William T. Atherton, Lizzie Chestnut, and Little Jentie


Lizzie Chestnut, wife of William T. Atherton, died January 29, 1868 in her 27th year. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."

William T. Atherton, 1839-1911

Little Jentie "Too lovely a flower for earth. She is gone to dwell in Heaven."

William Treadwell Atherton was the son of George Atherton, hotel keeper, and his wife Rebecca. Elizabeth Janet ("Lizzie") Chestnut, the wife of William, was a daughter of Robert Chestnut. Their son, William H. Atherton, was born 3 October 1863; his middle name is variously recorded as Herved and Hewell.

William T. Atherton was the proprietor of the Brayley House, a hotel opposite the People’s Bank. He purchased his hotel in 1862 from William Segee. His advertisement in the Saint John Morning News, July 1862, described a "first class hotel, good stabling, careful Hosteler, a coach in attendance on the arrival of all steamers… George R. Atherton, William T. Atherton, Livery Stable."

The advertisement of William Segee in the Saint John and Fredericton Business Directory for 1862 had been similar:

BRAYLEY HOUSE, Queen Street, Fredericton, N.B. This house having been built on a modern and convenient plan, the Proprietor is able to offer to the Travelling Public and to PERMANENT and TRANSIENT BOARDERS, superior accommodations, and a table affording all the luxuries of the season. This House is very convenient for CONCERT OR OTHER TROUPES, being opposite the Exhibition Hall, and the CHEAPEST HOUSE IN THE CITY.

The Fredericton Evening Capital, Fredericton, NB, 8 January 1887

George R. ATHERTON breathed his last. He was in his 77th year and had been for some days been prostrated by an attack of apoplexy so that his death was not unexpected. He died at the residence of his son-in-law, W.G. GAUNCE and was buried Sunday in the Methodist cemetery. Rev. Dr. McLeod, of whose church the deceased had been a member, conducted the ceremonies at the house and grave. Mr. Atherton was a descendant, in the third generation, of one of the United Empire Loyalists who after the Revolutionary war preferred the wilderness of New Brunswick. His name was Benjamin ATHERTON, an officer in the British Commissariat. He came to Fredericton and received a grant of a lot of land on which the Government House now stands. Here he continued for some time, engaging in the fur trade with the Indians who made St. Anne’s (Fredericton) their periodical rendezvous. After a residence of some years he was offered his choice of lots between Fredericton and Woodstock in exchange for his grant. He chose Bear Island whither he removed to engage in farming and trading. He had five sons, one of whom, Stephen ATHERTON was the father of the man laid to rest last Sunday. Stephen also had five sons, three of whom are still alive, namely, Israel ATHERTON and John ATHERTON of Fredericton and Stephen now in Nebraska. Benjamin, the other brother, died a few years ago, shortly after establishing the Royal Hotel. George R. Atherton had 12 children by his wife Rebecca Anne McKEEN d/o John McKEEN of Mactaquack. Four of these are still living – Robert ATHERTON in the civil service in St. John; William ATHERTON in British Columbia; Eliza ATHERTON wife of William Grant GAUNCE and George L. ATHERTON, Fredericton druggist. In early life the subject of our sketch was engaged in the lumber business up the river Saint John. When chopping near St. Francis (Madawaska) the head of his comrade’s axe flew off and inflicted a severe gash on his knee. Blood flowed freely. Four miles from camp, the case seemed desperate, but nothing daunted, he dispatched his mate for assistance. Tired of waiting, after some time he tried to crawl toward camp on hands and one knee, but was soon met by a party of rescue and carried on the back of a stalwart friend to shelter. A surgeon was procured with difficulty and the gaping wound stitched up. Israel Atherton, his brother, went up from Fredericton and brought him here where, during an interval of six years, he has since remained. These things happened 44 years ago. He then rented the Commercial Hotel on York St. which he afterwards gave up to his brother and commenced the livery stable business by which he is best known to the general public. The Atherton Stables on York St. were for many years noted headquarters for horseflesh. He contracted to carry the mails from Fredericton to Woodstock and had often more than one hundred horses engaged in that business alone. During the stirring times of the Trent affair, when British troops were being sent to Quebec through Fredericton, he rendered the military authorities valuable assistance in horses and sleds. A few years after this warlike period he went to Halifax where he remained for six years. Returning to Fredericton he has spent the happy eve. of his life in the society of his own kith and kin. The descendants of Benjamin Atherton are now very numerous. In Dr. ATHERTON, now of Toronto, the medical profession has a distinguished member.