Genealogical Mysteries for Wheelock Surname

This page discusses some of the mysteries associated with the study of the Wheelock surname. If you have any clues, please send me an email. I would love to correspond with you! These mysteries are presented in order corresponding to the number of people that might be interested in solving the mystery.

  • When was Rev. Ralph Wheelock born? And who were his parents?

    There is record of Ralph Wheelock born  on 17 May 1600 in Dorrington, Shropshire, England, son of John Wheelock and Elizabeth Rogers. The records of the Lyth Hill-Dorrington Chapel show that a Ralph Wheelock married Rebecca Wilkinson on 17 Jun 1631. Except for the proximity of these two records, there is no other evidence that these Ralphs are one and the same, and little evidence that the Ralph Wheelock born 17 May 1600 is the same Ralph that came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637.

    There is a Wramplingham, Norfolk, England record of Ralph Wheelock, cleric, marrying Rebecca Clarke on 17 May 1630. There is substantial evidence that this is the same Ralph Wheelock that later moved to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

    Unfortunately, the vital records of Medfield, MA give no clue to Ralph Wheelock's age when he died, nor has any headstone been found that might shed light on his origins. The best information regarding his birth comes from family records, the earliest being the "Memoirs of Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, DD, Founder and President of Dartmouth College and Moors Charity School", by David Mclure and Elijah Parish, published in 1811. This volume states that Ralph was born 1600 in Shropshire. It was not written by Wheelock himself, but rather by close associates with whom he had long relationships. The information is most likely first hand. Eleazar's father was heir to the family bible which may have been the original source.

    It is likely that there was more than one Ralph Wheelock in England in the early 1600s. Whether the Ralph Wheelock that crossed the Atlantic in 1637 was the son of John Wheelock and Elizabeth Rogers, or of some other parentage is not yet known.

  • On what ship did Rev. Ralph Wheelock travel to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637?

    No record of Ralph Wheelock's passage to America could be found in "The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1776" by Peter Wilson Coldham. A privately published article by Victor Peskett, entitled "Wheelock, founder of Medfield", 1992, states that Ralph, his wife Rebecca, and a daughter, appears on a passenger list for the second voyage of the Transport to New England. However, Christopher Gleason Clark, in his January, 1998 New England Historical and Genealogical Society article "The English Ancestry of Joseph Clark (1613-1683) of Dedham and Medfield, Massachusetts" reports that no such passenger list could be found, and that several other "facts" in Peskett's pamphlet have proven to be incorrect.

  • Where was Peregrina Wheelock, daughter of Rev. Ralph Wheelock and Rebecca Clarke of Medfield, Massachusetts born?

    A 1669 marriage record of Peregrina Wheelock to John Warfield is found  in the Medfield, Massachusetts Vital Records. This is the daughter of Rev. Ralph Wheelock and Rebecca, as recorded by William S. Tilden in "The History of Medfield, 1650 - 1886". But no record of her birth is found, either in Massachusetts, or in England. Some Wheelock genealogists claim that a daughter was born to Ralph and Rebecca while enroute to New England. Since the birth (or baptism) of all other children of Ralph and Rebecca are accounted for, Perigrina must have been the one.

    It is interesting to note that the word peregrinate means "to journey or travel from place to place". It is derived from the latin peregrinari which means "to travel in foreign lands". As one reader asked, is it possible Ralph and Rebecca were trying to give us a clue to this mystery?

  • Is there any connection between the Wheelocks/Whitlocks/Whillocks of Virginia and Tennesse with Rev. Ralph Wheelock (1600 - 1683/84), of Medfield, MA?

    "Viginia Colonial  Soldiers", by  L. D. Bockstruck, pg 21, lists James Wheelock in the County Militia Roster on 21 July 1758. There are records of John Wheelock ( b. 1750 in Virginia,  d. 1843, in Washington Co., Tennesse) married Sarah Kincheloe (b. 1750/60 in Prince William, in Virginia, d. after 1837, in Tennesse). Are James and John somehow descended from Rev. Ralph Wheelock?

  • Of what relation is Lucy Wheelock, founder of Wheelock College, in Boston, MA to Rev. Ralph Wheelock?

    Lucy Wheelock, founder of Wheelock College in Boston, was born in Cambridge, Vt. on 1 February 1857. Her father Edwin Wheelock, was born in nearby Waterville, Vt. on 17 Nov 1822. Edwin Wheelock was a Superintendent of Schools, a representative to the Vermont Legislature, and a state senator. The birth of Lucy's grandfather, Samuel Wheelock, is recorded in Waterville, VT, 21 June 1797, but the record does not specify where he was born or who his parents were. Samuel was an early settler of Eden, VT, and later moved to Cambridge. He married Polly Adams, in 1820. Lucy Wheelock claims that she was closely related to John Adams, probably through her grandmother, Polly.

    Her relationship to Ralph has become clearer after a thorough perusal of the Vermont statewide vital records, which show that she descends from Stephen Wheelock and Lucretia Newton on her mother's side. In fact, her mother's mother was her namesake, Lucy J. Wheelock, granddaughter of Stephen and Lucretia (Newton) Wheelock. Her grandfather's ancestry is less certain, but he is probably the son of Stephen and Lucretia (Newton) Wheelock. For a thorough discussion of the evidence, click here for a PDF file outlining her genealogy, or browse to Stephen Wheelock (b. 22 Feb 1750/51, Shrewsbury, MA) under "Descendants of Rev. Ralph Wheelock"

  • What is the ancestry of David Wheelock (abt 1775-1822) of Leominster, MA?

    David married Naomi Fairbanks about 1800; the intention was filed in Leominster. Together they had at least 11 children. They are commemorated on a monument in Evergreen Cemetery, Leominster, MA, and are probably buried there. There are no primary sources yet found that identify his parentage. Without indicating his reasons, Rev. Frederick Lewis Weis places him in the family of Abner Wheelock and Mary Brown of Leominster in his book "Early Families of Lancaster, Massachusetts", 1941. Are there any primary sources that would support this?

  • Of what relation (if any) is Brigadier General Charles Wheelock, founder of the "Conkling Rifles" 97th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry to Rev. Ralph Wheelock?

    General Charles Wheelock, Civil War veteran and hero, was born in Claremont, NH, 14 Dec 1812. He was the son of Daniel Wheelock and Lucinda Stewart, who were married in Claremont 28 Aug 1796.

    The ancestry of Daniel Wheelock is not known for certain. The oral tradition of his descendants states that he was born in Uxbridge, MA, 14 June 1768, the son of Daniel Wheelock and Beulah Albee. But there is no marriage record for Daniel Wheelock and Beulah Albee to support this claim, nor is there any birth record for Daniel matching the 14 June 1768 date.

    The tradition goes on to claim that Daniel's father is the son of Daniel Wheelock (1707-1793) and Deborah Darling of Uxbridge, MA. The father was born 13 Aug 1744, so the date is consistent with the 1768 birth date of our Daniel. However, it is well established that his supposed father, Daniel (born 13 Aug 1744) married Keziah Hunt not Beulah Albee. This is proven by his 1781 will, which mentions his wife, Keziah, and his children, none of whom are named Daniel. This marriage is also supported by his grandfather's will (Daniel Wheelock, Sr, married to Deborah Darling), who mentions the grandchildren, sons of Daniel and Keziah; again, none of whom are named Daniel.

    So the vital records seem to have nothing to say about our Daniel Wheelock.

    None of this disproves the oral history of Daniel's heritage. It is possible that Daniel was the son of Daniel Wheelock and Beulah Albee. One possible scenario goes like this. Beulah Albee had a child out of wedlock, fathered by Daniel Wheelock (1744-1781), son of Daniel and Deborah. This probably happened before Daniel married Keziah Hunt, and would explain why none of Daniel and Keziah's children are named Daniel. It would also explain why Daniel's birth was not recorded in the vital records of Uxbridge; the tendency was to NOT record out of wedlock births. After giving birth to Daniel Wheelock, Beulah Albee married Israel Sabin in 1770, then moved to Richmond, NH. It's possible that she and Israel raised Daniel Wheelock in NH. This would explain why Daniel lived and married in Claremont, NH, not far from Richmond.

    Is there any direct evidence to support this narrative? Perhaps there are probate records or land transactions in NH that might establish a connection between Daniel Wheelock, who married Lucinda Stewart, and Israel Sabin/Beulah Albee. Better yet would be a land transaction establishing a connection between the presumed father, Daniel Wheelock who married Keziah Hunt, and either our Daniel, or Israel Sabin or Beulah Albee. Daniel Wheelock did have land interests in NH - he left land in Franconia to his sons. (See his will here.) So this may not be far fetched.

    If anyone has positive evidence to support or contradict the oral tradition, I would love to hear about it. Email me here.