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Overtown Miscellany - Charles Waterton
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Charles Waterton's Life and Family
Brickbats & Roses (Foes and Friends).

Julia Pitt Byrne Mrs. William Pitt Byrne
Not everyone was a fan of the good Squire, in fact, he managed to make some enemies.

However, he also made many friends, amongst whom was Mrs William Pitt Byrne - a nineteenth century friend of celebrities.

Norman MooreNorman Moore
Sir Norman Moore was a British doctor and medical historian.

He was a teenager when he met Waterton. He was with him at the end.
More ....


Charles Willson PealeCharles Willson Peale (1734 - 1827)
Charles Waterton met Titian Peale at the famous Peale's Museum in Philadelphia in 1824.

The meeting led not only to the painting of the famous portrait of the Squire but to an introduction to George Ord.

More ....

George OrdGeorge Ord
The family of Charles Willson Peale introduced Waterton to Ord and a firm friendship ensued.
Both men shared a fervent dislike of Audubon.
More ....

Click to read more.Leeds Literary and Philosophical Society
Charles Waterton was a supporter and early contributor to this society.
This extract from Yorkshire Past & Present, written shortly after his death,
shows the high regard in which the Squire was held in Yorkshire.


Click to enlargeEchoes of the Past The Illustrated London News, 13th October 1866.
An article containing a reference to Charles Waterton's Wanderings when he encountered
a South American serpent that could swallow a snake and his capture of a cayman.
Prussia had just swallowed a number of German states.

The Rev. J.G. Wood.Rev. J.G. Wood, (21 July 1827 – 3 March 1889). John George Wood was an English writer who popularised natural history with his writings. His works include Lane and Field, 1891, and The Popular Natural History. He also edited Wanderings in South America, Charles Waterton, Macmillan & Co., London, 1880.

"Many years ago, while barely in my 'teens', I had the good fortune to fall in with Waterton's Wanderings, then newly placed in the school library. the book fascinated me. Week after week I took it out of the library, and really think that I could have repeated it verbatim from beginning to end. It was a glimpse into an unknown world, where I longed to follow the Wanderer, little thinking that I should ever have the privilege of visiting him in his wonderful Yorkshire home. I looked upon Waterton much as the pagans of old regarded their demi-gods, and not even Sinbad the Sailor was so interesting a personage to me as Waterton the Wanderer".

A drawback to Wood's full enjoyment of the book was the absence of full descriptions of the animals, birds and trees mentioned therein; this he remedied by adding an 'Explantatory Index' to the edition that he edited, whilst leaving the Wanderings just as Waterton had written them.

Richard HobsonRichard Hobson. The Squire's reputation after his death was damaged by the actions of two men: his son, Edmund, who managed to lose the Walton Hall estate within a short space of time, whilst losing or destroying many of the Squire's artefacts, papers, journals, museum specimens, etc.; and Dr. Richard Hobson, whose book* ensured that the image of the Squire as a dotty eccentric would outshine his qualities as a naturalist, traveller and benevolent member of the 19th century gentry.

* Charles Waterton: His Home, Habits and Handiwork. Reminiscences of an Intimate and Most Confiding Personal Association for Nearly Thirty Years.
by Richard Hobson MD, 2nd Edition, "Containing a Considerable Amount of Additional Material", i.e. the good doctor expanded upon the first edition, 1867, Whittaker & Co.; Simpkin, Marshall & Co. London, H.W. Walker and John Smith, Leeds. The 1st edition was published in 1866.

Charles John Huffam DickensCharles Dickens
(7th February 1812 – 9th June 1870).
The English writer and social critic born in Portsmouth, Hampshire. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is commonly regarded as one of the greatest novelists of the Victorian era.
Dickens was an admirer of Charles Waterton's Essays on Natural History. He is recorded as being 'very partial to them'.
Source: Percy Hetherington Fitzgerald, Notebooks (Stonyhurst College). Reference extracted from Charles Waterton 1782 - 1865, Traveller and Conservationist, p.3, by Julia Blackburn, The Bodley Head, 1989.
Picture: Sussex PhotoHistory.


Charles Darwin.Charles Darwin (12 Feb 1809 - 19 Apr 1882), was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. He visited Waterton at Walton Hall in 1845. Whilst studying at Edinburgh University, Darwin was taught Waterton's taxidirmey method by John Edmonstone, who had been taught by Waterton himself. Read more about Darwin.

Read more.Gerald Durrell OBE (7th January 1925 – 30th January 1995), was an English naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author, and television presenter. He visited British Guiana in 1950 and described his time there in his book Three Singles to Adventure. More ....

Theodore Roosevel by John Singer SargentTheodore Roosevelt, 'Teddy'. (27 Oct 1858 - 06 Jan 1919). In addition to being the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909, was a conservationist, naturalist, and writer.

Roosevelt felt that Waterton's Wanderings marked "the beginning of literature wherein field naturalists who were also men of letters, have described for us the magic and interest, the terror and the beauty of far-off wilds, where nature gives peace to bold souls and inspires terror in the mind".
Quoted in The Naturalists, Pioneers of Natural History, Allan J. Jenkins, p.73. Hamish Hamilton 1978.

John James AudubonJohn James Audubon
"The American Woodsman: Our Namesake and Inspiration" (The American National Audubon Society).
To this day remembered as a keen observer of birds and nature. Unfortunately, back in the 19th century, he and Waterton just did not see eye-to-eye. The quarrel was instigated by Waterton, read more...

Francis Orpen MorrisRev. Francis Orpen Morris, 1810-1893, Naturalist, (Wrote against Darwinism, Anti-vivisectionist). "His reverence could no more see the gland of a duck through his down, than I could see his own heart through the folds of his cassock". More ....

Philip Gosse, The Squire of Walton HallPhilp Gosse tells the story of this strange and amiable man's life.
Dr. Gosse has a delightful style of writing, in this book he has a charming man to deal with and he deals with him in a charming way. This book will interest and delight naturalists - and especially bird lovers - and everyone else who enjoys a good book. (Extract, with minor amendments, from dust jacket of 2nd. edition December 1940.)
Read the Sunday Times review of this book (06 Oct 1940). PDF document.

E.V. LucasEdward Verrall Lucas, (1868 – 1938) was a noted English humorist, essayist, playwright, biographer, publisher, poet, novelist, short story writer and editor. Lucas joined the staff of the humorous magazine Punch in 1904, and remained there for the rest of his life. He was a prolific writer, most celebrated for his short essays, but he also produced verses, novels and plays.
In Traveller's Luck will be found the cream of his recent contributions to Punch and the Sunday Times." It includes an entertaining essay on Charles Waterton (PDF).
One minor point: Waterton was buried, not on an island, but on the bank of Walton Hall Lake near the point where Drain Beck flows into it.

Percy Hetherington FitzgeraldPercy Hetherington Fitzgerald (1834-1925), was an author, critic, painter and sculptor.
Like Charles Waterton, he was educated at Stonyhurst College. Later, he studied at Trinity College, Dublin and was then called to the Irish bar. He worked for a time as crown prosecutor on the north eastern circuit. After moving to London, he became a contributor to Charles Dickens's magazine, Household Words, and later dramatic critic for the Observer and the Whitehall Review. Among his many writings are numerous biographies and works relating to the history of the theatre.

■ He produced this pen and ink drawing of Charles Waterton in 1860.

■ Percy Fitzgerald by Harry Furniss (1854-1925) in pen and ink, 1880s-1900s .

Both of these drawings are shown courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Waterton Lakes National Park of CanadaWaterton Lakes National Park, Canada. The park is in Southern Alberta.
In 1858, the two linked bodies of water, in what is now the park, were named Waterton Lake in honour of Squire Charles Waterton by Lieutenant Thomas Blakiston, Royal Artillery. Blakiston was a member of the Palliser Expedition investigating possible routes through the Rocky Mountains.
Waterton, himself, never travelled to this part of Canada, visiting only Montreal and Quebec.

  The park contains Mount Blakiston (2,910 m, 9,550 ft), the highest point in the park.

Adjoining Waterton Lakes National Park is the Glacier National Park in Montana, U.S.A.; together they form the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a World Heritage Site.

■ Click here to see the medallion struck to commemorate the 50th year (1932 - 1982) of the international park.

■ Waterton Lakes National Park (Canada).

Books about Walton, Charles Waterton, Guyana, and more!
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