Judge Laban Wheaton Dies
Judge Laban Wheaton, father-in-law of Wheaton’s founder, husband of Fanny Morey Wheaton, was a successful civil servant and entrepreneur. A congressional representative from 1809 to 1817 as a member of the Federalist Party, Judge Wheaton also served as the first postmaster for the town of Norton, as County Judge, and as Justice of the Peace. Before his career as a civil servant, Wheaton served as an itinerant preacher. Judge Wheaton was a member of Harvard College’s Class of 1774, and was an active alumnus, for several years holding the record for oldest alumnus to return to commencement and reunion. Wheaton was also a successful businessman, whose investment proceeds funded much of the seminary’s early days. Wheaton spent the first few years of his life after graduation as an itinerant preacher in New England before settling down in Norton.
A History of the Town of Norton identifies Judge Wheaton as a staunch abolitionist who gave fiery speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives in favor of freeing slaves. The eulogy delivered at Wheaton’s funeral celebrated his violent skirmishes with indigenous populations. The truth is currently unknown, and his legacy remains mixed on this accord.