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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.


1846 Twenty-Nine Children in William and Harriet Gooderham’s Care

Tragedy struck in February 1834, when Elizabeth Worts (nee Gooderham) died in childbirth. Then, ten days later, James Worts (age 41) was found at the bottom of a well. Sometime that same year their eldest, William (age 17), drowned in the lake leaving five surviving siblings. William and Harriet’s son Edward died that same year age two. William and his wife Harriet now had 24 children under their roof (and 6 more to come)!

Twenty-nine children under one roof

* Eight surviving children of William's (including eldest daughters, Sarah aged 18 and Mariam aged 14, from his first wife)

* Eleven orphans, adopted on the ship over from England, whose parents died of cholera enroute.

* Five surviving children of his sister Elizabeth, and James Worts.

By the time William’s youngest, Victoria was born in 1846, his eldest Sarah was married leaving 29 children in the house (though we don’t know the ages or whereabouts of the 11 orphans so this number may have been smaller).


We ask you to help! If you are a descendant, historian or some other person with relevant information or material, please get in touch. Nothing related to living descendants will be available to the public. In fact, public information will be limited to people who died in the 19th or early 20th centuries.

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