|Interment Location||Visited||Sequence in Graves I Have Visited|
|Malone, NY||July 2, 2010||29th Vice President visited|
The 19th vice president of the United States is buried in upstate New York, fewer than ten miles from the Canadian border. He is interred in Section K of Morningside Cemetery, the same final resting place as the founder of the Gibson Guitar Company.
William A. Wheeler’s grave is marked by the center monument decorated with a wreath and American flag. At the right is Mary King Wheeler, who died on March 3, 1876 — one year and a day before her husband was sworn in as vice president. Wheeler’s parents, Almon and Eliza, share the monument on the left.
Wheeler served for five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, first from 1861 to 1863 and then from 1869 to 1877, when he was inaugurated as VP. Rutherford B. Hayes, serving as governor of Ohio at the time he and Wheeler were named to the Republican Party’s 1876 ticket, had no prior interaction with his running mate from New York. To his wife, Lucy Hayes, he wrote, “I am ashamed to say: who is Wheeler?”
My father and I briefly moved the commemorative wreath in order to obtain clearer photographs of Wheeler’s name on the monument. Here I am sitting beside it while wearing my Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center shirt, because tie-ins are great.
Born: June 30, 1819 in Malone, New York
Spouse: Mary King Wheeler (m. 1845-1876)
Political Affiliation: Republican Party
Vice Presidential Term: 1877-1881 under Rutherford B. Hayes
Died: June 4, 1887 in Malone, New York
Cause of Death: Cerebral Softening
Interment: Morningside Cemetery, Malone, New York
"Mr. Conkling, there is nothing in the gift of the State of New York which will compensate me for the forfeiture of my self-respect."
- William A. Wheeler
1876, rebuffing overtures from Roscoe Conkling, boss of the New York State Republican Party political machine
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
Kennedy, John F. Profiles in Courage: Decisive Moments in the Lives of Celebrated Americans. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956.
New York Times. “William A. Wheeler Dead.” June 5, 1887. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1887/06/05/100916473.pdf.