King Township Residents from A History of Toronto and County of York

Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Armstrong, deceased, was born in Ireland in 1812. He emigrated to Canada in 1836, and locating in York County purchased lot 24, concession 9, King Township. He filled several important offices during his career, and was in 1838 appointed a J.P. He gave very valuable assistance to the Government during the troublous times of 1837, and was authorized by the Governor-General to raise a company, which he succeeded in doing in the short period of four days. He was taken prisoner by a party of Rebels who endeavoured by threats to coerce him into joining their ranks, but it is scarcely necessary to add without success. Baring his bosom he gave them to understand that his life was at their disposal if they wished to take it, but his loyalty to the Crown should never be questioned. Through his instrumentality the whole party were afterwards arrested. He was appointed the first Clerk of the Division Court, which position he occupied about ten years. In 1865 he took a first-class certificate at the School of Military Instruction. He cleared over three hundred acres of land. He died in the year 1880, after a long, useful and honourable life. (vol. II, p. 379)

Arthur Armstrong, son of the above, was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1835, and came with his parents to Canada when but a child. His early education was received in the Common Schools, afterwards finishing at Upper Canada College. He succeeded his father in 1859 as Clerk of the Division Court, and continues to retain that position. In military matters he has taken an active part, having held honourable positions in both Cavalry and Infantry Corps. He retired in 1875 with the rank of Major. Major Armstrong was married in 1865 to Miss Bosworth, daughter of Alfred Bosworth, M.D., late of Paris, Ont. His wife died in 1880, leaving five children to mourn their loss, viz.: A. Bosworth, born 1868; Walter Clifford, born 1873; Adelaide Dewson, born 1875; John A. McDonald, born 1877; Violet Keith, born 1879. Major Armstrong again married, his second wife being a daughter of the late Colonel R. S. Denison. Our subject is a strong Conservative in politics, and in religion holds to the Church of England. (vol. II, p. 379)

Francis Attridge, lot 6, concession 6, carriage manufacturer, Laskay P.O., was born in Simcoe County, and acquired a knowledge of carriage-making, at which trade he worked as journeyman for a period of fifteen years. He established his present business in 1883, and by strict attention and a careful regard to all the details of workmanship, he has been enabled to secure a considerable amount of the trade of his vicinity. (vol. II, p. 380)

Joseph Baldwin, deceased, was one of the early pioneers of King Township, and was born in the year 1807, at Laskay, Yorkshire, England. He emigrated to Canada in 1830, and located for about two years in the Township of Loughborough, Frontenac County. Attracted by the encouraging reports that were being received there of fine agricultural land north of little York, he came to York County in 1832, and settled in the Township of King, on lot 3, concession 5, and may be called one of the originators of the Village of Laskay. He settled in the dense forest, amongst the hills that skirt one of the eastern branches of the River Humber, on the north half of the lot previously alluded to, where a small beginning had been made towards the erection of a saw-mill and the building of a dam. Mr. Baldwin purchased the property in its unfinished state, and completed its erection, and afterwards successfully operated the saw-mill in connection with the clearing of timber off his land. He was married during the year of his arrival in King Township, his wife being Elizabeth Simpson, daughter of George Simpson (a highly respected Quaker family residing at the settlement of the Society of Friends, about three miles south of the present Town of Newmarket). There not being at that time any authorized minister residing within eighteen miles of the residence of his wife’s father, the marriage contract was drawn by Mr. William Tyler, Justice of the Peace, and witnessed by a number of relations and friends. The document is still in existence, being in the possesion of their eldest son by whom it is preserved as a curiousity. Mr. Baldwin’s wife was born at Kirbymoorside, Yorkshire, England, in 1808, and came with the remainder of her father’s family to Canada in 1831. The lumber mill of Mr. Baldwin, being the only one in the section at that time, had to supply the demand of a considerable portion of the district, and as a consequence he was more than usually prosperous, although, what with the work of the mill and the additional labour of clearing the land, his resources of strength and endurance were tried to the utmost, but the innate energy he possessed conquered all difficulties and his progress was one of continued success. In the year 1844 he was selected to represent the Township in the District Council, which office he filled to the entire satisfaction of his constituents for several years until 1851, when he was compelled to retire, from the pressure of his own increasing business. In the year 1849 he erected a large first-class flour and grist-mill on the south side of his property and entered largely into that business. The same mill is yet in good order, and is known as Laskay Mills; mainly from this establishment may be said to have sprung the present lively Village of Laskay. But, although his business prospered, Mr. Baldwin about this time suffered a severre loss by the death of his wife, which occurred on august 19, 1851, in her forty-third year. She had throughout her married life been of invaluable assistance to her husband, patient under the discomforts of their early settlement, and exercising by her uninterrupted cheerfulness a bright influence that drove away the care which attends on accumulating business. She had three children who still survive her, two sons and one daughter. Mr. Baldwin felt his loss deeply, and in the interests of his growing family and the general comfort of his home married a second time, his wife being Mrs. Bailey, who proved an affectionate step-mother, dividing her kindness and attention equally between the children of his first wife and her own, of whom they have one son and three daughters still living. Mr. Baldwin transferred his milling business to his second son, George Simpson Baldwin, in 1865, and went into partial retirement, his only occupation being that of farming, the old saw-mill having become dilapidated and unworkable from the wear and tear of age the year previous. In the year 1879 he leased his farm and built a village residence, to which he repaired and retired altogether from active life. He lived but two years, however, to enjoy the ease which the labours of a long and honourable career had earned for him, and in April, 1882, he found refuge in that haven against whose breakwater the storms of life for ever beat in vain. His wife died about three months previous, on December 23, 1881, in the sixty-second year of her age. The cause of Mr. Baldwin’s death was cancer. He was buried in the graveyard of the Methodist Church, along with his two wives and three infant children, that resting-place being on the lot which Mr. Baldwin had presented to the Methodist body for that purpose. Of his character little need be said; the example of a well spent life requires no further testimony than its own acts; and no language of ours will contribute greater honour to his memory than the lesson taught to the rising generation of what may be accomplished in the sure way of gaining the respect of all by closely imitating his mode and manner of life. (vol. II, p. 380)

Henry Baldwin, proprietor of the woollen mills, Laskay, is the eldest son of the late Joseph Baldwin, and was born in 1835 in the house near the old saw mill to which allusion is made in the biographical sketch of the father. Our subject and his brother, George S. (who was born in 1839), received all the Common School education that it was possible to obtain, with additional completion in Grammar Schools in Barrie and Toronto, and afterwards were thoroughly taught every branch of the father’s business with whom they continued, rendering their united assistance for the general good. Henry in 1856 was established by his father in a general store in Laskay, which he conducted in connection with the other branches of his father’s business; he was subsequently appointed to the position of Postmaster of Laskay, which office he has held for over twenty years. He afterwards added an additional branch to his business and purchased a carding and cloth finishing mill near to the store, which business he yet owns and manages, having recently enlarged it to treble its original size and capacity. The motive power is principally water, although when that fails steam is used. He has also enlarged his store to suit the requirements of increased trade. In the spring of 1862 Mr. Baldwin finding his health beginning to fail on account of the severe strain to which he was subjected by his close application to business, resolved to trust to the benefits likely to accrue from an ocean voyage rather than the doubtful expedient of physicians’ prescriptions, and accordingly sailed from New York in a steamer called the North Star, being the commencement of a journey which had for its termination Victoria, in British Columbia. He had for his travelling companion Mr. William Jenkins, the voyage to Aspinall, in the Caribbean Sea, being described as very enjoyable. After crossing the Darien Isthmus by railroad they embarked on the steamship Orizaba for San Francisco. The boat was very much overcrowded and our passengers suffered severely, but the most miserable existence comes to an end, as did the voyage, and on the twenty-seventh day from leaving New York the travellers found themselves gazing on the horizon of the Pacific from the quays of the Californian Capital. There they remained a few days waiting for a steamer that was to convey them to Victoria, B.C., and on arriving in that city after five days’ sail, their ocean journey may be said to have been completed. The invalid had not trusted his sick body to the care of old Neptune in vain, and on his arrival on the western shores of the Dominion, his health, if not quite restored, was so far improved as to lead to the hope that he would shortly be in the full possession of his strength and vigour. After a short stay at Victoria they went to New Westminister, and from that place boarded the steamer on the Fraser River and travelled to the head of navigation, and thence to the gold mines of Carriboo. They arrived at their destination in safety, having performed a journey of five hundred miles on foot; but now, not being satisfied with the exorbitant prices demanded for provisions, which added to the doubtful prospect of striking the glittering metal, they concluded to return to Victoria, probably thinking that money was more likely to be got rid of at the mines than found. Their return to Victoria was signalized by the parting between Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Baldwin, the former taking the steamer for San Francisco, from which place he proposed visiting the Californian mines, while the latter, finding the pure air of British Columbia suitable to his health, resolved to remain where he was. The following spring Mr. Baldwin, still unsatisfied with his former trip to the mines, determined upon another journey thither, and accompanied by three others (who, like himself, were anxious to test the truth of the reported rich deposits at Carriboo), commenced their expedition. They each had a mule which they loaded with about three hundred pounds weight of provisions, and thus equipped started from the head of navigation on Fraser River. The second day out they lost one valuable mule by accident, but eventually arrived at the mines without much further trouble or loss. They located at the Town of Richfield, on William’s Creek. A few weeks of hard and dreary toil with shovel and pick convinced our subject that mining has its disadvantages, especially when the labour is unremunerative; that is to say, when the gold for which they were in search most unaccountably happened to be absent from that part where their claim was located. A continuation of ill-luck, which appeared to have become chronic, induced him to adopt the slow but sure process of earning a living in the trade which he had from youth upwards been accustomed, and accordingly he went to work in a saw-mill, for which he received good wages; but which at the same time entailed on him long hours of employment with a continuity of work through the entire seven days of the week, Sunday not being recognized as a day of rest at the “Diggings”. By this and mining, Mr. Baldwin managed to accumulate considerable capital during his over seven years’ residence in British Columbia, although at times from investing too hopefully – miner like – he lost on some occasions portions of his savings. In the fall of 1869 the idea occurred to him that a return to his birthplace for the purpose of winding up his affairs there would be the correct and necessary thing to do previous to settling in British Columbia for good. He arrived at Laskay, York County, on December 9, 1879, and at the solicitation of his friends and relatives was prevailed upon to remain and return to his old business. He recommenced the general store and the carding and cloth mills, which he conducted successfully until 1882, when he disposed of the general store part of the business and has since only carried on the woollen factory. Mr. Baldwin was married in September, 1878, to Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Lewis, a pioneer of Markham Township; her mother, Mary Lewis, is of Dutch descent and is still living, the father having died November, 1884, in his eighty-second year. Mr. Baldwin’s wife died March 20, 1880; two children (twins) still survive her, viz.: Thomas Lewis and George Henry, healthy and promising boys. (vol. II, p. 382)

Thomas Barradell, lot 25, concession 5, was born in England in 1827, and came to Canada in 1851. He hired out as farm and mill hand, and afterwards rented a farm for a few years. He bought his present farm in 1876. He has two children: William, born 1861; and Ida, born 1862. (vol. II, p. 384)

Thomas Bateman, lot 25, concession 11, is the son of the late Mr. Stephen Bateman, who emigrated from England to this country in 1849; he died in 1855. Thomas was born in England in 1818, and emigrated at the same time as his father, and settled on the farm where he now lives. He was twice married. By his first wife he has three children living: Milton, James and Joseph. He has one son by his second marriage: John, born in 1862. (vol. II, p. 384)