Scope and Content note
This collection is comprised of the single volume commonplace book of Daniel Wheeler. Included in the volume are letters from Wheeler's children, an account of the last illness of Jane Wheeler, and a poem by his son William Wheeler.
Daniel Wheeler (1771-1840) was born in London, England, on November 27, 1771, the son of William and Sarah Wheeler. After both his parents passed away during his childhood, a situation was obtained for him on a merchant ship, and after a few voyages, he entered the royal navy before he was fourteen. He later enlisted as a soldier and was drafted to fight the French in Flanders, and then obtained a commission in a regiment in the West Indies. In 1796, Wheeler quit the army and returned to England. After two years, Wheeler became a convinced Quaker (i.e., converted to Quakerism).
In 1800, Wheeler married Jane Brady, of Thorne, Yorkshire, and the couple had six children: William, Joshua, Daniel, Charles, Sarah, and Jane. In 1809, he retired to the country and prepared for a life in the Quaker ministry, and he was recognized a minister in 1816. Wheeler traveled to St. Petersburg with his wife and children in June of 1818 as a Quaker minister in the court of the Emperor Alexander I of Russia.
During his time in Russia, Wheeler was appointed as the manager of an estate of the dowager empress. There, he divided the land into farms which were rented to peasants, and established a Quaker meeting. In 1832, he resigned from his post and returned to England. From there, he went on religious visits to the Pacific Islands, New South Wales, and Tasmania. After returning to London in 1838, Wheeler traveled to Russia to visit his surviving children before embarking on a religious visit to the United States. On his way to New York, Wheeler became ill and died on board. He was buried in the Friends' burial-ground, Orchard Street, New York.