William Wanton (d. 1816)

Entry found in Daniel F. Johnson’s New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics pertaining to William Wanton (d. 1816).  Thanks to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick for making this database available on-line! 

Transcribed by Daniel F. Johnson.

Volume 36 Number 247 
Date October 24 1874
County Saint John
Place Saint John
Newspaper The Daily Telegraph

The Old Burying Ground (St. John) No. 2 – A ruinous monument in the form of a sarcophagus marks the last resting place of Wm WANTON who died on 30th of May, 1816, aged 82 years, having as the tablet informs us, filled the Office of Collector of Customs for the port of St. John for upwards of 30 years. He was a native of Rhode Island and a loyalist. He settled in this Province after the Peace in 1783 and soon after became Collector of Customs. In 1801 he went to England with his wife in the mast ship “Duke of Kent”. She survived her husband eight years, dying at Exeter, England in 1824. In the southwestern section of the ground is a stone with the following inscription: In memory of / Elizabeth SCOVIL / wife / of William SCOVIL, Esq., and daughter of Reverend Mather BYLES, D.D. born 9th May 1767. Died 13 Nov. 1808 (see verse) Dr. BYLES was the second Rector of St. John and son of a very distinguished clergyman of the same name, who was a graduate of Harvard and first pastor of the Hollis St. Church, Boston. Dr. BYLES, Jr. who came to St. John was, like his father, a graduate of Harvard, where he took his first degree in 1751, and became a Congrgationalist minister in New London, Connecticut. Leaving that body in 1768, he was, the same year, inducted rector of Christ Church, Boston. He continued to discharge his ministerial duties until 1775, when political troubles compelled him to abandon his flock. In 1776 he went to Halifax, where he became Garrison Chaplain and in 177_ he was proscribed and banished which under the circumstances, was a rather superfluous proceeding. On the death of Rev. George BISSET in 1788, Dr. BYLES became rector of St. John. He was the first clergyman that ever preached in Trinity Church which was first used in 1791. He died in March 1814, in the 80th year of his age, having been Rector for 26 years. He was buried, we believe, in the Old Burying Ground, but his monument, if any ever was erected, has now vanished. The Rev. George PIDGEON was the successor of Dr. Byles and the third Rector of St. John. He also is interred in the Old Burying Ground. His grave is on the east side of the ground, a short distance from the centre path and to the south of it. The stone is a large flat one, on which the lettering is very much wasted and difficult to decipher. The following is the legend upon it: Under thsi stone are placed the earthly / remains of / The Rev. George PIDGEON / formerly of Trinity College, Dublin, late / Rector of this Parish and Ecclesiastical / Commissary in this Province twenty three / years. He died May 6th, 1818 aged 57 / years.- Mr. Pidgeon was born in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1761 and after graduating at Trinity College, Dublin, became an Ensign in the Rifles, and served for some time in America during the war, after which he went to Halifax and took orders in the Church. He became Rector of Fredericton and Ecclesiastical Comissary in (1795?) and in 1814 on the death of Dr. BYLES was chosen Rector of St. John. Much of the time during which he was Rector of St. John, he was confined to his house by ill health. The fourth Rector of St. John is not buried here. He was Rev. Robert WILLIS, formerly Chaplain in the Royal Navy. After filling the office of Rector here for seven years, he, in 1825, became Rector of St. Paul’s, Halifax, and afterwards Archdeacon of Nova Scotia, dying in 1865 at the venerable age of 80 years. Even here, however, he is not without a memorial. South of the centre path and not far from the east side of the ground is a flat stone with the inscription: To the Memory of Ann Maria WILLIS / wife of Rev. Robert Willis, Rector of / this Parish and Ecclesiastical Commissary of / this Province and eldest daughter of Thomas HEAVISIDE / and Elizabeth HEAVISIDE who departed this / life on Nov. 29?th, 1821, aged 21 years. / Also to the Memory of her / father, Thomas HEAVISIDE who died on / the 29th day of July, 1833, in the 64th year of / his age. (see verse) The fifth and sixth rectors of St. John, Rev. B.G. GRAY, D.D., and his son Rev. I.W.D. GRAY, D.D., both died after the Old Baurying Ground ceased to be used, and consequently are buried elsewhere. The body of the first Rector of St. John, however, Rev. George BISSETT, A.M. who died in 1788, though not originally interred in the Old Burying Ground, having been originally buried in the graveyard on Germain Street, was subsequently removed to the former, and placed in the Putnam tomb, where it still remains. Mr. BISSETT was an Englishman, and assistant and afterwards Rector of Trinity Church, New York. He was a profound scholar and a man of parts. The Putnam tomb, which is in fact a vault, is situated on the hill south of the centre path, and a few yards from the east side of the ground. It is surrounded by a sarcophagus of marble, surrounded by an iron railing. With one exception, it is the best preserved place of interment on the ground. The following is inscribed upon it: Sacred to the memory of the Honorable James PUTNAM, who was appointed a member of His Majesty’s Council and a Justice of the Supreme Court, in the organization of the Government of this Province at its original foundation in 1784. He had been for many years before the war which terminated in the independence of the United States of America an eminent barrister-at-law, and was the last Attorney General under His Majesty in the late Province of Massachusetts Bay. Died 23rd Oct, 1789, aged 64 years. – The inscription goes on to state that his widow and several members of his family are buried in the same vault. Mr. PUTNAM was a graduate of Harvard and was related to the Whig General Israel PUTNAM. His son James took up his residence in England, where he died in 1838. He had been a member of the household of the Duke of Kent (Queen Victoria’s father) and was one of his executors.


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