John Thompson [ 1840 (Approx.) - 1917 ]

“John T. Thompson” [sic], “portable saw mill owner of this village” was certainly active by 1879 as the papers record that he cut his forehead while splitting wood for E.B. Borland [CP 31 Jan 1879; 3].

The following year, in partnership with Alexander McArthur, the firm of McArthur & Thompson opened a saw mill on the site of “Mowrey’s old mill” [FFG 19 March 1880; 3]. The partnership lasted until January 1886 [FFG 30 Jan 1886; 2], although the firm did not vanish from the directories until 1887.

Thompson then went on to operate a saw mill with John A. Ellis under the name of Thompson & Co. In June 1889 Thompson sold his mill interests to go into prospecting. “Mr. John Thompson of this village, has for some time been so convinced of [the valuable stone north of the village] that he has sold out his interest in the saw-mill to the other members of the firm and went into quarrying [in Somerville and other northern townships] [FFG 21 June 1889; 4]. Like other regional “mining” adventures in the northern townships, this one must have been a failure as there is no further mention of Thompson until 1894, when he appeared before Council on behalf of the Smith estate to negotiate terms if he operated the mill south of the river to cut Howry & Co.’s stock [FFG 2 March 1894; 4]. Thompson appears to have been a “manager” or millwright at Howry’s Red mill, and was certainly negotiating with, and perhaps even representing the Smith Estate at the same time. He certainly appeared before Council several times to ask for tax concessions for the Howry firm.

Thompson vanishes from most sources throughout the 1890s. He may have continued to be active with the Howry firm until it burned in 1896, and afterwards acted as a lumber dealer. A 60 year-old John Thompson is recorded in the 1901 Census of the village, but his profession is illegible [it may state simply “labourer”].

752 The 1891 Census lists two labourers named John T. Thompson: the first is a 45 year-old widower, lodging with the Charles Wise family: the second is 19 years-old, lodging with the Wood family along with his wife Louisa Thompson [died 1895]. There is also a John Thompson, a 48 year-old Presbyterian mill-wright. There appears to be much confusion in the press as to the correct name. John Thompson (1840-1917) was the millwright. John T. Thompson was a carpenter.

753 This name is probably a mistake. Other sources refer only to John Thompson. [See FN 4]

754 See under McArthur & Thompson.

755 It is believed that the firm of Thompson & Ellis will run the Red mill during the coming season for the purpose of cutting their large supply of logs which they are getting out during the present season. This will be a brighter prospect for the village [CP 18 Nov 1887; 1].

756 Listed in the Ontario Directory (1888/1889). The firm was in operation by October 1887 [CP 7 Oct 1887; 6].

757 A John Thompson is listed in the January 1890 edition of Dun & Bradstreet as dealing in lumber, so he may have continued as a lumber merchant for much of the decade (1890s). He is listed in the 1891 Census of the village as a 48 year-old mill-wright [sic].

758 See also FF Minute Books, 1877-1900; 302.

759 See also FFG 2 March 1894; 4 : 23 March 1894; 4 : 1 June 1894; 4.

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