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John Ozias Wheeler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Ozias Wheeler (born 1823) was a merchant, court clerk, government employee, city council member and newspaper editor in California during the 19th Century.


Wheeler was born November 24, 1823, in Groton, Connecticut, the son of John Holmes Wheeler and Esther Hill Buddington. He had a younger brother, Horace Z. Wheeler, who became appraiser-general in the U.S. customs house in Yokohama, Japan.[1][2]

In September 1844 John Ozias Wheeler married Nancy Moore, and they moved to Florida. In 1849 he journeyed to California, bound for Rancho Chino, as it was called then, and his wife followed two years later. They had four daughters, Mary Esther, Louisa, Alice R. and Mattie. Three of these became Mrs. William Pridham of Los Angeles, Mrs. Clay M. Green of New York and Mrs. F.H. McCormick of Alameda, California.[1][2]



In conjunction with Isaac Williams, "then the proprietor of the Chino," Wheeler began his trading career, at first with "a train of merchandise and supplies," with headquarters at Agua Caliente, California, followed by a trading expedition across the Colorado Desert to Fort Yuma, Arizona. The next year, he and his brother began a general merchandising business in Los Angeles and a freight and forwarding house in San Pedro.[1]

In 1857–58, federal troops in the Utah War were "entirely armed and equipped, mounted and supplied" by Wheeler's company.[1]

In Los Angeles, Wheeler became secretary and manager of the Main Street Railroad in 1877 and of the Olive Street Railway in 1883, both positions lasting until 1886, when he and his wife traveled to the East for a year. He later became president of the Porphyry Paving Company and had extensive land holdings.[1]


In 1854, Wheeler and William Butts began a weekly newspaper, the Southern Californian, published in both English and Spanish.[1]

Public and government service

Wheeler was a member of the Los Angeles Common Council in 1851 and 1852.[3]

In 1858–59 Wheeler worked in the Los Angeles County Clerk's office, and between 1860 and 1867 he was a clerk in the federal justice system. He moved to Monterey, then relocated to San Francisco, and in 1870–73 he was chief clerk of the Indian Department of California. He returned to Los Angeles in 1874 as deputy collector of internal revenue. From 1880 through 1883 he was deputy clerk of the California Supreme Court, in charge of an office in Los Angeles.[1]


In 1853 Wheeler organized the first military company in Los Angeles, under state laws, and he was on the staff of General Andres Pico in the last part of that decade. He also raised and commanded a cavalry company in Monterey.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Colonel John Ozias Wheeler," An Illustrated History of Los Angeles County, California, Chicago, Lewis Publishing Company (1889), page 694
  2. ^ a b "Some Descendants of Walter Palmer," RootsWeb
  3. ^ Chronological Record of Los Angeles City Officials,1850-1938, compiled under direction of Municipal Reference Library, City Hall, Los Angeles (March 1938, reprinted 1966). "Prepared ... as a report on Project No. SA 3123-5703-6077-8121-9900 conducted under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration."

This page was last edited on 10 October 2016, at 02:37
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