Back in January, you may recall, I ran a great obituary from the Vicksburg Post memorializing Vicksburg’s important architect/builder William Stanton, whose career spanned the transition from small-scale tradesmen to large-scale construction firms. Not too long ago, MissPres reader Dorothy O’Neil mentioned in a comment to that post that she knew of a few existing photos of both William Stanton and his architect son William A. Stanton (1870-1948). She soon procured these two below from Stanton’s great-granddaughter Sandra Stanton Toler, who is allowing them to be shared here on Preservation in Mississippi.
These are the only two known of the elder Stanton, both taken at the same time in his old age–maybe in the late 1890s or early 1900s. Aren’t they great?
To get the full effect of these portraits, here are a few excerpts from Mr. Stanton’s obituary of 1908 to remind you of his contemporaries’ summary of his life and character:
Shortly before 5 o’clock this morning, Mr. William Stanton, one of Vicksburg’s most honored and respected citizens, closed his eyes in final sleep and the Death Angel ended a long and useful career. Mr. Stanton had been acutely ill since November 10th. His ill health had its beginning in an attack of la grippe in 1891, since which time he never regained his health and vigor.
Mr. Stanton was married in Kentucky in 1869 to Miss Susanna Parnell Tooley, who was born in Devonshire, England. Their wedded life was a long story of devotion and love.
Mr. Stanton was born in Natchez, Miss., Oct. 1st 1840. Attended school at Natchez Institute, and Dolbears Commercial College, winning a Life Scholarship in the latter institution. Studied Architecture and Building under his father in Natchez and later under an old English Architect in St. Louis, until called to take charge of his father’s family at the age of sixteen or seventeen. Was opposed to secession but when Mississippi seceded, he enlisted in Company B. 10th Miss. Col. R. A. Smith. His first active service was at Shiloh where his company was deployed as skirmishers. About sundown the first day he was thrice wounded, one ball passing through his face tearing away his teeth, the roof of his mouth, and breaking his jawbones. He refused ambulance service and even in this desperately wounded condition aided the ambulance corps in serving other wounded soldiers.
In 1866 just after the fire, he moved to Vicksburg and at once took important part in the building business. One of the most important works, and that in which he took most pride, was Holy Trinity Church. He revised the original plans, producing the structure as it now is.
In 1883 he began devoting his entire attention to the practice of Architecture and has been actively engaged therein until a few weeks prior to his death.
While never seeking political preferment, Mr. Stanton served as a supervisor during the turbulent times following the close of the civil war. He was also an alderman of the town of Speeds for some years.
In his death the community lost an upright, efficient Christian gentleman. His life has been busy and well spent.
Vicksburg Evening Post, Jan. 17, 1908
Faithful MissPreser John C. did some digging into who this “St. Louis English architect” might be and speculated in his comment to that previous post that it was possibly George I. Barnett, a prominent architect in St. Louis and known as a mentor to many in the building trade.
Thanks to Dorothy O’Neil, Sandra Stanton Toler, and John C. for adding their pieces of information to help flesh out the story and for sharing these photos. Tomorrow, we’ll see William A. Stanton’s photos!