Henry Mason Wheeler was born in 1854 in Northfield, Minnesota, where his father operated a drug store. After completing school in Northfield, he attended the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, graduating in 1877. However, while Wheeler was home for the summer between his junior and senior years from medical school, he gained notoriety for his role in the foiling of the Northfield Bank Robbery. On 7 September 1876, Wheeler fatally shot a member of the James-Younger Gang, Clelland Miller, during the failed robbery attempt of Northfield’s First National Bank. Wheeler supposedly had the bodies of Miller and William Chadwell, another robber whom was fatally shot, shipped to the University of Michigan to be used as cadavers for an anatomy class. Wheeler furthered his education at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York. He then returned to Northfield to practice medicine and married Adeline Murray, who died during childbirth in 1881. One month after her death, Wheeler moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota. There he married Josephine E. Connell, who died in 1914. During the time he practiced medicine in Grand Forks, Wheeler participated in the local chapter of The Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Freemasons. In 1917, he was elected to a two-year term as mayor of Grand Forks. Wheeler married Mae McCulloch, his third wife, in 1922, and they had one son, Henry Mason “Hank” Wheeler, born in 1924. Throughout his life, Wheeler maintained that he kept the skeleton of Clelland Miller. Supposedly, the skeleton was donated to the Odd Fellow’s Lodge in Grand Forks by Wheeler in the 1920s and is now owned by a private collector. Henry M. Wheeler died 13 April 1930.
Bailey, James A. "Tracing Edward Dampier's Cavalry Issued Carbine Used in the Northfield Raid." Wild West History Association Journal V, no. 5 (October 2012): 30-38 (in collection).
Eriksmoen, Curt. Did You Know That...? Fargo, ND: McCleery & Sons Publishing, 2006. 1: 80-81.
Donation; Accession 2012-3198