Among those who have done commendable work in the development of the reservation country we are bound to mention the enterprising and capable gentleman whose name appears above.

James M. Wheat was born in Madison County, Iowa, on December 25, 1853 being the son of Augustus and Isabella (Smith) Wheat. The father was born in Alabama in 1822 and died in 1902. He operated a general store for years in Indianapolis. He then became a pioneer in Madison County, Iowa. His father, James Wheat, was a soldier in the war of 1812. The mother of our subject was born in Nauvoo and now lives in Missouri. Her father, John C. Smith, was one of the first settlers in Clarke County, Iowa, and is now operating a large mill in Portland. When our subject was eleven, the family went back to Indiana and made their home there for ten years. Then they returned to the old home in Iowa and in these places our subject was educated.

When James was twenty-one he farmed in partnership with his uncle, J. T. Wheat. In 1883 he sold out and came to Genesee, where he settled on a farm until the reservation was opened. At that important time he came hither and selected his present place, about one mile south from Ilo. He has it well improved with comfortable building’s, orchard, fences, and much besides, and is one of the thrifty men of the section. In addition to general farming he pays considerable attention to breeding and raising fine Poland China and Berkshire hogs, and is successful in this line.

On January 16, 1877, Mr. Wheat married Miss Jennie M., daughter of William and Elizabeth (Simmons) Lockridge. This was in Warren County, Iowa, and tight children have been born to them, Charles E., William, Jessie, Everett, Lucella, Esther, Dora Z., Savanah M. Mrs. Wheat has six brothers and sisters, – Leander, Samuel, John, Allen, Sarah Follett, Savanah Crow. Mr. Wheat has four brothers and sisters, Pantha Etta, Sarah T., Eldora, and Edgar. Mrs. Wheat was born in Warren County, Iowa, in 1861. Her father was born in Virginia and was a farmer. Her mother was born in Kentucky and is a direct descendant of Daniel Boone.

Mr. and Mrs. Wheat are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He is a Republican and active in the local campaigns. Recently Mr. Wheat has been elected to the important position of road overseer and doubtless there will be manifested in his labors in this line the same efficiency and wisdom as have characterized him in all his ways.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903