William Wrighton and Maria J. Hazelwood Family of Peterborough

The Wrighton family of Peterborough is an interesting one. William H. Wrighton, born about 1805 in England lived for a time in the West Indies, in British Guyana as it was called at the time. There he married Maria J. H. Hazelwood and in 1834 still residing in the West Indies, they had a daughter, Anna Maria.

Within another two or three years, William and Maria had immigrated to Upper Canada, coming to settle in the town of Peterborough. Here a son was born in 1838 and they named him William Hall Wrighton. In 1840, another son, James, was born. Ada Louise Hazelwood Wrighton was their next child. She was born in Peterborough in 1846. Madeline was born in 1848 and their youngest daughter, May R. P., was born in 1856.

In 1851, the family resided in Peterborough, where William had a position as Clerk of the Peace. Barely another four years past and William died on 8 September 1855. Maria was left a widow with a family of six children ranging in age from twenty-one down to a newborn infant.

Life did not get easier for Maria. Two years following the loss of her husband, her eldest daughter, Anna Maria, died on 1 June 1857. She was just 23 years old. Her body was laid to rest in Little Lake Cemetery, next to that of her father.

By 1861, William Hall Wrighton, son of Maria and her late husband, William, was old enough to be working and helping to support the family. William now had a grocery store on George Street in town. There he sold not only groceries, but other provisions, pork, oats, peas, cornmeal, oatmeal and more.

Death in the Family

In the year 1866, the family sustained yet another loss. James, born in 1840, died on 5 April 1866. His remains were laid to rest in the family plot at Little Lake Cemetery.

The year 1867, brought happier times for the family. That year, William married Katherine M. Hunter, daughter of J. D. And Cecelia (Gardiner) Hunter. She was born about 1843 in Lindsay, Ontario. William and Katherine lived at 106 McDonnell Street in Peterborough throughout most of their married life. In addition to operating a grocery store, William was as well, a grain dealer and general dry goods merchant.

He ran his grocery store from 421 George Street from 1861 for the next forty-seven years, until his death on 24 January 1908. Thereafter, his widow, Katherine, made her home at 45 McDonnell up until 1911. Beyond that date she was not found in the city of Peterborough, nor was a death registration located for her. William Hall Wrighton was laid to rest in the family plot at Little Lake Cemetery. Presumably, his wife is also buried there.

William and Katherine had two daughters. Ella Louise was born in 1868. She married Ralph Ross on 21 July 1892 at Peterborough. Ethel Valentine, was the second child of William and Katherine. Ethel was born in 1875 and married Burton Hotchkiss Brooks at Peterborough on 30 December 1903.

William Wrighton had three younger sisters. Ada Louise, born in 1846, married Robert William Radcliffe Grubbe, at Peterborough on 11 June 1868. Robert was born 27 April 1844 in Madras, India, a son of William Henry Grubbe and Elizabeth Conwell. They lived in Peterborough and had a son, Harry Grubbe. Ada died 19 May 1919 at their home on McDonnell Street. Robert died in Nicholls Hospital, Peterborough, on 26 October 1923. Their burial markers at Little Lake Cemetery are a most interesting read:

To the dear memory of Ada, Beloved wife of Robert William GRUBBE
 Daughter of the late William & Maria HASELWOOD WRIGHTON and
Great Grand-daughter of the Baron de Codin, Died at Peterborough May 19, 1919
Until the day break and the shadows flee away

 To the dear memory of Robert William GRUBBE,
 Son of Captain W. H. GRUBBE of the Honourable East India Company Artillery and grandson of Captain John GRUBBE, Lord of the Manor, of Horsendon Buckinghamshire, England, Born in India April 27, 1844 – died at Peterborough, Oct. 26, 1923

The lifetime of Madeline H. Wrighton, born 1848 in Peterborough, Ontario, turned out quite sad. She lived with her mother until her mother’s death in September 1889. A year later, Madeline was admitted for the first time to the Ontario Hospital at Mimico, Ontario. After a stay of some time, Madeline was released to return home to Peterborough. She was again admitted to the Mimico Hospital on 5 January 1892. Madeline then lived at the institution for the next 29 years, until her death on 17 November 1922. Her remains were returned to Peterborough for burial in the family plot at Little Lake Cemetery.

May R. P. Wrighton, the youngest of the children of William H. Wrigton and Maria J. H. Haselwood, was born in 1856 in Peterborough. She died on 23 January 1873 and was interred in Little Lake Cemetery.

The family had a long but difficult life over its nearly seventy-five year span in Peterborough. For many years, William served on the Board of Education, participating on the Finance and Property Standing Committees and for a number of years on the Visiting Committee.