Col. John Wheeler Middle School is named after John Wheeler, a Civil War Union army officer. John Wheeler was born in Connecticut on February 6, 1825. After Mr. Wheeler married Ann C. Jones in 1846, he moved to Lake County, Indiana in 1847. Mr. Wheeler was a farmer and teacher. After working with his father to level and lay out pipes and ditches to drain swamplands throughout Lake County, Mr. Wheeler was elected County Surveyor in 1853 and served for three years. For four years after his County Surveyor term, he partnered with Zerah F. Summers editing and publishing the local newspaper called the Crown Point Register. Using his own money and influence, Mr. Wheeler raised a company of one hundred men for the Union army in 1861. Becoming part of the Twentieth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, his company chose him for its Captain. His friends and neighbors presented him the gift of an elegant sword while his regiment was on parade in Indianapolis. After thoroughly performing the duites of a soldier, Captain Wheeler was commissioned Major of the Regiment on February 16, 1862, and earned a promotion to the rank of Colonel in March of 1863. He led his troops at the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. At Gettysburg his regiment was part of the Union III Corps line stationed in the Rose Woods on the ridges north of Devil's Den during the heavy fighting on the Second Day of the Battle (July 2, 1862). While the regiment was engaged in heavy combat, Colonel Wheeler was riding behind his command's battle line on horseback when he was shot in the temple and instantly killed. His name is inscribed on the 20th Indiana Infantry Monument in the Gettysburg National Military Park, which is located near the spot where he fell (Cross Avenue, Rose Grove). Col. Wheeler is buried at the Crown Point Historic Maplewood Memorial Cemetery in Crown Point, Indiana. (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=20003) (www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2006/PDF/SRESP/SC0038.pdf)
Col. John Wheeler Middle School was built on the site of the old Crown Point High School that was demolished in 2004. The middle school was dedicated on Sunday, August 12, 2007, with remarks and speeches made by Tim Vassar, Principal; Daniel Root, School Board Secretary; Pastor Ron Johnson, Sr. (benediction); Kate Perschon, 6th Grade Teacher; Thomas Hawes, Historian; Marion Kellum, Educator, Artist and Historian; Scott Angel, School Board President; William Payne and Michael Schipp, Fanning/Howey Associates; Edward Sawa, Construction Administrator; Scott Cherry and Dion Katsouros, Skillman Corporation; and, Dr. Teresa Eineman, Superintendent of Crown Point Community School Corporation. Col. John Wheeler Middle School opened its doors to approximately 800 students in grades 6-8 on August 23, 2007. The first principal of Col. John Wheeler Middle School is Tim Vassar and the first assistant principal is Deborah Zych.