Thomas Benton Wheeler, judge and lieutenant governor, was born in Marshall County, Alabama, on June 7, 1840, the son of William Henry Edward and Mary Magruder (Barton) Wheeler. His father died in 1846, and his mother moved the family to Hays County, Texas, in 1854. During the Civil War Wheeler enlisted as a private in Company A of Peter C. Woods's regiment and was soon promoted to captain and authorized to raise a company. After the war he moved to Austin, where he was admitted to the bar and became county attorney of Travis County in 1867. He was removed from office by Union officials as an impediment to Reconstruction. From 1872 to 1877 Wheeler served as mayor of Austin. In 1873 he helped prevent rioting at the time of the Coke-Davis Controversy. In 1877 Wheeler moved to Breckenridge in Stephens County to practice law. He was elected judge of the Twelfth Judicial District in 1880 and reelected in 1884. He resigned in 1886 and served as lieutenant governor from 1887 to 1891. Wheeler bought land on Aransas and Red Fish bays in 1889 and in 1890 began to work for the construction of harbor facilities at Aransas Pass, where he resided after 1893. Wheeler married Kitty G. Manor in 1866; after her death in 1881 he married Ida DeBerry, and they became the parents of two children. Wheeler's "Reminiscences of Reconstruction in Texas" appeared in the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association (later the Southwestern Historical Quarterly) in July 1907. He was a Knight Templar and a member of the Methodist Church; he served as superintendent of the Methodist Sunday school at Aransas Pass for twenty-two years. Wheeler died in a San Antonio hotel on February 21, 1913.
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National Cyclopaedia of American Biography (New York: White, 1891-). San Antonio Express, February 21, 1913.
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Politics and Government
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Wheeler, Thomas Benton,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 06, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
August 1, 1995