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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.
Samuel McAlonan, (1807 – after 1891) born in Ireland, immigrated to Canada. By 1866 he was settled in Yonge Township and married to ? Angus.
The children of Samuel McAlonan and ---- Angus were:
- Joseph McAlonan (31 Aug. 1866 – 24 Nov. 1935) born Yonge Twp. He was living with the Earl family near Seeley’s Bay in 1891. He subsequently went to the Department of Agriculture school to learn the cheesemaking trade. After graduating in 1911, he worked in Seeley’s Bay and eventually bought the Gilt Edge Cheese Factory on Main Street, and the large house adjacent at the intersection of Haskins Point Rd. He married Ellen Moroughan (12 Aug 1879 – 7 Dec 1957). Joseph was struck and killed by a car in 1935 while crossing the street in front of the cheese factory.
- Probably other siblings unknown at this time.
The children of Joseph McAlonan and Ellen Moroughan were:
- Vera Irene (31 May 1898 – 1981) trained as a nurse in Menominee, Michigan, married Stewart McConnell (1899 – 1953) from Montreal, where she lived much of her life. No issue. She returned to the family home before she died.
- Mildred Kathelene (18 July 1900 – 19--) married Robert Coleman who owned Coleman’s Hotel in Seeley’s Bay. They had one son: Jack Coleman.
- Joseph Edmond (3 July 1906 – 19--) married Violet Herrington, no issue. He lived in his father’s house in Seeley’s Bay all his life.
- Harold Bernard (28 Aug. 1908 – 19--) married Hazel Martin, daughter of Thomas and Emma Martin who lived on Big Hill Rd. He played hockey on the championship teams in 1930, 1931, and 1932. He followed his father in the cheesemaking trade, and carried on the business after his father was killed, living in the family home.
- Marjory Ellen (27 May 1911 – 1970?) never married. Worked in Kingston, returned to the family home before she died.
The only child of Bernard McAlonan and Hazel Martin was:
Eldon McAlonan (28 July 1928 – 13 Sept 2002) married Shirley Montgomery (born in Winchester, living in Gananoque when married). No issue.