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Full text of "History of the Wanton family of Newport, Rhode Island"

NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES 



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STOKicAL Tracts. 



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PROVIDEKCE; 
AID KEY 8. KtDRR 

1878. 






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HIS 



T O H Y 



OV THE 



N T o N Fa :m i l y 



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XE\YPOKT, KlIODK ISLAND. 



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JOHN RUSSELL BAKTLETT 



PUOVIDENX'K: 
8 I D X K Y S . R I D K R . 

1878. 






.'A 



NOTE 



TiiK skofcli hero Kiv<^'> «>'" tin* Wiinton fninily orl^rinally 
nppoap'il in Iho IVo\ iUcncc Jourual, in 1.^71. It is now 
onlar::oil hy the atiditi.»ii of Irltcrn nml public dociiuieuts 
lilti!»trativo of Jlir ftihulni.Htrrttion of Uio four Wnntons, who, 
r.t di:r»'rt'nt podods, were ;;ovor«ior« of the Colony of Kliode 
I.-^land. Tljose pipors rohite, cliioily, to tlic wars between 
(Iront Britain a.id France, and Groat IJrilain Hud Spain, in 
l»oth of w)»lc)i llie Colony Utok a. prominent part. They 
relate aluo to the lujportnnt events that took pl.ice in Khcde 
l!>lun(l Injpi'.'dl.'iloly preceoin;: the Declaration of Indcpc.idcnce, 
Includin:^ the burnin*^ of the Gaj»pce. The ^jenealoj^^lcal notices 
of faudlies of Wanton blood have ulsj been considerably 
enlar^'eU. 



^7 



f 

r 



V. 






THE AVAXTOX FAMILY. 



\ \ 



Among the ('itizon^ t)f Kluxle JslanJ who have 
roiitlercd (.listinuuisljCMl sf^rvicc to ^hc State bince its 
foUH'latiun, none are uiure prominent thnn the 
W'.'inton family, ^'^or a century their names appear 
among thc^sc who \ e promin^-nl in boeial, political 
and connnercial Wd'.. Vov s»'\cral ^generations tliev 
wiTC tli«5 leadiniT m<>rch:\nt"j in the Colony. Thev 
^vere active in the stijiport of religion ; and in all 
works for the advancement of the interests of the 
town where they retided, as well as for the Colony 
at large, tlu.y were always found among the leaders. 
During the war between Great Britain and France, 
when two of them tilled the office of governor, they 



b JlISTOh'ICAL THACT. 

roinU'io*! <IIstInLruisluM] st»rvi(.-e, wliirli wms acknewl- 
oiWti] l>v tiipir >(»^tM*fI;rii. Four hoarin^r tho n.uno 
w'i j'c at diiU'ront tiuK^t' cliM-ti'd governor oi' tho Col- 
ony. William Waiilou >va.s cloi'lod ii^()V<!nu>r in 
17^12, ami .served two yojii'v*. John, cloctod in 17i^», 
served .seven years, (tid'on, cleettHl in 1745 and 
1747, s^•^^■e<l two years; and Josoph, elected in 
17^)11, served nntil Xov(Mnhei*; 177/). Anotlun*, 
,J<>sei)h. Jnn., liehl the otViee of depnty ;jovernor. 
l^>l•t^aits (»!' ^^'illiam, John and Joseph are pre>erved 
in the lvedwof>d Lil)rarv at N«'>»r)ort, and copies 
iVoni th«» same have been pla«*(Ml in thx^ St:ite IIt)nse 
in iVovidenee. 



Kdwaki> Wanton is the <arlie>t ane<'.stor (.f the 
iauiily in this e(»untry ot* whom wc have any knowl- 
eilL'e. He was a resident ot' Rostoii in 1058, but 
how nmeh earlier we know not. Tradition says ho 
came iVom Lmidon, aceoi^ipanied by Ids mother, but 
of his father there is no record, lie apjtcars to have 
been a re.sident of Senuat<', ^lassaehnsette, in IGOl, 
wliere he owned a farm of eighty acres, at the well- 
known ship-yard, a little below Dwelly's Creek. 



/ 



TIIK WANTON FAMILY. 



9 



He li.'id ;ilso extensive landi on Cordwood Hill, and 
:ds() ;U tlje sontlns'Cjt of Hooppole Hill, wliieli latter 
were sold to Nathaniel Brooks, in 172H. The honsc 
of Edward Wanton tstood near the hank of the river, 
on the laiKl now used as a shij»-yjir<l, and on the spot 
oe*Mi}»ied by the smaller workhou^^e. Bi'f<>re he left 
Boston he became a eonve\*t tf» the faith of the 
(^nakei*s. ^fr. l^eane, in h<s histor\' of Seituate, 
says; "The severity of the Massachusetts irovern- 
mcnt tow ards this new seet haviuij been earried to the 
extent of exevuting- three of them in l<».*>r», IdOO and 
IfitM. rdwar<l ^\^•^nton was an ofReer of ihe iruani 
on one or more of these occasions. H<^ became 
deeply sensible (>f the ei'uelty, injustice and impf.'licy 
of thccc m^a.sures ; was ;rioatlv moved by the firm- 
ncss with whit-h they s)il)niitted to, death, and was 
won cntindy by their a«ldrcsscs l)efore tlieir exceu- 
tion. He returned to l:is house .savinir, 'Ala?*, 
Mother! we have been munlering the Lord's peo- 
l)lo/ an<l tal'iui,^ oft' his sword, i)ut it by, with a sol- 
emn vt;w never to >vear it anfain. Frou) this time 
he took every opportunity to converse with the 
Friends, and soon resolved to become a teacher of 



10 HISTORICAL TKACT. 

ihviv faith." It is saiil tlint lie l)uilt the first (Juukcr 
Dioi'tinir hou^c in Massaciiusctts. 

K<l\viinl Wniitoii carried on the business of ship- 
buihlinp: with ^i:^reat sucoess at 8<'ituate, and held a 
di^tingni^hcd place anionjr the entcrpn^sillg settlers 
of th:tt town. Wo l<'arn. t«»o, hv its ecclesiastical 
history, that Mr. Wantcni was ino^i successful as a 
religious teacher in the So<-ioty of Friends. ilic> 
last visit to Newport as a representative from the 
quarterly to the yearly meeting, was in 17i<), whcu 
he was t'iiihtv-iive years old, lie died on the IHth 
of O.toher. of the same year, soon at*ter his return, 
au<j "was buried on his own plantation," says Mr. 
Di'ane, 'a l\iw rods north-east of his house, where 
several of his faniily, and the family of Hogcrs, have 
since ])een buried." He died "with faculties nnblur- 
red, mind clear, pii^ty fervent, faith unwavering and 
active as he nearer approached its realization, from 
wliich stand-point lie couhi often review his past life I 
and with soul-stirring eloquence and deep sympathy | 
exliort all io stand fi\i<t in the faith.** i 

"The fann still bears the name of this venerable 
n'ian, though it has passed into the possession of 



v 



THE WANTON FAJIILY. 



11 



?' 



a 



auDtlior fainilv more than :i rontiirv since. His 
naivic will go down to posiciity so long as a history 
of tho town shall be known. His memory is held in 
rc.-^pecl, by tradition, from generation to generation.'* 
He waf5 probably married Ivetbre lie left England. 
In Boston two cliildren were borji to him — Edward 
in iG^jS, and .Margaret in H'.CO ; both dyi)ig young. 
ni:5 wite died in 1(501. 

Soun after taking up his rt'sidenee in Seitnatc, Mr. 
Wanton leeeived a visit from a Qtiakcr minister, 
reeently arrived from England, who reeonnnended 
to him as ii seeond wife, a woman in that country 
witli wh<>»m he was acquainted ; u correspondence 
beiween tlu^ parties- followed, which soon led to pro- 
posals of marriage from Mr. Wanton. The propo- 
sals were acee[»ted, the lady at once came to Amer- 
ica, and in 16015 the paities were married. The 
issues of this marriage were Joseph, bom 1004; 
George, 16G0; Elizabeth, who married Edward 
Scott, of J^cott Hall, Kent, England, 1008; Wil- 
liam, 1G70; John, 1072; ^arah and Margaret, 
twins, 1071; Hannah, who manicd Jumcs^T3arker, 



12 HISTORICAL TRAC1\ 

of Soituatc, 1(577; Michael, 1670; Stephen, 1G82; 
and rhilip, 1C8G. 

JosErii Wanton, the eldest son ot' Edward, 
lenioved to Tiverton, in 1^88, where ho ciirried 
on tlic business of shiivhuildiug ou ttu extensive 
hculc, for the time, at the '^ Narrows.** lie married 
Sarah, daughter of Gideon Freeborn, 0th <>f the 
eleventh month, 1(>81>. He lived in a larire house, 
and his hospitality h saiii 1«> have })een princely, 
lie and his wife were public speakers of the Society 
of Friends. His preaching was "truly eloquent and 
powerful," and tradition speaks of the great benev- 
olence and charities of both. lie died Marih .'5, 
1754, at the age of ninety. His children were. 
1. Elizabeth, born January 5, 1601, married Abra- 
ham Borden ; 2. Iklward, Apnl 20. 1602; 3. Gid- 
eon, October 20. 1603; 4. Sarah, April 27, 1606, 
who married, tirst, Thomas Spencer, secony Benja- 
min Rowland ; 5. Joseph, Juno 9, 1608 ; and 6. 
Mary, June 10, 1700. Mary married Thomas Rich- 
ardson, of Xewpoit, a gentleman of wciiUh and 
)efinement, who held the office of general treasurer 



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TIIE WANTON FA.MILY. 13 

of the Colony for many years. He, too, was an 
active and influential member of the Society of 
Friends. His daughter Sarah married Thomas Rob- 
inson, also a Friend. They are said to have been 
wealthy, hospitable and benevolent, and lived in 
great state. 

The genealogy of the descendants of Thomas and 
Sarah Kobinson which has appeared in the newspa- 
pers has exhibited such variances that wo addressed 
a note to William Hunter, Esq., Assistant Secretary 
of State, Washington, who is doubly possessed of 
Wanton blood, for information regarding this bmnch 
of the Wanton family. Through his father Mr. 
-Hunter is a descendant of Elizabeth, daughter of the 
first Edward Wanton ; and through his mother, a 
descendant of Joseph, son of Edward Wanton. 
Mr. Hunter's reply presents such full and accurate 
details that we give his letter at length ; — 

Wahuington, 22Dd March, 1878. 
To John H. Babtlett, Esq., Providknce, ^ I. 

Dear Sib: — I have received your letter of the 
14th, asking for information as to my relationship 

2 



14 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

to the Wanton family of Khodo Ibland. Unfortu- f 
uatcly I have little or none, anil that which I have, j 
lias been derived from rather va^i^uc traditions. I i 
can, however, at least correct some of the informa- 
tion of which you speak, as already in your pos- ^ 
session. William, son of Thomas and Sarah Kobin- \ 
son, married Sarah, daughter of Abraham Franklin, 
of New York, vhosc daughter Mary married my 
father, William Hunter. Godfrey Malbone, my 
great-grandfather, married Elizabeth (Wanton) 
Scott, granddaughter of Edward Wanton. My 
grandfather, Dr. William Hunter, married Mal- 
bone's daughter. Thomas R. married Jemima Fish. 
William and Sarah Robinson had many children, 
perhaps thirteen, whose respective histories it is not 
in my power to state. I am under the impression 
that their eldest child was Esther, married to Jonas 
^linturn, of New York. Their next child may have 
been Sarah, who married Joseph Coates, of Phila- 
delphia. Perhaps my mother was the third. The 
sons of William and Sarah wero Thomas and Sam- 
uel, who died unmarried; Franklin, who lived and 
married in Alabama and died leaviug children. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 15 

Rowland, wlio lived and diod in Indiana, leaving 
many ehildrcn, as 1 have understood ; William, Avho 
I also lived in that State and died a bachelor, and 
1 Joseph. Tiicrc were also other daughters. Eliza, 
;? who died unmarried. Abigail, married to Joseph 
' II. Pierce of Boston. Amy, who married Walter 
I>ownc of New York. Nancy, married to John 
. Toulmin of Mobile. They died without children. 
Emma, married to John Grimshaw of New York, 
by whom she had two children, both of whom sur- 
vive. Mr. and Mrs Coates had two children. Their 
1 eldest, a son, is still living, and is a member of the 
firm of Miller & Coates of New York. Several of 
the daughters of Thomas and Sarnh Robinson were 
remarkable for their personal charms and intcUect- 
[ ual and literary attainments. One of them, Mary, 
I married John Morton of Philadelphia. She was an 
uncommonly charming person, whom I well knew in 
my boyhood and early youth. She was a Quaker 
preacher, not only the best of that sect I ever heard, 
but I thiuk surpassed both in strength and richness 
of matter and manner any man preacher I ever list- 
ened to. Her uttoranccs were the more agreeable. 



1<> HISTOKICAL TRACT. 



\ 



as they were not in the whining tone common to 
preachers of that denomination. Ilcr letters to my 
mother, prior to the marriage of the hitter, trying 
to dissuade her from njarrying my father, partly 
because he was not of their persuasion, are the most 
eloquent and l)eautifully expressed of any I ever 
read. 

John and Mary Morton had two children, Robert, 
a physician in Philadelphia, who died young, and 
JLsthcr, married to Daniel Smith of Ilavcrford, near 
that city. She is dead, leaving several children. 
The eldest, Benjamin, owns and in the summer lives 
in the very house in Washington street, Newport, 
the "Point," where Thomas and Sarah Robinson and 
their children lived. After the death of her parents, 
she lived in their house until she died, when she 
bequeathed it to her neicc, Mrs. Daniel Smith of 
Ilavcrford, Pennsylvania. The daughters of Thomas 
and Sarah Robinson, among their other attain- 
ments had a knowledge of the French language, for 
which they deserve special credit, as the facilities 
for education in their time must have been much less 
than they now are. That knowledge, I have under- 






THE WANTON FAMILY. 17 

stood, was an agreeahlc surprise to tlfc officers of 
the French army stationed at Newport during the 
Kcvolution, and led to their cultivating the acquaint- 

i ancc of the Robinson girls. My grandfather, Dr. 
William Hunter, was, as I have understood, a grad- 
uate of p]dinl)urgh University and Medical School, 
and was a surgeon in the Pretender's army at the 
battle of Culloden. Soon afterwards he came to 
this country and settling at Newport, ho there prac- 
ticed his profession, and married the daughter of 
Godfrey Mall)one, who was the great-granddaughter 
of first Edward Wanton. He had four children, of 
whom my father was the only son. I have under- 
stood that early in the Revolutionaiy war he con- 
tracted a fever at a railitiiry hospital at Newport, 
from which he died. His daughters were remarka- 
bly well educated, especially for that time. Tliey 
also were familiar with the French lan£:ua<je. In 
this connection it may not be impertinent to refer to 

j the way in which the Duke dc Lauzun speaks of 
them in his memoirs. As you are aware, he held 
/ a high rank in the army of his country which aided 
us in the Revolutionary war. I annex a translated 



\6 HISTOKICAL TRACT. 

extract from the Memoirs of the Duke of Lauzun.* 
Miss Elizabeth Hunter, the ehlcst daughter, was 
such a devotee to lier literary and musical pur- 
suits that her eyesight became seriously allected, 
so that her mother took her to England in 1785, in 
the hope of having a cure there ellccted. The other 
daughters also went, but my father was left behind ( 
to attend school and, afterwards. Brown University. 

•*I «lltl not loftvo Newport without roffrot; I had Tna«1o very ngrcoa- 
bio acriuiiintuncuH tlierc. Mr». Hunter, n whlow, thlrty-Hlx years of 
aj?o, lia*1 two cliarminK OiniKlitcrH whoni «1jo liad jKTfoctly weH e«lu- 
cat<'U. IJoing In niouruint; for Doctor nunt<>r, they lived very retlretl, 
and scarcely ever saw any o:ic. I chunce«l Ut become acquainto<l 
with Mrs. Hunter, on my a. rival in Uhudo Island. Slio bccumo 
frlen<lly towards me, and I was soon refjanlcd as one of the family. 
I passed all my time with tliem, and, having been taken ill, Mrs. 
Hunter had me removed to her house, where I received the kindest 
care. I was ne*'^er in lovo with the Misses Hunter, but if they had 
iMJcn my 8istei*s, I could not have liked tl.em better, especially tho 
oldest, who is ODO of the most charming persons I over met.** 

"The tumult of Philadelphia, having become unbearable to me, I 
wished to get rid of it. A Journey to Rhcdo Island combined tho ad. 
Tantitges of 1)eing near letters which would probably arrive at tho 
north, and of again seeing that charming family by whom I am so 
tenderly loved. I set out, then, despito tho rigor of Iho season. 
People at Newport were inoxprejsibly glad to see mo." 

Mnnoir$ of Dukt of Laugum, pp. 280 and 314. 



) 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 19 

^Soon after ho graduated he joined his mother in 
London, and first took up the study of medicine 
witli the famous John Hunter, who was a first cousin 

• of his father, but afterwards became a law student 
in the Temple. During; tlic Frencli KcvoUition my 
aunt Ann married, in London, Falconnet, an opulent 
Swiss banker, v/ho transacted business in Naples. 
They had many children. One of their daughters 

; married Count Pourtales of Paris, famous for having: 
! perhaps the most valuable collection of art treasures 
• belonging to any private person in Europe. Another 

I of the Falconnet girls married John Izard Middle- 

1 ton of South Carolina, and died childless. Another 
of my father's sisters, Catherine, married a Count 
dc Cardignan, who, I have understood was guillo- 
tined during the Revolution in France. He left one 

} child, a son, who, when I last heard of him, was a 

[ colonel in the French army. My aunt Eliza, the 
eldest of the three, never recovered her sight, yet 

j, her faculty for music was such that, like blind Tom, 
it was necessary for a complicated piece to be played 
once only within her hearing, and she would repeat 
it note for note. ^ly three aunts are all dead. 



20 IIISTCRICAL TRACT. 

My father, after completing his law studies in 
London, returned to Newport and was admitted to 
the bar. He also engaged in politics on the federal 
side, and was a member of the General Assembly. 
He was elected to the Senate of the United States 
in li<ll, and served until 1821. In 1834 he was 
appointed Charge d' Atlaires to Brazil, and was 
afterwards made minister to the same country. Ho 
returned home in 1848, and died in Newport, Decem- 
ber 3, 1849. He had eight children, two of wl om 
died in their nonage. I am the eldest. ISly sister j 
Eliza was the second. She was niarried at Kio do 
.Taneiro to James Birckhead, formerly of Baltimore. 
She now lives in Newport. The third child was 
Thomas R. He lives in Middletown, near the New- 
port line. The fourth was Mary R. She married 
Edward Pierse, a captain in the Britidi navy, and 
died near Loiulon a few years since. The fifth child 
was Cliarles, a captain in the United States navy, 
who, with his wife and daughter, was lost on his way 
to Havre in 1873. The sixth child was Catherine. 
She married at Rio, John Grecnway, an English 
merchant, then transacting business at Monto Video. 






THE WANTON FAMILY. 21 

She died there in giving l)irth to her first child, who 

;urvlvcd licr. 

I -will not prolong this letter, which I fear must 

ilready have become more tedious than interesting 

to you. If, however, I should have omitted any 

jucts within my knowledge of which 3'ou might like 

/to be infoniied, upon specifying you shall Ikj apprized 

[of them. 

I am, dear Sir, 

Your very obedlenl serx'unl, 

W. HUNTER. 

Further notices of the Robinson family will be 
found in the appendix. 

Georcje Wanton, the second son of Edward, 
lied in January, 1G84, aged eighteen years, and 
♦vas buried in the fiimily ])urial ground in Scituate, 
Massachusetts, near where lay the remains of his 
oarcnts. 

Elizabeth Wanton, daughter of Edward, mar- 
ried Edward Scott, of Scott Hall, Kent, England, 
whose descendants arc now living in Newport. Her 
daughter married Godfrey Malbone, whose daugh- 



f 



22 



HISTORICAL TRACT. 



tcr married Dr. William Hunter,* father of the late 
Hon. William Hunter of Newport. Sec appendix 
for genoalo;ry. j 

Several of the other sons of the first Edward also 
removed to Newport, whose names occasionally 
appear in the Colonial Records, but none of them 
except William and John seem to have risen to dis- 
tinction. George was admitted a freeman in 1718. 
We again find him mentioned as one of the commit- 
tee appointed by the General Assembly in 1739, 
*'to erect a new Colony house, built of brick, in 
Newport, where the old one now stands, consisting 
of eighty feet in length and forty in breadth and 
thirty feet stud, the length whereof to stand near 
or quite north and south." t 



♦Dr. William Huntor, of Scottish birth, waa an eminent surgeon. 
About the year I'K bo pave, at .fowport, the first anatomical ond sur- 
gical lectures ever Oolivercd in the twelve colonies. They were deliv- 
ered in the Court House, in two seasons in aucccsslon, by cards of 
inviUition, and gave great satisfaction. Dr. Hunter was educated at 
Eiliuburgh, and is stated by Dr. Waterhouso to have been a surgeon of 
remarkable skill. 

t Colonial Uecortls, volume Iv., page 551. 



I 



I 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 23 

Governor William Wanton, third son of Edward 
Wanton, was born in 1G70. IIo married Kuth, the 
l)c*antiful and accomplished danghtcr of Deacon 
Jolni Bryant, of Scituatc, Massachusetts, June 1, 
IGDl. It appears that there was serious opposition 
to this match on the part of Deacon Br}'aut, who 
was a rigid Presl)ytcrian, and of that uncharitable 
class which detested the Quakers. After much 
delay, William paid Miss Bryant a visit, and, in 
l)rcsence of her family, thus addressed her : " Ruth, 
I am sure we were made for each other, and neither 
of us can live without the other. Now let us cut 
the knot of difficulty. I will leave the Quakers, and 
thou thalt leave the Presbyterians. Wc will both 
go to the Church of England and to the devil togeth- 
er." Ruth agreed to the proposal, and the marriage 
took place. The following children were born to 
them : 1. Margaret, born 24th October, 1692, who 
died young; 2. George, born 24th August, 1694; 
3. William, born 26th October, 1696; 4. Peter, 
born 22nd March, 1698, died young; 5. Ruth, born 
12th July, 1701, died young; 6. Edward, born 11th 
April, 1702; 7. Joseph, born 15th August, 1705, 



24 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

became governor of the Colony in 17G9 ; 8. Benja- 
min, Dth June, 1707; and 9. Eliza, 4th October, 
17O0, who died young. 

George Wanton married Abigail, daughter of 
Benjamin Ellery, of Newport, Fclu'uary 24, 1098. 
Joseph married Mary, daughter of John Still Win- 
throp of New London. For descendants of these 
two families, see appendix. 

In consequence of religious dillerences in the fam- 
ily, some of the members being connected with the 
Episcopal Church, others with the Ciuakers, Wil- 
liam, with his brother JohU; removed to Newport, 
where they established themselves as shipbuilders. 
The former was soon found to be a man of more than 
ordinary capacity. Ho rose in public esteem and 
became very efiicient in the Colonial government. 
The two brothers were the leaders in a successful 
attack on a piratical vessel which infested the coast, 
and which won for them a fame, not only through 
the British colonies, but in England. Tho narrative 
cf this exploit is thus related : 

"A piratical ship of three hundred tons, mounting 
twenty cannon, appeared off the harbor of Newport, 



\ 



THK WANTON FAMILY. 25 

cruising between Bloek Island and Point Judith, 
interrupting every vessel that attenii)ted to pass, 
capturing i)r()perty and treating the officers and crews 
with great severity. To remove an annoyance so 
injurious to the comfort and prosperity of the inhab- 
itants of Newport, two young men, William and 
John Wanton, son^ of the first Edward, determined 
to attempt her capture, and the means they resorted 
to were as novel as the success was glorious. No 
sooner had they made known their intention than 
they were joined by about thirty young men of their 
acquaintance, and a sloop of thirty tons was engaged 
for the enterprise. The brave fellows went on board 
with only their small arms to defend themselves, 
and sailed out of the harbor, aj)parently on a little 
coasting excursion, every person being concealed 
below except the few required to navigate the ves- 
sel. After cruising u few days, they espied tho 
object of their search. As they drew near the pirat- 
ical vessel, with the inteirtion, apparently, to pass, 
,thc pirate fired a shot at them. This was what 
they desired, in order to give them an opportunity 
to approach the pirate. The sloop immediately low- 



2(1 IIISTOUICAL Tit ACT. 

cred the peak of lier mainsail and lulled up for the 
pirate, hut instead of going alongside, they eanie 
directly u^der her stern. Her men at once sprang 
upon deck, and with irons prepared for the j)urpose, 
grapi)led their sloop to the ship, and wedged her 
rudd(!r to the stern-post so as to render it unman- 
ageable. Having so far suceeeded in their purpose 
without alarming the piratieal crew or leading them 
to suppose they were approached by anything but a 
little coaster, each man seized his musket, and tak- 
ing deliberate aim, shot every pirate as he appeared 
on deck. After making great cilbils to disengage 
themselves, and tlnding it impossible so to do, the 
rest surrendered and were taken into the harbor of 
Newport by their brave and gallant captors, and 
turned over to the aiithorities, when, after a trial, 
they sulfered the i)enalty of their crimes by being 
hanged. When this alfair took place William Wan- 
ton was but twenty-four and John twenty-two years 
of age. 

''Again, in 1097, just before the peace of Kyswick, 
during the troubles with Count Froutcnac, Governor 
of Canada, a French armed ship had taken scvcrul 



V 



TIIR WANTOX FAMILY. 27 

prizes in the ])ay, and thoir doprodatioiis wore so 
numerous and so disastrous to tlic inhabitants of the 
town that they could no longer be endured without 
the interruption of the eomnierco of the town. Wil- 
liam and Jolin Wanton, fired with the same zeal 
which prompted them in their former exploit, deter- 
mined to make an effort to rid our waters of the 
offensive vessel. They therefore repaired to Boston, 
where each fitted out a vessel well manned with 
spirited volunteers, put to sea, and in a few days 
fell in with the French ship and captured her." 

The Newport Mercury gave the following details 
of this exploit : 

" While cruising oil* Holmes's Hole, finding them- 
selves short of fresh provisions, one of the lieuten- 
ants was sent on shore in a boat to purchase such as 
they were in want of, with strict orders to pay for 
everything they brought off. But disregarding his 
positive orders, brought olf several sheep without 
paying for them. The owners of the sheep soon 
came off to seek redress, and were answered by the 
Wantons that they had given strict orders that noth- 
ing should l>e taken without full remuneration for it. 



2fi IIISTOHICAL TRACT. 

Imt tliov insisted tli:il thov hiu\ lioon r<)])l)0(l, and 
aAcr II time seanli was institiilcMl and ])orsisted in 
until the carcases were found in the lieutenant's 
quarters, wiienMipon tliey compelled him to refund 
d(Mil»le the value of the sheep, and otherwise i)un- 
ished him for his disobedience. This little circum- 
stance p^reatly influenced the politicians in Kliodc 
Island, and was the foundaiion of party feuds which 
lasted in the colonies more tiian tifty years. Soon 
after this they <xot under weigh, and a French ship 
was seen in the distance. The Frenchmen discov- 
ered them at the same moment and horc down upon 
them, when a sharj) action took place. William ran 
under the stern of the French ship and wedged her 
rudder, while John hoarded and swept the enemy 
from her decks. This prize was very valuable, as 
she had the choicest spoils from the prizes she had 
taken, and the Wantons were greatly enriched, 
besides rendering a valuable service to the Colony.** 
It is sai<l that the venerable Edward endeavored 
to dissuade his sons from this enterprise, as being 
unlawful and contrary to the rules of their church, 
]>ut ou linding them determined, he thus addressed* 
them : ** It would be a grief to my spirit to hear yo 



\ 



I 



TIIK WANTON FAMILY. 29 

li.'nl fallen in a military ontorpriso, ))ut if yo will go, 
ivincnil>or it would he a greater grief to hear that yc 
were cowards." Whether the hrothcrs Wanton were 
snninionod to England hy the government to aid })y 
their experience and advice in naval matters, or 
whether they went on their own husiness is not 
known. It is certain, however, that in 1702 they 
went to London, and were received at court among 
the naval heroes who had added lustre to the British 
llijg. Their portraits were painted by the court 
artist. (Jueen Ainic granted them an addition to 
their family coat of arms, which was considered a 
great honor, and, with her own royal hands, pre- 
sented each with two pieces of plate, a silver i)unch- 
howl and salver, with these words in Latin engraved 
upon them : * 

Omnipotcnto numlnc magcstro 
Volat lilc Hercules ocycus vcnto 
Multo cum sanj^ulnc capulntur 
Vinccntl poculum dabitur Wantonl. 

•Tlic mftrblo- topped punch tnble of Governor Jot»oph Wanton 

ilcsccndcMl to liid <lauglitcr KHztibctli Wickhnni, an<1 from lior to her 

<1auj?htcr, who took it to Hutlnon, Now York, where it was use*! in the 

• F' .scopal clturch as a communion tublo. When the society orecteU 

.^ their new church, it was taken to the ohnrcta at Claverack, where it is 



BtiU iD use for the some purpoec. 



;^0 inSTOUICAL TKACT. 

Wliicli may l)o freely translated tlnis : 

•Swift as the \\\m\ the intrepid warrior flies, 
Under the smiles of all-approvin;^ ileaven; 

Tlic trembling captive feels his power and dies, — 
To conquering Wanton let the bowl be given. 

The honors received by the ^Messrs. Wanton in 
England and the fame of their naval exploits, which 
had been spread throughout the northern colonies, 
brought them into further notice. They had ever 
been amongst the most active and enterprising men 
in the Colony. They now entered the arena of poli- 
tics, and William, who is styled Major, was, in 170.'), 
elected a *Mcputy" to the General Assembly, and 
chosen speaker. The following year ho was chosen 
an assistant. For several years he also held the 
office of " Major for the Islands."* In 1709 William 
and his brother. Colonel John Wanton, took an 

• The General Assembly, at its October session, 1C82, possoU the fol- 
lowint,' liiw : " That there be two majors chosen iu this Colony unnu> 
Ally, one uiiijor for the Islands, ami one major for the maino lunil. 
The mtijor for the Isluntls to be chosen by the Freemen unU Traino 
Iliintls of the Islands, and the major for the maino to bo chosen by tho 
Freemen and Traino Hands on the maino; and their voates to be sent 
in at tho gcnerall elocUon of ofliccrs in May annually, by the ticrko of, 
the respect iTO liands."— /f. /. Coi, lifC., vol. m.^paffe 118. 



^. 



I 



I 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 31 

active part in tlio expedition then fitting out against 
tiic French in Canada. They were both on the gov- 
ernor's special council "to assist him in managing 
the ailairs of tiio great expedition against Canada." 
Two of William's vessels were taken for the expedi- 
tion, for which a price is stipulated. lie was also 
one of the committee with power to select officers 
for the ships. In the boundary dispute with Con- 
necticut, we find Colonel William Wanton, as he is 
now styled, one of the commissioners sent to that 
Colony, and a resolution voting him £79 15« Ctd for 
his "time, trouble, charges and damages to his horses 
in said journey.** * 

In the year 1708, durirg the war between Great 
Britain and Franco, when our coasts were infested 
with French privateers, whi(;h did great mischief to 
our commerce, we again find, in the Colonial Rec- 
ords, favorable mention of Mr. Wanton. In a letter 
from Governor Cranston to the Board of Trade, Lon- 
don, dated Dec. 5, 1708, speaking of depredations of 
these vessels, he says : " Wo had nothing matorial 
that happened the last summer, save ouc expedition 

* UboUe Island Colonial Uccords, volamo 4. 



l\2 IIISTOIIICAL TRACT. 

on llic 8th Soptcinbor, upon intclligcnco given mo 
l>y an express from Marthji*s Vineyard, of a priva- 
teer that had taken a sh)op, and chased a hrigantino 
on shore, upon said ishmd ; upon which intelligence 
I dispatched (within three liouis after the receipt 
thereof) two sh)ops under the command of Major 
William Wanton and Captain John Cranston. Tho 
cncni}' fearing our sudden expedition (they being 
acquainted of our dispatch upon such occasions) 
burnt his prize and made the best of his way to sea, 
so that our i)eoplo could not get sight of him, thougli 
they pursued him for twenty-four hours." 

In the expedition against Canada, in which tho 
New England colonics were so prominent, Rhode 
Island took an active part, both by sea and land. 
The land forces were under conmiand of Colonel 
Francis Nicholson. In a letter from Governor 
Cranston to that ofllccr, dated June 27, 1709, ho 
says: "Colonel William Wanton, with tho forces 
of this Colo ly, sailed from hence for Xantaskot, tho 
10th instant, and arrived there on the 22nd.*' 

From 1705, when he first entered public life as a 
deputy to the General Assembly, William Want \\ 



TIIE WANTON FAMILY. 33 

coiitinuod to serve the Colony as a deputy or as an 
assistant, until 1732, when he was elected Governor, 
He was reelected the following year and died in 
December of that year. 

All accounts state that William Wanton was not 
only an enterprising merchant hut a most "polished 
gentleman, of easy, polite and engaging manners, 
very hospitable and fond of entertaining his friends. ** 
He is also spoken of as a man of great benevolence. 
His death caused great sorrow in the Colony, for 
"he had shown such energy and aptness in the per- 
formance of his official duties, that all considered 
him the right man in the right place, and great sym- 
pathy was expressed by the public with the family in 
their great atlliction. His funeral was attended by 
the inhabitants almost en masse^ and his remains 
were deposited in the family vault adjoining the Clif- 
ton burial ijround." A short time before his death 
he remarked to gathered friends and his family, who 
stood near his bed : "My father's God is my God, 
and I die in the faith of the (iuakcrs." 

It was during the period when ho held the office 
of governor that Bishop Berkeley visited Newport ; 



:M HISTOHICAL TIIACT. 

and it is sjiid that as long as this distinguished man 
resided in that town or on the ishind, lie dined every 
Snnday with Governor Wanton. When he took his 
dei)artnre he presented Mrs. Wanton with an elegant 
diamond ring, which nntil recently remained in the 
family. 

William lived in a tine three story honsc in Thames 
street, Newport, which he owned, now the propeily 
of Colonel K. I>. Lawton and sister. His brother 
John occnpied the estate opposite. 

Ciovernor John Wanton, fifth son of Edward, 
who aecompanie<l his brother William to Newport, 
was born in lCi72, He was a merchant, and asso- 
ciated with his brother in business. lie married, 
1. Ann, daughter of Gideon Freeborn, of Poi-ts- 
mouth ; 2. Mary Stalford of Tiverton. lie resided 
in a house opposite that of his brother William, in 
Newport, now^ owned and occupied by James Ilors- 
well and William II. Bailey. 

His children, as appears by his family Bible, in 
the possession of Dr. William Bullock of Provi- 
dence, were, 1. John, born 22nd tenth month (Oc- 



TIIK WANTON I'AMILV. 35 

tobor or Dcc(Mnl)cr), 1G1I7, who in.'irr'ujcl Ann, dungh- 
Icr of Ahnihani Red wood, (pr()l)al)ly in 1718) ; 2. 
Elizabeth, horn iKh fourth month (April or June), 
1700, who married John Cupitt ; 3. Susanna, born 
21st eighth month (August or Octol>er), 1704, died 
178U; 4. Mary, I)orn IGth fourth month (April or 
June), 1707, married Latham Thurston January 1, 
1730, and died 30th seventh month, 1737; and 5. 
James, ])orn lOth seventh month (July or Septem- 
ber), 1717, married Patienee Oth August, 1741. 

John Wanton "was a lil)eral patron of the arts, 
colleeted a iinc lil)rary and some rare pliilosophical 
apparatus, ilis house was the intelleetual centre of 
tlie Colony, and the fame of his library and apparatus 
extended throughout the neighboring colonies, so 
that when strangers visited the town his house was 
one of the desirable places to visit, as ho was, like 
his brothers, very hospitiible, refined and instructive 
in conversation, possessing those elegancies of man- 
ner which distinguished the gentleman of his day." 

lie first appears in public life as a deputy to tlie 
Gonend Assembly from Newport, in 1706, when ho 
is styled "captain.** Two yciirs later ho is styled 



i' 



3(1 Hli^TOKICAL TKACT. 

"colonel," at which time he was conimaiuler of a 
regiment of militia, and was api)ointed on the special 
council in connection with the famous expedition 
airainst Canada. 

In our notice of his brother William, mention is 
made of the daring naval exploits in which he took 
a prominent part. During the war with France 
news was brought to Newport that a sloop laden 
with provisions had been captured by a French pri- 
vateer, oir Block Island. A proclamation calling 
upon the inhabitants for volunteers was at once made 
by Governor Cranston. Within two hours time two 
sloops were armed, equipped and manned with one 
hundred and twenty men, and placed under the com- 
mand of John Wanton, who immediately put to sea. 
They soon fell in with the Frenchman, whom they 
captured, and within twelve hours from their depart- 
ure they reentered the harbor with the privateer and 
the sloop she had previously tiiken. That there 
could have been such dispatch in the Colony more 
than a hundred and fifty years ago, seems hardly 
cretlible ; but it should bo remembered that New- 
port was then largely engaged iu commerce, and not 



'{ 



TIIK WANTON FAMILY. 6i 

second to New York in the extent of her business. 
Numbers of seamen congregated there, and having 
had so many contests with pirates and privateers, 
her people seem to liave been ready at a moment's 
notice to embark in any enterprise on the high seas, 
whether for commercial purposes or as l)ellige rents 
in war. 

After many years of active life connected with 
military and naval enterprises, John Wanton, about 
the year 1712, laid aside all warlike aspirations and 
embraced the faith of the Quakers, after which he 
travelled much as a religious teacher. He had been 
most successful as a merchant, and was considered 
the wealthiest man in the Colony. The good use he 
made of his riches in acts of benevolence, and his 
devotion to his country, obtained for him a popular- 
ity such as no citizen of the Colony had ever before 
acquired. 

Previous to the year 1711) the Colony had passed 
certain acts for the regulation of trade, which, as wad 
customary, were sent to P^ngland for approval. 
Nathaniel Kay, having been appointed collector for 
the port of Newport, by the commissioners of the 

4 



38 IIlSfOHICAL TIIACT. 

King's customs in England, called npon the commis- 
sioners before leaving for Khode Island to learn 
whether a certain order " had been sent to the char- 
ter governments, that restrained them from putting 
laws relating to trade in execution, helorc they were 
approved of, or contirmed, in England," and was 
informed that they were. 

It appears, however, that on Mr. Kay's arrival at 
Newport he learned that no such order as that refer- 
red to had been received there. Mr. Kay, in writ- 
ing to the authorities says that similar laws rei)ug- 
nant to the laws of trade made in England, had also 
been passed in Connecticut, "such as the laying on 
of duties and .obliging the King's subjects of other 
governments to pay them." 

During this year, 1711), this conflict of authority 
culminated in the seizure of several casks of wine 
by the new collector. The people of Newport, deem- 
ing the seizure an illegal one, took possession of the 
wine, stove in the heads of the casks, and with 
pails carried off most of the liquor, throwing what 
remained into the street. 

Caleb Ileathcote, one of the council, who cam*^ 



THK WANTON FAMILY. 39 

here Irom Xew York to investigate this matter, 
wrote at length to the Lords Commissioners for 
Trade and Plantations, dated Newport, September 
7, 17111, giving the result of his inquiries. He 
begins as follows : 

" Mv Lords: It being incumbent on me to lay 
before your Lordships some laws and proceedings of 
the charter governments, which are of extraordinary 
jKiture, and in many respects hurtful to the preroga- 
tive of the crown, and contrarv of the laws of trade 
made for the plantations ; in which, if they are not 
kept to a strict observance of, and made sensible of 
their dependence on Great Britain, as they are daily 
growing very numerous and powerful, so a neglect 
therein, may with time, be attended with very ill 
consequences." 

After speaking of the various acts of the Colony 
which coiiilict with the operation of the laws of the 
home government, Mr. HeatJicote adds : " For, 
while the colonists have the power (as they imag- 
ine), of making laws separate from their own, they'll 
never be wanting to lessen the authority of the 
king's officers, who, by hindering them from a full 



I 



40 IIISTOHirAL TIJACT. 

freedom of illegal trade, are aceouuted enemies to 
the growth and prosperity of their little common- 
wealths." lie then proceeds to give an account of 
the destruction of the wine betore mentioned : — 

" And 'tis verv wonderfid to me, who am thor- 
oughly accjuainted with the temper of the people, 
that none of his mai<'stv's otHcers of the customs 
iiave heen mobl)ed and torn to pieces hy the ral)l)le, 
and of whiih some of them have very narrowly 
escapcil ; an instance whereof happened to the pres- 
ent collector, who, having made seizure of several 
hogsheads of claret illegally imported, and notwith- 
stanc'ing he had the governor's warrant, and the high 
sherilf besides l»is own ofticers to assist, and took 
the claret in the day-time, yet the town's people had 
the insolence to rise upon them, and insult both 
them and the civil otiicers ; and having, by violence, 
after a riotous and tumultuous manner, rescued and 
l)ossessed themselves of the seizures, set the hogs- 
heads ahead and stove them open, and with pails 
drank out and carried away most of the wine, and 
then threw the remainder into the streets. 

"This tumult was no sooner over, but one Mr. 



TUB WANTON FAMILY. 41 

John Wanton, nlio uses the sea and is master of a 
hIooj), a nlagi^tr;;te of tlie people's choice (as may 
bo reasonably 8iip[)ose«l), for keeping np the rago 
and hnnior of tlic niol), did innnediately issue out 
his warrant for apprehending of Mr. Kay, the col- 
lector, under pretence of his taking other and greater 
fees for clearing vessels than tlie laws of this Colony 
allowed of, which was two shillinj^s sterlinjr ; but 
the matter )>eing fully examined before the governor 
(Cranston), and it appearing that he had taken no 
greater fees than above mentioned, and which had 
always been customary ; and that the prosecution 
was maliciously intended to expose the collector, he 
was dismissed. But Mr. Wanton, not satisfied with 
what the governor had done, and being willing to 
ingratiate himself amongst his neighbors, who had 
so latelv advanced him, issued out a second warrant 
for the very same act, and to magnify his xeal on 
that occasion, had him arrested and taken into 
custody in the custom house, and thence hurried 
him away, amidst a cit)wd of spectators, refusing to 
admit him to bail.** 

'^ These are such unheard of proceediugs as will, 



r' 



i'J HI&TOIJICAL TUACT. 

I luiinbly HUppo^iC, induce your lordj<ljips to hclieve 
tli.nt surh a porson ji.s Mr. Wanton i.s unworlliy of* 
autliority, under color wliereof he so higlily abuses 
and discourages the officers of his majesty's customs 
in the discharjje of their dutv." 

This ''conten)i)t and ill-usage of his majesty*s 
officers," the writer thinks, "is owing to that unlim- 
ited power th<; charter governments lay claim to, of 
making laws, and re<piiring an obedience to be paid 
to them, before their first passing your lordships* 
ai)probation and had the royal assent/'* 

It i.s unnecessary to go into the question whether 
Mr. Wanton was right or wrong in this affair, as the 
colonial government and the peoj)le appear to have 
sustaine<l him. 

From 1712 we find John Wanton's name among 
the deputies or assistants to the General Assembly 
from ^Newport, until the year 1721, when he was 
elected deputy governor. In 1729 he was again 
elected deputy governor, and annually re- elected to 
the same oilice until the year 1734, in which year bis 
brother William died. 

•J. Cartor Itrown Manusoripta, volume vlli., number &3$. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 43 

At this time, indeed for several years previous, the 
Cohiiiy has been agitated by party strife, chiefly on 
account of the excessive issue of paper money. It 
appears from a letter written September 2, 1731, by 
Mr. Kay, tlie collector of customs in Newport, to 
the Board of Trade in London, that the amount of 
these bills tlien outstanding exceeded £120,000; 
and, although the king had commanded the govern- 
ments of the American colonies not to issue any 
more of this paper money, the Assembly of Rhode 
Island, at its June session of that year, passed an 
act for emitting i!r>0.000 more, upon land security, 
to which (iovernor Jenckes would not give his sanc- 
tion. 

A numi>er of the leading men in the Colony 
opi)osed this great issue of paper money, and wrote 
a letter to the board of trade, complaining of the 
issue of this last £i)0,000, when the act had not 
received the governor's approval. Accompanying 
this letter was a copy of the governor's dissent, with 
proper attestation. In this letter the writers say 
that "the deputy governor, John Wanton, Esq.r 
hearing of these proceedings, immediately sum- 



( 

1 1 



44 



IllJ*TOKICAL THACT. 



iiioncd the Geiioral A»iseinl»ly, which the governor 
wouUl nut do; mid the .said Af^sciiihly took away all 
our attt'stcMl coi)ic.s helorc-incntionod, made an addi- 
tion to their act, and ordered onr memorial to be 
<lismissed in this torn and tattered manner, which 
we hnmhlv conceive to l>c exceedinirlv iniurious to 
iii.s majestv's t'aitht'nl snhjects." 

(lovernor Jenckes, at the same time, wrote a 
letter to the king ((ieorgc the Second), wherein he 
complain(Ml that the (Jeneral Assembly had emitted 
a large anioiint of "paper hills of credit, notwith- 
standing this great endeavors to prevent it, both of 
himself ami many of the people of the Colony." 
He also relat»'d the particnlars of the transaction 
Ix'fore jriven in the letter from the merchants and 
others of Newport, which had canscd him great 
tronble. He then asks the king "to give his royal 
determination npon the three following particulars: 

" 1st. Whether any act passed by the General 
Assembly of this Colony may be judged valid, the 
irovernor luivin*; entered his dissent from it at the 
time it was voted. 

" 2ud. Wliether or no the Governor of this Colony 



r: 



TlIK WANTON FAMILY. 45 

may with sutoty allow or refuse setting the Colony 
seal to copies taken out of the secretary's oflice, and 
attested by him, in order to be sent to your majesty. 

"3rd. Whether it be the governor's duty to exam- 
ine all such copies before he orders the Colony's seal 
set thereto ; the secretary who attests them being nu 
oflicer under oath." 

Under the same date of August 30, 1731, an 
address and petition from a large number of the 
inhabitants of Khode Island was sent to the king. 
In this address was reiterated what has before been 
stated. In it the petitioners complaiji of the "great 
wron<;s and <]frievances thev have Iain under, and the 
damages they have sustained within these twenty 
years back, by the excessive emitting of bills of 
credit on this Colony, and enforcing the same by 
several acts of the General Assembly, to pass in 
payments in ecpial value with gold and silver money, 
since the beginning of 1710, to May, 1731." 

After presenting full particulars regarding the last 
iss; ' f £60,000, and of their intentions to petition 
the k ,.g for relief, and having taken copies of their 
memorial of the objectionable act, and of other 






40 nisTOKICAL TKACT. 

pajXTs laid hefore the General A.s'«<enibly, they say : 
*'»I()hii Wanton, Ks(]., onr iiei)uty governor, on onr 
honorable governor's relnsal .snnnnoned a General 
Ass(Mn)»ly, ^vhich met the ord day of this present 
AngiKst, at Xe\vi)ort, and took away all onr j?aid 
attested eopies, fori>idding the seal ot' this Colony 
to he aHix<'d to then), Avhieh nsed to he ailixed to 
all papeis and reeords of any eonrts in the Colony, 
when sent to England, and then rejeete<l onr said 
memorial, onlerin^ the elerk of their Assemblv to 
re-deliver it to ns. taking a receipt for the same. 
All whieli proceedings we consider derogatory to 
yonr niajesty*s royal prerogative, the laws of Great 
Britain, and the rights of yonr majesty's snhjects." 

Upon the receipt in England of this memorial, 
with the letter of Governor Jcnekes, and a copy of 
the Colony's charter, they were referred to the Attor- 
ney and the Solicitor (ieneral, with directions to 
consider and report on the same. On the qnestion, 
" Whether any act passed by the General Assembly 
of the Colony may be considered valid, the governor 
having entered his dissent from it at the time it was 
vote<l," the crown officers, in giving their opinion, 



THE WANTON FAMILV. 47 

sav : "In tlii.s charter no no^^ativc voice is sjivcn to 
tlic governor, nor any power reserved to the crown 
of approving or (li!?a})proving th(? laws to be made in 
this Colony. We are, therefore, of opinion that, 
thongh hy the charter the i)resence of the governor, 
or, in his absence, the deputy governor, is necessary 
to the legal hol.ling of a General Assembly ; yet, 
when he is there, lie is a paii: of the Assembly, and 
included in the majority; and, consequently, that 
nets passed by a majority of such Assembly are valid 
in law, notwithstanding the governor's entering his 
dissent at the time of the passing thereof." 

As to the question stated, "Whether his majesty 
hath any power to repeal or make void the above- 
mentioned act of the Assemblv, we humblv conceive 
that, no provision being made for that purpose, the 
crown hath no discretionary power of repealing laws 
made in this province ; but the validity thereof de- 
pends upon their not l>eing contrary, but, as near as 
may be, agreeable to the laws of England, regard 
being had to the nature and constitution of the place 
and people. Where this condition is observed, the 
law is binding ; and where it is not, the law is void 
as not warranted by the charter." 



t 

•/•• 



! 



48 IllSTOHICAL TRACT. 

On the question of the necessity of the gover- 
nor's setting: or rcfusin<x the Colony's seal to all 
public acts, or of examining these lU'ts himself, 
before he orders the seal set thereto, tlie opinion of 
these odicers was, that it was "the duty of the gov- 
ernor to set the Colony's seal to such copies of acts 
as were attested by the secretary, in order to be sent 
to his majesty ; and that the examination and attes- 
tation of the secretary arc sullicient, without the 
personal examination of the governor." 

This decision of the hi«:^hest Ic^^al authorities in 
England, notwithstanding Governor »)enckes' appeal 
and the mc^norial of the inhabitants of Newport, 
sustained the act of the General Assembly as well as 
the proceedings, remarkable as they were, of Deputy 
Governor John Wanton.* 

15ut it appears that the objections to the issue of 
the £CO,000 did not init an end to the "inflationists," 
as we find that nine years later, under the adminis- 
tration of Governor Kichard \\'ard, the General 
Assembly passed an act emitting £20,000 in the new 

•J. Carter Brown Manuscripts, volume Till., numbers 5^2, M6 and 
ft<>7. Rhode Inland Colonial Records, volume iv., page 461. 



)' 






THE WANTON FAMILV. 49 

tciior, ''to be let upon loan," niul £10,000 of old 
toiior for the supply of the treasury. Protests fol- 
lowed the imssin^' of this act witli as little success as 
attended the passin*; of the similar act of 1731. 

In the hope that iiis great inlluence, and a policy 
of adopting a moderate course would reconcile con- 
flicting interests, John Wanton was induced to 
stand as a candidate for governor, to which office he 
was elected. His personal qualifications, his excel- 
lent chanu'ter, his distinguished bravery, his great 
wealth, his exemplary habits and extensive benevo- 
lence, rendered him the most suitable person to heal 
the political discord of the Colony, in which, it 
appears, he in a measure succeeded. 

John Wanton was a member of the Society of 
Friends, and under the influence of feelings which 
had been fostered hy the counsels of his older 
brother Joseph, he had been a preacher several 
years before his election as governor, and had now 
developed into a powerful and eloquent speaker. No 
eloquence like his, it is said, had been heard in New 
England. Multitudes flocked to his preaching wher- 
ever it was know^n he was to be present. He trav- 

6 



. J 



\ 



50 HISTOIIICAL TUACT. 

died extensively in Xew Kn^j^lnnd, and southerly as 
far as Pennsylvania, in which missionary tours he 
gathered multitudes to the Society of Friends. On 
one occasion there was to be a marriage at the 
Friends' meeting house in Newport, on a Friday 
morning. The General Assembly was in session, 
and adjourned that they might attend it in a body, 
as thev always did to attend the mid-week meetin*? 
of Friends. An immense throng crowded the two 
tiers of gallery and the aisles, and every available 
spot where there was standing room. The members 
of the General Assembly came in ])receded by their 
serijeant-at-arms, and took the seats reserved for 
them, while Governor Wanton, dressed in a bright 
scarlet cloak, lined with blue,* walked up with great 
dignity into the minister's gallery, where ho took the 
post of honor. 

After a period of silence, customary in gatherings 
of Friends, the governor arose and quietly stood a 
few moments with his eyes turned towards heaven ; 
then slowly rolling them downwards tow^ards the 

* A piece of this ancient garment Is prosenred by ono of tbe Wanton 
family Hviug in Newport. 






THE WANTON FAMILY. 51 

expectant congrcgutiou, he annuiiiiccd for his text, 
"There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee and the 
mother of Jesus was there." He spoke of the 
dignity which was conferred upon the institution of 
marriage by the presence of the world's Ivedeeiner 
on that occasion, and then showed the importance of 
it. First, as a snfeguard of morality. Second, as a 
school for the culture and development of the best 
feelings of our nature. Third, as admirably calcu- 
lated for the protection of our race during the help- 
less period of infancy ; and fourth, as a symbol of 
the mysterious union which exists between Christ 
and his church. On this latter point he was execed- 
ingly eloquent, and for three-quarters of an hour he 
fairlv entranced his hearers. Pausin<]^ for a moment, 
and lowering his voice, he spoke of the sup<;rior 
adaptation of the ceremc ny of the Society of Friends 
to the fulfillment of these conditions, and contrasted 
it with the ceremony which the British Parliament 
had ordained for the church of England, quoting the 
words of the Book of Common Prayer, " With this 
ring I thee wed ; with all my worldly goods I thee 
endow, and with my body I thee worship.** The 



1 

i 
/ 



02 IIISTCRICAL TKACT. 

governor seized on the latter phrase and phiyed with 
it as a cat wouUl with a mouse he fore devouring it. 
He showed its lolly, its absurdity and its wicked- 
ness, and wound up with these words : " What I 
a mortal body worship a mort^il body I My friends, 
it is i)reposterous I " He uttered these ch)sing words 
at the very top of his voice, which> ringing through 
the house, start h'd the whole congregation, and then 
(piictly took his seat. 

During his administration there were certain con- 
llicting Indian claims to be settled within the Colony 
of Connecticut, and the cause was referred to the 
governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode 
Island. At this trial the question was agitated 
whether the sachems should be permitted to speak 
in their own cause ; counsel contended that they 
should not, and two of the l)oard inclining to that 
opinion. Governor Wanton remarked, that as they 
had already agreed to admit the testimony of some 
of the natives, it would be proper that their chiefs 
should be allowed to speak. "I have," said he, 
"been accounted u man of courage in my day, but I 
think I shall turn coward and fleo, if you bring in a 






THK WANTON FAMILY. 53 

body without a head.** This sally carried the point, 
the sachems were allowed to speak, and the governor 
was often heard to express his admiration of the 
powers of oratory in those children of the forest. 

The public event of greatest importance thit 
occurred during tlio administration of Governor 
John Wanton was the declaration of war by Great 
Britain against Spain, which took place in the spring 
of 1740, when a special session of the General 
Assembly \vas called An act was then passed for 
raising and enlisting soldiers to be transported to 
the West Indies for his majesty's service. An offi- 
cer was accordingly appointed in each militia regi- 
ment, who was authorized to eidist as many men as 
could be found willing to serve the kinjr in an 
intended expedition against the Spaniards. Every 
man was to have a bounty of £3 on enlisting, and to 
be exempt from all military service for the space of 
three years after his return, except in cases of great 
extremity. At the same time the Colony was put in 
a state of defence against an enemy. A garrison 
under conmiand of Colonel John Cranston was 
placed in Fort George, and the works put in fight- 



•/' 



54 HISTOKICAL TRACT. 

iii<r order. Military stores were provided. Troops 
were sent to Block Island, together with a hattery of 
six heavy guns for its defence. Seven watch wers 
were erected along tlic coast and on the shores of the 
hay, in which the towns where they were located 
were to keep a constant guard under the direction of 
the council of war. Beacons were also erected upon 
conunanding heights, including one at Block Island, 
to give the earliest notice of any hostile demonstra- 
tion. Furthermore, the Colony ordered the sloop 
Tartar, of oi.e hundred and fifteen tons, to he ])uilt 
for war puqx^tes, and during iixe coming year five 
privateers, manned i>y four hundred men, were fitted 
out hy the merchants of Newport, to cruise against 
the Spaniards. 

The part that Governor Wanton was obliged to 
take, by virtue of his office, in the issuing of mili- 
tary commissions and other services connected with 
the war, was a grief to some of the ultra Friends, 
who considered it a breach of Quaker discipline. 
Indeed, it caused such a commotion that a largo and 
influential committee visited him upon the subject. 
He acknowledged his acts, explaining them — 



'a 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 55 

"First: As one of tho duties the unfortunate 
state of the Colony demanded of him in fulfillment 
of his obligation as the executive of the Colony, 

" Second ; The duty of the executive to so pro- 
tect the inhabitants in their rights that they should 
not be impeded in the exercise of their civil or 
religious concerns, — the glorious platform of the 
Colony. 

** Third : That he had endeavored, on all previous 
occasions, as on this, to do his whole duty to God 
and his fellow-men, without doing violence to the 
law of conscience, but in all concerns listening to 
the still small voice of divine emanation, and being 
obedient thereto." 

Before closing this brief sketch of Governors Wil- 
liam and John Wanton, it does not seem out of place 
to mention an amusing incident connected with the 
first coming of the brothers to Rhode Island, which 
we have been pennitted to take from the unpublished 
annals of the ancient town of Scituate. Like their 
father, Edward Wanton, they were both members of 
tho Societv of Friends, although they did not inherit 
his peaceful spirit. 



^tCt HISTOHICAL THACT. 

They had long known of the persecutions and 
exactions of tiic Presbyterian minister of Scituatc, 
and of the constant annoyances which tlieir father 
had experienced from this malignant and vindictive 
man. Often when he sent his colored man to catch 
a mess of fish, the parson would waylay him and 
take them from him ; Ca\sar having been strictly 
charged never to resist violence. lie was con- 
stantly circulating the most vile slanders respecting 
him; he n)ade insulting remarks in his presence, and 
finally named his dog Wanton. John and William, 
in obedience to their father's conunand, had borno 
all that went before in silence* were now stirred up 
to ungovernable rage by this last insult. Carefully 
concealing their project from their father, they had 
two of his best horses well fed and groomed, and 
then cut a number of tough willow switches. Thus 
prepared they waited until ten o'clock in the eve- 
ning when all the good people were soundly asleep; 
they then went to the ministers house, and, knock- 
ing at the door, the minister came to the window, 
and asking who was there, was answered, Frienda, 
Supposing some couple had come at that late hour to 



THE WANTON FAMILY. O? 

have the marriage knot tied, he came down to let them 
in. ^^'llen the door was opened they stepped inside 
and gave him a tremendous whipping with their wil- 
low sticks, leaving no whole spot on his skin. His 
wife attemj)ted to interfere and call the neighbors, 
but they very coolly told her that if she stirred or 
attempted to scream they would give her a heavy 
dose of the same medicine. When thev thoufrht his 
punishment was a]>out equal to his deserts, they gave 
him a solemn lecture on the cause of it. Thev told 
him they now felt satisfied for all the abuse he had 
heaped on their father, and were Milling to call it 
even between him and them. 

Thev fjavc him fair warnin^: that if he a<X'-\u\ 
repeated any of his impositions on their father, 
either by word or deed, they would repeat their 
punishment, but with still greater severity. They 
warned him not to rely upon their father's forbear- 
ance, as they had provided certain means of procur- 
ing swift intelligence respecting his conduct, and 
secret and certain means of making him feel their 
vengeance, though a thousand men were guarding 
his door. 



58 HISTOKICAL TRACT. 

The minister was very superstitious, and inferred 
from their langu:i<^e that tiiey had some secret lea^^'ue 
with the devil. This thorouijhlv friijhtened him, 
and havin;^ no desire to l)c tormented before his time 
he ever afterwards let Edward AVanton most relig- 
iously alone. 

On coming out of the house they found Gesar at 
the door with two horses, and oil* they started for 
Khode Island, knowing full well that as soon as the 
whipping was known to the faithfid, hoth Scituate 
and Plymouth Gdony would he too hot to hold 
them. 

The Presbyterians were soon apprized of the pun- 
ishment which had been inflicted on their minister, 
when twenty strong fellows, mounted on the best 
horses they could find, set olf in pursuit of the flag- 
ellant fuijitives. 

About three o'clock in the morning, William and 
John found their horses a good deal blown by the 
hard pace at which they had travelled, and spying a 
large tavern with lights in the windows, indicating 
that the people were awake in the house, they rc- 
bolved to stop and feed their horses and get some 
refreshment for themselves. 



THE WANTON' FAMILY. 59 

The ])iirsuing party, nftcr riding a few miles, 
cxt'lijiiigcd horses at a larni house on the road, 
and liad made a second change just before their 
arrival at the tavern, thereby enabling them to get 
over the ground much taster than the Wantons. 
Seeing the lights in the tavern, and feeling pretty 
sure that under such circumstances a mug of flip 
was obtainable, they all agreed to halt and refresh 
themselves, and at the same time make inqiiiries in 
regard to the fugitives. 

Just as William and John were getting something 
to eat the pursuing party drove up, and leaving their 
horses tied up in the front, they entered the house. 
Meanwhile, the Wantons, having discovered their 
pursuers, rushed out by a back door, and without 
waiting a moment, took two of their best horses 
and rode off with all speed. 

The Presbyterians were not long in following, but 
the Wantons, having a good start of them with fresh 
liorses, they could not overtake them. After a long 
and exciting chase the pursuers, with jaded horses, 
reluctantly turned back to tinish the flip which they 
had but just tasted when they were disturbed by the 



fiO IIISTOHICAL TRACT. ] 

oscai)o of tlic vouni' men. Findin*!: tlic cheer at the 
tavern pretty good, they resolved to repay them- 
selves for their failure to catch the runaways by hav- 
ing a good time. Tliey remained there all that day 
and niirlit, and the next mornin^: rode home and 
gave the people of Sciiuatc a fearful account of their 
hardships, and received credit among their .'cighbors 
for having ridden incessantly for thirty-six hours. 

When the Wantons arrived at Fall River their 
minds were relieved. Here they rested themselves 
and their horses, and on the next day reached New- 
port in safety. 

But Governor Wanton was not permitted to per- 
fect his schemes for carrying on the war with Spain, 
lie had been annually re-elected to the office of gov- 
ernor for seven years, or until 1742, when he died 
on the 5th May of that year. He was laid in the 
Coddington burial ground, where a marble monu- 
ment marks his resting place. His portrait in the 
State House in Providence, which was taken in early 
life, shows him to have been a man of middling 
stature, thin features and of fair complexion. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 61 

JouN Wanton, eldest son of Governor Jol\n, l)orn 
22nd tenth month, 1G97, had the following ehildren,* 
as appears from his family Bible: 1. Mehit;iblc,^ 
born September G, 1719 ; 2. Edward, bom April 8, 
1721; 3. John, born January 1, 1723"; 4. Ann, 
born July 25, 1728; 5. William, born Mareh 9, 
1730; G. second Mdiitable, November 1, 1732; 
7. secojid Ed>vard, September 9,, 1733; 8. Mar}*-, 
born January 10, 173G; 9. third Mchitablc, born 
March 8, 1738, and died at Boston, December 1, 
1839, aged one hundred and one years; 10. Jonas 
Langford, born May 25 ^ 1740, died Xovcmbcr 30, 
1827, at Cranston, aged eighty-seven, and left no 
children; 11. Sarah, born May 3, 1742, who mar- 
ried Liitham Thurston, February 4, 17G8. 

Of the children of Elizabeth Wanton, bom in 
1700, who married John Cupitt; of Susanna, bom 
in 1704, died in 1740, who married Joseph Slocum ; 
and Mary, bom in 1707, died 1737, who married 

•Mr. Savngo, in bis Genealogical Dictlonnry. (volume Iv., page 400,) 
makes an error in giving the names of the chUOrcn of Governor John 
Wanton. Tbo names ho gives are tboso of tho children of Joseph, the 
first son of EUwarU, who married the daughter of Gideon Freeborn. 



C2 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

Lat^\im Thurston, I have no knowlctlgc. Their 
names do not appear in the family Bible. 

James Wantox, the youngest son of Governor 
Jolni W.y born the IGth of the seventh month (July 

or September), 1717, married Patienec , August 

6, 1741, and had the following children, as appears 
])y the family Bible: 1. Rebecca, born March 21, 

1746. 2. John, born January 10, ; 3. James, 

l)orn June 12, 1750; 4. Mary, born June 15, 175.*J, 
died July 17, same year; 5. George, born June i), 
1755; 6. Hannah, born May 22, 175 — ; 7. Mary, 
born February 23, 1701, and 8. Benjamin, born 
March 11, 17(33, died September 14, 17G5. 

MiciiAKL Wanton, the ninth child of Edward 
"Wanton, was born in 1073, and settled on the pater- 
nal estate in Scituate, Massachusetts. His marriage 
to Mary Mew of Scituate, the 15th of eleventh month, 
1704, is on the town records; but she was born in 
Newport. He was a man of meek and quiet spirit, 
on whose shoulders the spiritual mantle of his father 
descended, succeeding him as a religious teacher of 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 63 

the Society of Friends, in Scituate. He inherited 
his father's homestead, his ship-yards, his business, 
and a very considerable portion of his personal 
estate. Ilis bnsiness faculties were very good, and 
he greatly augmented the estate which he inherited. 
Ilis cliildren were ; Ruth, born in 1705 ; Mar}', bora 
in 1707; Stephen, ])orn in 1709. Mary Mew died 
22nd fifth month, 1711. On the 2nd of eleventh 
month, 1717, Michael married, for his second wife, 
Abigail Can*, widow of William Carr, of James- 
town. She was the daughter of Kobeii; Barker, of 
Pembroke, ar^d returned there after she became a 
widow. The children of Michael and Abigail'were 
Susannah, born 1717; Hannah, born 1721, and 
Michael, born 1724. Wo learn from letters pre- 
served in the family that Michael Wanton travelled 
much on missionary tours, and was a successful and 
beloved minister. lie did not possess the fiery elo- 
quence of his father, but there was a vein of solemn 
and instructive thought, and a spirit of pure, loving 
zeal for the truth running through his discourses 
that greatly tended to build up his hearers in their 
most holy faith. Indeed, it was said that, ''although 



04 IIISTOUrCAL TliACT. 

there was not so groat an increase in numbers during 
Iiis ministry as under that of his father, yet the m<un- 
])ers were in a nnieh better spiritual condition. 
Tliey eoukl give a )>etter reason for the faith that 
"vvas in them, and they abounded more in love and in 
good works." 

^lary, second daughter of Michael Wanton, ])ora 
1707, married Daniel CoggCvshall of Portsmouth, 
July 27, 172(>, whoso daughter Abigail, born Feb- 
ruary 14, 1737, married Silas Casey, of East Grecn- 
>vieh, ancestor of Major General Casey, U. S. Army. 

Stephen AVanton, son of Michael, born 1709, 
inherited the familv estate, which he sold to John 
Stetson in 1740, and removed to Newport, where ho 
died in 17(50, aged 5G years. IIo married Mary, 
daughter of Samuel Clarke, of Conanicut, sister of 
Joseph Clarke, General Treasurer, April 7, 173G, 
by whom he had the following children : 1. Michael, 
born 1740, died Juno 13, 175G ; 2. Samuel, boru 
May 1, 1743, died June IG, 1744 ; 3. Hannah,* born 
1747, who married James Gould, Dcccml>er 7, 1780, 
and died April 1, 1831, aged 84 years; 4. Mary, 

•Sec appcntlix for genealogy of GouUl family. 



THE WANTON FA.MILY. G5 

born 17:)2, died :\ray 4, 1818, jigcd G7 ; 5. Ruth, 
l)()ni April IG, 1753, died May 22, 17r>r); H, ^far- 
tlia, l)()ni 17j.S, niarrit'd Capt. Juliii Stanton, and 
died May 20, 18.')(), aged 78 years. 

Stephen Wanton was brought up in his father's 
business of sliip-building, but having dillcrent tastes 
took no active part in it. He had a line education 
and wa.j of a studious turn, l)ut had no taste for poli- 
tics. His conversational powers were of a high 
order; these, with his courtly and agreeable nianucr, 
gave him a line position in the social circle. 

In 1730 he removed to Newport, and with capital 
furnished by his grandfather Clarke, and his uncles 
William and John, he entered into the West India 
trade, in which he employed many ships. Two years 
later his father, Michael, died, when he inherited 
one-third his fortune. Ho now sold his ship-yard, 
and gave his whole attention to commerce. His 
business was large ; indeed, at this time, the com- 
merce of Newport is said to have been equal to 
that of New York. After a few years, Stephen 
Wanton found his fortune had so much increased 
that he said " more would be a burden ** to him ; he, 



I 



OG HISTORICAL TRACT. 

tkcrcfore, retired from business altogether, relin- 
quiHliiiig it ill favor of his two nephews, sons of his 
sister, Kiith Freeljorn, who had been ])rought up in 
his counting-room. Newport, even at this early date, 
was a favorite resort for intellectual and wealthy 
families from England. Officers of the British Navy, 
travellers and Huguenot refugees also resorted hero, 
so that the society was the most refined and intelli- 
gent then to be found in the British colonics. 

Stephen Wanton, tenth child of the first Edward, 
born in 1G82, lived and died in Newport, leaving no 
children. 

PiiiLir Wanton, eleventh and youngest child of 
the first Edward, was born in 1G8G, lived in Newport, 
and united the business of merchant and apothecary. 
IIo married Hannah, daughter of Thomas and 
Hannah (Clarke) Kodman, October 31, 1711. IIo 
died in 1735, and was buried in the Clifton Burial 
Ground. His children were: 1. Walter, born Nov- 
ember 27, 1712; 2. Hannah, born July 15, 1715, 
married, March 15, 1737, Latham Stanton, who died 
October 4, 1757; 3. Philip, born May 31, 1719; 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 67 

4. Thomas, born March 14, 1722; 5. Mary, born 
March 21), 1725, married Thomas Borden, Novem- 
ber 3, 1748; (;. Elizabetli, born (pro])a])ly 1727), 
married William, son of William and Abigail Rob- 
inson, May 17, 17o0. 

Pjiilip Wanton, third son of Philip and grandson 
of the first Edward, was born May 31, 1710. IIo 
succeeded to his father's business of a merchant and 
apothecary, and married (1.) Elizabeth Casey, 
daughter of John and Elizabeth (Hicks) Casey, of 
Newpoi-t, December 28, 1748. She died Juno 25, , 
1757, aged 35 years. (2.) Sarah La wton, widow, s;. 
May 28, 1701 ; who died January 1790. By his first 
wife he had Elizabeth, born October 28, 1756. By his 
second wife, Philip, born April 1, 1762, who moved 
to Alexandria, Va., in 1790; Hannah, l)orn April 
30, 1763, died May 3, 1794; Sarah, bom Nov. 22, 
1764; Mary, born September 18, 1766, and Walter 
Clarke, born July 15, 17()8, and died at sea. 

Philip Wanton, of Alexandria, Virginia, third 
son of the last-named Philip, and great-grandson of 
the first Edward, was born April 1, 1762, and died 






G8 IIISTOUICAL TRACT. 

Fcliruary 27, 1832. lie niarricd Mary (Paiicoast) 
Sauiulcrs, Avidow of John Saunders, of Philadelphia, 
May 31, 171)2. She was ])oni in 17(>2, and died 
jS'oveniher 2(>, 18 HI, aged 81 years. They had the 
following ehildren : 1. Hannah Shrecvcs, born April. 
1, 1793, died August 11, 1794 ; 2. Hannah Shrecves, 
horn August 10, 1795, died Oct. 13, 1800, unmar- 
ried ; 3. William Ivodman, horn March 27, 1798, died 
September 7, 1849 ; 4. Elizabeth Pancoast, born 
August 27, 1800, died September 6, 1803; 5. Mary 
Ilewes,* born March 1, 1803, married John Richard- 
son Pierpont, September 26, 1833, died October 15, 
1870. 

William Rodman Wanton, of Alexandria, son 
of the foregoing Philip, born March 27, 1798, mar- 
ried Mary Elizabeth Hewcs, born in 1813 and died 
in Washington, D. C, December 27, 187G, aged 63 

♦Makv IIewes Wanton, bom MarcU 1, 1«03, UloU Oct. 15, 1876, married . 
Sept. G, 1833, John Kiclianlsou IMorpont, of ObcU, from Loudon County, 
Virginia, wbo was bom Nov. !!>, 1790. Tboir children were: I. A duugb. 
tor bom January 1, 1835, died in infancy; 2. William Wanton Piori^ont. 
born March, 1830, died Aug. 10, 1842; 3. Jobu Kdwin Piorpont, boru 
March 23, 1841. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 69 

years. He died September 7, 1849. They had the 

following children: 1. William Rodman, born 

died l'^72; 2. Julia; 3. Mary; 4. Ilanuah ; 5. 
John ; G. Virginia. 

Governor Gideon Wanton, son of Joseph, of 
Tiverton, grandson of the first Edward, and nephew 
of William and John, was the third Governor of the 
AVanton name. He was born October 20, 1G93 ; 
married Mrs. Mary Cod man, February G, 1718, and 
died September 12, 17G7, at the age of 74. Ilis 
wife died September 3, 1780, at the age of 87, and 
was laid in the Friends' Burial Ground, Newport. 
His children were: 1. Gideon, Jr.; 2. John G., 
born in 1729; 3. Joseph, Jr., born February 8, 
1730, and 4. Edward. The house where he lived, in 
Broad street, Newport, is occupied by Mrs. Benja- 
min Hazard, a descendant. 

Gideon Wanton held the office of General Treas- 
urer from 1733 to 1743, and two years later was 
chosen Governor, succeeding AVilliam Greene. He 
held the ofiico one year, and in 1747 was again 
chosen for one year. Two of his sous, John and 



V'. 



70 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

Gideon, Jr., were long in pu])lic life. Botli were 
members of the General Assembly when the Decla- 
ration of Independence was ratified by the State. 

Shortly before Gideon Wanton came into office, 
war had broken ont anew between Great Britain and 
France, and the former was devising plans to drive 
the French from Canada. A pressing letter wjis 
received by his predecessor from the Duke of Xcw- 
castle, calling upon him to furnish men, provisions 
and shipping to Commodore Warren, who was then 
engaged in fitting ont an expedition against the 
French. 

A letter was also received from Gov. Shirley of 
Massachusetts, a few davs after Gideon Wanton had 
been installed as Governor, calling for assistance in 
raising troops for the expedition against Cape Breton. 
This was follow^ed by others more pressing, calling 
for seamen for manning the ship Vigilant, which had 
been captured by Commodore Warren from the 
French. In one of these letters Governor Shirley 
says that he lias issued his warrants for impressing 
seamen, but finds his ** endeavors to be of little pur- 
pose, as all mariners subject to impressment fly to 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 71 

Khodc Islaiul to avoid it, and arc there sheltered 
and encouraged, when there are many hundreds of 
foreign seamen walking the streets of Newport, while 
scarce one is to be found in Boston.** Ho then urges 
Governor Wanton to exert himself to secure the 
seamen wanted, which he thinks mav he accom- 
plishcd either by ollcring a bounty to volunteers, or 
by impressing. 

The taking of Louisburg by the English forces, 
in which botli Massachusetts and Rhode Island took 
part, is an event well known in history. In order to 
keep possession of this place, which was spoken of 
by Sir Peter Warren, the officer commanding the 
English fleet, as "the key to all the French settle- 
ments upon the continent," that officer wrote to 
Governor Wanton for assistance. He asked for 
soldiers for the garrison, armed and victualed for 
seven or eight mouths. The people of Rhode Island 
were invited to Louisburg to trade, and, as an addi- 
tional inducement. Sir Peter writes that ** there are 
several French prizes hero, which will be condemned 
and disposed of, and many more will, no doubt, fall 
into our hands daily, by our cruisers." Governor 



72 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

Sliirlcy at tlic same time calletl upon Governor 
AVantoii to furnish gunpowder, of Aviiicli there was a 
short supply at Louislnirg. He adds, "I must desire 
your Honor to lay an embargo upon all the powder 
now lying in your stores or magazines (as I have 
done for several months past in Massachusetts) so as 
to secure it for the service of the expedition against 
Cape Breton, at the market price.'* 

The Geueral Assembly had voted to raise two 
hundred men for the Canada expedition. Governor 
Shirley acknowledges the arrival of se\enty-livc of 
these for the ship Vigilant, and urges Governor 
Wanton to raise more landsmen, **as there is great 
daufjer of Louisl>uri]:'s bein;; snatched from us, be- 
fore his majesty shall garrison it, and the fortifica- 
tions be repaired." A few days later, Commodore 
AVarren wrote to Governor Wanton that his squad- 
ron had taken a rich East India ship, whoso cargo 
would be sold, and invited the merchants of Khodo 
Island to come and make purchases. 

The sloop Tartar, which had been built in Rhode 
Island and placed under command of Captiiin Fones, 
reached Louisburg in safety, and joined the squadron 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 73 

under Commodore Wan-en. In a letter from Captain 
Foncs to Governor Want^>n he nays : " I now have 
the pleasure of walking Louisburg streets, which is 
the strongest place I ever saw ; my people are all 
alive and most of them well/' 

General Sir William Peppercll, who commanded 
the New England troops at the taking of Louisburg, 
wrote to Governor Wanton, congratulating him and 
the people of Rhode Island for the success of his 
majesty's army. "The three companies,** writes Sir 
William, " raised in your Colony for our assistance, 
with commission from you, arrived here last week, 
and you may be assured shall have my favor and 
countenance in everything in my power." lie states 
that a large stock of provisions and warlike stores 
for the army, to be laid in before the fall, are neces- 
sary. That there should be provisions for three 
thousand or four thousand men, for twelve or fifteen 
months, and he farther urges Governor Wanton to 
render all the aid in his power, in order that the 
place may be prevented from falling into the bands 
of the French again. He also speaks of the capture 
of a second French vessel, " a vastly rich South Sea- 



74 HISTOHICAL TKACT. 

man." Governor Phipps, of Massachusetts, also 
writes about the prize, which he says was taken 
within sight of the garrison, and " had £400,000 
pounds in money, besides a vahiable cargo of mer- 
chandise." He estimated the value of the captures, 
with cost of French ships, to be nearly £1,000,000 
sterling. 

Governor l*liipps calls upon Governor Wanton for 
farther aid. ** Massachusetts," he says, " is exhausted 
of men, provisions, clothing, ammunition and other 
things necessary for the support of the garrison at 
Louisburg." Not only these are wanted, but money 
also. Massachusetts had also contributed largely in 
money for the expedition, and Governor Phipps 
thinks the other provinces should not object to sub- 
jecting themselves to the charge of a few thousand 

pounds. ** For if the place should be recovered by 
the French, for want of sulficient strength to hold it, 
the blame must lie upon the colonies that refuse to 
bear their part in the charge and dangers of this 
important enterprise." 

To those now living it may seem singular that so 
great a power as Great Britain should have called 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 75 

upon this little Colony for such a number of men, 
with provisions and shipping, to aid in the conquest 
of Canada ; but she knew that her New England 
colonists had accomplished much in the frontier 
wars, and had been equally successful on the high 
seas ; besides, they were near the field of operations, 
and could reach there in a few days. Massachusetts 
had always led the way with men, money and ships, 
in defence of her mother country, and Rhode Island 
had only been second to her in numbers. In priva- 
teers, the latter had furnished more than the other 
colonies, and some were so jealous of her promi- 
nence at sea that her leading commercial men were 
charged with being in complicity with the pirates, of 
which tlicre were such numbers on our coast and 
among the West India Islands. 

The correspondence between Governor Wanton, 
the Duke of Newcastle, Governor Shirley, Admiral 
Warren, Sir ^Villiam Pepperell,* Sir William Phipps 

* Sir William rcpi>crcll was an American merchant, living in the 
rrovince of Maine. AboiU the year 1727 he wa« chosen a member of 
his muJeHty'ai coiinci], of tlie Province of Masitiicl)U»ctts, to whicb he 
was annually elected ontil his death, a pcrio<l of thiit.r*two years. He 
commanded the expedition ajj^inst Loaisbars. at the time of ita capit- 



7G HKSTOKICAL TRACT. 

uud Kicliiird Partridge, the agent for Rhode Island 
in London, is of great interest, but too voluminous 
for a place in this sketch. It is evident, however, 
from Governor Wanton's letters, that, although u 
Quaker, he was u belligerent one, and fully equal to 
the emergency ; and had he been governor and cap- 
tain general of Rhode Island in 18G1, would have 
been anionj^ the lirst to send a re;ci"»cnt of Rhode 
Ihland volunteers to Washington. Through life 
Gideon Wanton was distinguished for his talents an<l 
for the intluence he exerted in the allairs of the Col- 
ony. Unfortunately, no portrait of him remains. 

John G. Wantox, son of Governor Gideon Wan- 
ton, born in 1720, was much in public life, and was 
one of the corporators of Rhode Island College, in 
17(J4. He }>ecame a distinguished merchant of Now- 
port during the Revolutionary war. He married, 
lirst, Abigail Robinson, of South Kingstown, Octo- 

ulutiun. After Uils Hcbicvcntcnt lio went to En{{land, wbero iio 
recciveil u lliitt colonelcy in tho anny ; in ITm, the runk of mujorgen. 
cnil; and two ycurit iutcr, tUut of lieutcuunt general. He wag aUo 
rewarUiHl with tho ilijfiilty of baronet und tho thankit of tho nilnltttry. 
An exhaustive memoir of him wan wrltt<'n by Dr. Uiihor Parsons, of 
Providence, R. I., i«nd publislied in 18M. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 77 

ber 5, 1752. She died Marcli 3, 1754, aged twenty- 
three years, and was buried on the estate, now 
(1878) ])clonging to the Hon. William Sprague. 
His scooiui wife was Msirv, daii^jhtcr of Governor 
Henry Bull, whom he married in 17G(). He died 
July 2, 1791>, aged sixty-eight years. Dean Berke- 
ley, who was the friend of Mr. Wanton, stood god- 
father to Mary Bull when she was christened ; and, 
always proud of this distinction, the latter kept a 
copy of his "Minute Philosopher'* in her posession 
as long as she lived. Mary Bull Wanton died, at 
Newport, March 12, 1821, aged ninety-two years 
and ten months. 

The children of John G. and Mary (Bull) Wan- 
ton were Mary, born August 20, 17^3, and Gideon, 
born July 19, 1700. The latter died, in Newport, 
November 27, 1780. 

Upon the arrival of the French tleet at Newport, 
in 1780, Mr. Wanton received and entertained the 
officers at his house with great hospitality ; and it 
was on this occasion that Major Daniel Lymau, aid 
to General Heath, who was deputed to welcome the 
French, first saw Mary Wanton, whom he after- 



78 HISTOKICAL TKACT. 

>vnrd8 marriod. Later, the major becanic Chief Jus- 
of the Supreme Court of Rhode Is^huul.* 

Governor JosKrii Wanton, son of Governor 
William Wanton, was born August 15, 1705. Like 
bis father ])eforc him, he adhered to the Church of c^i5' 
Enghmd. He married Mary, daughter of John Still 
Winthrop, of New London, and had the following 
children: 1. Joseph, born 1730 ; 2. William, who 
was c(»llector of customs at St. John, New Bruns- 
wick ; 3. Johi:, who died young; 4. Catherine, who 
married, tirst, Uobert Stoddard, November 21), 17G7, 
second, Dr. Destailleur, a surgeon in the British 
army ; 5. Mary, who married Captain John Cod- 
dington, of Newport, January 28, 1759; 6. Eliza- 
beth, who married, in 1702, Thomas Wickham, of 
Newport, whose descendants live in Western New 
York ; 7. Ruth, who married William Browne, Gov- ,» 
ernor of Bermuda ; and 8. Ann, boru March, 1734, 
who married her cousin, Winthrop Saltonstall of 
New London, son of General Gurdon S. and grand- 
sou of Governor Saltonstall, April 17, 17t>3, and 
had five children. She died in 1784. Sec Appen- 
dix for descendants. 

m 

* fur notica of tb« desceuilAnU of Judge Lyman, tea ai)i)«i)ilijr. 






THE WANTON FAMILY. TU 

.Joseph was an opulent merchant of Newport and 
connected hy 1)1()()(1 and affinity with the wealthiest 
and most proniincnt families in the Colony. His 
portrait, evidently an original, in ths Redwood 
Library at Newport, and of which a copy has been 
made for the State House in Providence, shows hina 
to have been a remarkably handsome man. He was 
called one of the most courtly gentlemen in the Col- 
ony ; of pleasing manners and cultivated tastes. 

In his "History of the Narragansett Church,*' Mr. 
Updike says that this Joseph was, in 1764 and 17G7, 
elected deputy governor through the Hopkins influ- 
ence. This is evidently incorrect, as there was a 
Joseph Wanton, Jr., son of Governor Joseph, who 
had been for many years a member of the Genei*al 
Assembly, and who, it is believed, was the deputy 
governor. There is a letter (see Peterson's Rhode 
Island, page 200) from Stephen Hopkins to the people 
of the State, dated April 16, 1764, in praise of the 
character of ths Mr. Wanton who was deputy gov- 
ernor under him, in which he says, "he is but a l>oy 
about thirty -four years old." Now, Governor Joseph 
Wanton, l>eing born in 1705, was then fifly-uine 



80 IIISTOHICAL TRACT. 

yeiirs of age, which clearly shows that he was not 
tiie deputy governor, as supposed. 

There has been a question who the Joseph Wan- 
ton, Jr., was, who was lieutenant governor in 17G4* 
17()7, as Governor Gideon Wanton had a son, 
Joseph, horn in 1730. In the record of births, at 
Newport, is the name of Joseph Wanton, born 1730. 
(His father's naiue is not stated.) Now, Governor 
Joseph, who was born in 170.') had a son named 
Joseph, who was his eldest child. Wc find, too, 
that by the records of Harvard College, Joseph 
Wanton, Jr., born February 8, 1730, entered col- 
lego at sixteen and a half years of age. Again, Mr. 
Hopkins, in 1704, sa^'s, the Mr. Wanton who was 
elected deputy governor, was thirty-four years old. 
All these, evidently, refer to the same individual, 
and show that it was the son of Governor Joseph 
who wjis the deputy governor under Hopkins, and, 
furthermore, that he, and not Govcnior Joseph, as 
has Ijcen supposed, was the graduate of Harvard.* 

*On the 3d of Juno, 1771. George Bissett preached a sermon in Trin* 
Ity Cburob, Newport^ ** at the Ainoral of Mrs. AblgaU Wanton, late 
consort of the Honorable Joseph Wanton, Jr., who died on the Slst of 



\ 



THE WANTON FAMILV. 81 

Joseph Wanton was elected governor of Rhode 
Island, in 17G9, succeeding Governor Lyndon. 

An important event, in the history of the Colony, 
occurred at Newport, in July, following the installa- 
tion of Governor Wanton into office. It may, 
indeed, be called the first open resistance, in the 
colonics, against the acts of the British government, 
which led to their final separation from the mother 
countrv. 

It api)cars that a revenue vessel, called the Lib- 
erty, commanded by Captain Ueid, had been fitted 
out by the connnissioners of the King's revenue or 
customs, at Boston, and sent to the waters of Rhode 

Miiy. in tlio thirty-sixth year of her age/' This lady was, (loubtle»», 
tho first wife of tho dt'ii'>ty governor. 

liiritifflon't [New York] licj/al GatrtU of Aupust 9. 1781. has the follow. 
iug notice, which, we tiilnk, rcftrs to the samo ln«llvldual : " It is with 
inexpressible sorrow wo announce to tl»e public that yestenlay morn- 
injs, at 7 o'clock, departed this life, tho Honorable Joseph Wanton, Jr., 
Esq., superintendent general of the police of Rho^Ie Island. The 
extrcnm distress in wlilch tho friends of tliis gentleman ai-e involved 
by so ruelunclioly an event will only admit them to say, that his fune- 
ral will proceed tlds aflernooa from the qnurtem ot Major John Mor- 
rison, deputy conmiis-hary general, in Maiden Lane, and that they 
request Ids acquaintances in this city, as well slm tho Loyalists from 
the diflTcrent colonies, will attend the same, as the lnai office they 
can perform to the memory of their friend." 



S2 IIKSTOKICAL TKACT. 

Jsland, to detain and examine all vessels suspected 
of violating the revenue laws. This vessel took a 
brig and sloop, belonging to Connecticut, which she 
brought into Newport. Here some difficulties took 
place, and for some slight provocation, the captain 
of the brig was fired on by those on board the Lib- 
erty. Obtaining no redress for this outrage, a party, 
said to have been chietly from Comiecticut, boarded 
the obnoxious vessel, cut her cables, and suffered 
her to drift on shore near Long Wharf. They then 
ci.t away her masts, threw her armament overboard, 
when she drifted on to Goat Island. The first night 
sln^ lay here, a j)arty went over from Newport and 
burned her. Ilcr boats were run up Long Wharf, 
thence up the parade, and through Broad street by 
the populace and burned. 

The provocation which led to the firing, is thus 
given in the Providence Gazette of July 22, li J9. 

"The captain of the brig, it appears, went on board 
his vessel for some linen and clothes, when he was 
informed that they had been removed on board the 
Liberty. On enquiring for his sword, ho was told 
that it was in the cabin, where a man lay on it. Ho 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 83 

went below to get it, when he was accosted by oaths 
and imprecations. He then seized his sword, which 
the sloop's men endeavored to take from him, but 
failed to do so ; and getting into his boat, set out for 
the shore. The revenue sloop was then hailed and 
informed of what had taken place, when she fired on 
the boat, which proceedings were witnessed by peo- 
ple on the wharf." 

As Captain Kcid had not shown his commission to 
Governor Wanton, the people obliged him to order 
his men on shore, in order to discover who had fired 
on Captain Packwood. 

This event, with attempts by tlic colonists to 
evade the custom duties, led to a correspondence 
between Governor Wanton and the Earl of Hills- 
borough, in which the latter complained that ** the 
officers of the customs have received no support or 
countenance from the government of Rhode Island, 
and have, in vain, applied to the superior court for 
writs of assistance in cases where such writs were 
judged necessary.** In conclusion, Lord Hillsbor- 
ough says : ''Any further exhortation on that subject 
would be useless ; and it must remain with those to 



/• 



84 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

whom the powers of <^ovcrnnient in Rhode Ishind are 
entrusted to consider what must be the consequence, 
if, after such repeated admonitions, the laws of the 
kingdom are suHcred to be trampled upon, and vio- 
lences and outrages of so reprehensible a nature are 
committed with impunity." 

Governor Wanton, in his reply to the Eari of 
Hillsborough, under date of November 2, 1771, 
enters into an explanation of the charges a^^ainst the 
Colony, and, with regard to the latter charge, says : 

^ As to that part of the complaint against the supe- 
rior court, for refusing writs of assistance, the Gen- 
eral Assembly, willin^j to know the truth of that 
matter, called the justices of the superior court 
l>efore them, to give account of what applications had 
been made to them for writs of assistance, and what 
was the occasion they refused to give the officers of 
the customs that protection the law required them 
to give ; that all the justices of the superior court 
declared, upon their honors, to the Assembly, that 
no kind of application, whatsoever, had been made 
to them, or any of them by any of the officers of the 
customs, for any writ of assistance or other protec- 
tion of any kind, for several years past ; and the 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 85 

justices of the Su|H'ii()r Court further ssiid, that 
when jiuy application shoukl he made to tiieni, l)y 
the custom house ofHci rs for writs of assistance or 
other protection, they would readily give them every 
assistance in the execution of theii duty which the 
law put it in the power of the court to give." 

"And now, my Lord," continues Governor Wan- 
ton, "permit me, in my turn, to complain of the offi- 
cers of his majesty's customs, in America, for their 
abusing and misrepresenting the Colony of Rhode 
Island and itsotlicers; for how unkind and ungentle- 
manly-l»ke it is for officers, sent ahroad by the 
crown to reside in the colonies, by every means iu 
their power to traduce and even falsely accuse his 
majesty's faithful subjects of this Colony to their 
sovereign and his ministers of state." 

" 1 am now to thank your Lordship for the kind 
concern you are pleased to express for the Colony 
and its safety, and hope that your Lordship will 
transfer your reprehensions from the innocent Colony 
of Khode Island to those guilty officers who have so 
shamefully misinformed you in all those matters coii- 
tiiined in your Lordship's letter." 
I am t>ir, &c., &c., 



JOSEPH WANTON. 



To the Kijs'ht Honorable the 

Earl of Hillsdorouoh. 

6 



■I 

■:{ 



SQ HISTORICAL TRACT. 

Ill March, 1772, the British armed schooner Gas- 
pec, of ciglit guns, Lieutenant Dudingston, accom- 
panied l)y the Beaver, made their ai)pearance in the 
waters of Narrajjansett Bay, on duties simihir to 
those of the "Liberty," to ^vhich allusion has been 
made, viz. : to j)revent breaches of the revenue laws, 
and to stop the illicit trade, carried on in the Colony. 
The commander of the Gasi)ee was (piitc as exacting 
as Captain Reid of the Liberty had been. lie 
stopped all vessels, including small market boats, 
without showing his authority for so doing ; and 
even sent the goods he had illegally siezed to Bos- 
ton for trial, contrary to an act of Parliament, 
which required such trials to be held in the colonies 
where the seizures were made. In these acts Dud- 
ingston clearly transcended his powers. The com- 
plaints from the people of Providence against him 
l)ecame so numerous that Deputy Governor Sessions 
submitted the question to Chief Justice Stephen 
Hopkins. The latter promptly gave ids opinion, 
" that no commander of any vessel has a right to use 
any authority in the body of the Colony, without 
previously applying to the Governor, and showing 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 87 

his waiTiuit for so doin<; ; and also ])cin!; sworn to a 
dnc oxorciso of his office. " 

Deputy Governor Sessions, who resided in Provi- 
dence, at once wrote to Governor Wanton, apprising 
him of what had taken phice, and that it was the 
opinion of the Chief Justice that the acts of tiic com- 
mander of the Gaspec were illegal. 

Governor Wanton now sent a note, by the hands 
of the High SherilT, to Lieutenant Dudingston, under 
date of the 22nd March, 1772, calling his attention 
to complaints against his " searching and detaining 
every little packet boat plying between the several 
towns." "You are requested," writes the Governor, 
"without delay, to produce your commission and 
instructions, if any you have, which was your duty 
to have done when you tirst came within the jurisdic- 
tion of the Colony." The following day Dudingston 
replied to Governor Wanton, saying that ho had 
done nothing but what was his duty. " When I 
waited on you," writes the olKcer, "I acquainted you 
of my l>eing sent to this government to assist the 
revenue. I had my commission to show you, if 
required, as it was even understood by all his majes- 



88 inSTOlUCAL TKACT. 

tv's jrovornors I liavc had llio honor to wa»t on, that 
cvorv oflicor connnanilin'r one of his niaiostv's V(»s- 
sris was proprly aulhori/o<], and ncvci* did jn'oduco 
it unasked lor.'' The (Jovcrnor rcplicMl the samo 
<lav to Lieutenant Dndin^^ston, tellin;; him his answer 
did not ii'ivv, him "the satisfaction ho had a ri<dit to 
expect," and again asked him to comply with his 
(tlie Governor's) request of the i)rcvious day. 

The lieutenant's sense of i)ropriety was evidently 
shocked hy the governor's letters, and his peremp- 
tory demand to exhihit his commission and instruc- 
tions, lie, therefore, enclosed the correspondence 
to Admiral Montagu, commanding his majest3''s 
tlcet at Boston. The admiral espoused the side of 
Dudingston and dispat<'hed the following letter to 
(lovernor \Vanlon : 

HosTox, «tli April, ITl'J. 

" Siu : — Lieutenant Dudingston, commander of his 
majesty's armed schooner, and a part of the squad- 
ron under my command, has sent me two letters he 
received from vou, of such a nature that I am at a 
loss what answer to give them, and ashamed to liud 
they came from one of his majesty's governors. lie 



niK WANTON FAMILY. 89 

informs iiic th;it he waited upon you, and showed 
you the .'ulininilty and other orders for his proceed- 
ings ; which, ai^reea])le to his instructions, lie is to 
do, that you may bo acrpiaintcd he is on that station 
to protect your province from pirates and give the 
trade all the assistance he can, and to endeavor, as 
much as lays in his power, to protect the revenue 
otiicer, and to prevent (if possible) the illicit trade 
that is carrviuiT on in lihode Island. 

*' He, sir, has done his dutv, and behaved like an 
officer ; and it is your duty, as a governor, to give 
him your assistance, and not endeavor to distress the 
kinir's officers, for strictlv comi)lvinir with mv orders. 
I shall ^ive them directions, that, in case they receive 
any molcstaticyii in the execution of their dutv, that 
they shall send every man so taken in molesting 
them to me. I am also informed, the people of 
Newport talk of titting out an armed vessel to rescue 
any vessel the king's schooner may take carrying on 
an illicit trade. Let them l)c cautious what they do; 
for as sure as they attempt it, and any of them are 
taken, I will hang them as pirates. I shall report 
your two insolent letters to ray officer, to his majes- 
ty's secretaries of state, and leave them to determine 
■what ri^ht you have to demand a si^jht of all orders 
I shall give to my squadron ; and I would advise you 
not to send your sheriff on hoard the king's ship 



90 inSTOKICAL TUACT. 

again, on such ridiculous enands. The captains and 
lieutenants have all my orders, to give you assist- 
ance ^vhenevcr you demand it; hut further, vou have 
no business with them ; and he assured, it is not 
their duty to show you any j)art of my orders or 
instructions to them." • 

I am, Sir. &c., &c., 

J. MONTAGU. 
To riovKUNou Wanton. 

Governor Wanton subuiitted tins remarkable letter 
to the General Assembly, at its May session. He 
also submitted a draught of his own in reply, where- 
upon a resolution of appi'oval was adopted, and the 
Governor was reriuested to transmit tlie letter to Ad- 
miral Montagu. He was further requested to transmit 
to the Earl of Hillsborough, secretary of state, a 
narrative containing all the proceedings referred to 
in the letter, together with a copy of the admiraPs 
letter to him and his answer to the same. 

(ioveruor \Vontou'n Letter to Admiral Montntju. 

Kiioi>K IsLAXi>, May 8, 1772. 

Sir: — "Your letter, dated April the 8th, at Bos- 
ton, I have received. Lieutenant Dudingston has done 
well in transmitting my letters to you, which I sent 



THR WANTON FAMILY. 91 

him ; hut I am sorry to be iiiformod there is any thing 
contained in thorn that shouhl he construed as a 
desi^rn of ;j:ivinir ollence, when no such thin^T was 
intended. But Mr. Dudingston has not ])ehaved so 
well, in asserting to you, 'he waited on me, and 
showed me the admiralty and your orders for his 
proceedings, which, agieea))ly to his instructions, ho 
is to do*; l)ut in that he has altogether misinformed 
you ; for he, at no time, eyer showed me any orders 
from the admiralty, or from you ; and positively 
denied that he derived any authority either from you 
or tiie connnissioners ; therefore, it was altogether out 
of my power to know, whether he came hither to 
protect us from pirates or was . pirate himself. You 
say, 'lie has done his duty and hehaved like an otS- 
cer.' In this, I aj^prehend, you must he mistaken ; 
for I never can believe it is the duty of an officer to 
give false information for his superiors. As to your 
attempt to point out what was my duty as governor, 
please to be informed, that I do not receive instruc- 
tions for the administration of mv government from 
the king's admiral stationed in America. 

" You seem to assert, that I have endeavored to 
distress the king's officers, for strictly complying with 
your orders. In this, you are altogether mistaken ; 
for I have at all times, heretofore, and shall, con- 



92 niSTOKICAL TRACT. 

stantly, for time to conic, nllbrd tlicni nil the iiid and 

assistance in my power in i\\o exccntion of my oflicc. 

• **«**•«• 

"I am greatly obliged to you for the promise of 
transmitting my letters to the secretary of state. I 
am, however, a litth* shocked at your impolite 
expression, made use of upon that occasion. In 
return for this good otlice, I shall also transmit your 
lett<'r to the secretary of state, and leave to the king 
and his ministers to det<'rmine on which side the 
charge of insolence lies. As to your advice, not to 
.send the sheriff on hoard any of your scpnidron, 
please to know that I will send the sheriff of this 
Colony at an}' time, and to any place within the 
hody of it, as I shall think tit. 

*' In the last i)aragraph of your letter, you arc 
pleased, tlatly, to contradict what you wrote in the 
hegiiming; for there you assert that Dudingston, by 
his instructions, was directed to show mc the admir- 
alty and your orders to him ; and here you assert, 
that I have no business with them ; and assure me 
that it is not his duty to show me them, or any part 

thereof." 

I am, Sir, &c., &r., 

.T. WANTON. 
To Admucal Montagu. 

The foregoing letters present an account of the 
events which preceded the memorable night of the 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 93 

0th rf Juno, wlion the Gaspcc was destroyed. That 
l)ii<1iii<rst(m (lid not net wis(»ly, to nay the least, in 
ex(Mtin<^ the aulhoiitv he did, without lirst exliil)itin^ 
his eoniuiission, is evident. But it is eertain, that in 
sending: ])r(H)(M'ty seized hy him within the County 
of Kent in Khode Island, to I'o.ston for adjudication, 
he was clearly in tlie wron^j^; as an act of parliament 
expressly declares that such seizures shall he adjudi- 
cated in the colony where the seizure is made. Dud- 
in^ston seems to have heen aware that this act was 
illegal, as he did not dare to venture on shore, hav- 
ing heen threatened with a suit at law hy the Messrs. 

Greene of Kast (Jreenwich, the owners of the iroods 
seized. 

As the most important event that took place dur- 
ing the administration of Joseph Wanton was the 
hurning of the Gaspee, and his correspondence and 
action, connected with it, hoth hefore and snhse- 
(juent to it, a hrief account of it seems necessary. 

The appearance of this British war vessel, under the 
connnand of Lieutenant Dudingston, had given great 
otrencc to the merchants of Newport and IVovidencc 
hy stopping all vessels, large and small, entering or 



94 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

leaving any of the ports on the shores of Xarragan- 
sctt r»ay. On the 9th of June, Captain Lindsey left 
Newport in his packet for Providence, foMowed by 
the Gaspee, for the purpose of examining her cargo. 
In this pursuit the Gaspee ran aground near Nam- 
quit Point, about seven miles ])clow Providence. 
Lindsey continued uj) the bay and reached Provi- 
dence about sunset, and h)st no time in making 
known to Mr. John Brown, one of the most respect- 
able merchants, the situation of the Gaspee. 

Mr. Brown, at once. resolve<l on the destruction 
of the schooner; to accomplish which, he directed 
one of liis most trusty ship-masters to collect eight 
of the largest long-boats in the har]>or, and luivc 
their oars mutlled, to prevent noise. Early in the 
evening a man passed through Main street, beating 
a drum to attract the attention of the inhabitants, 
whom he informed that the Gaspee was aground. 
He, furthermore, invited all who felt disposed to 
take part in an expedition to destroy the vessel, to 
meet at a place appointed, where boats would be in 
readiness to receive them. The party accordingly 
assembled and embarked in the bouts provided for 



THE WANTON FAMILY. Oo 

the purpose. Captain Abraham Whipple and Cap- 
tain John B. Hopkins, son of Comniodorc Esek 
Hopkins, directed the Imats. When about sixty 
yards from the Gaspee they were hailed by a senti- 
nel, l)ut made no reply. Dudingston, himself, next 
hailed the boats, when a shot was fired at him, which 
took ellect. The next minute the vessel was 
boarded without opposition, Dudingston and his men 
retreating to the cabin. The wounded officer was 
carefully attended by Dr. John Mawney, Ji young 
surgeon who happened to be one of the attacking 
party ; after which he and his crew were put into 
bouts, with their clothing and other etlects, and sent 
on shore at Pawtuxet. Tlie schooner was then set 
on fire and destroyed. As soon as Deputy Governor 
Sessions heard of the afiair, he sought the wounded 
officer, on whom he bestowed every attention, pro- 
viding the best surgical aid and doing ull in his 
power to administer to his comforts. 

As might be supposed, this l>old afiair created a 
great sensation throughout the British colonies. 
Governor Wanton issued a proclamation, offering a 
reward for the discovery of the offenders, and wrote 



00 IIISTOHICAL TKACT. 

a Irltcr to the Enrl of Hill.sl)()rou«rli, giving full par- 
ticulars of the events whieh preceded the destruetion 
of the vessel, as well as all the facts that could he 
collected regarding the transaction itself; promising 
*'that the utmost vigilan<'C of the civil authority 
shoukl he emi)loyed to hring the perpetrators to 
exemplarv and condign punishment." 

As soon as the news of the destruction of the Gas- 
pec reuched England, the king issued his pro(;lama- 
tion, which was puhlished in the Colony, ollering a 
reward of .£r>00 for such inlormation as would lead 
to the discovery and conviction of the perpetrators 
of the crime. 

The king appointed a royal commission of enquiry 
to investigate the atlair. This commission, which 
met at Newport, on the oth of January, 177.*5, con- 
sisted of Governor Wanton, Daniel Ilorsmanden, 
chief justice of the Province of Now York; Frederic 
Smyth, chief justice of New Jersey ; Peter Oliver, 
chief justice of ^^assachusctts Bay ; and Koheit 
Auchmuty, judge of the Vice Admiralty Court, Bos- 
ton. 

The meeting of the royal commibsiou, and its pro- 



Vhe wanton family. 97 

cccdings, which were printed in tlie Boston news- 
papers, attracted gi'cat attention throughout the col- 
onies ; and, althou^jh a hircfc nnmber of witnesses 
were examined, and every eflbrt, apparently, made 
to discover the parties engaged in the destruction of 
the Gaspec, they were never discovered. 

Joseph Wanton was annually elected to the office 
of Governor until 177o; his last election occurrinor 
on the third AWdno.sdny in April of that year. A 
few days later (April 22d), in consequence of the 
passage of the Boston Port Bill, the General Assem- 
bly was specially convened at Providence. But the 
newly elected governor and other colonial officers 
could not be sworn into office until the regular meet- 
ing of the General Assemblv, on the first day of 
Mav ensuiuf):. Meanwhile the battle of I^xinofton 
had been fought, and the people of the Colony, 
determined on immediate action, passed, at its April 
session, the following preamble and resolution : 

** At this very dangerous crisis of American affiiirs, 
at a time when we are surrounded with fleets and 
.irmies which threaten our immediate destruction ; 
at a time when fear and anxieties of the people 

9 



i)8 HISTOKICAL TIIACT, 

throw tluMii into the utmost distress, aiul totally 
prevent them from attending the eommon oceu- 
l)ations of life ; to prevent the mischievous con- 
sequences that must necessarily atlend such a disor- 
dered state, and to restore peace to the minds of the 
good i)eople of this Colony, it appears absolutely 
necessary to this Assembly that a number of men be 
raised and embodied, properly armed and dis(ri- 
l)lined, to continue in this Colony as an army of obser- 
vation, to repel any insult or violence that may be 
ollered to the inhabitants ; and also, if it be neces- 
sary for the safety and preservation of any of the 
colonies, to march out of this Colony and join and 
co-o})erate with the forces of the neighboring colo- 
nies. It is therefore voted and resolved, that iifteen 
hundred men be enlisted, raised and embodied, as 
aforesaid, with all the expedition and dispatch that 
the nature of things will admit of." 

To this resolution. Governor Wanton and several 
of the assistants made the following protest : 

"We, the subscribers, professing true allegiance 
to his majesty King George the Third, beg leave to 
dissent from the vote of the House of Magistrates, 
for enlisting, raising and embodying an army of 
observation of fifteen hundred men, to repel any 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 99 

insult or violence that may be ofTercd to the inhabi- 
tants, and also, if it bo necessary for the safety and 
preservation of any of the colonies, to march them 
out of this Colony, to join and co-operate with tho 
forces of the nci<dil){)rin2r colonies. 

" Because we are of opinion that such a measure 
will be attended with the most fatal consequences to 
our charter privileges, involve the country in all the 
horrors of a civil war, a.id, as we conceive, is an 
open violaiion of the oath of allegiance which we 
have severall}' taken, upon our admission into the 
respective offices we now hold in the Colony. 

JosKrii Wanton, Thomas Wickes, 

Dauius Skssions, William Pottkr.* 

In the Upper House, rrovidencc, April 5, 1775." 

A month later the followini:: letter from Governor 
Wanton was transmitted to the General Assembly : 

Xkwpout, May 2, 177r>. 

To the General Assembly o/ the English Colony of Ehode Island^ 
to be holden at Piovidence, on the Jirst Wednesday of May y 1775. 

"Gkntlemen: — As indisposition prevents my 
meeting you iu the General Assembly, that ciindor I 

*SubscquenUy, at tlio June Session of tho General Asgembl]:, 
William Potter mudo such a eutlnfuctory explanation an<l apology 
for appending his name to tbix protoiit, that ho was re>lnatated In 
the favor of the Abnembly. 



lUO niSTOiaCAL TKACT. 

have 6o often experieueed from the Ueprestiiitativ^s 
of the freemen of the Coh>iiy enc()ura«res me to hope 
that you will exeu.se my personal attendanee at this 
session. Jfinec tlie hist session of the General 
Assemhlv at Providence, I have had the honour of 
receiving a letter from the Earl of Dartmouth, one 
of his majesty's principal secretaries of state, dated 
Whitehall, the 3rd of March, 1775, enclosing the 
resolutions of the House of Connnons, respecting 
the provision which they expect this Colony or 
Province in America to make for the connnon 
defence, and also for the civil government and the 
administration of justice in such Colony, hoth which 
I have directed to he laid before you ; and also a 
letter from the Provincial Congress ; which are all 
th(? i)ul)Iic letters 1 have received during the recess. 

"As th'? dispute between Great Britain and the 
colonies is now l)rou<xht to a most alarmiu":, dan<;er- 
ous crisis, and this once happy country threatened 
with all the horrors and calamities of civil war, I 
consider myself bound by every tic of duty and 
affection, as well as from an ardent desire to see a 
union between Great Britain and her colonies estab- 
lished upon an equitable, permanent basis, to entreat 
you to enter into the consideration of the resolutions 
of the House of Conmions, and also his lordship's 
letter which accompanied that resolution, with the 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 101 

temper, cjilmness Jind deliberation which the impor- 
tance of them demands ; and with that inclination to 
ft reconciliation with tho parent state, which will 
reconnnend yonr proceeding's to his majesty and 
both honses of parliament. 

"The prosperity and happiness of this Colony is 
founded in its connection with Great Britain, 'for if 
once we arc sei)erated, where shall we find another 
Britain to supply our loss? Torn from the body to 
which we arc united by our religion, liberty, laws 
and comn»erce, wc must bleed at cverv vein.* 

" Your charter privileges arc of too much impor- 
tance to bo forfeited. You will, therefore, duly 
consider the interesting: matters now before vou 
with the most attentive caution ; and let me entreat 
you not to sufler your proceedings for accommodat- 
ing these disputes, which have too long subsisted 
])etween both countries, to have the least appear- 
ance of anger or resentment ; but that a kind, 
respectful behaviour towards his majesty and l)oth 
houses of parliament, accompany all your delibera- 
tions. I shall always be ready to join with you in 
every measure which will secure the full possession 
of our invaluable charter privileges to the latest pos- 
terity, and prevent the good people of this Colony 
from that ruin and destruction which, in my opinion, 
some of the orders^of the late Assembly must inev- 



102 IHS^TOKICAL TRACT. 

itably involve thoiii in, if they are not speedily 
repealed ; for ]>esides the fatal eonsequences of levy- 
in^ war airainst tlie kiiiij, the immense load of debt 
that will he incurred, if the late resolutions for rais- 
in"" an army of observation of tifteen hundred men 
within this Colonv be carried into execution, will be 
insupportable, and must inevitably bring on univer- 
sal bankruptcy throughout the Colony. 

"If I have the honor of being re-elected, I shall, 
as I have ever done, cheerfully unite with you in 
every proceeding (which may be consistent with that 
duty and allegiance which I owe to the king and the 
British Constitution,) for increasing the welfare and 
happiness of this government." 

I am, with ^rcat respect ami esteem, gentlemen, 

Your most humble sen'ant, 

J. WANTON. 

On the 3d of May, Metcalfe Bowler, speaker of the 
House of Representatives, addressed a letter to Gov- 
ernor Wanton, informing him that ho had been 
elected Governor of the Colony, and asks whether 
"be will accept of the office or not,** and if so, that 
he will " be pleased to attend the Assembly as soon 
as possible." 

The next d.^y Governor Wanton sent a reply, in 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 103 

which he says : " I cannot possibly attend this ses- 
sion, on account of my indisposition, unless I should 
be better than at present." To this Speaker Bowler 
sent the following note to the Governor- elect in 
reply : 

Pkovidenck, May 5, 1775. 

** Sir : — I am requested by the General Assembly 
to transmit to vour Honor, the form of a blank com- 
mission, proposed to be given to the commissioned 
otlicers of the troops that are already voted to bo 
raised by this Colony, as an army of observation, 
and request your Honor's immediate answer whether 
your Honor will sign, as Connnander-in-chicf of this 
Colony, such commissions, when they are presented 
to your Honor for that purpose? 

"^This is sent by express, per Mr. Tears, who is 
ordered to return innnediatcly with your Honor's 
answer ; as this Assembly does not propose to rise 
before the return of this express. ** 

I am, with regard. Your Honor's 

most obedient servant, 

MET(ULFE BOWLER, Sptaker, 

To the Honorable Joseph Wanton, Esq. 

To this Governor Wanton sent the following 
reply : 



104 IIISTOKICAI, TUACT. 

"Sue: — III Jiiiswer to your favor of this date, 
rc'ijucstin*^ to know whctlKT 1 would *»ign, u.s Com- 
luandor-iu-Cliiof of this Colony, the commissions of 
tho otilcors of the army about to be raised, say: 
that I cannot comply with it ; having heretofore 
protested against the vote for raising men, as a 
measure inconsistent with my duty to the king, and 
repugnant to the true and real interest of this gov- 
ernment. 

**I am, with regards to the gentlemen of the Assem- 
bly, theirs, and 

Your fricjul, {\\h\ hiiniWlo sorvant, 

,T, WANTON. 

To tho Hononrfthlo Mktcai.kk Howleu, Esq." 

At the May Session of the General Assembly the 
following preamble and act was passed, to prevent 
Governor Wanton from acting as Governor: 

''AVuEREAS, The ministry and parliament of Great 
Britain, sacriticing the glory and happiness of their 
sovereign, and the good of Britain and the colonies, 
to their own ambitious and lucnitive views, have 
entered into many ar))itrary, illegal resolutions, for 
depriving his majesty's subjects in America of every 
security for the enjoyment of life, liberty and prop- 
erty, and have sent and are still sending troops and 



THE WANTON FAMILY. lOO 

bliipa of war into these coloniet>, to enforce their 
tyrannical mandates, and have actually begun to 
shed tlic blood of innocent people of these colonics; 
in consequence whereof, this Assembly, at the ses- 
sion held on the 22nd April last, passed an act for 
raising one thousand five hundred men as au army 
of observation, and to assist any of our sister col- 
onies. 

"And whereas, The Honorable Joseph Wanton, 
the Governor of this Colony, did enter a pro- 
test against said act, conceived in such terms as 
highly to retlcct upon the General Assembly, and 
u})()n the united opposition of America to the afore- 
said tyrannical measures; 

"And whereas. The said Joseph Wanton, Esq., 
Lath neglected to issue a proclamation for due 
observation of Thursday, the 11th of May instant, as 
a day of fasting and prayer, agreeable to an act 
passed at the said session ; 

"And whereas, The said Joseph Wanton hath been 
elected to the oHice of Governor of this Colony for 
the present year, and been notified thereof by this 
Assembly, notwithstanding which, he hath not 
attended this General Assembly and taken the oath 
required by law ; 

"And whereas. The said Joseph Wanton, Esq., 
hath positively refused to sign the commissions for 



10<» HISTORICAL TRACT. 

the oflicors a})pointcd to conimjind llio troops so 
onlerod to he raised. By all winch he hath maiii- 
fe.stcd his intentions to defeat the ^'ood people of 
these e(>lonies in their present <rlorious strufri::le to 
transmit inviolate to posterity those sacred rights 
>vhi«'h they have received from their ancestors : — 

Be it therefore enacted hij this General Amernhbj : 

'' That the Depnty Governor and his assistants be, 
and they are hereby ibrbid to administer the oath of 
office to tlic said Joseph Wanton, Esq., unless in free 
and open General Assembly, according to the unvaried 
practice of this Colony, and with the consent of this 
Assemblv. That until he, the said Joseph Wanton, 
shall have taken the oath of ollice as aforesaid, it shall 
not be lawful Ibr him to act as (iovernor of this Col- 
ony in any case whatever; and that every act done 
by him in the pretended capacity of Governor, shall 
be null and void, and shall not operate as a warrant 
or discharge to any person acting by his orders or 
under his authority." 

At the June Session of the General Assembly, 
Governor Wanton appeared and demanded that tho 
oath of oflice should be administered to him. Tho 
following is his letter : 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 107 

Kast Gkkknwich, June 13, 1775. 

Gentlkmkn : — " 'J'hc Charter of tlii^ Colony, 
grantod hy his majesty King Cliarles the Second, 
expressly ordains, 'that all and every Governor 

* elected and chosen by virtne of that charter, shall 

* irive his enixaixcnient before two or more of the 
'assistants of the Colony, foi* the time being,' not- 
withstanding which, I observe, by an act of yours, 
passed at the Session in Providence, on the tirst 
Wednesday in ^fay, and pnblished in the Newport 
^/erctft'f/y you have tjiought tit to forbid the Deputy 
Governor, or assistants, to administer the oath of 
ollicc to me, until I appear in open Assembly ; and 
even then, not without your consent. » 

"As I had the honor of being chosen Governor of 
this Colony at the election held at Providence oji the 
Jirst Wednesday in May; but through indisposi- 
tion could not attend at that session, I now a[)pear, 
in order to take the oath of office prescribed by law, 
and request that you would give the necessary direc- 
tions for the due administering of the same. As 
you have been pleased to arraigri my administration, 
by charging me with manifesting an i\itcntion to 
defeat these colonies in their struggle for the pre- 
servation of their rights, I shall here take the free- 
dom to answer the several allegations you have exhib- 



108 mSTOUICAL TRACT. 

ited against inc, with as much conciseness as possi- 
])lo. 

" I have ever consichM'cd it as tlic distinguishing 
privilege of an Englishman, to give his opinion npon 
any pnblic transaction, wherein the welfare and 
happiness of the connnunity to which he belonged 
was immediately concerned, without incurring a 
public censure therel'or. 

"Upon this principle, I presumed to exercise tho 
right of private judgment, when I protested against 
the vote for raising troops within this Colony ; for 
I conscientiously believed it was a measure replete 
with the most injurious conseciuences to the good 
people of this government ; and, therefore, from an 
anxious concern for their happiness, bore my public 
testimony against it. I cannot conceive that in so 
doing, I have been guilty of any misdemeanor, and 
consequently not reprehensible for that, which ought 
only to be considered by those of a difterent senti- 
ment, as an error of judgment. 

'*As to the second allegation, for not issuing n 
proclamation for the due obsei*\'ance of the 11th of 
May, as a day of fasting and prayer throughout ihe 
Colony, I shall only observe that tho proclamation 
was begun and would have been published and sent 
into the Colony, on Monday, tho 8th of May, had 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 100 

yon not hy your own vote, on the 7th, divested me of 
that power which might liave hcen thought necessary 
for onjoininu: the due ol)scrvation thereof. I had no 
desi'ni to counteraet vour intentions in that matter; 
for in a time of mikIi universal distress, it is my 
oj)iiiion, W(» cannot act u more i)rop(»r and rational 
j)ai't, than conres>ing our manifohl sins l)cforo 
Ahnighly (Jod, and (U'precating his judgments. 

"The third alh-gation you have tjiought proper to 
adduce against me of non-attcnchmce at the session 
in Providence, is without the least colorahlc j>retext, 
after haviu'^ twice informed vou, durinir that session, 
that indisposition prevented my attending; I again 
contirm it, and am extremely sorry to find, by any of 
your proceedings, it should he doubted. 

"To the fourth allegation you have been pleased 
to exhibit against mc, of not signing the commissions 
for the officers appointed to connnand the troops to 
be raised 1)V this Colonv, the foUowin;; obscr>*a« 
tions, I imagine, if considered with candor, will be 
a sullicient justitication of my conduct in that affair. 

"The vote for raising of men, upon very mature 
deliberation, I had considered as a measure preg- 
nant with the most fatal consequences to the good 
people of this Colony ; upon thivt principle I pro- 
tebted against the vote ; and it would, therefore, 

10 



I 



110 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

have 1)0011 lii«:hly iinpropor in mc to have given com- 
missions for tlie execution of a measure, which, in 
my opinion, was subversive of the true interest of 
this government. 

"Upon th(^ strictest examination into my past 
administration, I cannot impeach myself with tho 
least intention of having designedly executed any 
measure which might prove detrimental to the rights 
of this Colony. 

*'l am closely united to the inhabitants bv every 
endearing tie; and their hapi)iness I consider as 
insei)arably connected with mine ; I shall, theretbro, 
whether in public ov private life, constantly pursue 
such a line of <"on«hict as in my opinion will have 
a tendency to increase the reputation and felicity of 
every part o^ this once happy Colony/* 

I am, ■^entloiiK n, 

Your sincere friend, and liuinbic servant, 

J. WANTON. 
To the Honorable, tl»e General Assembly of Rhode Island, &c., 
now sittinc: at Kast Greenwich. 

The General Assembly havin;? taken this letter 
into consideration, voted, 

** That the said Joseph Wanton hath not given sat- 
isfactioD to this Assembly ; that the recited act, 



THE WANTON' FA3IILY. Ill 

passed at the last session, eontiiiue in force until the 
rising; of the (Jeneral Assenil)lv at its next session ; 
and that this act ho innncdiatoly j)nl)lished in the 
Newport Mercury and Providence Gazette,'* 

At the October Session following, the General 
Assembly dcclarc<l the (►iKce of (iovcrnor vacant by 
the following act : 

" Whereas this (leneral Asseniblv. at their session 
hold iu Providence on the first Wednesday in May 
last, made and passed an act (for divers weighty 
reasons therein mentioned,) to prevent the Honor- 
able Joseph Wanton. Esquire, who was chosen gov- 
ernor of this Colony at the general election held on 
the tirst Wednesd.'iy of May, froui acting in said 
otiicc, which act hath been continued from session to 
session until now, without proceeding to declare said 
otBce vacant, from a tender regard to the said Joseph 
Wanton ; and in order to give him an opportunity 
to make due satisfaction for his former conduct, and 
of convincing this General Assembly of his friendly 
disposition to the United Colonies in general, and to 
this Colony in particular : 

" And wheieas. The said Joseph Wanton, by the 
whole course of his behaviour since the passage of 
said act, hath continued to demonstrate that he is 



112 HISTORICAL TKACT. 

inimical to tlic rigiits and liberties of Amcriea, and 
is therefore rendered totally nnfit to sustain that 
office : 

"And whereas, The calamities of the present times 
make it necessary to this General Assembly to avail 
themselves of the advantaires given them by charter 
and the fnndainental |)rinci|)les of the Constitution : 

"This (iencral Assembly do therefore resolve and 
declare, c^c, That the sai<l Joseph Wanton hath 
justly forfeited the office of (lovernorof this Colony, 
and thereby tlu^ said office is be<'ome vacnnt." 

« 

Among the jn'oceedings of the February session, 
177r>, of the General Assembly we tind the follow- 
iu<X entry : 

"'Whereas, This Assembly, upon complaint and 
information by them received, did order Colonel 
Joseph Wanton to appear before them, to answer 
respecting his conduct ; and the Assembly having 
examined the same, there doth not appear any cause 
for detaining him ; wherefore : 

** It is voted and resolved, 'i hat the said Joseph 
AVanton l)e now dismissed ; and he is now dismissed 
uccordiiiiirly." 



THK WANTON FAMILY. 113 

At the 8:ime session a resolution was passed 
directing the Sherill'^to take sutiicient aid, and pro- 
ceed to the house of the Honorable Joseph Wanton, 
Esquire, late Governor of this Colony, and take 
possession of the charter and papers, together with 
the chest and all other things appertaining to this 
Colony, which are in his custody and deliver them 
to the connnitiec apj)ointcd to receive thetn, hy them 
to be delivered to his Honor the present Governor.** 
On thr 17th March the sheritf made a report to the 
General Assembly that, accompanied by two depu- 
ties, he had i)roceeded to the house of Governor 
Wanton, "and in his absence took and carried away 
the charter of the Colony," together with other 
papers and books specified, which he had delivered 
to the connnittee a})pointed to receive them. 

With this event terminated the political life of the 
Wanton family in Khode Island, a family which had 
been i)rominent for nearly a century and had held 
the highest positions in the Colony. The large 
estates of Governor Wa;iton, as well as those of 
Colonel Joseph Wanton, Junior, formerly Deputy 
Governor, were confiscated and sold. During the 



114 HI.sTOJflCAL TUACT. 

occupation of Newport hy the British forces Gov- 
ernor AVnnton remained tlM're and led a tpiiet and 
unol»trnsive life. Upon the dejiarture of these troops 
he remained nnmoh'sted and continued to he re- 
spected hy the <'iti/.ens. lie died at Newport on the 
ll'th of July, ITSO, an<l was int<'rred in the family 
vault in the Cliflon hurial place. 



Note. The MonrtTs from wliich Iho in:(ti'ri:il.>« for Otin sketch has bi'On 
l»roj»:ir««l nro, 1, Notioos of thi; Wanton fiunily by ll»o hito l>avJ«J GouUl 
of Newport. furni.HhiMl to Sunuio] Dounr, tin<l printoU by lilni in his 
**llisior>- of scitnatr, Mii»«*aclHisrtt»." 2. Various iirtlclrs in tlio Now. 
port .Vrrcuri/, by N. II. 4ior.l«l .1. Munnscriptn in tl>e library of Iho Into 
.Fohn Cartrr Ilrown, copitMl from the ori^'inul;* In tl»c llritlMh SUite 
Taper orticc, Lon«U>n. 4. Tho I{ho«io iMhuul Colonial Ucconls. To 
T>r. Ilonrj- K. Turner, ilr. I>avi«l .J. Gonltl, of Newport, anil to others of 
Wanton blood, I um also in4b>bte<1 for aH<iir«tHnoe rcntlerod. 

.1. It. I). 



/• 



G EX E ALO(; rc A L MEMO RAND A 



roM KK!<IN<t 



FA MI LI KS FOHMKI) IJY MARRIAGE CONXECTIONS 



WITH TIIK 



WANTOX FAMILY. 



FAMILIES. 



^n 



1. CAKKV. 

3. CODDIXGTON. 

5. GOULD. 

7. LVMAX. 

l>. DUNXELL. 

11. ARNOLD. 

13. liOBIXSON. 

15. COIT. 



2. CA8EV. 

4. ELLEKV. 

♦;. HUXTEK. 

8. HAZAUD. 

10. TILLIXGIIAST. 

12. MIXTUUX. 

14. SALTOXSTALL. 



u^ 



GEXEALOGICAL MEMORAXDA. 



C A K K V . 



George, son of Governor William Wanton, married Abigail, 
daughter of Benjamin Eller>', of Newport. She was born Feb- 
ruary 24, IGUS, and died May, 172G. They hatl five children: 
1. Elizabeth, boru November 10, 171G, who niarried Colonel 
Carey, of Bristol, K. I. 2. Abigail, born August 31, 1718, who 
married, the Kev. Jolm Burt, of Bri>tol, K. I., August 20, 174-, 
whoso second wife was the daughter of William EUery, father 
of«*t]»e signer" 3. Edwarvl, born May 20, 1722, and died 
young. 4. George, born May, 1724, married Marj* Hazard, April 
19, 1747; and William, born March, 1726. Elizabeth (Wanton) 
Carey became the second wife of William Ellery, signer of th« 
Declaration of Independence, June 28, 17C7. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 121 



C A S E Y . 

^^AUV, second ilau'rlitcr'of Michael Wanton, boiii , 1707, 

married Dajiiel Cojj^eshall, of rortsniouth. He was bom 
August, 1704, and died November 24, 1775. His daughter Abi- 
gail, born y^bniary 14, 1737, (died September 14, 1821,) married 
Silas Casey, of East Greenwich, (born June 6, 1734,) only son 
of Thomas Casey, (boru November 18, 1706). Silas Casey died 
Sei>tember 27, 1814. Their only son was Wanton Casey, boru 
Februar}- 24, 17G0. lie married Kiizabcth Goodule, of Brook- 
field, Massachusetts, (bom October 7, 1772,) on the 2oth Octo- 
ber 1789, and died December 17, 1842. Their sou, now living, 
(1878), General Silas Casky, of the United States Army, was 
boru July 12, 1807. He married, 1. Abby Perr}' Pcarcc, daughter 
of the Hon. Dutec J. Peurce, of Newport, July 12, 1830; 2. Flor- 
ida Gordon, of Washington, D. C, daughter of Charles and Julia 
(Crawford) Gordon, July 12, 1864. His son. Colonel Lincoln 
Casky, Corps of United States Engineers, waa bom May 10, 
1831 ; marrieil at West Point, N. Y., May 8, 1856, Emma, second 
daughter of Robert W. Weir, Professor of Drawing in the 
United States Military Academy, and Louisa (Ferguson), of 
New York City. Their children are, Thomas Lincoln Casey, 
11 



122 H18TOKICAL TRACT. 

born Fcbruurj' VJ, 1«57: Kobort JcnuiUl Cawcy, born Auj;u»t 31, 
1859, illod Au^Uht 7, 18G0; Harry Weir Cu«cy, boru June 17, 
1861, an<l Edward Pearce Ca>t*y, born June 18, 1864. 



niR WANTON FAMILY. 123 



CODDINGTON. 

Mary, tinughtcr of Governor Joseph Wftnton, who married 
Cnptain Jolin Coddin^on, of Newport, January 28, 1759, had 
six children: 1. June, who marrlwi Martin Benson, of New- 
port. 2. Mary. 3. Susan, who married John Green, of New- 
port; hail two children, John and Mary. 4. JoNcph Wantou. 
6. Williaui. G. John. 



THK WANTON FAMILY. 125 



K L L E H Y . 

W I M.I AM Ellkuy, signer of the DecliirMtion of Independence 
of tlic United States, and Chief Jnxtice of the Snprenie Conrt of 
IJhode Inland, horn December 22, 1727; died Febnuuy lo, 1820; 
ntarried, 1. Ann, daughter of Jonathan and hucy Heniington, 
hy whom he had seven children. She died in Cambridge, Mass., 
September 7, 17G4. IJy his necond wife, Abigail Carey, the 
grajiddaughter of George Wanton, he had ten children: 1. 
Abigail; died in Infancy. 2. Nathaniel Carey, born May 13, 
17«;!>; died Octo))er 18, 1831). 3. John Wllklns, born May 18, 
1770; died by a fall from a horse at Digliton, October 4, 1778. 
4. Abigail, born 1772; died In infancy. 5. Ruth Cliamplln, born 
1773, died 1777. C. Susanna Kent, born June 11, 1775; died at 
Newport April 14, 1828. 7. Philadelphia, born November 5, 
177G; died April 24, 1856. 8. Ruth Charaplln (2ud), bom 1779; 
died In Infancy. 9. Mehltable Redwood, born Jauuar}- 4, 1784. 
10. George Wanton, born December 24, 1789; died in Newport, 
January 20, 1807. 

George Wanton Fillery married Mary, daughter of Thomas 
and Frances Goddanl, Novemlwr 13, 1823, by whom he had four 



12() IIISTOKICAL TKACT. 

sons an. I two danjihtrrs, viz. : William, Clirlstoplior, Benjamin, 
Gcorjri? Wanton, Mary (Jodtlard, and lli-nriotta Cl»annln;j Kllfry, 
llu' latter now (1878) living in Newport. 

It may not be out of plaee here to show the connection 
between the family of William Kllery, •' tlic signer," rtrst men- 
tioned, and several of the njost distinguished families of Massa- 
chusetts. His first wife was Anne, daughter of Jonathan Kem- 
injjton, jud;^e, of Cambridge, (who died in 1745), and Lucy, 
daughter of Governor Simon Bradstreet, of Massachusetts, 
whose wife was Anne, daughter of Thomas Dudley, also Gov- 
ernor of Massachusetts, born at Northampton, England, in 1574, 
died July, ir.r»:t. Anne Bradstreet was one of the earliest poeti- 
cal writers of America. Her poems were first published in Bos- 
ton in 1640, and reprinted in London in 1078, under the title of 
*• The Tenth Muse latel}' sprung up in America " 

Lucy Uemington Kllery, daughter of William EUery, married 
Walter Channlng, first Attorney General of Uhodc Island under 
the Federal Constitution, and father of the Rev, William Ellery 
Channlng. Elizabeth, another daughter of William Ellery and 
Anne Uemington, married the Hon. Francis Dana, whose son is 
Kichard Henry Dana, the poet. There were other children of 
William Ellery and Anne Uemington, tlieir daughter marrj'lug 
the Hon. William Stedman, of Lancaster, and their sou Edmund 
Trowbridge Ellerj', father of Conrad C. EUerj', of Providence, 
leaving numerous descendants, among others, Sarah Fiske Jen- 
uisou, wife of the Kev. John Weiss, of Boston. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 127 



GOULD. 

Hannah, duughtcr of Stpphon niul ^randdaujihter of Michael 
WantoJi, born May 12, 1747, married .lames Gonld, born 2jth 
November, 1739. lie died 24th January, 1812; she died April 1, 
1831. They had live children : 1. Stephen, born December 30, 
1781 ; died October 1, 1838. 2. Isiuac, born Jannar}- 9, 1763 ; died 
November 3, 18r.3. 3. James, born July 2G, 1784; died without 
issue. 4. David, born March 19, 178G; died at Savannah, Ga., 
without Issue. 5. Daniel, born April 28, 1790; died November 
17, 1793. Stephen Gould married Hannah, daunjhter of Clarke 
and Abi;;ail Hodman In 1808, and had two children : Caleb, >vho 
died In Infancy, and John Stanton Gould, born March 14, 1812, 
who died at Hudson, N. V., August 8, 1874. Isaac Gould, sec- 
ond son of James, married Sarah Wallroud, daughter of Nathan 
and Catherine Hammctt, and )»ad five children: 1. Martha 
Stanton, born October 2, 1811; married Governor William C. 
CozzKNS, and had five children,— James, Henry, Susan, Hannah 
and William. 2. David James Gould, born 1813, married Eliza, 

daughter of Edward P. Little, , of Marshtleld, Mass., and 

had four children: I, Edwanl Wanton, bom April IC, 18^; 



12M msTOinCAL THACT. 

inarrif'd Eli/a A., «l:umlitor of IJirlianl Vo\m Smitli, of Plilln- 
di'lpliia, aiul had two sons, David J. and Edward \V. II. Isaac, 
Korn Soptonihor 24, 1H42; died June 19, 1877, without issue. 

III. Sarali W., horn Novenihir 12, 1817; died Fc'l)ruary 25, 1840. 

IV. Kichard T., horn Ortohor 21, I8r»0, who married Mary, 
<lau;cljter of IVle;; JSannders, of Westerly, U. 1. 3. Susan Ann, 
l>orn Deceniher 11>, 1814; tlied June 2, 1855. 4. Nathan Iluin- 
niett, horn April 2A, 1817, who niarrle<i Emily J., daujjhtcr of 
Isaiah Ko;;crs, and had two chihlren, iStephen and Emily J. 5. 
Marv' Wanton (rould. 



thk wanton famtly. 129 



IIUNTKH. 

Dr.scF.NDANTs of Eli/.a))('tli. d;ui::liter of tlio rtrst Eilwartl 
Wanton, born In 1C08, \vl»o married Kdward Scott, of Scott Ilall, 
Yorksliire, p]ngland. They had one daughter, Katharine, who 
married Godfrey Malbone, of Newport, whose daugljter, Deborah 
Malbonc, n)arrie<' Dr. Willium Hunter, from Scotland, then 
residing in Newport. The children of Deborah and William 
Hunter were: Elizabeth, born in 1702; died, unmarried, In 
France, in 1849. Ann, married John Falconnet, an opulent 
Swiss banker, and had many children and grandcliildren, wlio 
arc still living in Europe. Katherine, wlio married tl»e Count 
de Cadignan, a Frenchman, and left two sons. William, who 
marrieil Mary, daughter of William and Sarah Robinson, tlic 
jn'cat-granddaughter of Elizabeth Wanton. William Hunt>:r 
was a distinguished lawyer of Newport ; he wa» a Senator of 
the United States from 1811 to 1821, and sul^sequeutly became 
minister to Brazil. He had nine children: 1. JVVilliam, now 
(1878) Assistant Secretary of State, Wa.*hlngton; married Sally 
Hoffnian, the only child of General Walter Smith, of George- 
town, D. C, and had seven children: I. Walter, bom 1836; 



130 HISTORTCAL TUACT. 

ilio«l 1803. II. Mary, wlio inarrlotl Ulclianl Jones, of Cumber- 
land, M«l., and died Icavin'j: live children. III. lllanelic, died 
in 1804, iinnianietl. IV. Her twin sister, Irene, unmarried. 
V. William, died unmarried in 1878. VI. Lieutenant God- 
fred Mall»one Hunter, Tnititl States Navy, died in Spain in 
1873. VII. Sarah, who died in infancy. 2. Kli/.a Hunter, 
married James liireklu-ad, of lialtimore, Md. Their children 
.ire: I. William Hunter IJlrckhead, M. I)., and (II.) Kate 
de C.adif^nan liirckhead. The former married Sarah, dau<;h- 
ter of Dr. David Kin;? of Newport, and have three sons, James 
B., rhilip Gordon, IIu;:h McCullocli Ilirckhead. and Malbonc 
Hunter. ,3. Thomas Hohinson Hunter, married Mrs. Fanny 
Wclmorc Taylor,^of New York. Tlulr children are William, 
Dcssic, An:?usta, Mary, and Charles. 4. Mary Hunter, nmrrled 
Kdwanl Tcirsc, of the Uritish Navy, and had no chlldretj. She 
dieil in London, Kn;iland, November UMh, 1872. 5. Captain 
Charles Hunter, Cnited States Navy, married Mary Stockton 
l{otch, of New Bedford. Their children are: I. Kate, who 
ntarried Thomas Dunn, of Newport, and have two children, 
Charhs Hunter and l{obert Ste«»d. II. Caroline Stockton, died 
November, 1873. III. Mary Hotch Hunter, who nuirrled Wiilter 
Lan:;don Kane, of New York. IV. Annie Falconnet, unmarried. 
Captain Hunter, with his wife and daughter Caroline Stockton, 
were lost at sea in the steamer ♦* Villc du Havre," November 22, 
1873, while on their w:»y to France. G. Katharine de Cadi^nan, 
marrietl John (Jrecnw:iy, an Kn;;lish mcrch:«nt of Monte-Vi«leo, 
S. .\. They have f)ne son, Charles Hunter Greenway, of the 
Hoyal Navy. 7. John Hunter, who <lled youn^r. 8. Godfrey 
Malbone, who <lied young. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 131 



L Y M A N . 

Dr^.'^c'KNDANTh ol' l>rtiiiel LviiiMii iiiid Mary Wanton, daiiirhter 
of John G. and yrandtlaughter of Governor Gideon Wanton. 
Daniel Lyman was horn in 1750, graduated at Yale College in 
1770, and married Jantjary lu, 1782. He was ft colonel lu the 
Continental army and assisted in the capture of Tlconderoga, 
Crown Point and Nt. Johnn. He wa.>s a lawyer of eminence, and 
became Chief JuMicc of the Supreme Court of the State of 
Rhode Island. He died in 1830. The following were his chil- 
dren : 1. Annie Maria, born November 13, 1782; married, July 
4, 1802, Richard K. Randolph, of Virginia, 2. Harriet, lx>rn 
March IG, 1784; married, October 21), 1807, Benjamin Hazard, of 
Newport. ;J. Margaret, born November 24, 178G; married, No- 
vember 5, 1827, Samuel Arnold, of Smlthfleld ; she died May 18, 
1805. 4. Polly (orMar>'), born Octol>er 7, 1788; married, July 
7, 1808, Jacob DunncU, of the Island of Madeira. 5. Eliza, bora 
May 30, 1790; unmarried; died November 5, 1876. 6. Thomas, 
born Deceml>er 30, 1791; unmarried; died November 4, 1832. 

Ltman BnAXH. This family embr»c«f8 the fRioilies of KA2(OoLrH, 
Benjamin Hazard, Dunnlll, Tillinohast, and L. H. Arnold. 



132 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

7. John Wanton, born May 10, 17I).'{; married, November 14, 1832, 
Eliza, daughter of Seth Wlicaton, of rrovidcncc. 8. Daniel, 
born September 28, 1794; died August 4, 1822, unmarried. *J. 
Henry Bull, born November i:i, 1795; married, March 2, 1829, 
Caroline, daughter of Elisha Dyer; died, April 24, 1874. Have 
one son, Daniel Wanton Lyman, born January 24, 1844. 10. 
Louisa, born April IG, 1797; nmrricd Dr. G. II. Tlllinghast, Oc- 
tober 16, 1825, who died August 22, 1858. She died February 
10, 18C9. 11. Sally, born February 14, 1799; married Governor 
L. II. Akxoii), June 23, 1819; died February 19, 1837. 12. Julia 
Maria, born August 30, 1801 ; married John II. Easton, of New- 
port, September 18, 1826. 13. Emily, l)orn December 23. 1804; 
died August 29, 1805. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 133 



RAN DO LP II. 

CiiiLnnKN of Anne Marlii (Lyman), daughter of Mary Wan- 
ton, and Kicliard Kidder Kandoli»h : 

L Lwcy Maria, who married Tiiomas K. Breeze, Paymaster, 
United States Navy, and had seven children, viz. : Thomas 
Breeze; Kli/.abeth, who married Tliomas L. Dunncll; Kidder, 
Cap'.ain, United States Navy, wiio married a daughter of Gov- 
ernor Curtin, of Pennsylvania; Lucy, unmarried; Frank, un- 
married; Anne Maria, married Commander Marvin, United 
States Navy; and John, unmarried. 

n. Peyton Randolph, died young. 

III. Daniel Lyman Kandolph, United States Navy. 

IV. William Sullivan Kandolph. 

V. John Kandoli>h Kandolph, who married Betsy Earl Engs, 
born Jaimar>' 29, 1814. Their children are: Richard Kidder 
Kandoli)h, born August 8, 1838; dictl June 5, 187C; married 
Maria Louise Jastram, who died leaving one child, Louise. 
Colonel Gkokgk Engs Randolph, Iwrn March 29, 1840, who 
married Harriot Porter; had a sou who died in Infancy. Colo- 
nel RANDOLru entered the Union A* my on the breaking out 
of the rebellion in 18G1, as Sergeant-major. Was wounded 

12 



134 HISTOKICAL TUACT. 

in tho battle of Hull liun, ami in JSeptcmbor lbllo\vin«>; was 
pbccd in conunand of Battery K. He served in many of the 
liard-foufjht buttles of the war, and was ajjain wounded at 
Gettysburir. At Chancellorsvillc he commanded the artillery 
hri;^ade of eijjht batteries with fifty ^uns. For distinguished 
service he was successively brevetted Major, Lieutenant-colonel, 
and Colonel. John Handolph, born May 5, 1841. Peyton 
Harrison Ikandolph, born Fel»ruary :iO, 1843; tiled December I, 
1M71. Sally Kn;;s Kandolph, born October 10, 1844. Peyton 
Harrison Kandoli»h, born June 10, 184G; died July 1, 1847. 
Lucy llreozc Kandolph, born November 5, 1847. Mary, born 
September 4, 184'J; married Kichard C. Lake, and has two chil- 
dren, Jessie and Amy. 

VL Benjamin Harrison Kandolph. 

Vn. Kichard Kidder Kandolph. 

VIIL Elizabeth Ann Kandolph, married Oliver H. Perry, 
son of Commodore O. H. Perry, and had four children : Anne, 

who married James Storrow, of Boston; Julia, married 

Scudder, of Boston; Elizabeth, married Rev. Hinckes; 

and William Gorham Kandolph. 

IX. Thomas Lyman Randolph. 

X. Julia Virginia Randolph. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 135 



HAZARD. 

C'liii-DJiKN of Harriot (Lyninn), (linij;lit«T of Mftry WniUon, 
and Benjamin llu/.ard: 

I. Emily Lyman Hazard. 

II. Peyton Kandolph Ilaxard. 

III. Harriet Lyman, wlio married tlie Kev. CharloH T. IJrooks, 
and had four children, viz.: Charles M, Brooks; Harriet L., 
who married George Stevens, of Andover, Mass. ; Bessie, who 
married Lieutenant Maynard, Unlte<i States Navy; and Peyton 
Hazard. 

IV. Mary Wanton, died in infancy. 

V. Mary Wanton, unmarried, livin;;. 

VI. Margaret Lyman, married General Isaac I. Stevens, 
United States Army, and had four children, viz.: Hazard; 
Sue, who married Captain Eskrldge, United States Army; 
Gertrude Maude, and Kate. General Isaac I. Steveins, bora 
March 20, 1818; was a distinguished officer in the Union Army 
in the late civil war. He graduated, tirst in bis class, at West 
Point in 1839. He was attache<i to General Scott's staff In 
Mexico, and took part in the battles of Contreras, Cherubosoo 
and Chepultei)ec, for which he was brevetted Captain and 



13G HISTORICAL TRACT. 

Major. After tlic war lie was (Jovernorol* Washimjton Terri- 
tory, an<l on tlic hrcaklnjj out of tlic rebellion became Colonel 
of the Scventy-nintli New York IIij;hlanders. He was made a 
Major-;;eneral in I8C2, and, after taking part in various battles, 
was killed at the battle of Chantilly, Cth September, 18G2. Caj)- 
taiu Hazaki) Stkvkns, son of the forej^oinjx, was a student at 
Harvard Colle'je on the breaking out of the civil war. Leaving 
his studies he entered the anny, and for gallant services was 
brevctted as Colonel, and subsequently as Brigailicr-gcncral. 

VII. Nancy, married her cousin, John Alfred Hazard. 

VIIL Daniel Lynian Hazard. 

IX. Thomas G. Hazard. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 137 



I) U N N ELL. 

Ciiii.intKX of Mary (Lymnn), daufjlitor of Mary Wanton, and 
Jacob Dunncll : 

I. Mary Lyman Dunncll. 

II. Jacob Dunncll, resides in Tawtuckct ; married, first, Anicy 
D., dau;ihter of Isa^ic Brown, of Providence, and bad nine cbil- 
dren, viz. : Mary Lyman, born October 20, 1835; died Februar}' 
3, 1841. Sopbie Brown, born June 1, 1837 ; married April 5, 18C5, 
Jobn T. Denny, of New York, and lias tbrec cbildrcn. Jacob, 
born February H, 1830 ; married Jane Tucker Blodj^et, of Provi- 
dence, and had live children. lie died April 8, 1874. Edward 
AVauton, born May 8, 1841; died 1841. Amey, bom June 17, 
1844; died 1844. Adela, bom July 5, 1846; died November 28, 
18.'53. Alice Maude Mary, bom September 15, 184G; married, 
September 15, 1873, Amasa M. Eaton, of Providence, and Las 
two children. •^largaret, born May 3, 1848; died August 28, 
1849. William Wanton, bom Septeml)er 13, 1850. Marrietl, sec- 
ond, Mary Atmorc Uobinson, daughter of William A. Uobinson, 
of Providence, great-grandson of Governor William Uobinson. 

III. Margaret, married Samuel W. Peckham, of Provideucc, 
wlio died August, 1848. 



138 insTOKICAL TUACT. 

IV. Thomas Lyman Dunnoll, marrlctl Elizabeth Breeze, 
(laughter of Thomas Breeze, United States Navy, nnil had three 
children, Thonuis, Lucy Kandolph, and Mary. Mrs. Dunnell 
died at Boston, February 2, 1878. 

V. Elizabeth Lyman Dunnell. 

VI. John Wanton Dunnell, who has six children. 



THK WANTON FAMILV. 139 



T I L I. I N G HAST. 

Cirir.DUKN of liOuhii (W.iiiton) Lynuiii ;in;l Dr. <^eori;e H. 
TlUini,'liast : 

I. Fniiiccs, boni \S'Ji\; diod Ffbniary 17, 1S4l'. 

II. CiiAKLKs, born June 10, ]si>,s: marriod Lucy Loonanl. 
lie became Captain of Company 11. Fourth Kliotlc Island Regi- 
ment, under General liodman, and was killed at the battle of 
Xewbern. A brave and gallant otliccr. A moment before he fell, 
he said to his Lieutenant, *• If I fall, press on with the men.*' 

III. Ilenrj' Lyman; enlisted in the First Rhode Lslaud Regi- 
ment, under Colonel Burnslde. On the march to Bull Ruu he 
had an attack of sunstroke, which compelled liim to return 
home, and soon arter died at the age of twenty-niue years. 

IV. Julia Lyman, wlio married John W. Al>orn, January 18, 
1855, and had three children, all now (1878) living, viz.: Julia 
Lyman, Annie Barton, and Sophia Tillinghast. 

V. Stephen Hopkins. 



TnE WANTON FAMILY. 141 



ARNOLD. 

CiiiLDUKN of Sally, (laiij;litcr of Mary (Wanton) Lyman, nnU 
yrcat-;;ran<l«lau;;litcr of Gov. Gideon Wanton, and Gov. Lemuel 
Ilastinjrs Arnold: 1. Louisa, \vl»o marriwl Dr. William II. Haz- 
ard, of South Kin;;sto\vn. 2. Lemuel II. Arnold, Avlio ni.irried 
Harriet, dau;:liler of Edward S. Sheldon. 3. Sally, who married 
General Isaac P. Kodman, who was killed at the battle of Antio- 
lam. 4. General Kichaiii) Aunoli», United States Amiv 6. 
Mary Lyman, who married Geor;j:e C. Robinson, of New York. 
C. Daniel Lyman, killed in battle <lurin^ the late civil war. 7. 
Mar;raret, who married IJonjamin Aborn. 8. Cynthia, who 
nuirrlcd F. II. Sheldon and had two children, Julia and Cynthia 
A. 

Lemuel II. Arnold, the youu'jer, had the following cliildrcn: 

I. Lemuel II. Arnold, Jr., who has one child, Anna Pcckham. 

II. Edwards. III. lilchnrd. IV. Ilattlc. V. Thoma:* Lyman. 
VI. Lyndon. VII. Frank Wallace Arnold. 

General Isaac P. and Sally Rodman !iad the following cliil- 
dren : I. Isaac P. II. Sally U., who marrieJ Ro>>eit Thompson. 

III. Mary P. IV. Thoma«. V. Samuel Rodman. 



142 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

George C. and Mary Lyman Robinson had the following chil- 
dren: I. George C. Robinson, Jr. II. Louisa L. III. Mary 
N. IV. Richard A. V. Margaret A. VI. Annie D. VII. Ed- 
ward Wanton Robinson. 

Benjamin and Margaret Aboru had four children : Benjamin, 
WUllam H., Edward, and Albert C. 



THE WANTON FA31ILy. 143 



M 1 N T U R N . 

CiiiLnnr.N of Esther (Uol)liis()ii) grcat-g:riiuddaughtcr of Mary 
(Wanton) Kiclmrdson and Jonas Minturn. Marj' Wouton was 
sister of Gov. Gideon Wanton. I. Elizabeth, born 1801 ; died 
young. II. William, born 1802: drowned near New York in 
1821. III. Rowland, born in 1804; died 1839. IV. Caroline, 
bom In 180G; married 1). Prescott Hall of New York. Their 
chiUlrcn were: Jolin M., Rowland Minturn, Caroline Minturn, 
Eli/.abcth Prcscott. Frances .\nn, and David Prescott, who mar- 
ried Florence Howe, daugliter of Doctor Samuel G. Howe, of 
Boston, and have three children. V. Thomas Minturn, bom 
in 1808; died unmarried. VI. Lloyd Minturn, bom in 1810; 
married, first, Julia Randolph, of Newport; second, Anne K. 
Robinson, of Vermont. VII. Frances, born in 1812; married 
Thomas R. Hazard, of Vaucleuse, R. I., whose children were: 
Mary, who died in infancy; Frances, Gertrude, and Anna, who 
died in ef»rly womanhood; Esther, who married Df E. J. Dun- 
ning, of New York, and Barclay, born In 1852. VIII. Nlobe, 
who married, first, Duncan Ferguson, of New York, »econd. 
Ward H. Blackler, of New York, and have children — Mary, 



141 HISTORICAL TKACT. 

Gertrude, Killth, and IJellidcn. IX. Jonas Miuturn, born in 
1811>; married Abby West, of Bristol, K. I., whose children 
were: Mary, who married Charles Potter of Newport, and has 
three children; Thomas; Gertrude, who married Ca])taiu 
George Nanford, United bUitcs Army, and has a dau«;hter, Mar- 
;;aret; Madeline, and James. X. A^j^atha, wlio married Edward 
Mayer, of Vienna, Austria, and have children — Joltn, Lloyd, 
and William. XI. Gertrude, who married W. II. Newman, of 
New York. 



THE WAXTON FAMILY. 145 



ROBINSON. 

Mauy, daughter of Joseph Wiiuton ami gran(Ulaii;;litfr of the 
first K(iward, bom June 10, 1700; married Thomas Kichanl.sou, 
General Treasurer of Khode Island. They had one daughter, 
Sarah, who, in 1752, married Thoma-s liobinson, son of Governor 
William Robinson. He was bom in 1730, and died in 1817. Mrs. 
Robinson died the same year. They liad four cldldren : 1. Wil- 
liam T. Robinson, bom 1754, who nuirried Sarah, daughter of 
Samuel Franklin, of New York, in 1779. He died in 1835, hhc 
in 1811. 2. Thomjus, born In 175(5, and died young. 3. Mary 
Robinson, bora in 1757, and married John Morton, of Philadel- 
phia. He died in 1805, she in 1837. 4. Abigail, bom in 1760; 
died at an advanced age, unmarried. 5. Thomas Richardson 
Robinson, born in 1761 ; married Jemima Fish in 1783. He died 
in 1851, she in 1846, aged eighty-rive. 6. Rowland, born in 1763, 
lost at sea in early manhood. 7. Joseph Jacob, born 1765; dietl 
at an advanced ago, unmarried. 8. Amy, bom in 1768: marrieil 
Robert Bowne, of New York. Their children were: George, 
who died unmarried, and Rowland, who left c daughter. 

1. William T. Robinson, son of Thomas and Sarah (Franklin) 
Robinson, born in 1754, had twelve children : I. Esther, bora 
13 



14«> lIISTOiaCAL TKACT. 

in 17H2; iiiarricd Jona.s Minturn, of New York, nnd luul eleven 
cliiUlrcn. II. Sarah, married Joseplj iS. Coatcs, of Pliiladel- 
plila, and liad two ehildren. The eldest, Joseph H., Is a nieni- 
ber of the linn of Miller & Coates, of New York, and Sarah K. 
Joseph H. married, first, Eli/abeth W. Horner, who died witli- 
ont children; second, Sarah Ann NVisner. Their children 
were: Alma W., Ellen AV., Arlhnr K., and Joseph S. Coatcs. 
Sarah K. Coates married Joshna Toomcr, of Charleslown, S. 
C, and have one child, Mary Ann. III. Mary Hohinson, born 
in 17H5; married the Hon. William Hunter, and had nine chil- 
dren. See ;;enealoj;y of Hnnter fandly elsewhere. IV. Thomas 
Kobinson, died in Ik'rlin, unmarried, a;;ed '2',\. V. Samuel, 
unmarried, drowned in hsi.'*. VI. Franklin, removed to Ala- 
bama and left on«' dauf^hter, Mary, who <lled while at school 
in Newport; and other chiUlren. VII. Uowland, removed to 
Indiana, and had many ehildren. VIII. William, unmarried. 
IX. Eliza, die<l at twenty-two, unmarried. X. Abigail, or 
Abby; married Joseph II. Tierce, of Iloston ; both drowned al 
sea. XI. Ann, or Nancy, married John Toulmin, of Mobile, 
and had a daughter, A^'atha. XII. Emma, niarried John Grim- 
shaw, of New York, and had cliildrcn : Emma, (who niarricd 
Benjamin Ilaviland, and had four children) ; William Kobinsou, 
Gertrude, Ellen, and Frances. 

3. Mar}', daujxhter of Thomas and Sarah Kobinson and grand- 
daughter of Joseph Wanton, (born in 1757,) married John Mor- 
ton, of rhiladelphia. They had three children : I. Kobert 
Morton, a physician, who uicd young. II. Esther, born in 17*J7, 
who married, in 1824, Daniel B. Smith, of Havcrford, Tenu. 
III. liobcrt Morton, boro iu IbOl, died iu 1M8. Daniel B. and 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 147 

Estlior Smitli had four children: Benjamin R. Smith, born in 
18'_'.'», married Esther F. Wliarton in JH.VJ; John Smith, born 
in 182H, died in \s:W,; Mary, born 1H30, died 1H54. TIjc oldldren 
of Benjanrni R. Smitli were: Robert Morton, born in 18G0, died 
In 1804 ; William Wharton, born in 18G1 ; Anna W\, born in 1804 ; 
Esther, born lu 1805; Deborah F., born in 18G0, died in 1877; 
Edward W., born in 1875. Mr. Smith inherits and now occu- 
pies as a sumuier residence, the old homestead of his maternal 
ancestors in Newport, R. I. 

5. Thomas Richardson Robinson, son of Thomas and Sarah 
Itobinson, born in 1701 ; married Jemima Fish in 1783. lie died 
in 1851, a^'etl ninety; she in 1840, aj;ed elj;l/ty-llvc. Their ch'.l- 
ilren were: I. Abl;;all, born in 1780, and marrle<l N. C. Iloag 
in 1811, and had many children. II. Rowland T., born In 171)0; 
married Rachel CJilpin in 1820, and had two children: Thomas 
R., born In 1822, died In 1854, (leaving two children, William G., 
born in 1850, and Sarah R. Robinson, born In 1852,) and Anne 
R. Robinson, who married Lloyd Mintiirn in 1848, and dle<l lu 
1874. 

Fanny, danghter of Edward and granddaughter of Governor 
Gideon Wanton, married William C, grandson of Governor 
William Robinson. Their children were: 1. Edward Wanton, 
boniinl797; died in 1818. 2. Stephen Ayrault, bom in 1799; 
married Sarah H. Potter, of South Kingstown, in 1822; died 
April 7th, 1877. 3. Frances W., bom in 1800; died in 1802. 4. 
George C, born 1802; dietl 1820. 5. William C, bom 1803; 
married Abby B. Shaw in 1827; died in 1871. 

The children of William C. son of W^illiam C. Robinson, were : 



14^ inSTOKICAL TRACT. 

1. Francos Wanton, )»orn in \H'j\i; tUeU in 1851. L'. William A., 
born in 1834; dit-d in 1837. U. Ann Maria, born in 183C; mar- 
ried Albert J. S. Molinard in 1803, who died in 1875, leaving 
two rhildreii. 4. Ktlward Ayranit, born in 1838; nnirried Alice 
Canby in 1«7I, and iiad several children. 6. George Francis, 
born in 1843; married Ellen F. Lord in 18G9, and have children. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 149 



S ALTON STALL. 

Anxk, diugliterof Governor Joseph Wanton, born in 1734; 
married her cousin, Winthrop Saltoustall, of New London, and 
had five children : 1. Gurdon, who married Hannah Sage, of 
Middlctown, Conn. 2. Winthrop, who was a physician; went 
to the West Indies and died young, of the yellow fever. He 
was unmarried. 3. Kebecca, married Peter Christophers, of 
New London, and, though long an invalid, l*ved beyond the age 
of nijety. 4. Mary Wanton, who, on the 29th of November, 
1789, married Thomas Coit» M. D., of New London; and 5. 
Annie, who died unmarried. 



THE WANTON FAMILY. 151 



C O I T . 

Du. Thomas Poit lia«l elplit cliildren : 1. Anne, who dieil 
unmarriod. 2. Mary Gardiner. 3. Anj^usta Dudley. 4. Han- 
nah. 5. Martha. (\. Thomas Winthrop. 7. Elizabeth Richards; 
and 8. Gurdon SaltonstaM. The Rev. Thomas Wixtiirop Coit, 
1). D., of Mlddk'town, Connecticut, the only survivor of his 
father's cldldrcn, was born at New Ivondon, June 28, 1803. He 
{graduated at Yale College in 1821. Has been Professor In Trin- 
ity College, Hartford, and President of Transylvania University. 
He Is the author of several well known books. Dr. Coit mar- 
ried, In 1828, Eleanor Forrester, daughter of Simon Forrester, 
of Salem, Mass., and had three children, all now (1878) living: 
Wlnthrop Saltonstall Coit, born in 1820; Charles Forrester Coit, 
born in 1830; and Thomas Gurdon Coit, bon» in 1835. General 
Gurdon Saltonstall (as I learn from Dr. Coit) was burnt out 
during the Revolutionary War by the the traitor Benedict 
Arnold. He wrote to his father-iu-law. Governor Wanton, at 
Newport, for aid. The Governor sent him, among other articles 
of l\imiture, Dean Berkeley's study^chair, which the Dean gave 
blm wlien he IcR Newport. This chair came at last to Dr. Colt, 



152 HISTORICAL TRACT. 

who gave it to Trinity College, Hartford, where It Is regularly 
brought out on Commenccnicnt days, for the use of the 
President. 



f^