Search billions of records on




William Christopher John Hyland

Late Mayor of St. George’s


Born at the Town of St. George, September 6th 1817

Died at his Residence “Caledonia Park” October 31st 1892



His father Christopher Hyland, Lieutenant of the 62nd Regiment, died 14th November 1817, leaving a widow and infant son, subject of this obituary.   On his  mother devolved the task of training her son for his future position in life and while under the tuition of Mr. L’Estrange he formed a friendship which lasted through life with C.C. Keane, who now deplores the loss of his dearest friend.    In early life he entered the mercantile establishment of the late John Barr, Esq. and there contracted business habits which benefited him all through his business career.


To write his obituary thoroughly one would have to be familiarly conversant with the History of the Town of St. George for the past sixty years.   During that period (excepting for a limited time in New York as partner in the House of Hyland, Cummings and Wells ) he identified himself with every interest connected with the welfare of his native town, morally, socially, commercially, beneficially, and politically.   He inaugurated and conducted a Sunday School, founded the Young Men’s Christian Association, was instrumental in the erection if its building which stands a  monument to his memory, and was the acknowledged leader in Penny Readings, Concerts, and social gatherings for the benefit of the young.   He had great faculty in adapting himself to the interests, and pleasures of young people, and Mr. Hyland’s Sunday School picnic was always looked forward to as a bright spot in the minds of the little ones.   The local exhibition of 1873 will never be forgotten by those associated with him in that undertaking while the success of the Agricultural and Loan exhibition of this year was attributable to his forethought. organisation and executive ability.   Mr. Hyland always believed in “One Man Committees”.


He served as Church Warden, Vestryman, Justice of the Peace, Police Magistrate, (during one of the most critical crises in the History of St. George), was thrice elected Representative for his native Parish in the General Assembly of the Bermuda Islands, filled the various offices of Common Councilman and Alderman at intervals in the Municipality since 1848 and finally on 3rd October 1892 was elected unanimously for the twelfth time as Mayor of the Town of St. George.


Commercially he conducted a business as Commission Merchant under the firm names of Fozard & Smyth, Hyland & Smith, Higgs & Hyland, which finally merged into the House of W. C. Hyland & Co.   He possessed great business talent and represented the Board of Underwriters of New York, Atlantic Mutual Insurance Co. of New York, was Vice Consul for Italy and filled other important offices of trust and honour.


Mr. Hyland was twice married, first to Sophia, who died in New York, eldest daughter of Stephen Egan of Caledonia Park, Bermuda, and subsequently to Mary, who survives him, eldest daughter of John Holmes of Norfolk, England.   By these two marriages two sons and seven daughters are still living married and settled in various and distant parts of the Empire and the United States.


He was a member of the Church of England and while in America was connected with the “Church of the Holy Communion” under the Pastoral care of Dr. Muhlenberg the founder of St. Luke’s Hospital with whom he was on terms of personal

 friendship.   His “inner life” is best known to those conversant with his private diary which he had kept for a number of years.


St. George’s has lost one of her best and ablest sons.   His form will be missed in the home, on the street, in his public capacity and his example in private life.   Who among the young will endeavour to fill his place?


Mark of Sympathy by the Corporation of Hamilton


Hamilton October 31 1892


Jos. M. Hayward, Esqr.

Secretary to the Corporation of St. George’s


Sir,  -  I am directed by the Corporation of Hamilton to send you Copy of a Resolution passed at a meeting held this day on learning of your highly esteemed Mayor, expressing their sorrow at the great loss that you have sustained.


I am, dear sir, yours respectfully,


                                                                        W. E. TALBOT

                                                                        Secretary, C. H.



“The Corporation of Hamilton, assembled this day for the dispatch of business, having learned of the death of the Worshipful W. C. J. Hyland, Mayor of St. George’s at his residence Caledonia Park, this morning, desire to record their expression of the value of his public services, and their sympathy with his family in their bereavement and with the people of St. George in the loss they have sustained.

That a Copy of this Resolution be sent to Mrs. Hyland, and to the Corporation of St. George’s.”





Passed by the Corporation of St. Georges,

October 31 1892


Resolved, that by the death of our respected Mayor, William Christopher John Hyland, who departed this life at quarter past 7 o’clock this morning, the Town of St. George suffers the loss of a valuable public servant who has since his first election to office on the 2nd October 1848 served in the various capacities of Common Councilman, Alderman, and Mayor and has “truly, faithfully and impartially” discharged the trusts reposed in him in those respective positions.


This Corporation sincerely deplores the loss of one who has always evinced the deepest interest in the welfare of his native town;  and who since his elevation to the Mayorship in 1880 has upheld the dignity of the office, and endeavoured to promote the interests of the Township, by his pen, speech, and deeds and who by his unvarying courtesy and happy demeanour, won the appreciation not only of his fellow citizens but also of the many visitors with whom he became acquainted in his official capacity.


The Board tenders to the bereaved Widow and his sorrowing family their deepest and heartfelt sympathy in this severe affliction.


By order of the Corporation,


                                                                                    JOSEPH M HAYWARD







The following notice was posted at the bulletin board and sent by special messenger through the township:-


The Citizens of the town of St. George are respectfully invited to close their places of business from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday;  and to exhibit such other marks of mourning as in their judgement they see fit, as a tribute of respect to their late Mayor the Worshipful W. C. J. Hyland, Esq.   The funeral will take place at 10 o’clock a.m. from his late residence, Caledonia Park.   All are invited to attend.


                                                                                    JOSEPH M. HAYWARD

                                                                                    Senior Alderman


Town Hall, October 31st 1892


In response to the above, all places of business were closed, blinds of private houses closed and all along the route of funeral, visible signs of mourning were displayed.


The funeral left Caledonia Park, his late residence, between 11 and 12 o’clock on Tuesday, 1st November.


All the Masonic Lodges of Bermuda were represented, Mr. Hyland being the Provincial Grand Master of Scotland.   The services were conducted by the Worshipful Master and brethren of Lodge 200, his mother lodge.








Sojourning brethren

And Members of Broad Arrow, Unity

And Hannibal Lodges

Prince Alfred Lodge, No. 233 G.R.E.

Loyalty Lodge, No. 358 G.R.E.

Atlantic Phoenix, No. 224 G.R.E.

Civil and Military No. 726 G.R.S.

Lodge St. George No. 200 G.R.S.


The body borne by six Pastmasters

Family Carriage

Family Servants

Corporation of Hamilton and St. George,

Two and two,

School Children and Teachers

Comprising Mr. Hyland’s School,

followers on foot



The procession went to St. Peter’s Church where full service was held by Rev. F. J. F. Lightbourn, Rector, assisted by Re. A. T. Tucker, Curate, thence to Wesleyan Cemetery, where the body was deposited in the tomb of his son;  Rev. J. B. Heal, Methodist Minister, reading the burial service.   The Masonic service was then held, the Worshipful Master C. Maiben McCallan, assisted by the Senior Warden and Chaplain of Lodge No. 200, the Rev. Hl J. Wood, R.E.C. officiating.   The ceremony at the grave terminated by the rendering of full Masonic honors, after which the respective lodges retired to Lodge No. 200 where suitable addresses were delivered,   the brethren then separating.


The funeral was largely attended.   The steam tug Gladisfen took a large representation from Hamilton, Somerset, and Ireland Island.   The Hon. Thomas N. Dill, Mayor of Hamilton, Messrs. B. E. Dickenson, W. J. James, and S. S. Ingham, Jr. Aldermen and Messrs. William, G. O. Whitney, Common Councilmen, represented the Corporation of Hamilton.   The Hon. S. S. Ingham, Speaker of the Honourable House of Assembly, and J. A. Conyers, Esq. Consul for Spain and Consul for Norway and Sweden, may be mentioned among the representative class who attended the funeral, a complete list of whom it is impossible for us to furnish.


contributed by Jane Leslie on 17 Mar 2004