Thursday, August 25, 2016

Gancelo Stansfield Wing (1851-1923)

Portrait from the Men of Mark in Virginia, Vol. III, 1907.

    A recent discovery as far as strange names are concerned, Gancelo Stansfield Wing was a Virginia based attorney and also the first Mayor of the incorporated town of Blackstone, Virginia. Despite the dearth of sources mentioning him, a small biography of Wing was featured in volume three of the Men of Mark in Virginia, published in 1907. Curiously, this work gives no mention of his service as Blackstone's mayor, and after locating Wing's name via the above work I was quite certain that Wing had no political involvement whatsoever. I continued to believe this until the discovery of a certain "G.S. Wing", who was listed in the Richmond Times in January 1901. In this newspaper write-up, G.S. Wing is recorded as a former Mayor of Blackstone who attended his brother J. Norris Wing on the latter's deathbed at Greenbriar, Virginia. Upon further research, I found that Gancelo S. Wing did indeed have a brother named Josiah Norris, confirming that the Blackstone Mayor and the man listed in the Men of Mark of Virginia were one and the same!!
   A son of Ephraim Norris and Almira Robins Wing, Gancelo Stansfield Wing was born in Bedford County, Virginia on February 1, 1851. A student in the country and village schools of Bedford County, Wing would go on to study at the University of New York for three years and during his Empire State residency was employed as a clerk at the "Mercantile library of New York". He later turned his attention to the study of law and after being admitted to practice in Virginia was involved in suits against various railroads and other businesses.
   Gancelo S. Wing married in Virginia in July 1879 (or 1877, depending on the source) to Ada Gilliam, The couple were wed until Gancelo's death in 1923 and are believed to have remained childless. The owner of a 1,000-acre farm, Wing was a parishioner at the St. Luke's Church of Blackstone, Virginia and in 1888 saw an act passed by the Virginia General Assembly that formally incorporated Blackstone as a town. Following its incorporation, Gancelo Wing was elected as the town's first mayor and served a term of indeterminate length. He would continue in the practice of law following his mayoralty and was later a resident of the town of Green Bay in Prince Edward County, Virginia. 
    Gancelo S. Wing's date of death originally couldn't be found, but, with luck, fielded a copy of his death certificate, giving his date of death as October 4, 1923 and the cause as valvular heart trouble. He and his wife were interred at the Lake View Cemetery in Blackstone.

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