Agnes Paterson

Agnes Paterson (1800 - 1875)

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Agnes Paterson
Born in Roxburghshire, Scotlandmap
Daughter of and
Wife of — married in Scarborough, Upper Canadamap
Descendants descendants
Died in Scarborough, Ontario, Canadamap
Profile manager: Fred Nix private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 7 Jun 2013
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Agnes Paterson is born in or near Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland the daughter of Thomas Paterson (1765-1842) and Hannah Brown (1757-1848). She emigrates from Scotland to Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1820 with her parents. Two census records show Agnes born in England which is puzzling but, for here, put down to errors on the part of the census taker.

Agnes marries James Andrew Thomson (1802-1884) on March 26, 1824 and moves to his farm, Springfield Farm. One source says Agnes is 17 years old when she marries, suggesting a birth year of about 1807 but this is believed to be an error as it is fairly certain she was born in 1800. James Andrew Thomson, or “Springfield Jimmy” is the son of Andrew Thomson (1751-1823) and Jean Henderson (1771-1842). Andrew Thomson (1751-1823) is the brother of David Thomson – who in 1799 became the first settler in Scarborough (Township of Scarborough, York, Upper Canada). By one account, James Andrew is the first European to be born in Scarborough. This Thomson family also has in its family tree such descendants as Lord Roy Thomson of Fleet (and namesake of the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto) his son Ken Thomson and others, such as the author Farley Mowet.

Springfield Farm is located in Lot 23, Concession 1 of Scarborough Township. The West Highland Creek runs through the middle of the farm. In today’s geography, this is on the north side of Lawrence Avenue, west of McCowan Road. Today this land sits beside the Thomson Memorial Park. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Bendale, was built on the northern part of the Andrew Thomson farm. This farm was, in part, inherited by James Andrew Thomson and this is where James and Agnes live all their lives.

In the 1861 census, Agnes and James are living on their farm with only two children at home: James George (22) and Agnes (21). They also have living with them a nephew, Andrew Paterson, from Streetsville and two young women. It is difficult to make out the names of the young women but they could be Mary and Emma Moir or possibly “Muir” This is interesting as there are both “Moir’s” and “Muir’s” who marry into the Paterson clan. So there may have been some family connection back in Scotland.

In the 1871 census, Agnes Paterson and James Andrew Thomson are living on or near Springfield farm. They are next door to (or the next household in the census is) the family of their eighth child, James George Thomson and his wife and family. Living with Agnes and James Andrew are two grandchildren – Alfred Thomson who is 16 (Albert is the correct name) and Agnes who is 14. These are the children of their son Thomas Thomson and Mary Ann Hipkins. Mary Ann died in 1867, so two of the children went to live with their grandparents.

Agnes dies in 1875 and shortly thereafter James Andrew marries for a second time. In the 1881 census record, the 79-year old James Thomson is living very close to James George Thomson and his family. His wife, this is his second wife, is a 61-year old Agnes Thomson who was born in Scotland.

James Andrew dies on October 28, 1884 and is buried with his wife (Agnes Paterson) in the cemetery at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Bendale. It is not known where the second wife of James Andrew is buried.

The house Agnes and James built in 1840 is still standing at 146 St Andrew’s Rd, just north of the Thomson memorial park in Toronto (formerly, Scarborough). It is the oldest brick dwelling in Scarborough.

Agnes and James Andrew have the following eleven children:

  • Andrew J. Thomson 1825-1895 + Eliza Bell 1825-1913
  • Thomas Thomson 1827-1909 +(1852) (1) Mary Ann Hipkins 1832-1867 +(1870) (2) Louise Jane Newman 1840-1915
  • Hannah Thomson 1828-1832
  • Mary Paterson Thomson 1831-1850
  • Hannah Jane Thomson 1833-1905 + John Wakefield 1828-1909
  • Robert William Thomson 1835-1877 + Helen Tindill 1840-1919
  • Agnes Thomson 1837-1865 + Alexander Muir 1830-1906
  • James George Thomson 1839-1917 + Agnes Glendinning 1840-1916
  • infant Thomson 1841-1841
  • John Christopher Thomson 1842-1848
  • William Scotland Thomson 1845-1848


[1] There are 3 main sources of information on Agnes Paterson and James Thomson: (1) the 1968 Paterson family tree with some dates, etc added by Barbara Paterson (1927-2009); (2) a Thomson family tree found at; and (3) a Thomson family tree on Ian Glendinning’s web site All three sources have slightly different lists of children. For here, the Paterson family tree is the main source followed, using some dates supplied in the other sources. These are the children shown on the Paterson family tree: Andrew, Thomas, Hannah, Mary, Hannah Jane, Robert William, Agnes, James George, John, William. The other confusion about Agnes (and, to some extent, James) is the correct birth/death years. The 1968 Paterson family tree shows Agnes as 1807-1875 making her the 5th of the 5 children of Thomas Paterson and Hannah Brown. It shows James Thomson as 1802-1884. The information at repeats these dates as does the above referenced material on the Thomson family tree. Adding to the confusion is the existence of an historial picture of Agnes and James (files of Barbara Paterson 1927-2009) showing Agnes as 1807-1875 and James as 1809-1885. For here, however, the dates are taken from the headstone at Bendale. This shows Agnes dieing in 1875 “in her 75th year” suggesting she was born in 1800. This birth year is reinforced by information shown in the 1861 census where Agnes is 60 and the 1871 census where she is shown as 69. The Bendale headstone also shows James dieing in 1884 “in his 83rd year” suggesting a birth year of 1802. The main consequence of this is that, unlike the Paterson family tree, Agnes becomes the 4th child of Thomas and Hannah. Ian Glendinning’s web site shows Agnes as 1800-1875 and also provides the date of the marriage.

[2] Scarborough Birth Register (poor photocopy of transcript) – although the writing is difficult to decipher, the following children are shown on the Register (birth date/baptism date): Andrew Jan 29 1825/ Mar 23 1825; Thomas Feb 7 1827/ Mar 16 1827; Mary Mar 26 1831/Apr 12 1831; Hannah Jane Mar 14 1833/Apr 7 1833; Robt William Apr 13 1835/ May 11 1835; Agnes Sept 25 1837/ Oct 20 1837; James George Jun 30 1839/ July 25 1839; John Christopher June 2 1842/July 5 184?; William Scotland [?June] 1845/ July 27 1845.

[3] Charles Pelham Mulvany, Graeme Mercer Adam & Christopher Blackett Robinson, 1885, History of Toronto and County of York, Ontario , published by C. Blackett Robinson, Toronto, Vol II, pp 279-280. This provides biographical material on James Andrew and his father (the fact that James A. was the first European born in Scarborough, the location of the farm, the fact that James A married after the death of Agnes, etc). Also, the alumni of David and Mary Thomson Collegiate have an interesting (short) history of David and Mary Thomson at

[4] 1861 census, Ontario, York, Township of Scarborough, pg 72, lines 43-50: James A. Thompson (sic) (58), farmer, born U. Canada; Agnes (60) born England; James George Thompson (sic) (22) born U. Canada, farmer; Agnes (21); Christopher Borthwick (25) sawmill, born Scotland; Andrew Patterson (sic) (30) deaf & dumb, born U. Canada; Mary (?) Moir (22), born U Canada, farmer; Emma (?) Moir (?) (19), labourer. (Note: the words “farmer” beside Mary Moir and “labourer” beside Emma Moir could simply be the census taker’s addition at the bottom of the page as the writing appears to be “7 farmers” and “9 labourers”. The surnames “Moir” are very difficult to read and could be “Muir” or something else.)

[5] 1871 census: Agnes & James A Thomson, aged 70 & 69 respectively, are living with two children Agnes H (14) and Alfred (16). These are grandchildren: Agnes H is the daughter of Thomas Thomson and Mary Ann Hipkins (who died in 1867), and it is likely that “Alfred” is also their son, “Albert” (the age is correct) with a misspelling of the name. Agnes & James are living beside their son, James George Thomson and Agnes Glendinning. The census shows that James was born in Ontario whereas Agnes was born in “England” (sic). Their “origin”, however, is listed as “Scotch.” James is a “farmer.”

[6] 1881 census, Ontario, 135, East York, Township of Scarboro, pg 1, household 1: James Thomson (79) born Ontario, gentleman; Agnes Thomson (61), born Scotland. (The census then shows a household 2 and, in household 3 is James G. Thomson and his family.)

[7] St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Bendale: headstones “In Memory Of James A. Thomson Died Oct 28 1884 In His 83rd Year Also His Wife Agnes Paterson Died June 3 1875 In Her 76th Year.”




The current (and revised) biography of Agnes was prepared by Fred Paterson Nix on Dec 2, 2013 (minor additions & editing in March 2017).

Thank you to Fred Nix for creating Paterson-780 on 3 Oct 13. Click the Changes tab for the details on contributions by Fred and others.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Agnes by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Agnes:

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Agnes is 21 degrees from Virginia Fields, 21 degrees from William Mayo and 16 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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Categories: Scarborough Township, Upper Canada