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The Gooderham & Worts families emigrated from the Scole / Bungay area of England in the early 1830s, arriving in York, (now Toronto, Canada). First came James Worts, accompanied by his 13 year-old son, James Gooderham Worts. They built the windmill near the mouth of the Don River. They were followed in 1832 by William and Ezekiel Gooderham, their sister, Elizabeth (James Worts' wife) and 54 extended family members. Over the following 75 years, these families created the largest distillery in the world, as well as contributing to milling, banking, railways, shipping, farming and other essential components of the growing industrial country. They were active in the church and in various communities, as well as in health care and even in our political institutions. In 2013, descendants of the Gooderham and Worts families created an online website that includes a family tree with photos, documents and stories.


1837 Mr. Cawthra’s Bags of Gold

In the 1820s and 1830s, Joseph Cawthra was a stalwart of anti-government politics in York. Although Cawthra was a leading merchant, his attitude towards the Bank of Upper Canada was for a long time consistent with his politics. In evidence given to the House of Assembly’s select committee on the state of the provincial currency in 1830, he decried its privileged position as the only chartered bank in the colony and advocated a more competitive financial market.

Bank of Upper Canada

On this occasion he declared that he had never been a director or stockholder of the bank. Later that year, however, he acquired his first shares in the bank, possibly in order to stand as an “anti-establishment” candidate for its directorate. This was the background to his controversial role in shoring up the Bank of Upper Canada during the financial crisis of May and June 1837.


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