An American Family History

John Morgan Thomas and Mary Lewis

Thornbury, Glouscestershire, England
Montréal, Québec, Canada
Toronto, (was York County), Ontario, Canada

St. James

York County was in the Canadian province of Ontario and was created in 1792. In 1816, Wentworth and Halton Counties were created from York County and in 1851, Ontario and Peel Couties were separated. In 1953, Metropolitan Toronto seceded. In 1971, the remaining portion of York County became the York Regional Municipality.

Diphtheria is a serious contagious respiratory illness where a membrane attaches to the tonsils, pharynx, or nasal cavity. Diphtheria can lead to loss of motor control and sensation.
Pertussis is also contagious and was known as whooping cough. It starts with a mild respiratory infection and the coughing develops into uncontrollable fits followed by a high-pitched "whoop" sound as the patient struggles to breathe.
Tetanus was also called lockjaw and occurs when wounds are contaminated. As the infection progresses, muscle spasms develop in the jaw as well as other parts of the body.

John Morgan Thomas and Mary Lewis married on December 25, 1827 at Kingswood Parish Church. There are two parishes called Kingswood in Gloucestershire. They were married at the one near Wotton-under-Edge. It was in the county of Wiltshire until 1844. According to Marriages solemnized in the Parish of Kingswood in the County of Wilts, in the Year 1827

John Thomas of this Parish, bachelor and Mary Lewis of this Parish, spinster, were married in this Church by banns, 25th December 1827, by me, Thos. Thomas, Minister.
This Marriage was solemnized between us: John Thomas, Mary Lewis In the Presence of: John Salter, Susanna Lewis.
(Register reference P193 IN 1/7, page 51, no.152)

They had thirteen children: five sons and eight daughters. Charles Lewis Thomas was born in 1828 in England. When Charles was baptised, John's occupation was carpenter. Thomas Lewis Thomas was born about 1829. A Cyclopedia of Canadian Biography said that John and Mary had five sons and eight daughters.

The family emigrated to Montréal from Bristol, England in 1832 on the brig Tobago. Their daughter Elizabeth Sheppard Thomas Musson was born at sea.

John Morgan Thomas began to manufacture pianos and became one of the pioneer piano builders in Canada.

Susannah Matilda Thomas Learmouth was born October 29, 1834 and  Eliza Mary Thomas Treahy was born in 1838. 

The family moved to Toronto in 1839. John manufactured pianos in what was then Chewitt's buildings on corner of King Street and York Street. The The Rossin House Hotel was built on the same site. It became the Prince George Hotel which was demolished in 1960 and the Toronto Dominion Center was built.

Jane Eliza (Jennie) Thomas Belford was born in 1839. Francis John Thomas was born about 1843.

In 1844 John moved the family business to a new building he built on King Street called Harmony Place. It was a showroom and manufacturing plant.

Mary Sophia Thomas was born April 14, 1845. Mary died when she was only 20 months old on December 17, 1846 of whooping cough. She was buried at St. James' Cemetery, Section R. The Reverend John George Delhoste McKenzie was present.

Twins, Celia Ann Thomas Brodie and the second Mary Sophia Thomas, were born in June, 1847. The second Mary Sophia died April 16, 1850 of inflammation of the brain. She was only two years and ten months. She was buried at St. James (Section R, Lot 8, North Grave) on December 20. The Reverend Stephen Lett officiated.

John Joseph Thomas was born in January, 1850.

In 1851, John Thomas & Son exhibited a piano at the first exhibition of all nations in the Crystal Palace, London, England.

Thomas L. Thomas was born about 1850,, and Edward George Thomas was born in 1853.

They were Episcopalian and baptisms and burials were at St. James.

The 1853 Toronto Tax Assessment Rolls show they were living in St. George's Ward on King Street West. They owned their home. In the 1860 Caverhill's Toronto city directory they were on the corner of George and Duke Streets.

Thomas "Pianoforte Manufactory" 1856

In 1861 the John Thomas family was living on the north side of Duke Street. The household consisted of 56 year old John Thomas, Mary age 51, Sussanah age 26, Eliza age 24, Jane age 22, Francis age 18, Cealia age 14, John age 11, Edward age 8 and C. Hamilton age 24. Frances Thomas age 19 was listed several lines below the family. Susan has the notation L.C. under occupation and Jane has W.C.

Mary died on May 7, 1862 when she was 52 years old of "decay" in Whitby, Ontario.

The 1870 Toronto City Directory lists John Thomas on Gerrard Street.At the time of the 1871 census, they were in St. John's Ward, Toronto, York County.

John Morgan died on March 2, 1875 in Toronto of erysipelas, which is a skin infection or congestion of the lungs. He was buried with Mary at St. James Cathedral Cemetery in downtown Toronto.

The city of York was incorporated as Toronto on March 6, 1834. The city grew and developed significantly during the the 19th century. The Irish famine brought a large number of Irish immigrants to the city and they became the largest ethnic group.

Toronto 1856
Toronto 1856

Charles Lewis Thomas Piano
Wellington County Museum

The Province of Upper Canada was established in 1791 to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States. It included all of Southern Ontario and part of Northern Ontario.

The first European settlements in Ontario were after the American Revolution when 5,000 loyalists left the new United States.





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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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