Col. Robert Stanton (1794-1866)

My fourth great grandfather, Robert Stanton (Caroline Ann Stanton/Emily Roe/Edith Emily Barrett/Jessie Russel/M. Laird Gordon), was born at Dorchester, Lower Canada on the 6th of June 1794 to William Henry Stanton and Margaret Mary Robertson.1 Robert was the eldest son and the family lived in Dorchester, or St. Jean/St. John, for a number of years moving to Québec City in 1798 then York (Toronto) in 1805.1

In 1806 12 year-old Robert was sent to Cornwall, Upper Canada to be educated by John Strachan, a recently ordained priest in the Church of England and future Bishop of Toronto. The next year the Home District Grammar School was opened in York and Robert started attendance but the friends and classmates from Dr. Strachan’s school were to remain and have influence all his life.1

Robert Stanton, from Toronto Reference Library, Baldwin Room, John Ross Robertson Collection

Robert Stanton, from Toronto Reference Library, Baldwin Room, John Ross Robertson Collection2

In 1810 16 year-old Robert started working as a clerk in the Lieutenant Governor’s office. The next year he moved to the Surveyor General’s office and by 1812 he was a copying clerk to the Assembly. Robert also held a commission as a Lieutenant in the York Militia.1

When the war of 1812 broke out Robert took to arms and fought at the battle of Queenston Heights where Issac Brock fell.1 Later in life Robert was instrumental in getting Brock’s monument at Queenston Heights replaced after the original was destroyed.3 On the articles of surrender for York on the 27th of April, 1813 Robert’s name is recorded as a Lieutenant in the Commissariat Department attached to the 3rd Regiment of the York Militia. The document reads as a veritable who’s who of the Family Compact with John (Beverley) Robinson, Samuel and George Ridout and two William Jarvis’ on it.4

Return of Officers of the 3rd Regiment York Militia Surrendered by Capitulation at York

Return of Officers of the 3rd Regiment York Militia Surrendered by Capitulation at York.4

After the War of 1812 Robert moved to Kingston and continued to work as a clerk in the Commissariat Department. On the 2nd of September, 1816 he married Frances D. Spafford, likely a daughter of Col. Elijah Spafford and Caroline Schuman, probably at St. George’s Anglican Church by Reverend George O’Kill Stuart.1

While in Kingston Robert also worked in a hardware store and by 1820 had opened his own. In 1819 he was commissioned as a Magistrate for the Midland District. Robert and Frances are purported to have had at least 10 children1 but records for only eight have been located. While in Kingston a daughter Sophia was born about 18195 followed by a son William Henry about 18206.

In 1826 the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Peregrine Maitland, appointed Robert King’s Printer and he sold his shop and moved his family to York where he took up his duties as King’s Printer and publisher of the Upper Canada Gazette. He also started another pro Tory newspaper, the U.E. Loyalist.1

During this time the Stantons lived in a large house on Peter Street at the western end of Hospital (Richmond) Street at the then western boundary of the city. A son Robert Charles was born the 25 September 1826 at York7. Robert Charles died 5 years later and was buried in St. James’ Churchyard on the 12th December, 183111. My 2nd great grandmother, Caroline Ann was born 9 September, 18308 followed a son Charles Frederick on the 8th of January, 18327. Charles died 16 June 183311. Two sisters, Elizabeth Ann and Louise Amelia, were born in 1835 and 1837 respectively in the newly formed city of Toronto and both died as infants11. The last child we know of, Frances, was born about 1837 at Kingston.9

Robert Stanton Residence, Peter and Richmond streets, Toronto, From: Toronto Reference Library, Baldwin Room, John Ross Robertson Collection; Accessed July 2015

Robert Stanton Residence, Peter and Richmond streets, Toronto, From: Toronto Reference Library, Baldwin Room, John Ross Robertson Collection; Accessed July 2015

In 1841, with the Union of Lower and Upper Canada, Robert lost his position as Queen’s Printer but was appointed Collector of Customs for the Port of Toronto.1 In 1844 Frances died and was buried in St. James’ Churchyard with the children that predeceased her.11 The next year Robert married the widow Anna Louisa (Hagerman) Newbigging.1

Anna Louisa (Hagerman) Magrath. Courtesy Museums of Mississauga

Anna Louisa (Hagerman) Magrath. Courtesy Museums of Mississauga.14

In 1849 Robert lost his position as Collector of Customs after allegations he denied of falsification of records were brought forward. He was appointed Clerk of Process at Osgoode Hall. Robert died on the 25th February, 1866 at Toronto of a Heart Clot and was buried in an unmarked grave at St. James’ Cemetery where the remains of his 1st wife Frances and those of their young children had been relocated in 1852.1, 11 His second wife, Anna Louisa, married Charles E. Magrath of Erindale on the 19th September, 186813 and continued to live in the residence at 138 Peter Street until her death 26th September, 1906.14

Hilary Bates Neary in Roberts biography in the “Dictionary of Canadian Biography” neatly sums up Robert’s life thus:

“Stanton was a loyal servant to the crown and to the Tory principles of the Family Compact. A frequent casualty of the rise of Reform politics and government, at the same time he possessed sufficient tenacity to survive contrary winds of fortune without compromising his decidedly colonial world view.”1

References

  1. Hilary Bates Neary, “STANTON, ROBERT,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 1976, accessed February 9, 2014.
  2. Robert Stanton, from Toronto Reference Library, Baldwin Room, John Ross Robertson Collection, No. 3546. Watercolor from portrait in possession of Mrs. A. H. Walker, Toronto. Size 3 x 4. Head and shoulders. See: pg. 537, Landmarks of Canada, John Ross Robertson, 1917.
  3. Circular Petitioning Milita Regiments to Subscribe for the Replacement of General Brock’s Monument at Queenston, Toronto, 1840. Retrived from The Internet Archive; Original filmed 1984 by Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproduction at Canadian History Department, Metropolitain Toronto Library.
  4. Return of Officers of the 3rd Regiment York Militia who were surrendered by capitulation at York on the 27th April 1813.; Images 1141 through 1144 of 1191, Vol. 16, Film t-10383, War of 1812: Upper Canada Returns, Nominal Rolls and Paylists, RG 9 1B7; Library and Archives Canada.
  5. Ancestry.com. Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Original data: Archives of Ontario. Registrations of Deaths, 1869-1938. MS 935, reel 90. Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  6. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1861 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Census Returns For 1861; Roll: C-1106-1107. Page Number: 1598.
  7. St. James’ Anglican Church Baptismal Registers, Anglican Diocese of Toronto Archives; Accessed August, 2015
  8. Ancestry.com. 1901 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Original data: Library and Archives Canada. Census of Canada, 1901. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2004. . Series RG31-C-1. Statistics Canada Fonds. Microfilm reels: T-6428 to T-6556.; Year: 1901; Census Place: Ottawa (City/Cité) St George (Ward/Quartier), Ottawa (city/cité), Ontario; Page: 3; Family No: 21.
  9. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1861 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. Original data: Canada. “Census returns for 1861.” LAC microfilm C-1106-1107, Page N0. 1598; Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Census Returns For 1861.
  10. Pg. 459, Vol. I “Landmarks of Toronto”, John Ross Robertson, Toronto, 1894. Retrieved from The Internet Archive.
  11. St. James’ Anglican Church Burial Registers, Anglican Diocese of Toronto Archives; Accessed August, 2015
  12. “The Magrath Family of Erindale”, on-line exhibition, Museums of Mississauga, 2009.
  13. “Ancestry.com and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada). Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928” [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
    Original data: Ontario, Canada. County Marriage Registers, 1858-June 1869. FHL microfilm 1030055-1030068. Family History Library. Salt Lake City, Utah (Archives of Ontario, MS 248, reels 15-16).
  14. “Ancestry.com. Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947” [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Original data: Archives of Ontario. Division Registrar Vital Statistics Records, 1858-1930. MS 940, reel 16. Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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