Wheeler, Charles F. (Deceased)
Charles was born June 14, 1842, at Mexico, Oswego County, New York. In 1857, he entered the Mexico Academy in his hometown. He joined the Union Army in 1862 and spent the winter encamped on a hill in the vicinity of what is now Howard University. The exposure and hardships were too much and he was discharged March 21, 1863, never fully recovering. He went to Hubbardston, Michigan, where he was to recuperate in open-air. During this time he became acquainted with plants that became an all-consuming interest while he ran a drug and book store. He became acquainted with Erwin F. Smith and planned a flora of Michigan, published in 1881, revised twelve years later by Wheeler and Beal. In 1889, he was called to the Michigan Agricultural College as instructor in the Botany Department under W. J. Beal and made assistant professor in 1895. During this period he worked towards a BS degree, which he received in 1891. In 1907, his Alma Mater bestowed on him a doctorate. In 1902, he was induced to come to Washington to work at the Bureau of Plant Industry where he was famous for identifying unknowns. He joined the Botanical Society of Washington in November 1902 and served as president from 1907 to 1908. Although he published little he was highly regarded. Charles died on March 5, 1910. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, within sight of the hills on the farther side of the river where, in a soldiers’ camp, he contracted the illness that was perhaps the determining cause of his botanical career. He was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1903.