Thomson,  David

Thomson, David

Male 1763 - 1834  (70 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Thomson, David  [1, 2, 3
    Born 30 Sep 1763  Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Gender Male 
    Baptism 02 Oct 1763  Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Emigration 23 Jun 1796 
    Scotland to Canada 
    Find A Grave Memorial 13887980 
    Occupation Stone Mason  [2
    Military Service 1812 
    Died 22 Jun 1834  Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Buried Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • Saint Andrew's Presbyterian Church Cemetery
    Person ID I179  Sullivan Burgess Family Tree | Mary and David Thomson Descendant
    Last Modified 1 Jan 2017 

    Father Thomson, Andrew I,   b. 05 Feb 1712, Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Dec 1792, Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Scott, Janet,   b. 1716, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Feb 1802, Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 22 Aug 1746  Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F184  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Glendinning, Mary,   b. 28 Jan 1768, Meikleholm, Langholm, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 08 Nov 1847, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Married 30 Nov 1787  Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Children 
    +1. Thomson, James D.,   b. 29 Apr 1789, Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Mar 1867, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years)  [natural]
    +2. Thomson, Andrew D.,   b. 23 Nov 1790, Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Jul 1854, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years)  [natural]  [unknown]
    +3. Thomson, Isabella,   b. 09 Jan 1793, Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Aug 1872, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years)  [natural]
    +4. Thomson, Richard D.,   b. 17 Oct 1794, Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Feb 1878, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years)  [natural]
    +5. Thomson, Archibald D,   b. 02 Aug 1796, Newark, Niagara, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Dec 1877, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years)  [natural]
    +6. Thomson, David D.,   b. 27 Feb 1798, York, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Oct 1852, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years)  [natural]
    +7. Thomson, Jennet,   b. 18 May 1800, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jan 1862, York, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 61 years)  [natural]
    +8. Thomson, William D.,   b. 04 Apr 1802, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 03 May 1877, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years)  [natural]
    +9. Thomson, John D.,   b. 10 Apr 1804, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 04 Dec 1888, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years)  [natural]
    +10. Thomson, Mary,   b. 11 Jun 1807, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 09 Dec 1879, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years)  [natural]
     11. Thomson, Helen,   b. 05 Aug 1809, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Jul 1844, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 34 years)  [natural]
    Documents
    St. Andrews Cemetery Map
    St. Andrews Cemetery Map
    Histories
    Descendants of David Thomson and Mary Glendenning
    Descendants of David Thomson and Mary Glendenning
    Last Modified 1 Jan 2017 
    Family ID F125  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 30 Sep 1763 - Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBaptism - 02 Oct 1763 - Nethernock, Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 30 Nov 1787 - Westerkirk, Dumfries-shire, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 22 Jun 1834 - Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Thomson, David Historic Site Sign
    Thomson, David Historic Site Sign
    Thomson, David and Mary House 1
    Thomson, David and Mary House 1
    Thomson, David and Mary House
    Thomson, David and Mary House
    Thomson, David and Mary School
    Thomson, David and Mary School
    Thomson, David St Andrew's Church
    Thomson, David St Andrew's Church
    Thomson, David Scarborough c100th anniversary on Thomson Property 1
    Thomson, David Scarborough c100th anniversary on Thomson Property 1
    Thomson, David Scarborough c100th anniversary on Thomson Property 2
    Thomson, David Scarborough c100th anniversary on Thomson Property 2
    Thomson, David Scarborough c100th anniversary on Thomson Property
    Thomson, David Scarborough c100th anniversary on Thomson Property

    Documents
    Thomson, David J. DOB 05 Jun 1820 Death Record
    Thomson, David J. DOB 05 Jun 1820 Death Record
    Thomson, David and Mary Bendale
    Thomson, David and Mary Bendale
    Thomson, David Andrew
    Thomson, David Andrew
    Thomson, David Poem by James M Gorden
    Thomson, David Poem by James M Gorden
    Thomson, David Will May 17 1833
    Thomson, David Will May 17 1833

    Headstones
    Thomson, David Grave Stone
    Thomson, David Grave Stone
    Thomson, David and Mary Headstone Unveiling
    Thomson, David and Mary Headstone Unveiling
    Thomson, David Helen and Mary Glendinning Grave Stone
    Thomson, David Helen and Mary Glendinning Grave Stone
    Thomson, David D Grave Stone
    Thomson, David D Grave Stone

    Family Crest
    Thomson Family Crest
    Thomson Family Crest
    This famous surname is regarded as being of "Crusader" origins, and found in every European country. That is to say it is a name associated with the Christian Faith, and one whose popularity followed the twelve Crusades by the knights of St John, under the command of various European kings in particular Richard, Coeur de Lyon, of England, to free the Holy Land from the Muslim. All the Crusades were unusuccessful, but it was not for want of gallantry, on either side. Returning knights, as a reminder of their efforts, gave their children names associated with the Bible. One of the most popular was Thomas. This was an Aramaic byname meaning "twin", and borne by one of Christ's disciples. Prior to the Crusades the name Thomas was found only as a priest name, but thereafter became one of the most popular male personal names, generating a wide variety of surnames. The patronymic forms from diminutives, such as Thomson (the Scottish form) and Thompson, found mainly in England and Northern Ireland, appear firstly in the 14th Century, the first recording being from Scotland. The intrusive "p" of the English and Irish forms was for easier pronunciation, and the wild fable about "p" meaning prisoner, is total rubbish. If "p" did imply prisoner, every name would have one! One of the earliest recordings is that of John Thompson in the charters of the Abbey of Whitby, Yorkshire, in 1349, whilst amongst the early church recordings is the marriage of David Thompson and Mary Clarke on May 29th 1664 at St. Giles Cripplegate, in the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any spelling is believed to be that of John Thomson, which was dated 1318, in the Annals of Scotland. This was during the reign of King Robert 1st of Scotland, known as "The Bruce", 1306 - 1329. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

  • Notes 
    • The True Thomson Saga (Scarborough Then and Now, Schofield, Schofield, Whynot. Scarborough Historical Society, 1996.)

      Although Native People had inhabited Scarborough many centuries before the granting of the first Land Patent and the opening of the township to new settlement in 1796, the focus of Scarborough's Bicentennial Celebrations, was on the documented history of the township from 1796 - 1996. This history began in the area now known as Bendale.

      Many stories have been published about how David and Mary Thomson left the dampness of York in the spring of 1796 and moved to Scarborough. The story appeared in David Boyle's History of the Township of Scarboro", 1796 - 1896, published on the occasion of Scarborough's Centennial Celebrations; and was repeated in Robert R. Bonis' "A History of Scarborough", first published in 1965.

      The fact remains that the family was still in Scotland at the time or aboard ship on the Atlantic Ocean. Recent research of archival documents reveals several important facts:

      The Thomson saga began when David Thomson, his Wife Mary, and their four young children arrived in Canada in 1796. On July 14 1796, his brother Archibald petitioned for a Land Grant for David and noted in his petition that David and his family had just arrived in June 23, 1796.

      However, David and his family did not settle initially in Scarborough. They first lived in Newark (now know as Niagara-on-the-Lake) where David worked as a mason for his brother Archibald, who had settled there earlier. The family Bible records the birth of the couple's fifth child, named after David's brother Archibald, on August 2nd, 1796 at Newark. David's own account book clearly indicates that he worked at Newark until at least June of 1797.

      There are no entries in his account book between June 23 and July 26th, 1797, but David and his family are recorded as being inhabitants of York on July 17, 1797 when the first York Town Meeting was held. It can be reasonably assumed, therefore, that the family moved from Newark to York early in the summer of 1797. At York, David worked as a mason, constructing the first Government Buildings. His account book verifies that he began "the wall the Government Brick house”on July 26th, 1797. That winter, Mary gave birth to the couple's sixth child, David D. Thomson, on February 27th, 1798 at York. This information was documented in the family Bible. Although there was no list of inhabitants of York for 1798, a Town meeting was held in March 1799, at Miles Tavern in York and a list of all the inhabitants of the Townships of York, Scarborough and Etobicoke (sic) was recorded. No one was listed as living in Scarborough at that time and David Thomson, his family of eight, and friends James Elliot and Andrew Johnson were all listed as living in York.

      Finally, on May 21st, 1799, David Thomson petitioned for land "in Scarborough, where he now resides and was the first settle of that Township. “Peter Russell, who was then the administrator of Upper Canada, endorsed the petition stating, "In consideration of the Petitioner's large family and his being the first settler who has built a house and resides in Scarborough, ordered 200 Acres. “David finally received his land patent after Bible records the birth as that of Janet (Jennet), born May 18th, 1800 in Scarborough.

      These newly uncovered facts now lead us to believe that David and Mary Thomson decided to leave the dampness of muddy York and move to the drier land of Scarborough, most likely in the spring of 1799, not 1796. (The archival documents cited above indicate he was living in York in March, 1799 but petitioned for land as a resident of Scarborough on Mary 21st, 1799)

      David Thomson built a log cabin adjacent to the Highland Creek, near the site of the old Native Village and within what is now Thomson Memorial Park. The list of inhabitants of York recorded at the town Meeting held March 3rd, 1800, notes that the entire population of Scarborough totalled 11 persons, eight of whom were David, Mary and their six children. Later that spring the couple's eleventh child, Janet was born, thus becoming the first documented birth in Scarborough. The other tree settlers who come out with the Thomson Family were unmarried men: James Elliot, Andrew Johnson and Joseph Ketchum".

      The following year they were joined by: David's brother Archibald and his family of 10, William Cornell, William Jones, and a few others; thus quadrupling township's total population from 11 to 43!

      Among David Thomson's many accomplishments, which began wit the building of the jail in Newark in 1797, and the first "parliament buildings”in York (Toronto), were his efforts to literally build Scarborough first settlement; constructing its first School, Church, and tavern; as well as his involvement with fellow pioneers in protecting their community during the defence of Upper Canada in the War of 1812, against the USA.

      David and Mary Thomson, by 1847, they left more than 100 descendants, a number which has grown considerably since and includes men such Lord Thomson of Fleet and women such as Dr. Belle Davidson, believed to be the first woman in, Ontario, Canada to graduate in the field of Medicine.

      Thomson Memorial Park, Bendale, can truly be called the centre of Scarborough's early history. The site of a Native Village in the 13th century, and the homestead of Scarborough's first permanent settler-family.

      The Last Will and Testament (1) of David Thomson, (1763 - 1834)
      “In the Name of God Amen, I David Thomson Senior of the Township of Scarborough in the Home District and Province of Upper Canada, Yeoman, being mindful of my mortality, (2) do this seventeenth day of May in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three - make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner following--

      First, I give and bequeath unto my beloved Wife Mary Thomson and to my daughter Helen Thomson jointly the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds, one cow and ten sheep.
      Also, I give and bequeath... "
      ... to my son James Thomson, £100
      ... to my son David Thomson, £100
      ... to my son John Thomson, £100
      ... to my son Andrew Thomson, £75
      ... to my son Richard Thomson, £75
      ... to my son William Thomson, £75
      ... to my son Archibald Thomson, £75
      ... to my daughter Isabella Thomson, £50
      ... to my daughter Janet Thomson, £50
      ... to my daughter Mary Thomson, £50

      Also, I give and bequeath to my executors herein after named - three pounds each. Also. I give and bequeath to my grandson David Thomson, son of James Thomson, a Yoke of Steers.

      Also, I will and direct, that my Wife Mary Thomson and my daughter Helen Thomson (if agreeable them) shall reside in such part of my dwelling house as to them shall seem fit, and if more agreeable to them then and in such case, my will is that a suitable dwelling house be erected for them.

      All, the rest and residue of my personal Estate whatsoever and whosesoever of what nature, kind and quality, so ever the same may be - After the payment of my Debts, Legacies and funeral Expenses. I will and direct to be divided between my Wife Mary Thomson and my daughters Helen, Mary, Janet, and Isabella Thomson.

      Likewise, my sons, William, Andrew, James, John, Richard, Archibald and David Thomson share and share alike, except my Wife Mary and my daughter Helen in addition to whose shares as aforesaid, I will and direct that that the sum of twenty-five pounds each be added, out of such residue as aforesaid.

      Also, I nominate, constitute and appoint Christopher Thomson of the Township of Scarboro in the Home District and Province of Upper Canada, Yeoman William Devenish and Archibald Glendinning Junior, of the same place, Yeoman, Executors of this my last Will and Testament.

      Lastly - I will and direct that all the furniture belonging to my dwelling house be at the disposal of my Wife Mary Thomson to be used by her at her discretion for the use and benefit of my said Wife and likewise my daughter Helen. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day of year first above written.

      Signed, sealed, published and declared (delivered) (3) by the said Testator as and for his last Will and Testament, in our presence, who at his request, in his presence and in the presence of each other, have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto. "
      (signed) (signed)
      R. D. Hamilton David Thomson Sen
      George Scott

      Footnotes
      1. An original true copy, written on paper bearing an 1831 watermark, exists in a private collection: Microfilm of the original Will my be found in the Ontario Archives. (MS 638, Reel 102)

      2. David wrote his Last Will and Testament on May 17, 1833, about a year before his death on June 22, 1834. According to Boyle's History of Scarborough (Briggs, Toronto, 1896). "About a year before he died, David Thomson underwent a surgical operation, having his leg amputated for some disease of the knee. He mounted the table without assistance, laid himself down, and endured the amputation without flinching. "

      3. The original Will on microfilm in the Ontario Archives, contains the word "declared", as it was the registered copy: the handwritten true copy uses the word delivered", as it was provided or "delivered: to the Thomson Family.

      Scarborough Historical Museum: 1007 Brimley Road at: Lawrence Avenue, Scarborough M1P 3E8: (416) 338-8807 The museum depicts life from the 1850s in the McCowan's log house, to the early 1900s in the Cornell House. It's located in Thomson Memorial Park on the east side of Brimley Road, just north of Lawrence Avenue. Tours are led by interpreters in period costume to help visitors appreciate the heritage of Scarborough's early years as a rural community in Ontario, Canada. The surrounding Thomson Park has picnic areas, a playground, bike paths, and a petting zoo. Scarborough Historic Museum is operated by the City of Toronto Culture Division.

      The above was provide by the Heritage Scarborough and the Scarborough Archives, c o Scarborough Historical Society, P. O. Box 593, Station A, Scarborough, ONTARIO M1K 5C4.

      The Early Church

      The congregation is proud of its history as the oldest Church in Scarborough and the first Presbyterian Church to be founded in what is now the City of Toronto. Reverend William Jenkins a Scottish Minister who had spent several years in New York, USA, formed a congregation here in 1818. David and Mary Thomson donated an acre of land from their Farm, and a small Church building was erected in 1819. to serve "The Presbyterian Congregation of Scarborough in Connection with the Church of Scotland", This building was near the centre of the present Cemetery.

      The Present Church Building

      By 1849, the congregation had outgrown the first Church and the present structure was erected. About seven Acres of land had been purchased from James Thomson for £60. The contractors were Peter Scott and Charles Spence. A major achievement was the erection of the steeple, which was constructed inside the Church building and then raised into position through a hole in the roof. The King James Bible that sits on the Communion Table today was donated to the new Church in 1849.

      Mr. Thompson was a stonemason by trade, and assisted in the building of the first light-house in Toronto Bay. He also fought in the War of 1812. (vol. ll, p. 278)

      History of the Township of Scarboro. Scarboro 1796 - 1896 Edited by David Boyle, Printed for the Executive Committed by William Briggs, Toronto, 1896

      There are other names in the township preceding his in the records of land grants, David Thomson was the first actual settler within its boundaries.

      A stone-mason by trade, and possessed of the solid, practical education common to al Scotchmen, David Thomson came to Canada in 1795.

      Born in the parish of Westerkirk, Dumfriesshire, in 1760. He and his Wife Mary Glendinning brought four children (James, Andrew, Bella and Richard) with them to the New World, Richard being only eighteen months old. A Freemason, a Presbyterian, and a Conservative in politics, David Thomson came, as did all of his countrymen, imbued with that patriotism and love of free institutions which have ever been characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon race.

      Coming by way of Québec, he, as many other settlers at that date appear to have done, went on the Niagara, which place had until then been the seat of Government. He arrived just at the time this was being removed to York, and was at once employed as head mason in the erection of the new government buildings.

      Some of the records speak of his working at the fort, others on the parliament buildings. It is probable he was employed on both.

      The residential part of York was that portion of the city of Toronto lying nearest the Don River. The marshy shores of the bay, hemmed in as it then was by the low, often submerged lands, fostered malaria and generated a low fever and ague from which many suffered greatly. Mr. Thomson's health was so affected thus, that they had been only a few months in York when her Husband saw that he must look for a healthier locality in which to settle. The town ship of Scarboro had recently been surveyed and thrown open to settlers, and David Thomson turned his prospecting steps in this direction. Following the road which was then little more then an Indian trail through the woods, he crossed the intervening sand-plains until he struck the better soil in the valley of Highland Creek. Here he found the necessary conditions for success in a new settlement - rich soil, land well drained, and unlimited water power. There was also the advantage of an abundance of valuable pine.

      Selection a spot about two and a half miles from the lake shore, as the crow flies, and adjacent to a clear, running spring, the first white settler in the township struck the first blow towards establishing his home there. The spring had evidently been used and kept open by the Indians who in days gone by had made this spot their resting-place.

      David Thomson was not alone. He had evidently brought others with him possibly James Elliot, who is mentioned as the owner of the ox-team and sled by which the family and their household goods were conveyed to their new home shortly afterwards, During the first day the men not only chopped the trees, but with them constructed the walls of the small log house. The logs were left in their natural state, rough and unhewn, and after cutting out the apertures for the door and windows the men made a fire inside, ate their supper, and set a watch to keep off the wolves while the others slept after the hardest day toil they had ever performed.

      What a picture for the painter! The rough walls, the drowsy watchman, the blazing fire casting its bright light on the recumbent, yet half-alert figures of the tired men inside, and, outside on the dense forest, ever and anon revealing the sneaking forms of the hungry wolves, that would fain have questioned the right of the pioneers to invade their domain.

      The terrors of that night were never forgotten, and it was not until one of the great oxen, by whose aid they had hauled the logs, lay down across the half-barricaded doorway and thus interposed a barrier between them and the wolves, that the men slept soundly at last.

      A few days, however, enabled them to make all ready to go back to York and bring Mrs. Thomson and the children. The path was carefully selected, the men breaking the twigs on the trees along the trail through the woods, and "blazing”the way to guide their return.

      They were accompanied by John Thomson (after-wards known as "Thomson of the Bay, probably to distinguish him from another of the same name), and James Elliot.

      The comparison between the life in Scotland and the strangeness of the experiences in the woods of Canada must have made a profound impression on Mr. Thomson's mind. The "Mother of Scarboro, ”as she is invariably called, was no doubt possessed of indomitable courage, as well as a strong and abiding trust in the protecting arm of the Almighty. She must have had a firm nerve and boundless love for Husband and children to carry her through the first seven months of her life in Scarboro. She was often alone from week's end to week's end with her children in the forest log-house, while her Husband worked for the means of living at this trade in the town, returning with the week's provision on his back on each recurring Saturday night.

      What must have been the joy of the greeting with which they weary bread-winner was met! How longingly the Wife must have watched for the figure coming into the little clearing beyond which she and her little ones dare not venture! How precious must those Sabbath days have been, and with what anxious thoughts did the brave woman bid her Husband Goodbye on the Monday morning!

      She used to say, "Often in those early days the cottage was surrounded by wolves, some on the roof, other gnawing and scratching at the door. "

      One day Mrs. Thomas heard a commotion among the domestic animals in the enclosure; she ran out, and seeing a bear about to carry off a pig, she struck him with an axe and made him drop his prize. The bear made off to the woods, and one of the men followed, but failed to kill him.

      During these first seven months of their life in the township, Mrs. Thomson had not seen another of her own sex, until on day an Indian woman came into the cottage. The face was strange, the language spoken unintelligible, but Mrs. Thomson welcomed her gladly. Albeit, of an alien race and color, they were women, and they understood one another by the freemasonry of sympathy divinely implanted in the breast of woman.

      Two years after their arrival in the New World a daughter (Janet) was born to the Thomson the first white child born in the township.

      It would be difficult to give a detailed account of all the privations and daily difficulties of this pioneer life in the woods - the mother alone with her children while the Husband worked either at York, or in clearing the land about the cottage; the necessity of adapting their wants to the means of supplying them; and the terrible anxiety when any of their number fell ill.

      One of these renovations, which would appear to us now as a minor importance, was the difficulty of obtaining any variety of diet. Cornmeal and milk for breakfast, mild and cornmeal for dinner, and the same for supper, day after day, became not only monotonous but nauseating. As the spring opened it occurred to Mrs. Thomson that by noticing what the cow fed upon she might find some plant that would take the place of the garden greens of her old home. Pursing this idea, she followed the cow into the woods, and thus discovered the leek. At first it was so great a relish that they used it frequently, but soon wearied of it. A dose of warm mild in which it had been boiled, administer to Mr. Thomson while ill of an ague he had contracted at York, so disgusted him that the leek was ever after banished from this table.

      The stream supplied them with fish, some of which they salted for winter use. Doubt has been expressed as to the variety of fish caught, some affirming it to have been salmon, others that it was salmon-trout. It was undoubtedly salmon, which was then common to all our large lakes.

      There are several fish stories extant. The following is vouched for by several persons still living in the township:
      Andrew Thomson (who come with his brother David to Canada and settled on the adjoining Lot in Scarboro) and another man, were fishing in the part of Highland Creek which flows through Springfield Farm; the former hooked and landed a fish so large that when suspended from a pole run through its gills and resting on the shoulders of the two men, its tail touched the ground. The men were about five feet nice inches in height. This fish was probably a sturgeon.

      David Thomson had overcome the first difficulties of settlement in the forest when he was joined by his two brothers, Andrew and Archibald.

      Andrew was born in 1770, and was twice married before he left Scotland. His second Wife, Jane Henderson, and four children came with him to Canada- john, his eldest son by the first Wife, and Margaret, Andrew and William, the second family.

      Archibald was also born and married in Scotland, and brought a family of ten to settle near his brother.
      *According to other accounts he came to America unmarried, some years before his brother David. After residing for a few years in the States, he reached the city of Québec as a UEL. Here he was married, and subsequently removed to Detroit, which place he left for Newark on the arrival there of his brother David.

      With such large families the Thomson soon became so numerous in the township that it was necessary to designate them by the names of their farms, after a common custom followed in Scotland. Others were distinguished by local sobriquets earned by some peculiarity or some incident in which they had taken part. Hence we find "Buffalo Dave, ”Stone-house Archie, ”Archie's Arch, ”Beardy Archie, ”Squaw Village John, ”Grandmother's Dave, ”Russian Dave, ”Springfield Jimmie, ”Squire's John, "Fiddler Dick, ”and son on.

      David Thomson took out the patent for his land, Lot 24, Concession 1, two hundred Acres, on May 17th, 1802; Andrew, the patent for Lot 23, Concession 1, on the same date.

      Among the records of the life of this Thomson family, during the early days of their life in Canada, is a curious account-book, in which details of work done for Andrew and Archibald Thomson are entered. A recapitulation of a few of these entries may not be uninteresting here:

      "In 1796, wrought at Mr. Dickson's house for Andrew Thomson - days. Rec'd of him 2 dollars.
      "1797 - Wrought to Arch'd Thomson at the jail 14 days - March 14. "
      Down the column of consecutive days’other names appear. At May 5th it reads;
      "To And'w Heron, 1 day. 6th - At the graveyard, 1 day. 17th. - to Mr. Wilson, 1 day.
      "June 23rd. - To Mr. Pilkington, 1 day.
      "To plastering the two governments rooms, And's Thomson, John Thomson, and D'd Thomson 14 days each.
      "July 26th - Begun to wall the government brick house - D'd Thomson. "

      The name of James Elliot also appears frequently in the pages which follow, the walls of the government buildings evidently taking until the end of August to build, and other work occupying the men until the 7th of October.
      The account for the quantity of bricks used is also given on another page;
      "53, 500. at 17s. 6d. per thousand, amounting to 46 pound 16s. 2d.; four 84-foot arches, at 1s. per foot, 4 pound 4s. Total, 51 pounds o 2d. "

      Other names prominent in Toronto and the Government are also mentioned, including those of Captain McGill and Mr. Cameron.

      An entry on one of the yellow leaves of the little book would lead us to infer that Mrs. Thomson kept her Husband's accounts, as in the same handwriting there is:

      "April 8th, 1798 - To sewing one shirt, 5. To hemming a handkerchief, 1."

      There is no note to indicate whether she charged Samuel Heron shillings or pence for the work done. On the same page is an entry of 7 3 4 lbs. of beef at 11d. per lb. s bought of Samuel Heron.

      In course of time, as the land became cleared, there were many open glades in which comfortable log-houses and some frame Farm buildings dotted the landscape. Neighbours were nearer, the population was increasing, and times were apparently growing better. The settlers could now look forward hopefully to success. roads were being made, and traffic between the principal settlements and the markets was thus rendered less infrequent.

      When war was declared by the Untied States against Great Britain in 1812, David Thomson was given a commission in the 3rd York Regiment of Militia, and no doubt fulfilled the attendant obligation of raising the company he was to command from the settlers in the township, so many of whom bore his own name. Upon the declaration of war by the USA against Great Britain and her colonies on June 18th, 1812, the men of Scarboro responded loyally to the call to arms.

      From a letter written by Colonel Chewett, 3rd Regiment of York militia, to "Captain Thomson”in which reference is made to his company, in conjunction with the Pickering and Whitby companies, we gather that the Scarboro men were attached to that regiment, and from the family records of the township we know that they ere with General Brock at Detroit, when Hull surrendered on August 16th, 1812. From Burlington Bay to the shores of Lake Erie the road lay through the forest; but Brock's men were all volunteers and hardy woodsmen, accustomed to life in the New World and loyally devoted to the defence of their. They often had to bake bread before they could have supper, when they halted for the night.

      After the cessation of hostilities, the settlement of the country was more rapid, a number coming over from the USA, and others from Great Britain and Ireland. Shortly after the close of the war David Thomson built a tavern, or stopping place, on the opposite bank of the stream from that on which the first cottage stood, and on the old Markham Road, in order to accommodate the public travelling to and from the north by that route. The site is now occupied by the find residence of his grandson, Amos Thomson. The vacated cottage was rented by Mrs. Betsy Stafford, a widow, who kept the first store in the township.

      The tavern was a frame house built by one of David Thomson's sons. The rood was covered by hand-made clap-boards. In this house David Thomson and his Wife lived the remainder of their days. Hospitable, kind and full of sympathy for those in trouble, they were honoured and respected by all who knew them.

      When old David Thomson had pneumonia, Dr. Hamilton bled him each day for nine consecutive days, taking at least a pint of the crimson fluid on each occasion. The hardy old pioneer not seeming to improve under this heroic treatment, Dr. Paterson, of Markham, was called in, in consultation, when they decided to bleed him again making the tenth bleeding he had under gone. The patient appearing no better, hope was abandoned, and the relatives were summoned to the bedside. But the story concludes with Thomson's recovery and a four years' longer lease of life for the patient.

      About a year before he died David Thomson under went a surgical operation, having his leg amputated for some disease of the knee. When Drs. Graham and Hamilton were ready to operate, the old man, with a nerve wonderful in one of his age, mounted the table without assistance, laid himself down, and endured the amputation without flinching. He died in 1834, and was buried in the old Church yard of St Andrew's. His Wife survived him some years, dying on November 8th, 1847.

      A large tombstone marks the spot where they lie. It bears the following inscription which tells it own story:

      In Memory of Mary Thomson, the Mother of Scarboro, Who died the 8th f November, 1847 Aged 80 years. Here her remains repose side by side with those of her Husband DAVID THOMSON,
      Whose gravestone tells the Land of their Nativity and when they settled in Scarboro, which was then a Wilderness. On the opposite bank of the passing Rivulet, a little above this Burial ground they built their lonely cottage, and there they contended successfully against the hardships of the forest life; and there she passed the first seven months after their settlement without seeing a woman and first was an Indian. As her Husband, she lived and died respected, leaving behind her above 100 Descendants.
      As time runs on, so families pass away; Ye living men improve the present day; O seek that home that lies beyond the grave, Employ all means the immortal soul to save.

  • Sources 
    1. [S198] Heritage Scarborough and the Scarborough Archives, Scarborough Historical Society, (Name: P. O. Box 593, Station A, Scarborough, ONTARIO M1K 5C4;).

    2. [S207] Ian Glendinning [glendinningfamily@tiscali. co. uk].
      http: www. cults. freeserve. co. uk ancestry

    3. [S167] FindAGrave, (Name: www.findagrave.com;).
      Record for Mary Walton

    4. [S207] Ian Glendinning [glendinningfamily@tiscali. co. uk].
      Westerkirk Parish, 1750-1799 Marriages, Dumfries-shire, Scotland