John Hiram Wingate 1828-1898
John Hiram Wingate

By Spessard Stone

John Hiram Wingate, a pioneer settler of Myakka, Florida, was a Civil War veteran and farmer.

John Hiram Wingate was born in Montgomery County, Alabama, probably on January 24, 1828. Although his tombstone has 1824 as his year of birth, U. S. military and pension records indicate that he was born in 1828. His parents were probably John G. Wingate, born ca. 1795, and Elizabeth Wingate, born ca. 1810 in North Carolina.

The 1830 census of Montgomery County, Alabama enumerated John Wingate as the head of household, which included: 2 males 5-10, 1 male 30-40, 1 female over 5, 1 female 20-30. The 1840 census of Montgomery County listed John G. Wingate as head of household, which included: 1 male under 5, 1 male 5-10, 2 males 15-20, 1 male 40-50, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 50-60. Also enumerated apart, but apparently the same family was: Elizabeth Wingate, the family consisting of: 1 male under 5, 1 male 5-10, 2 males 15-20.

The 1850 census of Montgomery County, Alabama first clearly delineated the Wingates. Mrs. Elizabeth Wingate, 40, born N. C., headed her family of: John H., age 23, born Ala.; Pleasant, 16; Mary Aderson, 19; John Wingate, 55. Other Wingate households included: Patience Wingate, 69, born N. C. William Wingate, 26, b. Ala., headed a family consisting of his wife Lucinda, 23, b. S.C., and their children, Meary M., 2, and William K., 1 month.

In 1850 in Montgomery County, Alabama, John Hiram Wingate, married (1) Hasseltine Garner. On September 5, 1898 at Myakka, Fla. Nancy Graham High in an affidavit stated: "I was personally acquainted with Hasseltine Garner, John H. Wingate's first wife and my first cousin. She was married to John H. Wingate sometime in 1850 to the best of my recollection. Hasseltine did not live more than two years after marriage. Down with a long spell of sickness, she, during her sickness, was moved by her father to his house where she died sometime after." No children are known from this union.

On October 4, 1854 in Montgomery County, Alabama, John Hiram Wingate married (2) Rebecca Porter Johnson, born October 4, 1839 in Heard County, Georgia. Rebecca's tombstone has her birth as 1838, and courthouse records record the marriage as October 8, 1854. Rebecca, however, in her pension application on December 19, 1898 at Hendry, Florida averred, "I was married to John H. Wingate in Montgomery County, Alabama on the fourth day of October 1854. I know that this was the date because I was married on my birthday and that I was just 15 years old on the day of my marriage." Rev. Daniel Henderson performed the marriage.

The 1860 census of Montgomery County, Alabama enumerated: J. H. Wingate, age 33; Rebecca, age 22; and their children, Sarah, age 4, and David, 8 months. In 1860 the family is believed to have moved to Florida, but it may have been during the Civil War.

Soldiers of Florida listed twenty-six Wingates as serving in the Confederate Army from Florida, but no John H. Wingate. Family tradition has, however, that "Hi," as John Hiram was commonly known, during the Civil War, first served in the Confederate Army, but deserted. A wagon train, consisting of about twenty neighboring families was formed, and, after an arduous journey, reached South Florida. Rebecca Wingate in her later years often spoke of the trip, which was plagued by many hardships, including the death of an infant son, Darkus (Dorcas?) Wingate.

On February 24, 1865 at Fort Myers, Florida, John H. Wingate enlisted as a private in Company B, Second Florida Cavalry, United States Army. Mustered in at Monticello, Florida, Private Wingate was furloughed on September 28, 1865 and honorably discharged November 29, 1865 at Tallahassee. "Muster and Descriptive Roll" described him as: age, 37 years; height, 5 feet 10 inches; complexion, light; eyes, blue; hair, light; occupation, farmer.

After the war, the family settled in the Myakka area of Manatee County, Florida. J. H. Wingate's name appeared on a roll of persons 18-45 liable for military duty in Manatee County, dated July 15, 1869. In the 1870 census of Manatee County, the family was listed in township 35: John Wingate, 44; Rebecca 34, Sarah Eliza, 12; David, 10; George Maston, 4; Mariam, 2. Neighbors included the families of Thomas S. Knight, Miles Alford, Riley Summerall, Perry Chancey, Madison Weeks, Henderson Stephens, and Shadrach Hancock.

A farmer, John H. Wingate was shown as having forty cattle and twenty-five hogs on the 1872 Manatee County Tax List. The 1885 Manatee County Agricultural Schedule recorded that John H. Wingate had forty acres, forty-one cattle, and four horses. The 1885 Manatee County census recorded: J. H. Wingate, 61, born Ala. R.P., 45, born Ga.; G. M., 18; M. P., 17; M. F., 15; W. J., 11; E. G., 10; T. A., 7; J. B., 5.

In November 1889, John applied for a pension due to disability incurred while serving in Company B. His claim was approved under certificate # 480881. When filing again on June 4, 1896, he gave his address as Myakka. He was granted $12 per month.

John Hiram Wingate died May 12, 1898 in Myakka and was buried in the Stewart Family Cemetery, located about three miles east of Bethany Baptist Church in Manatee County.

On July 12, 1898, Rebecca Wingate applied for a pension as the widow of John H. Wingate. Affidavits in support of her claim were given by the following: Eliza Graham Rawls of Myakka, Nancy Graham High of Myakka, D. W. Hull of Castalia, S. J. Taylor of Castalia. She gave her address as Hendry, Florida. On March 3, 1900 she continued her application, at which time she gave her address as Riley, Manatee County. Under certificate # 526089 her pension was approved. She was receiving $30 per month at her death.

The 1900 census of Manatee County recorded in precinct # 3, Dry Prairie, Rebecca Wingate, born Oct. 1838; with her four bachelor sons, William J., born Jan. 1874; Elmore G., born Aug. 1875; Thomas A., born Feb. 1879; James B., born Jan. 1881. In her latter years she at various times lived with her children.

Rebecca Wingate died December 7, 1925 at Myakka City and was buried in Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery. She had been a member of the Bethany Church since January 1894.

Rebecca Wingate's Bethany Church memorial obituary follows:

"In Memory of the Life and history of Mrs. Rebecca Wingate
"Be it resolved that whereas it has pleased our Heavenly Father to remove from our midst by death, our much beloved Sister Wingate.
"It is resolved that in the death of Sister Wingate that our community has lost a kind friend and our Church a faithful member.
"Resolved that a page of our Church Record be given to her memory.
"Sister Wingate was born in Heard County, Georgia October 4, 1838 and departed this life December 7, 1925.
"She was married to Hiram Wingate Oct. 4, 1852 [sic] in Montgomery, Alabama and came to Florida in 1860, where she has lived ever since.
"Sister Wingate united with the Bethany Baptist Church in January of 1894 where she has been a faithful member. Sister Wingate was the mother of twelve children, six of whom are yet living. She has 40 grandchildren and 46 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild and a host of friends to mourn her departure.
"Respectfully submitted
"Lena Rich
"Ellen Bryant Committee."

John Hiram Wingate and Rebecca Porter (Johnson) Wingate had twelve children, of whom three died in infancy. The children who lived to adulthood are as follows:

1. Sarah Elizabeth Wingate, born July 22, 1855 in Alabama; died April 25, 1893; married on November 9, 1875 in Manatee Co., Fla. George Tatum, Jr.
2. David C. "Bud" Wingate, born April 20, 1859, Alabama; died January 10, 1924; married on February 5, 1890 in Manatee Co., Fla. Joan Americus Swain, daughter of John and Elvira (Rich) Swain.
3. George Maston Wingate, born September 27, 1866, Florida; died May 21, 1923; married on February 5, 1891 in Manatee Co., Fla. Mary Leah Stewart (1875-1910), daughter of John W. and Joan (Rich) Stewart.
4. Mariam Pearl "Mae" Wingate, born June 24, 1868, near Myakka Fla.; died March 10, 1953, married in Manatee Co., Fla. on October 8, 1891 Cornelius Frank Gilley (1866-1940), son of William Triggs Gilley and Martha (Johnson) Gilley.
5. Martha Frances Wingate, born December 24, 1870; died November 20, 1934, Ona, Fla.; married at Castalia, Fla. on August 9, 1899 James Madison Hendry, son of Robert Hendry and Zilla Ann Moody.
6. William Jessie Wingate, born January 12, 1874; died October 4, 1943; married on January 14, 1919 in Manatee Co., Fla. Betty Caroline Chancey, daughter of Nancy Jane Keen and stepdaughter of Philip C. Chancey.
7. Elmore G. Wingate, born August 9, 1875; died February 13, 1954; married January 12, 1901 in Manatee Co., Fla. Minnie Swain, daughter of John and Elvira (Rich) Swain.
8. Thomas Andrew "Ander" Wingate, born February 1, 1879; died August 25, 1953; married in Manatee Co. on April 9, 1905 Lettie Stewart (1890-1934), daughter of John W. and Joan (Rich) Stewart.
9. James Britton "Britt" Wingate, born January 8, 1881; died May 1951; married on January 21, 1912 in Manatee Co., Fla. Sophie Chancey, daughter of Jacob and Laura (Thompson) Chancey. They divorced in 1928.

See also John Hiram Wingate Famil,y

References: Military/pension applications of John H. and Rebecca Wingate, National Archives, Washington, D. C.; 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860 censuses of Montgomery Co., Alabama; Soldiers of Florida; 1870, 1880, 1885, 1900, 1930 censuses of Manatee County, Florida; 1872 Manatee County Tax List; 1885 Agricultural Schedule of Manatee County; Manatee County marriage records; Vera Dupree, "History of Bethany Baptist Church & Cemetery," South Florida Pioneers 21/22; Pauline Chancey, letters of February 28 and March 12, 1982; Richard Livingston, letter of November 17, 1981.

This profile is adapted from the author’s features in South Florida Pioneer 29/30 (July/Oct. 1981) and The Herald-Advocate of May 7, 1987.

February 10, 2001, October 16, 2001, August 1, 2011.