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.