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.


1873 How the Town of Gooderham Got its Name

“Gooderham Located in Haliburton County 18 km southeast of Haliburton, this place was first called Pine Lake. The name was changed to Gooderham in 1873, after George Gooderham, of the Gooderham and Worts milling and distillery interests, gave generously to a subscription to build a Methodist church here. The Gooderhams had a significant interest in the Toronto and Nipissing Railway, and William Gooderham (1824 – 89) was appointed its president that year. The distillery used the railway to transport cordwood from the north country to Toronto. The story that they provided several cases of whiskey to three local hotels and that the residents had a monstrous bash on free booze before naming the place is likely apocryphal."

Excerpt from "Place Names of Ontario" by Alan Rayburn

“Murray Gooderham, a descendant, owned Lot 3, Con. VI in Glamorgan for many years. When a niece was settling his estate in the early to mid 80’s, she asked me how the town got its name. Of course, I told her the only story that I had heard – she was dismayed! She told me that it was the family’s belief that Gooderham was so named because the family had made a large donation to a local church. She also mentioned the family’s involvement with the railroad. I hope that since then she has found the information that Mr. Rayburn found.”

Excerpt from Gooderham and Area History newsletter no. 7, by Elva Bates http://stormylake.ca/history/gooderhamhistory07.html

Pine Lake,Gooderham,Ontario


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