Tuesday, 13 June 2017


First Published in the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society Newsletter - Toronto Tree - May/June 2017.

The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society invited members to share stories about ancestors who lived in Canada at the time of confederation in 1867.  Richard Down is my maternal great-great-grandfather. 


Richard Down was born in 1833 in Devon, England.  He was christened on 22 September 1833, at The Abbey Chapel - Presbyterian in Tavistock, Devon.  He married Mary Hooper Doidge on 22 December 1855, at Stoke Damerel, Devon.   Mary H. Doidge was also born in Devon and christened at the Tavistock Parish Church on 17 July 1835.

According to family history Richard and Mary emigrated to Canada on their honeymoon on the Empress of Ireland ship.  Their first child, Thomas was born in Bowmanville, Ontario in 1858.  They might have settled there initially as there were other Down and Doidge families living in the area.  As yet, there has been no link made to these families.  Richard Down’s mother was Patience Walters from Devon and there were also some Walters families living in the Ontario County area at the same time which might have been relatives as well. 

Between 1858 and 1860 the family moved to Toronto.  Richard Down is listed in the 1860 Toronto City Directory as a carpenter, living at 80 Victoria Street.  The family has now grown and the children include Thomas Walter born 1858, Fanny born 1860, Charles Walter born 1861, Edith May Maude Mary born 1863, William Henry Walter born 1865 and John Hooper born 1866 .  All the children were born in Toronto with the exception of Thomas.  The family attended the St. James Cathedral in Toronto and several of the children were baptised there. There is a family burial plot at St. James Cemetery which is affiliated with the church.
Richard Down 1833-1897

Between 1860 and 1871 the family is listed living on Victoria Street in downtown Toronto.  By the 1881 Census the family has moved to York East, in Norway Village to part of Lot 6 Concession 1. 

Richard Down died 12 October 1897.  He did not leave a will and Letters of Administration were granted on 3 May 1899.  He is listed as living in the Village of Norway and his occupation is carpenter.  His real estate is listed as:  Part of Lot 6, Concession 1, Township of York - 2 acres on Woodbine Avenue with buildings value - $1200.00.  The street address is 290 Woodbine Avenue, Toronto.

Mary Hooper Doidge Down 1835-1899

His wife Mary Hooper Doidge Down died 17 October 1899.  They are both buried at St. James Cemetery in Toronto.