and was one of the founders of the town of Lyme. His mother was a daughter of David Kinnison, a soldier of the Revolution, and again of the War of 1812, and who was the last survivor of the Boston Tea Party. Capt. Wheeler's father died when the latter was five years old, and he remained on the farm till he was nine, when the family removed to Oswego - in 1844.

For ten years he worked on a farm for Judge Hawks, then served six years' apprenticeship in the milling business with Lewis & Beardsley, and at the end of that time served a year's clerkship in A.F. Allen's Grocery Store. In 1853 he became collector for the tug "N. Robins," owned by Dobbie & Manwarring, and subsequently became general manager of a fleet of tugs and vessels which they built. He remained with them till 1859, when he bought and commanded the tug "J.H. Bloore" which was afterwards lost at Big Sodus.

He built another and became largely interested in tugs and towing, from which he went into vessels, buying his first one, "Lucy J. Latham," in 1863. he has owned a large number of vessels which yielded him a handsome estate, and at his death owned the "Jamaica," "Nevada," "Madeira," "Samana" and "Bolivia."

Capt. Wheeler was one of the most active and energetic of men and took a deep interest in affairs outside his business. He represented the Third Ward in the Common Council continually from 1869 to 1875 and was one of the founders of Grace Church.

Wherever known, he was greatly respected, and no man could be more missed from the vessel interest, among captains and sailors, nor from among his townsmen. Captain Wheeler leaves a wife, four boys and three girls, who are indeed terribly bereft.

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March 16, 1877
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Oswego Palladium (Oswego, NY), March 16, 1877