John Wheelwright - Legacy


Charles Bell, in his biography of Wheelwright, provided a mixed assessment of the character of Wheelwright, calling him contentious, lacking a conciliatory spirit, and never one to shrink from controversy. In Massachusetts he was to blame for much of the temper and spirit which he displayed, when "by a more moderate carriage he might have mitigated the bitterness of the strife..." However, Bell found him to be neither intractable nor unforgiving, and called him notably energetic, industrious and courageous. His sincere piety was never called into question, even by those with whom he differed most widely.

Governor Winthrop, although he favored the proceedings against Wheelwright, said publicly that "he did love that brother's person, and did honor the gifts and graces of God in him." New England divine and historian Cotton Mather spoke of him as "being a man that had the root of the matter in him." Historian and Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson called him "a zealous minister, of character both for learning and piety" and New Hampshire historian Jeremy Belknap styled him "a gentleman of learning, piety and zeal."

Wheelwright Hall at Phillips Exeter Academy, the Wheelwright room at the Exeter Town Office, Wheelwright Pond in Lee, New Hampshire, site of a battle during King William's War, and Wheelwright Avenue in Exeter are all named for him.

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