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Charles M. Wheatley

Charles Moore Wheatley was born in Ongar, England on March 16, 1822. While still a young boy he emigrated with his parents to New York, where the family settled on Long Island. Unfortunately his father's mercantile business soon failed and Charles was forced to go to work at the age of 13 in order to help support his family. For ten years he worked in the hardware business with J.B. Elliman, while devoting his spare time to the dilligent study of mineralogy, geology, paleontology and conchology.

In 1846 Wheatley took the position of manager at the Bristol Copper mine in Connecticut, a locality famous for producing the world's finest crystals of chalcocite. During his two years there he recovered some of the finest known specimens. In 1849 he took over management of the Perkiomen and Ekton lead mines near Shannonville, Pennsylvania, which at that time were being worked by about 300 miners. He also spent time doing exploratory field work, and rediscovered some old silver-bearing lead deposits near Phoenixville, Pennsylvania in 1851.

In 1852 he resigned his position with the Perkiomen Consolidated Mining Company and began preparations to work the Wheatley, Brookdale, Phoenix and Sanderson mines, eventually merging those operations into one company, the Pennsylvania Lead Company. The company was forced to close in 1857, over water rights issues, but was revitalized by the demand for lead during the Civil War. Wheatley also mined copper successfully until 1878, at a number of now-famous Pennsylvania localities including the French Creek mine and the Cornwall mine.

During his life he assembled a notable collection of minerals, with labels printed on bluish paper and identified only by his initials, "C. M. W."

EVANS, F.H. (1984) Highlights on the Life of Charles M. Wheatley. Mineralogical Society of Pennsylvania, 49 p.
HEITNER, H., and LININGER, J. (1997) The chalcocite crystals of Bristol, Connecticut: the history of a classic American minertal location. Matrix, 5 (2), 56.
LININGER, J. (2003) Charles M. Wheatley: the Pennsylvania years, part two: The Wheatley mine. Matrix, 11 (3), 124-151.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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