Saturday, 13 March 2010

More about the Toronto Fitzhenry family

After I posted about the family of William Thomas Fitzhenry the distiller and Mary Riodan of Toronto, Bill Fitzhenry got in touch.

He is a direct descendant of Thomas and Mary (their great-grandson). We have found the following additional information.
In the 1861 census, in River Street (west side) in the district of St David, Toronto.
Thomas Fitzhenry, aged 40, single, a clergyman.
He was a Catholic, born in Ireland, as were all the rest of the household.
William Fitzhenry aged 21, single, a distiller.
It doesn't give the relationship between Thomas and William.

The other members of the household were a male servant, a widowed female housekeeper and two teenage girls who were at school (presumably daughters of the housekeeper).
They all lived in a two story frame house and had 1 horse, 9 cows and 34 pigs.
The nature of business was described as distilling, and $1200 was invested in the York Street distillery in St Edmunds ward at a return of $400 per annum.
(I wish all censuses had such an interesting array of household information!)

We found mention of both the Reverend Thomas Fitzhenry, and the family of William and Mary in the book
The Story of St. Paul's parish, Toronto : commemorating the centenary of the first parish church in the archdiocese of Toronto (1922)
Rev. Edward Kelly

In the spring of 1852 the Reverend Thomas Fitzhenry came
to St. Paul s, and was in charge for over six years. During his
term of office much was done for the betterment of the parish.
This priest was an ardent apostle of temperance and was
known as the Father Mathew of Canada. In December, 1854
a new organ was installed, and about the same time the first
parish school was built on the corner of Power and Queen

A charge of a serious nature having been made against a
brother priest, and the Bishop being absent in Europe at that
time, Father Fitzhenry wrote to an older priest in another
diocese for counsel. The charge having been laid before the
Bishop of Hamilton and the Administrator of Toronto diocese,
the Very Reverend J. M. Soulerin, it was found, after a minute
examination of all the evidence, to be a most cruel and ground
less libel. Bishop de Charbonnel on his return wished Father
Fitzhenry to take all the responsibility for the unfortunate
affair, which he strenuously refused to do. He acted in good
faith, he said, and no one was more pleased than he that there
were no grounds for the charges. The outcome was that he
was deprived of his parish.

From Kingston, to which place he went on leaving St. Paul s,
Father Fitzhenry wrote to Bishop de Charbonnel that his de
parture from Toronto might cause temporary opposition to the
Bishop on the part of the congregation of St. Paul s, but he
hoped that they will have that spirit of obedience which they
are bound to render to their First Pastor, and nothing would
give him more pleasure than to hear that they would yield to
his successor the same submission that they had given to him
during his incumbency. Father Fitzhenry considered that
he had been unjustly treated, and in a short time returned
to Toronto, where for some years he dwelt, leading a most
exemplary life. He afterwards went to the diocese of Milwaukee,
where he took up the work of the ministry again.

The Reverend Thomas Fitzhenry was formerly a member of the
Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and was ordained August 29, 1847, and
was for a time assistant at St. Hyacinthe. He came to St. Paul s in
the spring of 1852, remaining in charge until June, 1858.

On the departure of Father Fitzhenry, the people of St.
Paul's received as their pastor the Reverend John Walsh, who
remained but a few months. There was much disorder on the
part of some who resented the dismissal of Father Fitzhenry.

This would explain why, even though he was not actively in charge of a parish, the Rev Fitzhenry was living in Toronto during the 1861 census. Although what this temperate man thought of his relative's distilling business is not recorded!

And there we lost him until I was trawling the excellent Findagrave website last night. I'm sure that I've found the same man buried in the Calvary Cemetery Milwaukee. Here's a picture of his rather splendid monument, and the inscription reads:
Rev Thomas W Fitzhenry
Born County Wexford
Jan 28 1819
Ordained at St Hyacinth Can
Aug 28 1845
Died at Oak Creek
Dec 29 1890
Which neatly gives County Wexford as the origin for this family group.

Link to the full text of The Story of St. Paul's parish, Toronto on the Canadian Libraries section of the Internet Archive.

Why not subscribe to this blog and get the updates sent to your inbox? Or send us an email about your Fitz(-)henry family links.

No comments:

Post a Comment