Log In | Register for a User Account

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.


1857 The beginnings of Canada’s biggest patent medicine company

George Horace Gooderham’s father-in law was Henry Stephen Northrop. Henry Northrop was a travelling sales man who joined a retail pharmacy which became known by 1857 as Northrop and Moses. When John Lyman joined Northrop and Lyman was born.

Henry Stephen Northrop 1820-1893

They hired a druggist and their store is still a pharmacy today in Newcastle Ontario. Henry and his wife Mary’s home still exists today as a private residence. For insurance purposes they used a brick building at the rear of their house to make their Canadian Pain Destroyer, Eclectric Oil, Graves Worm Exterminator and their Vegetable Discovery and Dyspeptic Cure.

They became agents for other patent medicine manufactures then transitioned from retail pharmacy to patent medicines alone and moved the business to Toronto in 1874 first locating at 40 Scott St., then 21 Front Street-West. In 1917, they moved into their own building at 462 Wellington, Street-West. By the late 1870’s they had become one of the largest dealers of patent medicines in the country. A large part of their success was due to acquiring the formula to sell Dr. Thomas’ Eclectric Oil. It continued to be made into the 1960’s!

Excerpts from Canada's Largest Patent Medicine Company - The Northrop and Lyman Story by Glen Moorhouse for a display at the Four Seasons Bottle Collectors, April 23, 2023 Show and Sale


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.

Contact Us

email imageIf you have any questions or comments about the information on this site, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.



Family Stories and Archives