HOME    [Strays] John WINGATE fl.1777

John WINGATE and 'Indian Converts', 1777

There's lots more general information on the HOME page.

Contents of this page: [Who was he?] [Some Questions] [Acknowledgement] [Links]

Who was he?

I now see that there was a town MADBURY adjacent to Dover in New Hampshire, USA which we know is where an American branch of WINGATES were early settlers - see my Origins Page and also a link to the history of MADBURY where John WINGATE is mentioned as attending the first parish meeting on June 23, 1755. So he is obviously the owner of the book and was from MADBURY, NH, USA and not MODBURY, Devon, UK.
However, we still don't know the actual genealogy of either John . . .

Harvie A. Davis, Jnr.

An American family history researcher has contacted me because of the signature. reproduced above left, which reads 'John Wingate his Book Jno Wingate of Modbury 1777'.  It appears on the end cover of a copy of a book 'Indian Converts' by Experience Mayhew and my kind contact thought I might be interested in the striking similarity between the signature in the book and the signature that appears on my web page about John WINGATE, the paterfamilias of the Horrabridge tree. I've reproduced that signature again here for comparison and I have speculated about the possible identity of this John Wingate below

However, considering all the evidence we have at the moment (see below), it seems likely that these two signatures are NOT by the same person and so if you have any ideas about the possible identity of this John then please leave a message on the Message Board.

More about the Book

INDIAN CONVERTS: OR, SOME ACCOUNT OF THE Lives and Dying SPEECHES of a considerable Number of the Christianized INDIANS of Martha's Vineyard in New-England.
By Experience Mayhew, M. A. Preacher of the Gospel to the Indians of that Island.

The choice of book is interesting and may be a significant clue. There is a summary and some speculation on a dedicated page. Link to more detail on the INDIAN CONVERTS book


1.  Is this the same person as the head of the Horrabridge tree?

Evidence against:

Evidence for:


Although worth pursuing as a possible line of enquiry, all the above is very tenuous and unless we can find a baptismal record for a John, the son of a John and a Margaret in the Modbury area c. 1778, I suggest that the idea that these two Johns are the same person must be regarded with some suspicion.

2.  If John Wingate of Modbury, 1777, is NOT the same person as the head of the Horrabridge tree then who was he?

Was he John Wingate born Kincardine, Scotland,  July 31, 1741?

Although there were loads of Devonshire WINDGEAT people around the Modbury, Ermington, Ugborough area, I haven't yet identified any Johns who are definitely candidates to be the owner of the book above.  My American contact has suggested that "perhaps John Wingate was in the Ministry in England. It might make sense that he was trying to understand how religion was brought to Native Americans" .  The John who was born in Scotland above certainly fits that bill. 

This John Wingate, a minister, is the subject of several files held by the Lambeth Palace Library (Fulham Papers [FP XXVI - FP 45] [FP XII - FP XXV][SPG I - SPG VI]).  These were found as a result of a search for Wingate in the Lambeth Palace Library Archives via the Access to Archives website. This is an archive of church records on missionary clergymen in the colonies.  John WINGATE is recorded as a missionary clergyman in Virginia and his first appointment is recorded as April 1 1771 with or at Dale (?). There is also mention of a Joshua Wingate WEEKS and a Francis WINGATE who may be relatives.  These WINGATEs are almost certainly from the Scottish WINGATE branch and, sadly, almost certainly not related to our Devon lot. 

BUT, if so, what on earth was he doing in Modbury, Devon, in 1777?  Another mystery!  I had initially assumed that 'Modbury' could well be some place in New England - there are so many towns there with Devon names: Plymouth, Exeter etc.  But there doesn't appear to be a Modbury in the United States.  There is one in South Australia and as a John WINDEATT probably went to Tasmania from Modbury at a later date I thought this might be a connection.  But as the Australian town was not named until 1840, this seems unlikely.

Was he the John WINDEAT mentioned in Edmund ANDREWS' Diary?

According to a kind informant from the Modbury Heritage website:

There was a Modbury Land Agent and Estate Manager for the Swete family called Edmund Andrews, who kept a diary for over 30 years (1745-1779) noting the names of people whom he had dealings with, places he travelled to in the local and wider community, etc. One of the members of Modbury Local History Society has compiled a list of the names of persons mentioned in the diary. Mr. Windeat, John Windeat, and Richard Windeat are listed. (Mr. Windeat might be one and the same as John or Richard).

The John WINDEAT mentioned here could well be one and the same as the John WINGATE of Modbury of the book.  Apparently the Diary is held by the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office and would need to be consulted there by appointment.  The Diary may tell us nothing but it could confirm whether the John WINDEAT mentioned was 'of Modbury' or not, and might rule out his putative identity as the Horrabridge John or the one born in Scotland.


Many thanks to my American contacts who kindly drew my attention to this signature.  I hope we will be able to shed some light on this mystery at some future date.


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