Genealogy: Wanton

This genealogy of the Wanton ancestors of Frederick Wickham is an excerpt from the transcription of a handwritten notebook I discovered in my grandmother’s papers. The family history in this notebook was the work of two women, Agnes Caroline Wickham and her daughter, Harriott Benedict Wickham Barton (my grandmother), who separately researched and made entries in it over a period of seventy years.  Agnes Wickham wrote roughly half of the entries in the notebook from 1909 to 1915.  In 1915, she gave handwritten copies of her work to each of her five children: Eleanor, William, Lucy, David and Harriott.  Harriott continued her mother’s work off and on for the next sixty years, adding entries as late as 1977.

Dave Barton

Wanton Genealogy


Wanton Family

Edward Wanton, born 1629; died 1716. Sailed from England and settled in America; married Elizabeth.  Was a ship builder, and had a “Privateer” ship.  Had been a soldier, but became a Quaker, impressed by the bravery of oppressed Quakers, he laid down his sword and became one of them (see Angelica’s poem).

1.  John

2.  William

John and William fought in Queen Anne’s War against the French in Canada and were so successful that, when visiting England, they were received at court and the Queen gave them some silver with inscriptions regarding their exploits.  It is said they were allowed to kiss the Queen.  This silver went to William Wickham and is supposed to have been buried in woods when British and Indians raided Sodus Point.

William, born 1670; married Ruth Bryant*, daughter of John in 1691 and Mary Hiland Bryant; was Governor of Rhode Island, 1732; died 1733.

1.  Joseph.

Joseph, Governor of Rhode Island 1769; born 1705 at Newport; married Mary Winthrop, Aug. 21, 1729; died 1780.

1.  Elizabeth, married Thomas Wickham.

2.  Josite ?

3.  William.

* William Wanton, Quaker; loved Ruth Bryant, whose family were Dissenters.  The parents of both young people objected to their marriage on religious grounds.  Family tradition has it that he said to her: “Ruth, you leave your church and I’ll leave mine, and we’ll go to the Devil together.”  So they were married and joined the Church of England.  Angelica Gardiner’s poem relates the same incident, but has him use more decorous language.

Joseph and Mary Winthrop Wanton had, apparently several children, among them Elizabeth, who married . . .

[The following is from the Wickham Genealogy Page]

4.  Thomas, born April 5, 1736; married Elizabeth Wanton, December 22, 1762; died, March 21, 1817. (1) Admitted as freeman 1759.  In 1778 was paid 30 pounds for a whale boat by the state.  About 1881, when thrown into jail because of sympathy for England, his father-in-law was Colonial Governor for King, he presented to the assembly a petition praying to be released from prison, and payment of 5,000 silver dollars, to be restored to full citizenship.  Assembly gave him freedom of Newport upon payment of 500 silver dollars and bonds for his good behavior during the war.  January 1782, he prayed for permission to go to New York in interest of his distressed family.  Assembly allowed this, if in return he agreed to procure copies of accounts from books of Joseph and William Wanton at New York, as committee may request, and if Joseph and William Wanton do not allow him to examine books, and make copies of same, the Assembly will take estate which they now permit Mrs. Sarah Wanton, widow of late Joseph Wanton, Esq., to enjoy for her comfort and the education of her children. (4) In 1784 a petition was presented for restoration of a house and land, etc. to Thomas Wickham, his wife Elizabeth & other heirs of Joseph Wanton, and a committee was appointed to look into matter (report not given).  In 1791 Thomas Wickham with others of Trinity Church, Newport, petition Assembly to allow them to have a lottery, the proceeds to make much needed repairs on church.

1.  Thomas, born November 7, 1763.

2.  Mary Winthrop, born May 22, 1772

3.  Elizabeth, born November 2, 1773

4.  Catherine, born January 23, 1775

5.  John, born April 2, 1785

6.  William, born July 7, 1778 – served in U.S. Navy, March 1798.

7.  Ann, born April 2, 1785 – Died at Sodus Point, N.Y

8.  Thomas, born April 2, 1785 – Married Katherine Rutger.  This must be “Aunt Katie” in Angelica’s poem about the house.

All above were natives of Newport, R.I.

5.  William, born July 7, 1778; married Catherine Christian, (daughter of Frederick & Elizabeth Hodgkinson Christian) March 24, 1803;  died at Sodus point, New York, May 1875.  He went to sea when 13 years old – sailed all over the world and at 21 was Captain of a ship.  The old spy glass was his, and the scratch on one of the lenses was made by a passenger when on a trip home from Russia.  Frank Wickham told me that William had a chance (even signed up) to go on the ill-fated Astor expedition (as 1st Mate, I think), but Catherine objected so strenuously that he gave it up.  The ship reached Oregon, but all on board were killed there, presumably by Indians. Abandoning the sea, he went into business in New York with his brother Thomas as an importing merchant.  They had a shipping business in New York after 1803.  Their ships sailed to the West Indies and one was lost on a return voyage.  In 1807, when President Jefferson put the Embargo on U.S. shipping out of U.S. ports, they had a ship loaded, ready to sail.  Being in hard circumstances, they took a chance, sent the ship out and it was caught and confiscated with its cargo.  This ruined them.  William then went to wilderness shore of Lake Ontario and built a cabin, moving his family up there about 1812 (the year his son, my grandfather, Fredrick was born in New York City).  William had fishing boats and nets there.  The British raided from Canada, burning his cabin, boats, and nets.  The U.S. Government reimbursed all settlers who swore they stayed to defend their property, but William refused to lie (as others did), so had no relief, until, in later years, Congress granted to him and his descendants the right to fish in Lake Ontario forever, regardless of season.  William & Katherine buried in the woods during the raid their silver, including, I think, a tea set given by Queen Anne to William’s ancestor for service to the Queen with their ships out of Rhode Island (Queen Anne’s War). (5)

William Wickham married Catherine Christian in 1803.  She lived in Philadelphia. Her father, Frederick Christian had married Elizabeth Hodgkinson. (6) Elizabeth’s father, or grandfather, John Hodgkinson, according to family legend, was originally John Erskine, Earl of Mar, who took part in the Jacobite insurrections in Scotland in early 1700’s, was in the conspiracy to restore the old Stuart “pretender” to the throne, was captured, escaped to Ireland (where he changed his name to Hodgkinson) then to America. (See Webster Biographical Dictionary).

“There was a young man in Philadelphia who was attentive to me, and while I couldn’t say I loved him, I thought more of him than of any other young man I knew. One day he invited me to go horse back riding and I felt that day he was going to ask me to marry him, and I had made up my mind to accept him. Just as I came downstairs in my riding habit, my brother came into the house with a young man whom he introduced to me as Captain Wickham.  I knew right then I was going to refuse the other young man that afternoon, and I did.  Later your grandfather asked me and we have been lovers ever since.”  Told by Katherine Christian + Wickham (daughter of Frederick & Elizabeth * Hodgkinson Christian to Sara Wickham of Huron, Erie County, Ohio.

(They were married in Christ Church, Philadelphia).

+ The Christians were Flemish people who had settled in Philadelphia.

* Elizabeth Hodgkinson was a granddaughter of Lord Erakeyre,

Earl of Man, who (about 1816) lost his title because of his part in the attempt to put the Stuart “Pretender” back on the throne.  He fled to Ireland and changed his name to Hodgkinson.

1.  Elizabeth Wanton, born December 22, 1803; married Alden S. Baker; died February 4, 1892.

2.  John William, born 1806, died 1893?; married (1) Marial (2) Sarah (3) Elizabeth Van Ransellaer; died 1893. Father of Schuyler Wickham.  Cousin Schuyler, of Huron, Ohio.  My father took me (not quite three years old) to visit them.  Uncle John was very old, long white hair – sat by the window & looked sadly down the river (which was back of their house).  Handsome man.

3.  Thomas, born 1808; married (1) Proseus, (2) Frances Shipley.

4.  Samuel Christian, born 1810 (died young)

5.  Frederick, born March 11, 1812; married Lucy Preston (my grandparents).

6.  Samuel Christian, born 1819 (died)

7.  Samuel Christian, born 1824; married Gertrude Van Ransellaer.  My “Aunt Gertie” Van Rensellaer Wickham had summer house in Huron, Ohio (very interesting old lady).

6.  Frederick, born March 11, 1812; married Lucy Preston, June 15, 1835 at Norwalk, Ohio; died January 12, 1901; buried at Norwalk. (7) In early life a sailor on the Great Lakes, but gave it up at request of his wife.  At time of marriage was captain of a schooner, DeWitt Clinton, owned by himself and brother John.  Baptized as infant in St. John’s Episcopal Church in New York City.  Brought up at Sodus, New York.  Came to work in Norwalk, Ohio in store of Wickham, Alling & Christian (relatives).  Returned to sailing.  Last trip he left his boat at Perrysburg, Ohio in December 1834, 5 or before, and walked most of way to Norwalk; there went to work in office of Norwalk Reflector, belonging to his father-in-law.  He later became owner and editor of the paper.  Having lived in early life in the wilderness of western New York, he had no education, could not read nor write until grown up.  He then acquired an education and was one of best known editors of Northern Ohio for more than 50 years.  Was Associate Judge of Court of Common Pleas in Huron County, Ohio, Mayor of Norwalk – member of State Senate during Civil War. (8) Soon after coming to Norwalk, he was very homesick, walking with an acquaintance, he passed a yard where a girl was picking flowers.  He was introduced and was given a flower.  He later says his homesickness vanished immediately.  The girl was Lucy Preston, later his wife.  His son recalls that he spoke of that incident to his wife the day before her death. (9) Their home was the large white house with two-story vine covered porch, on the north side of West Main Street, Norwalk, just east of the library.  Said to have been a wedding present to Lucy from her brother.  Now the Firelands Museum (the house was moved around the corner to Case Avenue. Several of the Wickham Brothers had a shipping business – owned a number of Lake Erie sailing ships – Also sold nets & other things to the fishing boatmen.  The Twine House at Huron, beside the river, was one of their warehouses.  Their ships went up into Lake Superior, etc. – Their ships were built up the Huron River, near Milan.

(1) History of Western Reserve, p. 1689, by Upton

(2) History of Western Reserve

(3) Records of Rhode Island

(4) Records of Rhode Island; History of Western Reserve.

(5) Told by Frank Wickham, who had it from his father.

(6) See Webster’s Biographical Dictionary, page 488.

(7) History of the Western Reserve, p. 1688-9-90).

(8) History of Western Reserve

(9) Told by Frank Wickham

NOTE: Agnes and Harriott cited their sources in the margins of original notebook.  I included these citations as footnotes, attempting to keep them as close as possible to where they appear in the original notebook.

I would appreciate critiques and corrections of this genealogy. Please comment below. Thank you.

© 2006, 2009 by David W. Barton. All rights reserved

One Response

  1. I was born and raised in Sodus, New york. My grandmother was Edith Wickham Button. Have you heard from my sister, Fran Davis ?

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