Benjamin Thurtell snr

 BORN 9 June 1795 at Hobland Hall, Hopton, Suffolk, England.
 DIED 31 August 1854 at Guelph Township, Ontario, Canada.
 BURIED Guelph Cemetery, Ontario.
 FATHER John Thurtell (1762-1846)
 MOTHER Anne Browne (c1762-1834)
 MARRIED 1 Anne Barber (1795-1834) on 9 November 1820 at Hopton by Lowestoft, Suffolk, England.
 CHILDREN   Elizabeth Ann Thurtell (c1823-1854)
Benjamin Thurtell jnr (1826-1857)
Ellen Thurtell (1827-1882)
Louisa Thurtell (c1829-1848)
Francis Thurtell (c1830-1915)
Harriet Thurtell (1833-1913)
 MARRIED 2 Sarah Ann Davie (1801-1892) in Guelph Township, Ontario, Canada about 1838.
 CHILDREN   George Davie Thurtell (1843-1908)

After the death of his first wife, Benjamin Thurtell travelled to America on the Richmond, arriving in the Port of New York on 5 January 1835. Benjamin had left his six young children behind in England. He then travelled to Canada and settled in Guelph Township, Wellington County, Ontario. On the 24th December 1835 he received a Grant from the Canada Company on Lots 11, 12, 13 Con.5. Div. D. with 200 acres. He married Sarah Ann Davie who owned Lots 8, 9, 10, Con 5 Div.D. Guelph county. She was the mother of his seventh child, George.

Benjamin’s English children arrived at the Port of New York on the ship Louisa on 20 May 1836, with their cousin, Edward Brookes Thurtell , one of the children of John Thurtell and his wife, Mary Brookes. Edward Brookes Thurtell travelled to Guelph with his young cousins and then moved to Grant County, Wisconsin, where he married in 1841 and raised his family.

In Guelph, Benjamin was Reeve, magistrate, mayor. See sister Anne’s diary of her visit to him. Had three sons: Benjamin was a miller in Guelph and had five daughters; Francis moved to the US and went into real estate; and George (his only child by his second wife) carried on the family farm in Guelph. Benjamin’s middle daughter, Ellen, married at 17 and had 13 children. The eldest, William Julius Mickle, appears in George Murray’s letters as he was a doctor in London for some time; in 1881 he was the superintendent of an insane asylum in Bow. Dr Mickle was noted for making the association between syphilis and organic disease of the nervous system.

A book published in 1935 by the Guelph Publishing Company, Guelph, Ontario, Canada which was reprinted in 1983 called The Beginning of Things in Wellington and Waterloo Counties by A.E. Byerley includes several references to Benjamin Thurtell. It shows the chairman of Guelph Township meetings in the 1830s was usually either Benjamin Thurtell, John Inglis or Geoffrey Lynch. When the Wellington District Council came into operation in 1842 Benjamin Thurtell was among the first councillors. A Commission of the Peace was created for the District of Wellington in 1849 and Benjamin Thurtell was among the men appointed for Guelph at that time.

A brochure prepared by Charlotte V. Mackie of Guelph, Ontario, Benjamen Thurtell and Descendents for the Woodlawn Cemetery Self Guilded Memorial Walking Tour, Woodlawn Cemetery, 761 Woolwich Street, Guelph, Ontario Canada describes Benjamin Thurtell Senior as A well educated man, was prominent in Municipal affairs during the early formation of this area and served in Guelph Township as a Magistrate, Municipal Councillor, Reeve and Warden. He was elected to the first council under the Municipal Act of 1841, retiring from the District Council in 1848 and was again elected in 1850 as ‘Town Reeve’ of the Township of Guelph.

By the Municipal Act passed in 1849 the Town of Guelph was set apart as a separate corporation from the Township. But the schedule in which Guelph was entered, having been omitted by the Clerk of the Legislature in copying, the Town and Township remained one Municipality during 1850 with Benjamin Thurtell as the Town Reeve. In 1851 the separation took place and Benjamin Thurtell, the first Reeve of Guelph Township served until the end of 1853 when he retired due to ill health.

Obituary in The Guelph Advertiser

DEATH OF B. THURTELL, ESQUIRE. About noon yesterday, the 31st, Benjamin Thurtell, Esquire, breathed his last at his own residence on the Scotch Block road, about three miles from this town, aged 59 years. Although his death was not expected so early, except by his immediate friends, an illness of eight months' duration, with his emaciated frame and broken constitution, too surely beckoned to all who met him in social intercourse or saw him on business, that his days would be quickly terminated.

Mr. Thurtell was a native of England, and had extensive and highly respectable connections in Suffolk, from which county he emigrated to Canada about twenty years ago, and settled in the township of Guelph, where he has ever since resided. Few men have had the good fortune to be so generally esteemed, or been able to carry through a long and public life with a more irreproachable character. As a neighbor he was considered straightforward, kind and obliging, as a farmer he stood well, and in his various public capacities of a Magistrate, Municipal Councillor, Reeve and Warden, the most unswerving justice guided him in all his acts and decisions. In connection with John Howitt, Esquire, he was elected to the first Council under the Municipal Act of 1841, and retired only in 1848; he was again elected in 1851, and made Reeve and Warden, holding the former office three years and the latter two, retiring only after the election in January last. Mr. Thurtell’s health had been declining for nearly 12 months, and since the commencement of the year he has been entirely unfit for public business. Mr. Thurtell was a sterling Reformer, and whatever difference of opinion there might be in reference to his political principles all bore testimony to his integrity, and in his death the community has lost an honest man.

Anne Thurtell’s diary       Go to Index

⬩⬩⬩ web page made 21 March 2006; edited  ⬩⬩⬩