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Wheat, John Thomas

John Thomas Wheat (1801-1888) was born in Washington, DC, the son of Mary Chatham and Thomas Wheate. John, who dropped the final e from his last name, was educated at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. In 1825 he married Selina Blair Patten, who became well known for nursing sick University students. The couple had eight children; three died young and two sons were killed in the Civil War. Wheat was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1826 and had charge successively of parishes in Baltimore, MD; Wheeling, WV; Marietta, OH; New Orleans, LA; and Nashville, TN. In 1849 he accepted the principalship of the new Ravenscroft Theological Seminary in Tennessee, but when the school failed after a year, Bishop James H. Otey recommended Wheat for the professorship of rhetoric and logic at the University. During Wheat's years in Chapel Hill (1849-59), he was rector of the Chapel of the Cross as well as a member of the faculty. Wheat resigned his professorship to become rector of Christ Church in Little Rock, AR. After the Civil War he moved to Memphis, TN. He received the DD from the University of Nashville. Toward the end of his life Wheat established congregations in California, West Virginia, and North Carolina. He died in Salisbury, NC (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography 6:164-65).