Anne Wanton


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Lieutenant General William Fyers R.E.

Anne Wanton 2

  • Born: 17 Mar 1754, Province of New Jersey 2
  • Marriage: Lieutenant General William Fyers R.E. on 4 Jan 1781 1
  • Died: 27 Sep 1808, London, England aged 54

bullet   Another name for Anne was Ann Wanton.3

bullet  General Notes:

Guestbook entry #57 - Stuart Edward Tapley.

Topic: Ann Wanton

Comments: Anne Wanton was born in New Jersey on 17 March 1754 and was therefore twenty-one years of age when the American Revolutionary War began in 1775. She was first attracted to Lieutenant Fyers on account of his "white hands," which attracted her attention in church, and Lieutenant Trotter (later General, Royal Artillery) was asked to bring him to Walton House. Anne was a remarkably pretty young woman who lived with Mr William Walton, his wife and his very accomplished and handsome daughter. The Walton's lived in good style in a handsome house, which was the resort of all that was distinguished in society, both civil and military.

Anne Wanton and Lieutenant William Fyers became engaged and were married on 04 January 1781, remaining in New York until November 1783, when the city was evacuated by the British forces upon ratification of the peace treaty. Their eldest child, Elizabeth, was born in New York. After a brief spell of special duty at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Thomas (later Major General, Royal Engineers) was born, the Fyers returned to England.

At the end of the year 1784 they were living in London at Edward Street, Portman Square, and on 2 December their third child, Sarah, was born. On the expiration of his leave, Lieutenant Fyers was ordered to Gosport, Hampshire. Sarah's sisters Charlotte (afterwards the wife of Admiral James Young) and Eliza (afterwards the wife of General the Honourable William Henry Gardner Royal Artillery) were born there.

However, Lieutenant Fyers found himself in a very embarrassing financial position. He had married a lady of considerable fortune, but after the close of the war she was deprived of most of her private means, the American Government having confiscated her landed property and the British Government having made no provision in the terms of peace for the protection of their loyal American adherents.

Now another blow awaited him. The agent to the Royal Engineers Corps had issued a higher rate of pay to some of the officers in America than he was authorised to do, and the mistake was not discovered till some years had passed, when all concerned were called upon to refund the amounts overpaid. This demand caused much consternation, especially to those officers of small private means.

Sarah Fyers continues: "This was my dear father's case. He did not mention to tell my mother, but her affectionate and anxious disposition soon lead her to perceive that something was amiss to occasion the gloom in my father's manner; he being always so merry and cheerful." He parred all her loving inquiries for some days, then finally told her and explained that the Government had decided to with- hold all pay until the debt had been cleared off. In reply to Fyers' protest that the family would starve should they insist on such a severe measure, as he had no private fortune, he was allowed, "in consideration of his services and high character," to draw 4 shillings and 6 pence per diem for one year, after which he might return to his full allowance.

"My dear mother interrupted him by saying, 'And this is all, my dear husband, that has made you so wretched for such a length of time? I entreat you to leave your affairs in my hands for the next twelve months. Having Government quarters, we are exempt from house rent and have many other advantages. Only make me the promise, that you will not order a new uniform nor continue the habit of bringing in friends to dinner.' My poor father consented to everything, and clung eagerly to even the shadow of a hope of being carried over his difficulties.

My mother's first step was to discharge all the servants and to take in their place a young girl who was the daughter of respectable, poor people living near, and who helped to rock the cradle and watch the children (by this time there were five). My mother rose at five every morning and got through her chief arrangements before my father was awake, when he found always a comfortable breakfast ready for him, after which he visited the Works. My mother was meanwhile sitting with her babies, working for them or nursing them, and yet finding time to write long letters to her mother-in-law in Edinburgh. A plain but sufficient dinner was always ready on my father's return from public duty.

Time passed happily and peacefully with them, my mother's cheerful disposition shedding a bright ray on everything. The house was a model of neatness and they had no debts other than this public one already mentioned. Their children throve, for their chief nurse was their mother. My father often wondered at his happiness, and was sensible that 'God's presence in poverty was greater than his absence in wealth!'

One day my father returned home in the greatest glee, his voice manifesting great joy, and exclaimed, 'Do you know what day this is? Today my debt is paid and I enter on my full allowance!' This was happy news and they felt rich indeed."

Mrs William Fyers (Anne Wanton) died in London on 27 September 1808 aged 54 years. They were at that time living in Portugal Street, Grosvenor Square.

E-mail: 2 4

bullet  Noted events in her life were:

Alt. Birth, 1781. 3 This date cannot be correct when viewed with the other information. If she was born in 1781 her husband would have been 28 years her senior. Not impossible but unlikely. Also her first child was born circa 1781 and her last circa 1797, when she would have been 16.

Anne married Lieutenant General William Fyers R.E., son of Thomas Fyers and Elizabeth Falconar, on 4 Jan 1781.2 (Lieutenant General William Fyers R.E. was born on 3 Apr 1753 in Inverness, Scotland,3 died on 27 Oct 1829 in Dublin, Leinster, Ireland 3 and was buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.)


1 Personal knowledge of Stuart Edward Tapley (RIN. 4827). Guestbook Entry #57, 8 Feb 2012; Personal knowledge and a copy of a hand-written document written by Sarah Fyers (1784-1846) about her mother & father, Lieut-Gen William Fyers & Anne Wanton. I have not seen a copy of this document.

2 Personal knowledge of Stuart Edward Tapley (RIN. 4827). Guestbook Entry #57, 8 Feb 2012.

3 Personal knowledge of Joanne Lamb (RIN. N/A), [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. Dalrymple Crescent Families -

4 Personal knowledge of Stuart Edward Tapley (RIN. 4827). E-Mail "Re: Guestbook Entry", 9 Jul 2012.

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