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Harriet Reece, Cavendish and Lewiston, is the winner!

Harry Wheeler is the answer for Week 407 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: Charter member of the Clearwater Historical Society

Tuesday: Attended Carlisle School in Pennsylvania

Wednesday: Jim Thorpe was his roommate.

Thursday: Born about 1900

Friday: Worked to gather the history of local people

Saturday: Came to Ahsahka as a small boy

Monday: Was the son of a minister

Tuesday: Worked for the betterment of his people

Wednesday: Worked for the Forest Service

Thursday: Worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Friday: Was Jim Thorpe's football team mate at Carlisle Indian Scool

Saturday: Chairman of the Nez Perce Tribal Economic Council from 1945-46

Harry Wheeler's obituary described him as "noted Nez Perce Indian historian and worker for the betterment of his people. His estimated birth year is 1900 based on a Shoshone County census.

He married Ida James on October 18, 1915 and they had two sons and a daughter. He came to Ahsahka as a small boy where his father was a minister of the North Fork Indian First Presbyterian Church. Harry's father was among the first ordained preachers for Reverend Henry Spalding, who founded the mission in Lapwai. His great grandfather, John, was a warrior in the 1877 war.

Harry attended school in Orofino and then the Carlisle Indian Boarding School in Pennsylvania where he stayed for five years. While there, he was a played football with Jim Thorpe and was a roommate.

He spent some time as a waiter at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA, coached basketball in Orofino, worked for the U.S. Forest Service and then the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Interior Department gave him a commendable service award in 1953.

When he retired, he moved to Stites. He helped Harua Aoki, a graduate student to create a dictionary of the Nez Perce language and provided valuable information for historian Ralph Space and the Corps of Engineers 1962 environmental impact statement on Dworshak Dam.

Harry was the chair of the Nez Perce Trival Economic Council from 1945-1946 and a founding membr of the Clearwater Historical Museum, serving on its board. At the museum, Wheeler directed the job of making a replica of the dugout canoe Lewis and Clark used in 1805 and assisted in establishing the Canoe Camp site.

At some point, Wheeler is believed to have owned the Twisted Hair artifacts. However, Charlie Adams and Walter Sewell are listed as the donors of artifacts given to the museum.

He was keely interested in the history and culture of the Nez Perce people.

He died at the age of 79 at the Idaho State Tuberculosis Hospital at Gooding of tuberculosis complicated by a stroke.

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Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Orofino 476 0733
Lewiston 208-503-7107
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