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Robert William Thomson (1835 - 1877)

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Robert William Thomson
Born in Scarborough Township, Upper Canadamap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Middlesex County, Ontario, Canadamap
Profile manager: Fred Nix private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 7 Jun 2013
This page has been accessed 548 times.


Robert is born in Scarborough Township, Upper Canada on April 13, 1835 and is baptised on May 11, 1835 presumably in St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Bendale, Scarborough. He is the son of Agnes Paterson (1800-1875) and James Andrew Thomson (1802-1884). His father, James Andrew or “Springfield Jimmy” as he was known, is a descendent of the brother of the first European settler in Scarborough. His mother, Agnes Paterson, had come to Canada with the family (the grandparents, aunts and uncles of Agnes) in 1820 and settled along the east side of what is now Kennedy Road in Toronto between Sheppard and Finch Avenues.

Robert marries Helen Jane TINDILL (1840-1919) probably in about 1858-1859. Helen, sometimes known as “Ellen” or “Jane Ellen” in the census records, was born on January 24, 1840 in England and came to Canada West in 1850. In the 1851 census (conducted in 1852), she is an 11-year old “Jane Ellen Tindill” living in Markham with her mother, Elizabeth, and seven siblings. Her father must have died fairly recently as one of the siblings is a four-year old sister. The whole family, including the four-year old, were born in England and they are shown as Methodists (Primitive Methodists, one of the several varieties of Methodists).

Robert and Helen are in the 1861 census, in Scarborough, and they have a one-year old child: Eliza M. Robert is a farmer

At some point, probably before 1865, Robert and Helen move to McGillivray Township, Middlesex County. This is north and west of London, Ontario. The land making up McGillivray had been conveyed to the British Crown in 1825. The Canada Company was formed in London, England in 1824 with the purpose of purchasing crown land in Upper Canada and then selling it to settlers. (Upper Canada becomes Canada West in 1841 which, in turn, becomes Ontario in 1867.) One of the directors was Simon McGillivary, and this is where the township derived its name.

Robert and Helen have close relatives that moved to McGillivray either before or after them. Robert’s brother, Andrew J. Thomson (1825-1895), is in the lumber business in Parkhill (in West Williams Township, just on the border of McGillivray) at some point – possibly in the 1870s. And Robert’s niece (Andrew J. Thomson’s daughter) marries into the Hagerman family and three of the Hagerman brothers own land in McGillivray Township. Mary (Thomson) Hagerman (1850-1932) herself settles in McGillivray in 1869. In the 1871 census, Robert and Helen are living in McGillivray with four children: Elizabeth (10), Agnes (8), James (6) and Esther (4). Robert is a farmer. Helen’s mother, Elizabeth Tindill, lives close by – in a hotel in West Williams. The hotel is owned by Sandford Tudor who has married Helen’s sister, Esther.

(The McGill Historical Atlas, drawn in 1878, shows “R.W. Thompson” as a mill owner in McGillivray. This person settled in McGillivray in 1863. Possibly Robert William Thomson was more than just a farmer. But this is speculation.)

Robert dies young (42) on December 18, 1877. He is buried in the Parkhill cemetery West Williams, Middlesex, Ontario. (Parkhill is variously spelt “Parkhill” or “Park Hill.”) In the 1881 census, “Ellen Thompson” (sic) has moved into the village of Parkhill. She has with her six children: Elizabeth M. (20) who appears to work as a servant somewhere; Agnes P. (18), James A. (16) who is a blacksmith; Esther A. (14), George H. (12) and David C. (7). The three youngest children are in school. Ellen is labelled “English” but the children are “Scotch.” Sometime after 1881, Helen and some of the children move to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Helen dies there in 1919. She is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in Winnipeg with some of her children and at least one grandchild. Her name, however, is inscribed on the headstone of Robert’s grave in Parkhill.

Robert and Helen had the following children (the sixth child, William, died as an infant):

  • Elizabeth M. Thomson (1860-?) + John Sinclair
  • Agnes Paterson Thomson (c1863-1927) + George C. Meggs (c1860-1933)
  • James A. Thomson (1865<1930) + Ida Lanterwasser (1870-1944)
  • Hester Thomson (1866-1942) + Thomas Gregg (1867-1924)
  • George H. Thomson (c1869-1942)
  • William Thomson (c1872-c1872)
  • David C. Thomson (1873-1935) + Alice A. [?McMullen] (c1875-1939)


[1] 1968 Paterson family tree shows Robert as the 6th child of Agnes and James, it shows Robert’s spouse as “Helen Tindall”, and it shows 7 children: Elizabeth, Agnes, James, Hester, George, William and David. It shows spouses for 5 of these children and descendents for 3 of these children.

[2] Scarborough Birth Register (poor photocopy of transcript): Robt William Apr 13 1835/ May 11 1835

[3] 1851 (1852) census, Canada West, York, Markham, pg 299, lines 1-9: Elizabeth Tindill (42); Rob’t (22), yeoman, Marmer (21), yeoman, W’m (19), wagonmaker; Geo (13); Jane Ellen (11); Eliza (9); Esther (7); Maryanna (4). Everyone in the family was born in England and everyone is Primitive Methodist.

[4] 1861 census, Ontario, York, Scarborough, pg 68, lines 48-50: Robert W. Thompson (sic) (25), farmer, born U. Canada, Ch of Scotland [Presbyterian]; Jane (20), born England; Eliza M (1). The family lives in a 2-story brick house.

[5] 1871 census, Ontario, Middlesex North, 8, McGillivray, e, pg 16, household. Robert Thompson (sic) (36) farmer; Ellen (30) born in England; Elizabeth (10); Agnes (8); James (6); Esther (4). The family is “Scotch” and “Presbyterian.”

[6] 1871 census, Ontario, 8, North Middlesex, Williams West, pg 38, household 145: Sandford Tudor (35), born England, Hotel Keeper; Esther (24), born England [3 children listed, then 6 other people who presumably live in the hotel]; Elizabeth Tindall (sic) (60), born England, widow.

[7] The historical maps at McGill University -- --

[8] 1881 census, Ontario, North Middlesex, Parkhill village, pg 37-38, household 174: Mrs Ellen Thompson (sic)( 40), born England, widow; Elizabeth M. (20), [occupation appears to be “servant”]; Agnes P. (18); James A. (16), blacksmith; George H (12), in school; Esther A. (14), in school; David C. (7), in school; Thomas Hamilton (22), painter, Ch of Eng, Irish All the children were born in Ontario and they are all labelled “Scotch.”

[9] Parkhill Cemetery, Middlesex, Ontario, headstone (1): “THOMSON Robert Wm Thomson died Dec 18th 1877, aged 42 years, Native of Scarboro, Ont. Also his wife, Helen J. Tindill died June 28th 1919, aged 78 years. Interred at Winnipeg.” Headstone (2) “In loving memory/Elizabeth Tendill (sic)/who died Aug 7, 1896/Aged 86 Yrs. Mos” Headstone (3) “Sanford Tudor/Jan 7, 1837/Jan 17, 1915/ His wife/ Esther Tindill/ March 23, 1845/Oct 7, 1924”


Thank you to Katharine E for creating WikiTree profile Thomson-2025 through the import of andrew thomson.ged on Jun 7, 2013. Click to the Changes page for the details of edits by Katharine and others.

The current (Nov 13, 2013) biography was prepared by Fred Paterson Nix; with significant up-dates in Nov, 2014.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Robert by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Robert:

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Robert is 22 degrees from Virginia Fields, 21 degrees from William Mayo and 17 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