Choate family

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Choate family

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Thomas Choate, son of Jacob Choate and Fanny Marshall Burnham, was born April 3, 1809 near Cobourg, Upper Canada. His parents had emigrated to Glanbord from Enfield, New Hampshire in 1798, along with members of the Burnham family who were cousins of the Choates. In approximately 1801, they moved to Hamilton Township, north of Cobourg, where Thomas was born, and by 1812, the family had moved to Port Hope, Upper Canada. Thomas learned the trade of millright at Warsaw, New York, and also studied music at Batavia, New York. In 1830, Thomas married Mary Wright, daughter of Richard Wright and Ann Stuart of Skiberne, County Cork, Ireland. Thomas and Mary had five children: Thomas George, Anna Eliza, Mary Jane, Richard Marshall, and Jacob Stuart. In 1834-35, Thomas was sent to Dummer Township by his uncle, the Honourable Zaccheus Burnham, to complete the construction of a saw and grist mill, which had already been started for Burnham by Thomas Hartwell. By 1836, the mill was in operation and Thomas moved his family to what was then known as Dummer Mills and built a general store. In 1842, Thomas successfully acquired the contract for a post office, and since a post office, required a village name, Thomas chose the name Warsaw. In 1839, Thomas' first wife died and he married her sister, Eliza Wright. They had two children, Harriet Burnham and Mary, before Eliza died in 1845. In 1846, Thomas married Hanah Grover, daughter of Jonah Grover and Lucia Baldwin, of Norwood, Upper Canada. Thomas and Hannah had three children: Celestia Charlotte, James Grover, and Arthur Francis. Thomas' eldest son, Thomas George, when he was old enough, took over running the mills for Zaccheus Burnham. Thomas George later established his own chair manufacturing shop on Quarry Lake. Thomas senior's main interest remained in the running of his store and post office, and with his duties as a Justice of the Peace. Thomas also established and conducted a singing school and choir which was under his tutelage for 60 years. Both he and his son, Thomas George became involved in the local temperence society and in local politics. Thomas retired from running the store in 1889, at the age of 80, and his youngest son, Arthur Francis, took over the business as manager and post master. In 1897, Arthur established a second store, Choate Supply Store, at McCraken's Landing, Stony Lake. Thomas died in 1900, at the age of 90. The Warsaw store was sold in 1927, and Arthur Francis died in 1931. The Choate Supply Store remained in business, and was managed by Arthur's wife Vida. When she died, the store was then managed by their daughter Bessie. The Choate Supply Store was sold out of the family in 1949. Arthur and Vida Elora Smith, also had a son, Richard (Dick), who was born in Warsaw in 1880. Dick was to become a journalist, artist and musician. Dick began his career with the Peterborough Examiner in 1905 and in his early days, worked for the Montreal Herald, the Buffalo Courier and some newspapers in Calgary and Vancouver. In 1908, Dick married Mary (May) Dawson Donnell, daughter of Elizabeth Ambrose and James Rea Donnell. Dick also worked in the United States for some time, and at one point in his career was a member of the Congressional Press Gallery in Washington, D.C. He later became the editor of the Toronto Daily News, editor of the Toronto Sunday World, and an editorial writer for the Toronto Globe. It is unknown when he died.


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