Cornish Comes to Canada

Having some time off over the holidays has allowed me to some family history research. I’ve been delving into my husband’s family because there are long and heritage-rich ties to Cornwall, England. With a name like “Cornish”, there was no doubt that there would be lots of history to explore.

Thomas James Cornish on his farm
Thomas James Cornish on his farm

The “Cornish” history as far as my husband’s family is concerned, began in Ontario sometime around 1843.  It  was then that 18-year-old Thomas James Cornish, a native of Poundstock, Cornwall, England, came to Canada.  He was born September 8, 1925 in Pounstock, the only son of Saul Cornish and Eleanor Suiter.  According to Cornish Genealogy, written by Cora (Cornish) Leaman in 1967, he had learned the tailor’s trade at which he spent seven years apprenticing for as a boy.  He had one sister, Mary Ann, who also came to Canada and settled in North Dorchester with her husband, Andrew Venning.  Thomas and Mary Ann’s parents are buried in Trewan, Cornwall, England.  According to online records, Saul was a resident of Piper’s Pool, a small hamlet in North Cornwall.

Thomas and Mary Ann Cornish
Thomas and Mary Ann Cornish

In 1847, it was recorded that Thomas married Mary Ann Varnum, in Whitby, Ontario.  By 1848, he had moved his bride and their first son, Albert to a farm located on the 4th concession of North Dorchester, one mile west of Crampton, Ontario.  Ultimately, Thomas and Mary Ann raised a family of 7 sons and 5 daughters in North Dorchester.  Ten of their children remained in the area of the now called, Middlesex County in Ontario but 2 children moved to the United States.  Saul, to Iowa and then to South Dakota in 1879 and Ellen to Iowa and later to Kansas City.  Many of Saul’s and Ellen’s descendants have remained in Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas City.

Standing: Eunice, Ellen Seated Middle: Mrs. Cornish, Mary Ann, Nancy Seated Front: Janie
Standing: Eunice, Ellen
Seated Middle: Mrs. Cornish, Mary Ann, Nancy
Seated Front: Janie
Back: Wesley, Martin, Tom, Arthur Front: Albert, Thomas James Sr., Saul, Porter
Back: Wesley, Martin, Tom, Arthur
Front: Albert, Thomas James Sr., Saul, Porter

Thomas and Mary Ann remained in North Dorchester.  It was here that Thomas died at 81 and Mary Ann at 91.  They are buried in the Dorchester Union Cemetery, a cemetery where many of their descendants are still buried to this day.

Original Cornish Headstone in Dorchester Union Cemetery
Original Cornish Headstone in Dorchester Union Cemetery
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