Darling (family)

Identity area

Type of entity

Family

Authorized form of name

Darling (family)

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Description area

Dates of existence

1837-?

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.

Places

Thomas Darling purchased Lot 24, Concession 1 of then Lansdowne Township for 125 Pounds in 1851. Later that same year, Darling purchased Lot 1 Broken Front of Escott Township for 200 Pounds (200 acres). Darling was also granted Commons Lot A Broken Front of Escott Township from the Crown in 1856. This land was comprised of 7.5 acres. Thus, the larger property known as Darlingside was assembled. During the later half of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century, members of the Darling family purchased a substantial amount of property.

The architecture of the Darlingside buildings is also of significance. On Lot 24, Concession 1, there are four buildings: the Darling General Store, the house, a barn and a boar house. The house and store are of the greatest importance. The store was operated from the 1840s to the 1890s. Its architecture provides a good representation of the American Classical/Georgian style. Considering its age, the store is in amazing condition, virtually unaltered from its original state.

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Darling children:
Thomas Darling was Reeve of Lansdowne Township during the 1860-70's. His son, Thomas J. Darling, was Reeve in the 1880-90's.
J.D.W. Darling was Township Clerk during the 1880's, a Justice of the Peace in Lansdowne during the early part of this century, and also operated an insurance company in the village.
One of the girls, Margaret, provided mortgage funds for many of the farmers starting up in the area.
George was a tea merchant who sold tea throughout eastern Ontario and New York State.

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Related entity

Darling, Thomas (1813-1882)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

family

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Description of relationship

Related entity

Darling, Janet (1825-1906)

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Category of the relationship

family

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Description of relationship

Related entity

Darling, Thomas John

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

family

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Related entity

Darling, John David William

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

family

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Related entity

Darling, Margaret

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

family

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Description of relationship

Related entity

Darling, George Henry

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

family

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Access points area

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Occupations

Control area

Authority record identifier

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Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Revised

Level of detail

Partial

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Sources

Research by Lisa Thompson & Leeds & 1000 Islands Historical Society. [http://www.ltihistoricalsociety.org/darlingside.html]
Excellent records remain of this important family. Early Census Records are with the Leeds and Grenville Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. In addition, the wills of the Darling family are recorded on microfilm and can be found at the Land Registry Office in Brockville.

Much of this information is available at Queen's University Archives as well as the Provincial Archives in Toronto.

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