On February 17th, 1899, Wheeler County
was established. It was named after Henry Wheeler. He operated the first stage and mail line through the county. Three towns vied for the honor of becoming county seat but Fossil beat out the towns of Spray and Twickenham in the selection. The historic courthouse was built in Fossil in 1902 and it is still in use today. Fossil was named after the discovery of fossils there in 1876. Today, the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument continues to offer a glimpse into the past with plant and animal fossils that date back from 6 to 54 million years. For a small fee, the public is welcome to find and keep fossils on the Wheeler High School grounds in the town of Fossil.
Information from the Oregon Secretary of State Archives Division
and the Oregon Blue Book
For contact information and courthouse location, please see the Contact Us
and Courthouse Location