Family History – Part Four

Photo of Joshua placed near the end of the History.

Photo of Joshua placed near the end of the History.


Part Four

Joshua progresses very methodically though his family’s history, beginning with his own scant knowledge of his grandparents, stepping through parents, brothers and sisters, his own autobiography, children from two marriages and finishing with several addenda concerning his grandchildren. He writes sections based on the length of the blank journal page, beginning with a heading and subheading followed by a single page of text, whereupon he breaks the narrative flow and begins a new page with a new heading.

Joshua tells the story of an Old World working class Anglo-Irish family beginning anew in North America. He never fully explains why the Thompson family decided to make the arduous trek in 1819 from Mountrath, a village near Dublin, across a great ocean and vast tracts of wilderness to arrive, finally, in a farming community a few miles west of Kingston, Ontario. They hoped “to make a home and a fortune for their family,” Joshua writes, as he tells the remarkable tale of the challenges endured and chances taken by these settlers in the New World.

In his own words:

Ice In St. Lawrence Brakes Up – A Disappointment
Purchased a Farm

My Father did not find Canada as inviting a place for a home as he expected and consulted with my mother and they both concluded it was best to return to the states. I think he was at Mr. Baker’s two weeks. So he engaged two other teams to take them back to Cambridge [NY]. When they reached Kingston, a distance of thirty miles, they heard that the ice in the river St. Lawrence had broken up and it could not be crossed with teams so they did not proceed any further. He soon got a house for the family and unloaded the sleighs, settled with the teamsters and got the house arranged for the family.

He then searched and got employment in a shoeshop in town conducted by a man the name of William Carroll. My Father worked for him about a year and cleared some more than his expenses and began to think he could make a home for himself and his family in Upper Canada. He kept inquiring of those customers who got work done in the shop for a suitable place for his business and a home for the family and himself. He heard of fifty acres of land that could be bought cheap with a frame house and log barn on it and in a good neighborhood that needed a shoemaker. This place was twenty four miles north-west of Kingston and ten miles from John Baker’s in Richmond. My Father at once went to see it and the owner who lived in the same neighborhood. His name was Thomas Empey, Esquire, called “Squire Empey.” They soon made a bargain for the land. I think the price was $250, and my Father soon left Kingston and moved to his farm and new home in Ernestown in the spring of 1823. This was a good purchase (five dollars per acre) and was a good Christian society, but a poor farm to till. JT

Part One |Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine

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