Almeron Wheat, deceased, was for many years one of the prominent attorneys of Quincy and a man of influence in the community. He was born near Auburn, New York, on the 7th of March 1813, and was the son of Luther and Elmira (Marvin) Wheat. His father was a native of the same state, being born near Albany, and from that place removed with a brother to a farm near Auburn, where they carried on agricultural pursuits until his death.
Almeron Wheat began the study of law in Auburn, New York, but shortly afterward removed to Columbus, Ohio, where he made his home until 1839, his time being devoted to the profession he had chosen as a life work. In the latter year he decided to locate in Springfield, but on hearing of his intention Drs. Hiram and Samuel Rogers, who were pioneer physicians of Quincy, went to see him and induced him to settle in this city. Here he successfully engaged in the practice of law up to the time of his death, which occurred on the 12th of June, 1895.
In early manhood Mr. Wheat was united in marriage to Miss Laura A. Harris, who was born in Old Vincennes, Indiana, June 13, 1825, her parents being Amos Westcott and Hannah (Gold) Harris, the former a native of New Jersey and the latter of New York. Not long after the birth of his daughter Mr. Harris took his family to Louisville, Kentucky, and from that place removed to Quincy, Illinois, in 1833. At that time there was one small frame building in the town, it standing on the present site of Christie’s drug store at the corner of Fifth and Hampshire streets. Mr. Harris, who was a carpenter by trade, died in the 1850ss, while his wife died in the 1840s.
At the time of his death Mr. Wheat was the oldest member of the Adams county bar both in age and practice and always ranked with the highest in the profession. It was said of him that he was possessed of a powerful, analytical and logical mind and indefatigable industry. These qualities made him a strong character, an excellent lawyer and a formidable opponent in the management and trial of a case before either court or jury. In all his dealings with the profession he was fair and courteous but unyielding so far as the rights of his clients were concerned. He was both as a lawyer and man actuated by the strictest integrity and had no patience with any kind of dishonesty, frauds or shams. Mr. Wheat’s practice in the courts of this state extended through a period of more than half a century, all of which time he devoted exclusively to his profession, eschewing all other pursuits and especially political preferment. He never sought nor held any office except that early in his career he was elected to the legislature and by his efforts in that body the removal of the county seat from Quincy was prevented. It was a well known fact that Mr. Wheat spent hundreds of dollars of his own money to do this and when on account of the decision that Quincy was to continue as the county seat and the county was divided, it was due principally to his efforts and expenditures that the county was again united. Subsequently, although a member of the dominant party, which could and would have given him any position he sought, he always refused to be a candidate for any office, preferring to devote his energies to his profession. He was, however, county attorney here for over twenty years.
Source: Past and present of the city of Quincy and Adams County, Illinois, p. 508; by William H. Collins, Cicero F. Perry, joint author; John Tillson. History of the city of Quincy, Illinois. [from old catalog]. Chicago, S. J. Clarke Pub. Co. 1905.