Contributed by: Carol Lackey
WILLIAM WHEALAN, one of the leading agriculturists of Merced county, possesses exceptional qualifications for the business to which his life has been devoted, and for a period of forty two years has been identified with the steady growth and development of California. He was born in Seneca county, Ohio February 17, 1838, and was reared on the farm owned by his father who was one of the most prosperous and prominent men in his locality. John Whealan, a native of Ireland, came to the United States at an early date, locating in Ohio, and it was there that the greater part of his life was spent, dying there at the advanced age of eighty-four years, six months and eighteen days. He married Mary Barbara Swalley, who was born in Pennsylvania and at the time of her death had attained the aged of eighty-two years. William Whealan remained in the east until twenty-four years of age. In 1862 he went to New York city, taking passage on a steamer bound for the Panama district en route for California. After crossing the isthmus the completed the journey to San Francisco on the steamer St. Louis and soon after his arrival in that city he left for Placerville, where he tried his luck in the mines. Very soon however he abandoned this course and returned to San Francisco, where he was engaged as longshoreman for several years. In 1865 he turned his attention to farming, settling first in Napa county and in 1871 in Merced county, renting land until 1875, when he felt able to purchase a place of his own. He then bought the ranch of three hundred and twenty acres upon which he now resides, located eight miles east of Merced, and which is devoted to raising stock and grain. Not having sufficient land for his needs he rents two sections of land which he devotes to wheat and barley. The prosperity and thrift of the owner will be seen from the comfortable residence, substantial and well-filled barns and finely fenced fields.
By his marriage in Napa county, Cal., March 31, 1867, Mr. Whealan was united with Cynthia Halterman, a daughter of Joseph and Abigail (Barnett) Halterman, who immigrated to California in 1854 with their family, from Ohio where Mrs. Whealan was born. Mr. and Mrs. Whealan have an intelligent family of nine children, named in the order of their birth as follows: Dena, the wife of George Landis, of Merced; Loretta, who became the wife of Howard Wills, of Le Grand; Ida, the wife of William Sering, of Merced; Minnie; Hattie; Frankie, wife of George D. Farr; William Blaine; Belle and Eugene. The family are members of the Presbyterian Church. Fraternally Mr. Whealan is a member of the Odd Fellows, and Woodmen of the World. In his political views he is ever to be found in the ranks of the Republican party. Mr. Whealan's widespread reputation as a successful stock and grain raiser is the result of a wise selection in choosing his life calling, engaging in the line of work for which he was best fitted and the one most congenial to him. By his public spirit he was gained recognition as one of the men who have ever hand the best interest of the county at heart and with time, influence and means have liberally supported all projects that would advance the interests of the citizens.
History of the State of California and biographical record of
Joaquin Valley, California:
William Whealan 499 Merced