Family Stories

More About the Henry Wingate Family – Franklin County

Wingate family stone, Frankfort Cemetery, Franklin County, Kentucky.

Since I have previously written two blogs about the Henry Wingate family one would think I had exhausted the subject.  Honestly, that is never the case.  There is always something new to find out about families.

My research today is based on old newspapers, the Kentucky Gazette of Lexington, The Frankfort Roundabout, The Argus of Western America of Frankfort, The Courier Journal of Louisville, and The Louisville Daily Journal.  Let’s refresh our memory about this family.

Henry Wingate, 1795-1862, was the son of Smith Wingate and Susanna Copes, both born in Delaware and moved to Kentucky after their marriage.  Smith and Susanna died on the same day, August 27, 1799.  Unfortunately, I have found no reason for their simultaneous deaths.  They left four infant children – Cyrus, 1781-1869; Thomas S., 1784-1840; Isaac, 1791-1876, and Henry, 1795-1862.

Friday, July  16, 1819

The Kentucky Gazette announces ‘the marriage, in Frankfort, of Captain Henry Wingate to Miss Penelope Anderson.’  Most likely he was a captain during the recent War of 1812.

Penelope Hart Anderson was the daughter of Reuben Anderson, 1766-1837, and Sarah Runyon, 1771-1828.  Henry and Penelope were born in Franklin County and lived the majority of their life in the city of Frankfort.  Their children were:

  1. Lucien Wingate, October 21, 1820-January 4, 1846.
  2. Maria Louisa Wingate, May 18, 1822-June 2, 1906, married the Hon. Russell McRery, and second, Rev. Duncan R. Campbell, children R. McRery and Duncan R. Campbell, Jr.
  3. Reuben Anderson Wingate, November 23, 1823-January 28, 1863, married Sarah F. Graham, children Sarah G., Edwin Bryant, Henry and Ellen Wingate.
  4. Sarah Hart Wingate, November 5, 1825-May 2, 1908, married George Robertson McKee, children Lucien W., Henry W. and Jeanie Duncan McKee.
  5. Susan Mary Wingate, August 18, 1827-April 30, 1842.
  6. Robert Johnson (Major) Wingate, December 18, 1829-August 28, 1893.
  7. Henry Wingate, Jr., May 31, 1833-February 22, 1835.
  8. Ellen Wingate, June 23, 1839-April 13, 1908, married N. J. Sawyier, children, the artist Paul Sawyier and two daughters.

Now, let’s find out more about this family from the newspaper articles of the time period they lived.  Living in Frankfort, our Kentucky state capital, there was a daily newspaper, most issues of which have survived through the ages.

Wednesday, February 13, 1828

In this article we find that Henry is one of the directors of the Commonwealth’s Bank.  In the 1850 census he is listed as a cashier in a bank.  The official name was the Bank of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Wednesday, December 21, 1831

By 1831 Henry Wingate, Esq., is listed as president of the Commonwealth’s Bank.

Thursday, January 20, 1859

This is a notice of a meeting of the Kentucky Colonization Society, of which Henry was secretary.  This was a society to return enslaved Africans to Liberia, to start their life anew in their native land.

Friday, November 8, 1861

Destructive Fire in Frankfort – The elegant mansions of Messrs. Campbell Steele and Henry Wingate, together with a large amount of their household goods, near the railroad depot at Frankfort, were destroyed by fire last evening.  The fire was still raging when the evening train left, and it was thought the destruction of property would be very great.

Saturday, November 9, 1861

The Fire At Frankfort – A friend who was present at the fire in Frankfort on Thursday afternoon, informs us that the dwelling house of Mr. Campbell Steele was entirely destroyed, with the exception of the walls, which were greatly damaged.  The house of Mr. Henry Wingate, was all destroyed but two rooms and the walls.  The latter are sound enough to be built upon again, and a dozen hands are already clearing the rubbish for that purpose.  Among the young men who were most active at the fire, was the ‘Boy Captain’ of 1812, Gen. Leslie Combs.  He was of the first to ‘mount the ramparts,’ where he stood for more than an hour, exposed to a roasting fire in front and a drenching fall of water in the rear.  He did not retire from his perilous position until further exertions were manifestly unavailing.

We do not learn what caused the fire, but both the Steele and Wingate families took shelter elsewhere until their houses were rebuilt.

Friday, October 3, 1862

We learn from a gentleman who arrived from Frankfort yesterday, that Mr. Henry Wingate, an old and respected citizen of that city, is lying at the point of death, and that his friends have no hopes that he will recover.  Mr. Wingate is cashier of the branch of the Bank of Kentucky at Frankfort, and is the oldest cashier in the Commonwealth.

There is no other notice of Henry’s death.  He died the next day.  There were no Frankfort newspapers available for search for October of 1862.

Friday, October 22, 1862

Henry Wingate was a life-long Mason.

Thursday, November 6, 1862

This Masonic notice tells us that Henry was a Past Grand High Priest of the order.  Henry ‘has gone to receive his reward, leaving behind him a memory fragrant with all the virtues which adorn good men’s lives.’

Friday, January 30, 1863

Just three months after Henry’s death, his son Reuben died.  He must have been ill when his father passed away, although there is no mention of cause of death.  He sounds much like his father, ‘A promise made by him in this sense was his bond, signed and sealed.  His social qualities and generous benevolence of disposition, as well as his intellectual acquirements and refinements, were brilliantly conspicuous to those who were his intimate associates.  During his life he occupied, here and elsewhere, places of trust and confidence, none of which he ever forfeited.’

Wednesday, February 18, 1863

Sarah F. Graham, Reuben’s wife, was his executrix, as well as guardian to their children, Sallie, Edwin, Henry and Ellen Wingate.

Saturday, December 20, 1884

Penelope Wingate lived for twenty-eight years past her husband’s death.  In 1884 she received an inheritance of $20,000 from a cousin in Cincinnati.

Saturday, July 24, 1886

And in 1886 builds a Sunday school room for classes at her church with a portion of this inheritance.

Saturday, February 19, 1887

Mary Knight Harris, a granddaughter of Henry and Penelope, died in 1887.  I cannot say from which child she descends, but she is one of the few given a bequest from her grandfather’s will.  Henry lists her as granddaughter Mary Knight Wingate.  Penelope and daughter Sarah McKee are the other two listed in his will, the other children are ‘provided for.’

Wednesday, February 5, 1890

This community today is mourning the death of Mrs. Penelope H. Wingate, one of the oldest citizens of Frankfort.  She was a woman whose name was a synonym for charity and all the Christian virtues, and she was revered and beloved by all for her gentle character and disposition.

She was a Christian in the highest sense of the word, and probably the last act of her life was the donation to the Baptist church here of its beautiful little chapel, which has just been completed.  Mrs. Wingate died of infirmities incident to very advanced age.  The interment will take place here Thursday afternoon, at 2:30 o’clock.

She was born in Franklin County in 1799, and consequently death found her in her ninety-first year.  She removed into the city when quite young, and has lived here continuously for seventy-five years.  Mrs. Wingate’s daughters are Mrs. Dr. Sawyer and Mrs. Maria Campbell, of this city, and Mrs. Judge George R. McKee, of Covington.  Her son is Robert J. Wingate, of West Virginia.

Penelope Hart Anderson Wingate outlived her husband and half her children, dying February 4, 1890.

Saturday, May 28, 1892

In this article, information from the 1840 November election was discussed, ‘at which General William Henry Harrison and Hon. John Tyler were the candidates of the Whig part for President and Vice President.  Martin Van Buren and Col. Richard M. Johnson the candidates of the Democratic party. . . The judges and clerk were sworn by Henry Wingate, then a justice of the peace.  All of these are long since dead, and of the 1,090 voters who cast their votes at that election, so far as we know, there are only about twenty-five now living.  The first man to cast his vote for Harrison was Henry Wingate.’

Saturday, September 2, 1893

Major Robert J. Wingate died Monday morning in St. Joseph’s Infirmary in Louisville.  The deceased was the youngest son of the late Henry Wingate and a brother of Mrs. N. J. Sawyier, of this city, and Mrs. Maria Campbell and Mrs. Sarah McKee, of Covington.  He was born in this city on the 18th of December, 1829, and was educated at West Point, having been appointed to a cadetship by the late Hon. Garrett Davis.  After leaving the Military Academy he was connected with the firm of Miller, Wingate & Co., in the manufacture of agricultural implements in Louisville until the outbreak of the war, when he entered the Confederate service as a first-lieutenant.  He was made adjutant of the original Stonewall Brigade, then commanded by General Garnett and soon after was appointed Inspector-General on the staff of Gen. A. P. Hill, in which capacity he served for about three years and until the death of Gen. Hill, participating in all his campaigns.  After Gen. Hill’s death he was assigned to the staff of Gen. Longstreet, with whom he served until the close of the war, being present at the surrender at Appomattox.

After the close of the war he was engaged in the cotton and insurance business in New Orleans.

I have seen nothing about marriage or children, which I am sure would have been added to his obituary.

After Robert’s death, three sisters were left.

Saturday, June 9, 1906

Just before 7 o’clock, on Sunday evening, Mrs. Maria L. Campbell, widow of the late Rev. Duncan R. Campbell, D. D. President of Georgetown College, passed to the home beyond, aged 84 years and one month.

Mrs. Campbell was the eldest daughter of Mr. Henry Wingate and wife, of this city, and when in the first lush of a beautiful young womanhood was wooed and won by the Hon. Russell McRery, Representative from Muhlenburg County, in the Kentucky Legislature.

Mr. McRery’s career was cut short by an untimely death, and his young widow and baby boy returned to this city to reside.

Several years later Rev. D. R. Campbell, D. D., the able and cultured president of Georgetown College, met the handsome widow and won her for his bride.  With Dr. Campbell she removed to Georgetown and for many years, and until Dr. Campbell went to his reward in 1865, she was the gracious and gentle queen of his home – winning and holding the hearts of the vast army of students at Georgetown College by her genial and kindly nature and genuine interest in ‘her boys,’ as she so proudly called them.

By her union with Dr. Campbell she had several children who died in infancy, and one son, Mr. Duncan R. Campbell, Jr., who died in early manhood from typhoid fever, and now sleeps in our city on the hill beside his father.

After Dr. Campbell’s death Mrs. Campbell returned to this city to reside.

A life-long member of the Baptist Church, that life has been marked by a devoted and untiring service for the Master she loved so dearly.  Until disabled by ill health she was ever at her post of duty in all the religious work of the church – a leader among a loving band, glad to have her advice and counsel.

As the shadows began to fall the star of her faith and trust grew brighter and brighter, shedding its effulgence on all who came within her influence – a glorious testimony to the power of redeeming love.  ‘Aunt Maria,’ as she was affectionately called by a host of us, who delighted to sit at her feet and learn wisdom from her chastened and gentle life.

There is a void in the home and a break in the ranks of church-works hard to fill.

As daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend, she was a model of dignity, gentleness and love, combined with firmness of an unusual character, where her convictions of right were concerned.

The funeral services were conducted from the First Baptist Church, on Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 o’clock, by Rev. Dr. M. B. Adams, her pastor, and the large audience present bore testimony to the esteem in which she was held.

She leaves one son (Mr. R. W. McRery), two sisters (Mrs. Sarah McKee and Mrs. Ellen Sawyier) and a very large circle of relatives and friends to mourn her departure to the home beyond.

It can truthfully be said of her ’blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord; yea, from henceforth saith the Spirit, for they do rest from their labors and their works do follow them.’

Ellen and Sarah died in 1908, less than a month apart.

Tuesday, April 14, 1908

Ellen Wingate Sawyier was 68 years when she passed away April 13th.  She was survived by her husband, Dr. N. J. Sawyier, three daughters, Mrs. Hawthorne Hill and Mrs. Stewart Bentz, of New York, and Mrs. Neice Warner, of Pittsburg, and one son, Paul Sawyier, the well-known artist.

Sunday, May 3, 1908

Sarah followed her sister to the grave on May 2nd.  She was survived by one daughter, Jeanie D. McKee.

As with all families there comes a point when all have filled their graves; only children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are left to remember them.  I truly understood this when my mother died in March of 2014.  She was the last of her parents and seven brothers and sisters.  When my uncle, Jessie Lee Hill, died in March of this year, that same loss was felt for my father’s family – he was the last of parents and eight brothers and sisters.  I am the matriarch of my brother and sisters, a very strange situation since I think I am still very young – at least at heart.  But I have all those lovely memories than I can bring up when I need the comfort of older family, as well all can.

To learn more about the Henry Wingate family visit previous blogs 2014 and 2019.


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