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Born in Hillsborough Center, New Hampshire, in 1782, our great-great-great-great grandfather Oliver Wheeler III grew up there as the namesake, third son, and fifth child of prominent residents Oliver II and Hepzibah Munroe Wheeler.
In 1802 (age 20—a bit young for his time and place: age 25 would have been more typical), he married 4GGM Hannah Ashby, of the Salem, Massachusetts, Ashbys, a founding family of that ancient community. They appear to have stayed long enough in Oliver’s home town to enjoy official adult status there: he appears on the 1806 tax rolls as Oliver “Jr.” But in 1805-6 the young family “removed” to Salem and moved in with Hannah’s brother, George Ashby.

By this time, if the records speak truly, they had blessed the world with their first child, Hepzibah’s most famous grandchild by far, our great-great-great grandmother, the inimitable, indomitable, and peripatetic Harriet Page Wheeler, born in 1803.

Since Grandma Harriet gave no sign in later life that she was aware of her patrilineal family’s distinguished colonial and revolutionary history, we watch for anomalies, in the hope that they will help us to understand the apparent failure of intergenerational communication in her family. There’s no way to know for certain, but it could be that Oliver fled to the bosom of his in-laws under pressure from imperfect relations with his own family.
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