He was born on March 7, 1752 or 1753 at Concord, Massachusetts, and died on November 28, 1828, at Wheeler, New York.
He was at the Battle of Bunker Hill and accompanied Benedict Arnold on his expedition from Maine to Quebec. Many starved to death along the way, and others deserted. After several days with no food, a group of Indians brought Silas a dog - he said it was the sweetest food he had ever eaten. In Quebec, he was captured by the British and caught smallpox while in prison. Wheeler became bald from the illness and remained permanently so. After his exchange, he returned to Rhode Island, became a privateer, and was recaptured on the high seas by the British. He was sent to a prison camp at Kinsale in Ireland. After a year he escaped and was helped by Henry Grattan to make his way to a ship bound for Dunkirk, France, and thence to America.
Silas married Sarah Gardiner (born in Rhode Island) and they had two daughters: Ruth, who married Nathan Rose, and Sarah, who married William Holmes. His son, Grattan Henry Wheeler, named for Silas' rescuer Henry Grattan, served as a U.S. Representative from New York.
- The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler family in America, by The American College of Genealogy
- History of the settlement of Steuben County, N.Y., by Guy Humphrey McMaster
- Historical Gazeteer of Steuben County, New York, by Millard F. Roberts, 1891
- Landmarks of Steuben County, by Harlo Hakes, 1896