Fonds 2012-038 - Darlingside Family Fonds

Young child standing on a chair Two gentleman standing Photographer G.B. Murray, Brockville Bust of gentleman with top hat Postcard Gentleman and Lady and Baby Coloured poem about Spring Bust of girl photographer G.B. Murray, Brockville Same Girl sitting at table,Court house studio, Brockville Lady with arm on table Small girl by sofa Small child on sofa
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Darlingside Family Fonds

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E 2012-038

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4.26m of textual material.
ca. 250 photographs.
ca. 10 objects.

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Biographical history

The Darling family were prominent pioneers, business people, and politicians in the Thousand Islands Region in Ontario during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Thomas Darling (1813-1882/ [1814-1883?]) and his wife Janet Findlay (1825-1906) came to the area from Berwick, Scotland in 1837. Mr. Darling began a cordwood business in 1837, supplying wood to steamers traveling along the St. Lawrence River.

In 1845, following the success of his cordwood business, Darling opened a general store at Darlingside on the St. Lawrence River. It was closely associated in a barter-and-credit system of trade with the wood business.

From the 1845 census, it is evident that at that time the Darling family only consisted of Thomas and Janet Darling. Eventually, they had ten children. Two of the eldest boys died at very young ages. Each of the Darling children was unique and, to some, eccentric. The Darling girls were well educated. Each boy, with the exception of Arthur Darling, was also extensively involved in the community. The family exercised considerable power in the community because of their economic status. Some of the Darling men held public offices. The family were staunch Presbyterians and active in the support of the church in Lansdowne.

A second store was established in 1871, staffed by Darling's oldest son, John. In 1883 Thomas Darling died and was survived by three sons - John David William, Thomas John and George Henry - who carried on the family business with some diversification. Thomas and John continued in the store while George specialized in imported teas he sold through travelling agents. There are no records of the sale of wood after 1883. Beside their commerce, the family owned and managed considerable property in the St. Lawrence and in the early twentieth century purchased and mortgaged property in Alberta.

The majority of the family is buried in Lansdowne Cemetery. The Darling family used Darlingside as a summer home from the 1940s until its sale in 1995.

Custodial history

[from the article prepared by Bill Boulton, February 1996 LTIHS Newsletter]

In 1991, Darlingside was advertised for sale. Concern for preserving the area's history led to the creation of the Front of Leeds and Lansdowne Historical Society by a small group of locals. They toured, photographed and recorded the premises with the permission of Mr. Robert Wallace (great grandson of the founder Thomas Darling) and his sister, Louise Hockey.

The final parcel of Darlingside, containing the four buildings, was sold in June 1995. Diane Hall, Township Clerk, arranged for the Society and Township staff to visit and remove all remaining paper from the store for later sorting. Permission was granted by Mr. Robert Wallace provided they finished before noon on Monday June 19, one step ahead of the auctioneers. This was done early on Friday morning June 16, 1995.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of store records and ledgers, receipts, tax forms, school and record books, correspondence, clippings and photographs relating to the life and business of the Darling family in the Thousand Islands region.
There are also several small items of historical interest, including a primitive treadle sewing machine and a hand operated vacuum cleaner.

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Box and folder list available. Click on image above to view.

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