Ohio Biographies

John Wingate

John Wingate was one of the earliest settlers in Hamilton. He was here almost as soon as the clash of arms ended, and remained here through our infancy as a town, although afterwards going away to other places. He was born in the State of New York in the year 1774, and in his youth learned the trade of stonemason. Soon after the date of St. Clair's defeat, Mr. Wingate came to the Western country with the army commanded by General Wayne. He was a sergeant in Van Rnsselaer's cavalry, in the battle of Fallen Timber's, when Wayne gained a complete victory over the savages. He behaved with bravery on this occasion and his deeds were long remembered by his associates in arms. His brother was slain by his side in that action. After the disbandment of the army, Mr. Wingate came to Fort Hamilton, where he settled, marrying Miss Mary Dillon, who was the daughter of one of the earliest pioneers. She died in a few years, leaving him with two children. Soon after coming here he opened a store on Front Street, in a log building, situated on the west side of the street, on the lot now occupied by St. Mary's Catholic Church. In 1806 he gave up business, and the store was rented to the Hough Brothers of whom the survivor, Joseph Hough, was long an ornament of Hamilton. In October, 1807, he was elected sheriff of the county, serving for two years, and being preceded and followed by Mr. William McClellan. On the 24th of May, 1809, Mr. Wingate was married to Mrs. Emma Torrence, widow of John Torrence, then lately deceased. She was a lady of great worth, and highly esteemed for her many amiable and excellent traits of character. She was a daughter of Captain Robert Benham, and sister of Joseph S. Benham, the distinguished lawyer. Mr. Wingate was elected about 1810 a brigadier general of the Ohio militia, and the year 1813 again went out to the war, serving six months in that capacity.

After his marriage with Mrs. Torrence, in 1809, he kept an inn for the accomodation of travelers, on the corner of Dayton and Water Streets, the stand that had been previously occupied by John Torrence. In 1816 he removed to Cincinnati, where for some years he kept the old Cincinnati Hotel, on Front Street between Sycamore and Broadway, and after a time removed to Big Bone Lick, Kentucky, where he kept a house of entertainment for several years, finally removing further West. He returned during the last weeks of 1851, and took up his abode with John Burke, Jr., near Symmes Corner, whose father, when an unprotected boy, had found a friend and benefactor in him.

His death occurred only a few weeks later, on the 14th of April, 1851, when he had attained the age of seventy-seven years. His funeral was largely attended. It was held in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Hamilton, the discourse being pronounced by the Rev. Arthur W. Elliot, and the body being interred in Mr. Elliot's own lot in Greenwood Cemetery. After the service at the church had closed a funeral procession was formed, under the direction Lewis D. Campbell. The funeral car was preceded by marital music; then followed a company of artillery with a brass field-piece, under the command of Captain Nathaniel Reeder; Major William P. Young, bearing the national flag, appropriated trimmed; the mayors of Hamilton and Rossville; the clergy and pall-bearers. The body was followed by the friends of the deceased, the soldiers and a large train of citizens. As the procession entered the cemetery grounds, the artillery commenced firing minutes guns, which with the tolling of the bells in town, continued until the service at the grave was concluded. The whole formed a combination at once solemn and impressive.


From A History and Biographical Cyclopædia of Butler County Ohio, With Illustrations and Sketches of its Representative Men and Pioneers, Western Biographical Publishing Company, Cincinnati Ohio, 1882.