Wheelock, Frank Emerson (1863–1932)

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: October 1, 1995

Frank Emerson Wheelock, rancher and a founder of Lubbock, was born in Holland, New York, on April 11, 1863, the son of William Efner and Louisa Diane (Farrington) Wheelock. After his mother died, his family moved to Wisconsin; in 1876 they moved to Illinois and in 1878 to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Wheelock finished school. In 1887 he began working for the IOA Ranch in northwest Texas. He became general manager two years later and continued to manage the ranch until it was dissolved in 1901. In 1890, with the financial support of John T. Lofton and James Harrison of Fort Worth, Wheelock became manager of a venture to lay out a town a short distance north of the Monterey townsite. That town was named Lubbock. On December 19, 1890, Wheelock, Lofton, and Harrison agreed with W. E. and H. Ravner, promoters of Monterey, to set up a new Lubbock, and all worked for its success, with Wheelock managing affairs. He served as the town's first mayor and was on the first Lubbock County Commission. In addition, he introduced the first cotton gin in the county and helped to bring the railroad to Lubbock. He promoted the first motor bus line operating out of Lubbock and served as the city's first postmaster. He was an early cattle breeder, the owner of the Nicolette Hotel, and a partner with Irvin L. Hunt in a mercantile firm. Wheelock was a Methodist. On December 9, 1891, he married Sylva Belle Hunt; they had seven children. Wheelock died in Lubbock on June 28, 1932, and was buried there.

Seymour V. Connor, ed., Builders of the Southwest (Lubbock: Southwest Collection, Texas Technological College, 1959).
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Wheelock, Frank Emerson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 16, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wheelock-frank-emerson.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995