Wheeler, William Constant
Age: 18, credited to Morristown, VTVITALS
Birth: 12/04/1847, Rehoboth, MAADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None NotedDESCENDANTS
South Woodbury Cemetery, Woodbury, VT
Check the cemetery for location/directions
and other veterans who may be buried there.
William Constant Wheeler, age 18, credited to Morristown, enlisted 27 May 1863, and mustered in as a private in Co. L., 11th Vermont Infantry on 10 June 1863. He transferred to Co. I, on 13 July 1863 and was discharged for disability on 13 April 1864.
Discharged before his regiment saw action, his is a fairly routine military record. So why were his 93rd birthday and his passing noted in Time Magazine? The following article from the Argus & Patriot, on 6 September 1905, explains.
A Remarkable Case
Difference of 63 Years in the Ages of Two Brothers
Editor Evening Argus: - William Constant Wheeler, of South Woodbury, has the distinction of being the youngest living son in the world of a soldier of the American Revolution while he is a veteran of the civil war in his own right, having enlisted May 27, 1863, in Co. I of the 11th VT Infantry.
Comfort Wheeler, the father of "Constant" as he is commonly called, was born in Rehoboth, Mass, March 13, 1766, and first enlisted under Capt. Duel at Shonguoc[?], NY in April 1780. Discharged in Dec. 1780, he reenlisted under Capt. Keith for three months at Killingly, Conn in May 1681. Reenlisted under Capt. Corbin for one year Dec. 10, 1681-and was detailed as orderly to Gen. Greene.
Comfort first married in 1783 when he was 17 years old and his oldest son, James, was born Nov. 26, 1784.
He married his third wife in Woodbury, VT when he was about eighty years of age and she bore him two children, a daughter who died young, and a son Constant, who was born Dec. 4, 1847, making him 63 years younger than his oldest brother, James.
Constant, while not as robust and strong as his father, is said by the older inhabitants to closely resemble him in features, figure and voice.
When the writer last saw Constant, in July 1899, he was then about 52 years old, and was living on a farm adjoining one on which his niece, Mrs. Eliza Batchelder, lived, she being at that time 88 years old.
Mr. Benjamin Wheeler, a gentleman widely known in this section, a great-great-grandson of Comfort and consequently a great-great-nephew of Constant, is only 24 years younger than his own great-great-uncle.
Dwight R. Kelton
Montpelier, VT Aug 31, 1905
Daughters Of The American Revolution Lineage Books, published in 1936, indicate "Comfort Wheeler (1764-1855) received a pension for service as private in Capt. Samuel Duel's company, New York Line; also under Capts. Keith and Corbin, Col. Howe's Connecticut regiment."
Both the Springfield Republican, Dec. 12, 1940, and Time Magazine, Dec. 16, 1940, noted his 93rd birthday and the fact that he was the last living son of an American Revolutionary War soldier.
Again, both the Trenton (NJ) Evening Times, Feb. 2, 1941, p. 31, and Time Magazine, Feb. 10, 1941, recorded his passing on 1 February.
William Constant Wheeler is buried in South Woodbury Cemetery, Woodbury, VT.
William was a member of the California Society, Sons of the Revolution, although he never lived in California. A post-war photograph of him is available on their website.
The majority of the material for this article, and the tombstone photograph, are courtesy of Denis Jaquish, Constant Wheeler's 3rd-great-grandnephew.