History: Sumner A. Wheeler

The Wheelers brewed small beer on Silver Street in Waterville from 1875 until 1883. Sumner A. Wheeler, Sr. was born in about 1801 in Massachusetts. Sumner Jr. was born in about 1834 in Maine. Like most brewers of the time, the Wheelers were jacks of many trades. Census records track Senior’s occupations from being a farmer (1850), to a blacksmith (1860), to a “beer maker” (1870), to a gunsmith (1880).  Junior was a farmer (1860 and 1870), an “engine builder” (1870), and a carpenter (1880). In the early 1900s, he is listed as a “milkman” in city directories. The two lived together for much of their lives with the rest of their families: by 1880, Junior and his wife, Eliza, had four kids, and Senior was a widower.

Wheeler house on Silver Street in Waterville
Sumner A. Wheeler, Sr. brewed in Waterville from 1875 to 1883. His house is visible here furthest south (left on the map) on Silver. Caldwell & Halfpenny, Atlas of Kennebec County, Me., 1879. Ancestry.com.

See the precise location of the Wheeler brewhouse on the Maine Beer Map.


Will Anderson, The Great State of Maine Beer Book (Portland: Anderson & Sons’ Publishing Co., 1996) 32.

Maine Business Directory, 1876

U. S. Census, 1880