Frank E. Wheelock

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Frank Emerson Wheelock

In office
Preceded by First mayor at incorporation
Succeeded by W. F. Schenck

Born April 11, 1863
Holland, [
Died June 28, 1932 (aged 69))
Lubbock, Texas
Resting place City of Lubbock Cemetery
Nationality American
Political party Office is nonpartisan.
Spouse(s) Sylvia Belle Hunt Wheelock

Cyril E. Wheelock
Eva Minnette Wheelock Jarrott
Elwin Bryan Wheelock
Howard Emerson Wheelock
Fern Wheelock Conley
William Irvin Wheelock
Edith Wheelock Tipps
Dr. William Efner and Louisa Diane Farrington Wheelock

Occupation Rancher

Real estate developer
Owner of Nicolett Hotel in Lubbock

Frank Emerson Wheelock (April 11, 1863 – June 28, 1932) was one of the founders of Lubbock, Texas, and its first mayor after municipal incorporation, with service from 1909 to 1915.


One of two sons of a physician, William Efner Wheelock (1842-1902), Wheelock was born in Holland in Erie County in southwestern New York. His ancestors had emigrated to the United States from England during the early 17th century to escape persecution by the Stuart king. Frank's mother, the former Louisa Diane Farrington (1839-1869),[1] died when Frank turned six years of age. Dr. Wheelock moved to the capital city of Madison, Wisconsin, with Frank and his brother, William Ava Wheelock. Dr. Wheelock purchased a farm in North Dakota, at which the sons spent summers with him. During the school year, Frank stayed in Madison with an uncle, Jerome Wheelock, and William went to Moline, Illinois, to live with another uncle. Frank was living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he finished school and worked for a time with a merchant there.[2]

Lubbock founder

In 1887, at the age of twenty-four, Wheelock came to West Texas to become the manager of the short-lived but large IOA Ranch, owned by the Western Land and Livestock Company, a firm controlled by Wheelock's great-uncle, Stillman W. Wheelock,[3] the president of the Moline Plow Company begun by John Deere and the Moline Paper Company.[2] The IOA was established in 1884 and encompassed the southern portion of what is now Lubbock County. It had twenty thousand cattle but was unprofitable. The ranch was liquidated c. 1900, with the remaining cattle sold to farmers and stockmen.[3][4]

Wheelock and Rollie C. Burns (1857-1945), a Missouri native who was also the IOA manager, turned their interest to developing home sites for newly-arrived pioneers. Two communities developed—one north of the Yellow House Canyon, "Lubbock" or "North Lubbock, and the second, established by W. F. Rayner, formerly of Stonewall County, Texas, was called "Monterey" or "Ray Town," though the name "Monterey" was rarely used at the time. Rayner believed that his more southern location would make it easier for a railroad connection to come to the location. In 1890, leaders of the two settlements, which were of similar small size, met in the Nicolett Hotel, a business established the previous year by Wheelock, who named it for the Nicollet Hotel (different spelling) of Minneapolis. At the meetings, the two factions resolved their differences and merged to establish what became Lubbock.[5]

The new Lubbock County had only ninety-four registered voters in 1891. Wheelock served on the first county commission.[4] On March 16, 1909, voters agreed to incorporate Lubbock as a city by a vote of 84 to 46. The population had then reached 1,800. Wheelock became the first mayor; he received all 168 votes cast in the election held on April 6, 1909. He was the mayor until 1915.[3]

Wheelock joined his brother-in-law, Irvin Lewis Hunt (1871-1919), an Iowa native who moved to Lubbock with his family of fourteen members from Sterling, Kansas,[6] in the establishment of the mercantile firm, Hunt and Wheelock.[2] Wheelock's father-in-law, George Maddon Hunt (1843-1919), a native of Clinton County, Ohio, had been the original manager of the Nicolett Hotel and a founding member of the school board in Lubbock.[7]

Frank Wheelock brought many innovations to Lubbock: the first motor bus line,[4] the first cotton gin, the self-binding harvest machine, and Hereford cattle. He was the first postmaster of Lubbock and president of the Lubbock Cemetery Association. He died in the summer of 1932 of a heart attack while outside his Nicolett Hotel.[8]

Wheelock and his wife, the former Sylva Belle Hunt (1874-1944), had seven children, Cyril E. Wheelock (1893-1947), Eva Minnette Wheelock Jarrott (1895-1985), Elwin Bryan Wheelock (1896-1991), Howard Emerson Wheelock (1898-1966), Fern Wheelock Conley (1900-1968), William Irvin Wheelock (1903-1969), and Edith Wheelock Tipps (1905-1978), all interred with their parents at the City of Lubbock Cemetery. Wheelock's father is also interred in Lubbock.[9]

F. E. Wheelock Elementary School at 3008 42nd Street in Lubbock, an entity of the Lubbock Independent School District, is named in his honor.[10] The Wheelock Subdivision also bears his name.[2]


  1. Louisa D. Farrington Wheelock: Burial at Protection Cemetery in Erie County, New York. Retrieved on July 3, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 A Biography of Frank Emerson Wheelock. Retrieved on July 3, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Frank Emerson Wheelock. Retrieved on July 26, 2022.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Frank Emerson Wheelock. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved on July 3, 2015.
  5. Paul H. Carlson, "The Nicolett Hotel and the Founding of Lubbock," West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 90 (2014), pp. 8-19.
  6. Irvin Lewis Hunt. Retrieved on July 3, 2015.
  7. George Maddon Hunt. Retrieved on July 27, 2022.
  8. History of Lubbock continuing with Charlotte Kirkpatrick: Frank Emerson Wheelock was the first mayor of new Lubbock after old Lubbock and Monterey abandoned their towns to become one. The entire history of Lubbock has been spanned by Wheelock and his granddaughter.. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (January 30, 2012). Retrieved on July 2, 2015.
  9. David Sifford (March 20, 2003). Sylvia Belle Hunt Wheelock. Retrieved on July 27, 2022.
  10. Wheelock Elementary School. Retrieved on July 3, 2015.