Dexheimer, Florence Chambers, 1866-1925 / Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women
Wheeler, M. P.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox, pp. 57-60 PDF (776.9 KB)
Ella Wheeler Wilcox was born November 5, 1850. in the village of Johnstown, Rock County, Wisconsin, (not in Johnstown Center as sometimes stated.) Her parents were Marcus H. Wheeler, and Sarah Pratt Wheeler, with three older children they had followed, "Grandsir Pratt" from Vermont in 1849. In the spring of 1852 the Wheeler family settled in Dane County, Wisconsin and in 1853 were at home on Section 2, town ofWestport, where Ella grew up, in the home where she made her reputation as a writer of ap- pealing poetry, until her marriage in 1884, when she went to Connecticut; from which state her Grandfather Wheeler had migrated to Vermont years before. Her education was acquired in a district school, now named Ella Wheeler Wilcox School, except one short term at Wisconsin University, which was as she saw it a "waste of time." Riding horseback, dancing, visiting girl friends, dreaming great dreams and being kind, was better than trying to master mathematics, of which she had a "holy horror." Recently the old Wheeler home was accidently burned. With a Great Grandfather Pratt seven years in the Revolutionary War, and his wife Elizabeth Currier of French blood; a Grandmother named Connor; a Mother, who, like most of her aunts and cousins, was addicted to the habit of composing verses, Ella had the inherited tendency; a regular family study of Shakespeare, Byron, Burns and modern poets all year round, 1849-50 doubtless added a prenatal influence, which formed the character of her ambition. Our mother inherited a poetic strain, a talent for versification. I recall several rhyming parodies, sarcas- tic verses and sentimental compositions or additions to songs of those days. One sang was of a lovelorn girl, who constantly asked "Are we almost there." She was returning home after a fruitless search for health. As 58
This material may be protected by copyright law (e.g., Title 17, US Code).| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright