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The 1840 census shows Oliver alone in his household, still in Freedom. Not clear where Hannah was, when the census taker came. We had concluded tentatively that she might have died since 1835. But she was back in time for the 1850 census, in which 68-year-old “Cabinet maker” Oliver Wheeler of New Hampshire was enumerated in Freedom with his Massachusetts-born wife Hannah A, also 68.

As we’ve noted, in 1852, Oliver purchased 1.31 acres in Elton Village, in the southern part of Freedom. As I’ve argued already, I suspect that this is the same property that Oliver and Hannah had occupied as tenants for more than twenty years. It remains unclear to me why Hannah’s name appears nowhere on the deed, so that she had to go through a probate process in order to take possession after Oliver’s death.
The Elton Freewill Baptist Church was here when the Wheelers were. This building dates from 1874. We don’t know whether they worshipped there (or anywhere, for that matter). But the legal description of their property boundary refers to the church building across the street.

We may hope, perhaps, that its purchase in the twilight of his life represented for Oliver the successful completion of a long struggle for material success. By this time, though, he seems to have become sufficiently estranged from his children that his will, executed in the same year, mentions no kin but “my beloved wife, Hannah.” It left everything to her, and the record of its 1856 probate indicates that she did indeed take possession of his belongings, two years after his death in 1854.
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Oliver and Hannah
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