Arthur Oliver Wheeler was born May
1st, 1860, in Kilkenny County, Ireland and came with his parents to
Canada at the early age of 16.
His father was Captain Edward Oliver Wheeler; his mother, Josephine Helsham Wheeler; his first wife, Clara Macoun, daughter of John Macoun,
one time assistant director of the Geological Survey of Canada; his
second wife, Emmeline Savatard of Darwen, England. He had but one
child- a son, Edward Oliver, who later was knighted, was Surveyor
General of India, and was awarded the Military Cross.
Mr. Wheeler received his education in Dublin, Ballinasloe College,
Galway, and in Dulwich College, London, England.
Upon his arrival in Canada, he at once took up the profession of
surveying, serving apprenticeship with Ryley & Hamilton, and with Elihu
Stewart of Collingwood. With the former, he spent the year 1876 in
surveys in the Bruce Mines area of Ontario. The year 1878 was a notable
one for him, for with Mr. Stewart on Indian Reserve surveys in Canada's
new west, he received an introduction to that part of Canada that was to
claim so much of his later life.
He obtained his OLS on July 8th, 1881, his DLS and MLS, in
1882, his BCLS in 1891, and his ALS in
he was made an honorary member of the Dominion Land Surveyors'
Association, later to become the Canadian Institute of Surveying.
During 1883 and 1884, he was engaged in the west on township and townsite
surveys for the Dominion Government and the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Then in 1885 came the Riel rebellion, and throughout this he served as a
lieutenant with the DLS Intelligence Corps. With the rebellion over,
he again returned to survey practice with the Department of the
Interior, his first chief being the late Dr.
Deville, who trained him in photo-topographical surveying. This
specialized type of surveying was to claim much of his later years.
In particular, he was thus active
in connection with irrigation and topographical surveys in Southern
Alberta, in the Crow's Nest area, and in the Selkirk Range. Likewise he
used it in the Yukon-Alaska area, in 1903, assembling data for reference
to the Commission that established the international boundary between
Canada, Yukon and the USA's Alaska. In
he was British Columbia's commissioner on the establishing of the
interprovincial boundary between that Province and Alberta. His
professional work ended with
- his age then being 66.
His mountain experience had made him an enthusiastic "Alpinist;" he
founded the Alpine Club of Canada and as president, director, or
honorary president, was a member thereof to his death. He was also an
honorary member of the Alpine Clubs of England, of France and of
He died March 20,
On his gravestone, it reads "sic itur ad astra."
Virgil’s phrase in Aeneid
which the literal meaning is “thus you shall go to the stars,” but the
poetic, metaphorical meaning is “thus is immortality gained.” We might
read it as “and you shall go to the stars” or perhaps, “and you shall