‘W’ surnamesCity of Toronto residents A History of Toronto and County of York

W.J. WAGNER, M.D., 7 Gerrard Street, was educated at Toronto Grammar School and Upper Canada College, and studied medicine at Toronto School of Medicine. He graduated at Toronto University in 1870 and commenced practice the same year on Queen Street. (Vol. II, p. 167)

JAMES WALLIS, 104 Cumberland Street, Yorkville, was born in Cumberland, England, July 29, 1807, and came to Toronto in February, 1828. He worked two years for Jacob Hutchinson on Front Street, and then began business for himself as blacksmith on King Street East. He removed to Yorkville in 1831 and has been in business there about fifty years. Mr. Wallis was one of the first members of the Yorkville Council and remained in that body two years, afterwards for several years occupying the responsible position of Treasurer to the Council. He belonged to the old fire brigade, and took part on the loyalist side during the Rebellion of 1837-38. He is a member of Bloor Street Methodist Church. In May, 1828, he was married to Ann Greenwell, of Cumberland, England, who died on May 5, 1837. Mr. Wallis was married a second time to Esther Hodgson, who is also a member of the same church as himself. (Vol. II, p. 167)

JAMES JOHN WALSH was born in Cheshire, England, in 1833, and came to Canada in 1861, taking up his residence in Toronto, where he has since remained. He was for many years engaged in the live cattle export trade, and carried on successfully the largest wholesale butchering business for one man in the city. In 1880 he retired from business; since which time he has lived at his fine private residence on Kingston Road, called Cheshire Villa. (Vol. II, p. 168)

JAMES WALSH is a native of the City of Cork, Ireland, where he was born in 1839, and when ten years of age emigrated to Canada and located first at Belleville, where he remained until 1859, after which he came to Toronto. Subsequently he removed to London, Ont., and after a residence of five years there he returned to this city, where he has since lived. He engaged in the manufacture of soda and mineral waters, which business he conducted from 1868 to 1883, retiring from trade in the latter year. In 1871 he married Mary Jane, daughter of David Slee. Mr. Walsh built the Berkeley Terrace from Nos. 122 to 134, and also owned the soda water factory and house No. 220 Berkeley Street. (Vol. II, p. 168)

BENJAMIN WALTON was born at Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, 1819, youngest son of Jonathan and Sarah (Wood) Walton. His father was a cloth merchant. Mr. Walton in early life had very good advantages for an education, which he diligently improved, and subsequently learned the trade of a stone-mason and builder. In 1844 he came to Toronto and worked as a journeyman until 1848, when he embarked in the building business for himself; his first contract was for the construction of the stone work for Osgoode Hall, for which he received $50,000. After its completion he laid the basement of Toronto University, and subsequently erected the Mechanics’ Institute (now the Public Library), Bank of British North America, Custom House, Examining Warehouses, and many other buildings. He purchased one thousand five hundred acres of land on the Grand Trunk Railway, at Melbourne, P.Q., where he expended a large sum of money in opening a slate quarry; one year later he shipped the first carload of Canadian slate that was ever brought into Toronto. He continued his slate industry until he had expended nearly $80,000, when, in 1883, with a view of meeting the demands of their largely-increasing trade, he organized a joint stock company (under the Mining Act) called the “Dominion Mining Company”, with a capital of $100,000 (he being one of the largest stock-holders), since which time his business has materially increased; they now employ over sixty men. The demand for their slate, which is of very superior quality, has steadily increased, and they are now exporting large quantities to England, Australia, Cape of Good Hope and United States. Notwithstanding there is a duty imposed of twenty per cent they are doing a large business in exporting to the North-West. The quarry is situated six miles from Richmond station, on the Grand Truck Railway, where quite a little village is springing up. In 1848 Mr. Walton married Eliza, daughter of Thomas Glasco, by whom he had one son and four daughters. Mr. Walton died 3rd January, 1885. (Vol. II, p. 168)

JOHN WALZ was born in Germany in 1830 and came to Canada in 1857, locating first at Preston, near Galt, where he remained one year. He then came to Toronto and started as brewer in 1858, which business he carried on up to 1882, since which time he has been living retired. In 1859 he married Miss Josephine Bandel, by whom he has three daughters and two sons. The property of Mr. Walz has a frontage of two hundred and five feet on Sherbourne Street and three hundred on Duchess Street, on which he has erected fifteen houses. (Vol. II, p. 169)

A.J.M. WATKINS, Superintendent of the Horticultural Gardens, is a native of the City of Hereford, England, his father being a florist and seed merchant in that city. During his father’s life-time our subject was thoroughly grounded in the business, and his whole life has been spent in the care of flowers, shrubs, trees and lawns. He came to Canada in 1870, and was foreman with Fleming, the propagator and seedsman, for two years. He was for a time engaged in market gardening, and in 1875 accepted his present position. He took the gardens when the ground was a swamp and waste, and then made it to blossom with roses. (Vol. II, p. 169)

JOHN WATSON was born in the village of Bedford, Missisque County, Quebec, and is the third of a family of four children born to John and Sarah (Botham) Watson who, removing from Quebec Province, settled in York County in 1849. John was born in the year 1830, and was consequently but nine years of age when the family took up their residence here. His father was a carpenter and carried on business for many years and was eighty-four years of age when his death occurred in 1879. John early learned his father’s business, and for ten years worked as a journeyman, subsequently, in 1860, commencing business for himself as builder and contractor, which he has since conducted, employing about fifteen men. He has, however, confined his share of the work to building wood work, letting out contracts for the brick and other work; he owns all the property he has put up, which now amounts to sixty-three houses scattered through four Wards of the city. Mr. Watson is a member of the Methodist Church; also, he takes an active part in the Salvation Army in Toronto and other towns; he was the means, assisted by two friends, of securing that valuable lot on the corner of James and Albert Streets, at a cost of $7,000, on which the Salvation Army Temple is being erected. His father and mother are from England and came out about the year 1818; his father returned to England and came back to Canada a second time; he served in the Rebellion of 1837, and took up arms to defend the Government round Missisque Bay, on the Vermont frontier. (Vol. II, p. 169)

TOM WEBB, baker and confectioner, corner of Yonge and Agnes Streets, is the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Parker) Webb, who came to Canada from England in 1842. His father carried on the business of a baker and confectioner in the stand now occupied by Tom, from 1842 until 1875, when he retired and removed to Deer Park, where he now resides. Mr. Webb, sen’r, had three sons, Edward, a lawyer in London, England, who died December, 1884; Harry and Tom who are both in the bakery business: and one daughter, Mrs. John Wightman. Tom was born in Toronto in 1849, and succeeded to his father’s business in 1875. In 1873 he married a daughter of Henry James Clark. (Vol. II, p. 170)

ISAAC WHITE, deceased, was born at Rutland, Vermont, April 9, 1792. His ancestors emigrated from England to America previous to the American Revolution, and settled in the above named State, where they were at one time slave-holders and tillers of the soil. In 1796 Mr. White, sen’r, died, and left a family of five children, of whom our subject was the eldest. His mother came to Canada in the same year, bringing with her a faithful slave called “Mammy Long”, to whose care Isaac was especially entrusted. She died in Toronto at the age of one hundred years. When Mr. White was seven years of age he was sent to Bond Head, Simcoe County, where he was bound as an apprentice, and a few years later drove Thomas Rouche’s stage between York and Niagara until 1810. His advantages of education, like the youth of that day, were very limited. He never attended school but one day, and on that day fell into a dispute with his school-mate, Allan McNab (afterwards Sir Allan McNab), and gave him a severe thrashing; for fear of being chastised by his teacher he failed to return. This circumstance caused the two juvenile pugilists to become fast friends, and whenever, in after years, Sir Allan was in York he never failed to call upon his friend White. As Mr. White advance in life he saw the benefits to be derived from an education, and from his meagre earnings purchased some school books; with industry and great perseverance he mastered the common English branches, which fitted him for a useful and eventful life. He served at the taking of Detroit and the Battle of Queenston Heights. He was present at the battle of York, where he was taken prisoner of war with the York Militia. When brought before the American Commander, Major General Dearborn, his American accent was at once detected; Major General Dearborn enquired, “What are you doing here, young man, fighting against your country?” Mr. White replied, “General, I will not deny my nationality, nor am I fighting against my country; if a country is worth living in it is worth fighting for; I am fighting for my home and my family who reside here.” “That’s right, my boy, you are a brave fellow”, said the General, who immediately paroled him. After serving until the close of the war he received, in 1848, from the Crown for his bravery a silver medal. Previous to the war he married Nancy, eldest daughter of Jacob Snider, of Eglinton, York County, by whom he had one daughter. He subsequently kept the old Red Lion Hotel in Yorkville, and afterwards located at the corner of James and Albert Streets, where he lived many years. He early acquired the trade of mason and bricklayer, and was concerned in the erection of many fine and substantial buildings in the city, among which were St. James’ Cathedral, and Osgoode Hall. The first fire company that was organized in York counted him among its members. At the time of his death, 1878, he was one of the oldest members of the York Pioneers, being eighty-six years of age. He earned for himself a reputation, second to none, for intelligence, honesty and an undivided application to business. His second marriage was in 1838, to Jane, the widow of Thomas Carroll, and a daughter of the late John McIntosh, by whom there was no issue. (Vol. II, p. 170)

JAMES WICKSON, deceased, was born at Walworth, near London, England, in 1794, and in 1834 emigrated to Canada, and settled in Toronto. He engaged in the butcher business, and occupied a store in the Market, which he carried on until a little previous to his death. He married Miss Jane Tuesman, by whom he had ten children, eight of whom are still living, and three of them residing in this city. John Wickson, the second son, was born in England in 1817, and came to Canada with his father. He also engaged in butchering, and had a stall in the Market until 1870, after which he became interested in real estate. In 1836 Mr. Wickson married Miss Eliza Chilver, daughter of Joseph Chilver, who emigrated to this country in 1833. He had eleven children, nine of whom are still living. (Vol. II, p. 171)

HON. CHRISTOPHER WIDMER. (From the Weekly Globe, May 5, 1858) The venerable gentleman whose name heads this paragraph died on Monday morning at four o’clock. On Sunday at noon he had gone to visit the grave of an only son, recently deceased, to whom he was deeply attached, when he was seized with a fit, was conveyed home, and notwithstanding all the efforts of the medical men, expired on the following morning. Dr. Widmer was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and was formerly Staff Surgeon attached to the Fourteenth Light Dragoons. He served through nearly the whole of the Peninsular War, for which he held the medal with five clasps for Vittoria, Salamanca, Fuentes d’Onoro, Busaco and Talavera. He came to this country before the close of the American War, and resided in Toronto until his death; he was consequently one of the oldest inhabitants of the city. In 1849 Dr. Widmer was appointed a member of the Legislative Council. For many years he occupied the first rank in his profession in Toronto, being constantly in very important and critical case, and was highly valued for his courage, promptitude and skill. He was at times somewhat rough, retaining a little the manner of the army, but he was essentially kind-hearted, and many grieved for the loss of their frank and reliable medical adviser. In his long and successful practice he accumulated a large fortune. He left two daughters, one unmarried, the other the wife of George M. Hawke, Esq. He was within a few days of the seventy-eighth year of his age. (Vol. II, p. 172)

JOHN WIGHTMAN, retired, was born in Brampton, Cumberland, England, in 1806. His parents were Robert and Mary (Davidson) Wightman; his mother died in England in 1818. In 1834 he came to Canada with his father, who was a manufacturer of worsted goods. His father died in Toronto in 1860. After he came out here John Wightman and his brother George opened a dry goods store and straw bonnet manufactory on King Street, near Yonge; at the end of three months they removed to where Catto’s store now is, on King Street, which they held until 1874, when they sold the business to Mr. Catto; they were in business there for sixteen years. Mr. Wightman is now retired from business. In 1838 he married a daughter of Captain Jago, from Plymouth, England, by whom he had one son, who is now living at Deer Park; she died in 1849. In 1850 he married Elizabeth Hayward, who was born in Hampshire, England, in 1802; she died in 1877. Mr. Wightman had no children by his second marriage. He is a reformer in politics, and a Congregationalist in religion; he is a deacon in his church. Mr. Wightman had three sisters, the eldest Mrs. Burns, who died in Yorkville, 1846; the second, Margaret Wightman, who died in Toronto,