An Irish Famine Immigrant
Andrew Thompson was born to Allan and Ann Thompson in Five-Mile-Town, Co. Fermanagh, (Northern) Ireland in 1835. This was near the beginning of the Great Irish Famine, and records from that period are understandably spotty. It is known that he, one of his brothers, his mother, and his mother's brother (Robert Ross) emigrated to Canada in 1844, leaving from Liverpool, England and landing somewhere in Quebec, probably Grosse Isle, Montreal. The journey took 68 days. He was 9 years old.
The Thompsons settled in Simcoe County, Ontario soon after arriving. Andrew attended Barrie Public and Grammar School in 1853, and later apprenticed as a blacksmith under Mr. Thomas Somerset of Barrie. He lived in Bond Head for three years. He then set up shop in Thornton on John Henry's farm, Hwy. 27 and 15th. Sideroad. (Essa Twp.).
In 1860, Andrew was married to Elizabeth (Elisa) Mitchell, daughter of Richard and Margaret Mitchell, in St. James Cathedral in Toronto. The church records list the names of the parents of both the bride and groom. Elisa was probably also a refugee of the Famine, having emigrated with her family to Toronto from Sligo, Ireland in 1857 at the age of 14. The couple purchased a lot and built a shop in Essa, Lot 16, Con. 11, south of the present Anglican Church. They built a house south of the shop two years later, and two years after that, Andrew helped to build a Methodist Church 2 miles away.
The Thompson House
built in 1866, near Thornton
Because Andrew received much of the payment for his services in the form of barter, he acquired a number of cattle, which he had nowhere to keep. So, in 1866, Andrew and Elisa acquired the north 1/2 of Lot 3, Con. 6, Innisfil Township (just outside Thornton) from the Crown, and built a house and a shop there. This house is still standing. Twelve years later they purchased the half-lot across the road, and in 1895 the built a brick house there for their son Allan and his wife. In 1898, Andrew helped to built a second Methodist Church, now Trinity United Church in Thornton. The same year the Thompsons moved to a house in town, then #5 Barrie St.
In 1910, Andrew and Elisa celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, with nine of their ten children present. Elisa died the next year at age 68. Andrew continued to live in the house in Thornton, looked after by his daughter Laura, and died in 1917 at the age of 82. He and other members of the family are buried in a small cemetary just outside of Thornton at Innisfil Rd. Andrew Thompson was my great-great grandfather.
The Thompson Family
Front: Harry, Margaret, Andrew, Lillie, Elizabeth (mother), Elizabeth (daughter)
Back: John, Martha, George, Allan, Laura, Ross
Andrew and Elisa Thompson had five sons and five daughters between 1862 and 1881. An interesting note: all the boys died before the age of 66, living and average of 55 years; all the girls lived past the age of 77, average 83 years.
Thompson / Tom Family Album