The Wheelers

Editor's Note: When you see these three dots surrounded by a gray rectangle — 1 — you can click on it to get further information about the topic. Click a second time, and the message goes away.

When George Henry Mosher married Gertrude Wheeler, Gertrude knew about the lives of her parents and her grandparents. 2 Here is what is known about Baltus Wheeler and Anna Ringsdorf (Gertrude’s grandparents) and Philip Wheeler and Maria Van Guilder (Gertrude’s parents).

Baltus Wheeler (1779-abt 1870) and Hannah/Anna Ringsdorf (1784-1855)

Baltus Wheeler (shown at left) was born 31 Jul 1779 in Livingston Manor, Columbia County, New York State. He was the son of John Wheeler. He married Hannah or Anna Ringsdorf on 27 Feb 1801 in Claverack, Columbia, New York, the daughter of Phillip Ringsdorf and Anna Rockefeller. Anna was born 14 Feb 1784 in Germantown, Columbia, New York, and died after 1855 in (probably) Yates County, New York. (Note: Some sources indicate that Baltus and Anna married in 1805.)

Baltus Wheeler may have been of Dutch descent. While the name Wheeler is English, Baltus was a common name in the Dutch-speaking communities of New York. According to family history, Baltus spoke Dutch — at least, he spoke English with a very Dutch accent.

It is believed that Baltus and Hannah (whose photograph is at the right) had ten children:

Baltus’s whereabouts can be confirmed three times in Census takings: 1850, 1860, and 1870.

In 1850, Baltus is 70 years old and living with his son, Phillip, in Jerusalem, Yates County, New York. His son is 34, married to a woman named Maria, 28. They have two children: Phillip 5; and Charles, 3. There is no sign of Hannah by this time, so it is assumed that she died before 1850.

The town is named after, of course, Jerusalem in the Middle East. It was within the Phelps and Gortham Purchase. It was first settled around 1791, just ten years after Baltus’s birth, but the town was an original town of the county. It was established in 1789, while still in Ontario County, and became part of Yates County when the county was created in 1823. The area around Bluff Point was annexed to the town in 1814. Jerusalem was eventually divided to form other towns in the county: in 1803, the Town of Benton was taken from Jerusalem, and itself later divided to make other towns.

In 1860, Baltus is still living in Jerusalem, but this time living with his other son, Samuel. Samuel is 47, a farmer, and living with his wife, Amy, 49. They have three children: William, 20; Harris, 17, and Margelina, 12. Both William and Harris are working as farm laborers. Baltus is 83, and his name is spelled Baltas. (Indeed, his name shows up under many spellings: Sebaltus, Baltas, Baltus, and many others.)

By 1870, at the age of nearly 90, he is again back living with his son, Phillip, this time in Granger, Allegany County, New York. It is assumed that Baltus died before the 1880 Census, as he cannot be found there.

Phillip Wheeler (1816-1896) and Maria Van Guilder (1822-1905)

Information about Phillip Wheeler and his wife, Maria Van Guilder, seems to be more family folklore than hard-core facts. However, they can be found in the Censuses for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880.

Phillip Wheeler was born in about 1816 in Sharon, Schoharie County, New York. His father was Baltus Wheeler; his mother, Hannah Ringsdorf.

Originally called “New Dorlach” (a German area known to early settlers in the area), the name was eventually changed partly after a battle there during the American Revolution (which was called The Battle of Sharon). But the town of Sharon was officially created in 1797 from the Town of Schoharie during the early organization of the county by the same name. After the Erie Canal was opened, there was reduced traffic in the area. The county is located in the middle of the state, closer to the eastern border than the western. Much of the area lies within the Catskill Mountains. Phillip would be born here; however, he would not remain here.

Phillip married Maria Van Guilder probably before 1845, probably after he had moved to Jerusalem in Yates County which is west of where Phillip was born. In the 1850 Census, he is listed as a carpenter, so perhaps he had gone west looking for work.

Maria, Phillip’s new wife was born 4 Dec 1822 in Potter, Pennsylvania. She is of course of Dutch ancestry, though we know no more than her father was Elisha. Her mother, Watie Bently, apparently came from another Rhode Island family as large as the Moshers. Although born in Pennsylvania, it is assumed that she moved to Yates County, New York before she met and married Phillip.

Phillip and Maria had at least six children:

Both Mary and Jane became “colorful” aunts to a young great-nephew, Robert Mosher Ingraham, and he wrote about them in his memoir. His great-grandmother, Gertrude Wheeler Mosher was also a person with great talent and personality, he said, but “not always, apparently, family loyalty.”

Phillip and Maria spent all of their married lives in New York — first in Jerusalem, Yates County, then in Granger, Allegany County, and last in Portage.

In the 1850 Census, Philip is 34 years old and Maria is 28. He gives his occupation as a carpenter. Their first two children — Phillip Jr. (5) and Charles (3) — are living with them.

Ten years later, they are still in Jerusalem, Yates County, where Phillip now identifies himself as a farmer. Maria’s name is inaccurately given as Marsha, and they are 44 and 37 respectively. Their oldest son, Phillip, now 15, is listed as a farm labourer. The other children — Charles, 12; Mary, 8; Jane, 5; and George, 2 — are at home with their mother.

Between 1860 and 1870 (but closer to 1870), the Wheelers moved on to Granger in Allegany County. Philip still identifies himself as a farmer. Mary, Jane, George, and Gertrude are living with them and Baltus, Phillip’s 89-year-old father is also living with them. Gertrude is only a two-year-old and a full 10 years younger than the next child. It may be that she was treated a little differently, being so much younger than her other siblings. Since it indicates that she was born in Jerusalem, Yates County, in 1868, it would appear that Phillip and Maria did not move on to Granger until quite late in the decade.

Ten years later, in 1880, Phillip is 63 years old and living with Maria, age 57, in Portage, Livingston County, New York. Their daughter, Mary, still lives with them but, at 27, she identifies herself as a dressmaker. Gertrude, only 12, remains at home as well.

Neither Phillip nor Maria can be found in the 1890 or 1900 Censuses, yet Phillip lived to almost see the new century arrive, and Maria lived beyond it.

Phillip Wheeler died on 12 Feb 1896 in Oakland, Livingston County, New York. He was 79 years old.

Maria followed six years later, on 24 Dec 1905; she was 83 years old. She had moved to Dalton, Allegany County, so perhaps she was living with one of her children.

This page written and researched by Susan Overturf Ingraham, wife of Robert Philip Ingraham, a descendant of The Wheelers. Last update is May 14, 2019.

Return to Table of Contents for Exploring My Husband's Ancestral Roots: Ingrahams, Herricks, Moshers, and Brands

★ ★ ★

  1. These three dots behave exactly like a footnote. Click on them and you will get more information about the topic. 

  2. For more information about George's life, click on his name. 

  3. For more information about Gertrude's life, click on her name.