Annie Early Wheeler
Annie Early Wheeler, second of General Wheeler's children, was born on July 31, 1868. Her love of beauty and nature, coupled with a compassion for suffering people, were her trademarks throughout her life.
The Wheelers spent almost 20 winters in Washington when the General was in Congress, and Annie was a popular member of the social set there. But even in her teens whe felt the call to minister to sick and lonely children, and spent many hours reading or playing games with them.
Her call to nursing took a more serious turn in 1898 when the Spanish-American War began, and Annie followed her father and brother to Cuba. Eventually, Clara Barton put Annie in charge of a newly organized hospital, where work with sick and wounded soldiers earned her the title of "Angel of Santiago."
A year later she went with her father to the Philippines during the insurrection, and again nursed in a military hospital. Then, when World War I began, she joined the Red Cross and served in England and in France.
After her father died in 1906, she returned to Wheeler to live, and she spent the rest of her life helping others. She established schools on the plantation, paying salaries herself for several years. She introduced the study of cooking and sewing into the schools, leading the way for Alabama to offer courses in home economics. Perhaps her greatest joy was working with crippled and sick children and ministering to the poor and needy.
Miss Annie lived at Wheeler until her death in 1955. She is buried in the family cemetery at the rear of the house.