William E. Wheeler III is the son of William E. Jr. and Mrs. Carrie Wheeler of Edwardsville, Illinois. William was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan while his father studied law at the University of Michigan, and moved soon thereafter to 441 East Vandalia Street in Edwardsville.
William attended local schools here and after graduating enrolled in the University of Illinois at Urbana. It was while he was there that the United States entered World War I. After William graduated, he volunteered and entered the first Officers Training Camp at Fort Sheridan, Illinois where he received a commission for second lieutenant. He specialized in small arms and was subsequently promoted to first lieutenant after qualifying as an instructor. He was then assigned to Camp Travis, San Antonio, Texas where he contracted Spanish Influenza and died from complications with pneumonia, with his parents at his bedside. Lieutenant Wheeler was of a military family. His great-grandfather, Captain Erastus Wheeler of Edwardsville, fought in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War and the Mexican War. A son of the Captain, W. F. Wheeler was an orderly to his father. Lieutenant William E. Wheeler, 23 years, 7 months and 27 days of age and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Edwardsville.