Harry Wheeler
Harry Wheeler was born on July 23, 1875 in Jacksonville, Florida… the wrong part of the country and too late to be an active part of the wild Old West. But, today Harry Wheeler is considered one of the premier lawmen of that era we generally call the Old West.
Orphaned at the age of one, he was adopted by a military officer named William Wheeler. Raised around the military, Harry knew this was the life he wanted to live. But, he was unable to enter West Point. Some say it was because of his short stature.
This didn’t stop Harry from becoming a military man. He joined the 1st Oklahoma Cavalry until he had to retire because of an injury. When the Arizona Rangers were formed in 1903, Harry signed up. Four years later he became the Ranger’s top officer.
Harry Wheeler never shirked his duty. During 1904 in Tucson a man came running out of a saloon and told Wheeler, “Holdup inside! Don’t go in!”
Wheeler responded, “That’s what I’m here for,” and went inside and stopped the robbery by killing the holdup man.
After the Arizona Rangers were disbanded Wheeler was appointed a deputy U.S. Marshal for Tucson. Then he was elected the Sheriff of Cochise County. When World War I broke out Wheeler volunteered, and was sent to France as a captain. And to cap off his career, Harry Wheeler traveled Europe as a trick shooter with the Miller 101 Wild West Show.
One can only surmise that if Harry Wheeler had been born 25 years earlier, we would have talked about Wild Bill, Buffalo Bill, Wyatt and Harry all in the same breath.

Filed under: Old West History

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