Robert ThorneAnne Smart

Robert B. ThornMary McFarland (McPartland)

Robert J. Thorn

f a m i l y
Children with:
Ella Louise Mullin

John Thorn
Sarah Thorn
William Thorne

John Joseph (Jack) Thorne
William Thorne
James Thorne
Francis Mary Thorne
Robert Joseph Thorne
Robert J. Thorn
  • Born: 1844
  • Married 1871 to Ella Louise Mullin
  • Died: May 1884, Collingwood, Ontario, Canada
  • Occupation: Railroad Engineer, Fireman, Sailor
  • Reference: John Arthur Thorne (1938)

    pict7.jpg [130x193]
    Robert & Ella

    The back of the photo says "With our Love, To our Irish friends" and has a stamp of a photo place in Collingwood. It could be their wedding photo. (Helen Ransom Bailey).

    John Arthur Thorne writes:
    This could be their wedding photo. If so, it was taken in late 1871, and he'd be 27or 28 yrs.; Ella 21yrs. I think Robert looks older than that in the photo, though could be the beard. People rarely got formal pictures taken back then, so it probably is from their wedding. We'll never know for sure!

    Robert was listed as a fireman in the 1871 Ontario census; a sailor (Great Lakes) on J.J. "Pop" Thorne's birth registration (Oct. 1872); and a railroad engineer in the years prior to his untimely death (in 1844 at the age of 40) of inflammation (i.e., burst appendix). He was on a train run at the time, and (I recall) his front page obituary read " the very popular Robert Thorn was brought home from Hamilton today for burial, etc."

    Robert died from complications of the peritonitis (appendicitis). Buried in Collingwood's St. Mary's cemetery next to his mother and daughter.

    The 1881 census shows the four children in Collingwood. William, Sarah and Robert are listed in households 31,31 & 14 respectively in Collingwood, Simcoe North.

    A note from John Thorne:

    Have found nothing further til 1871 census, where Mary and children are living in Collingwood, Ontario (Simcoe North District). This is located on the southern shore of the Georgian Bay, and was renown for ship building. Today, it's a popular vacation area, with the Blue Mountain ski resort its hub. Mary is listed as a widow, Catholic, born in Ireland. The four children are listed as Ontario born, of English origin, and members of the Church of England. The two older boys, Robert and John's occupation's were firemen at the time.

    Robert is Thorne on my grandfathers birth registration; Thorn on his own death registration. Of his four children (yes - John, Robert, William and Frances Mary), all born in the 1870s, two have the e, and two don't on their birth records.

    My great grandfather (Robert) was listed as a sailor on my grandfather's birth registration.

    Household 14:
    ROBERT THORN M English  37 <Ontario>  Railroad Eng.  Catholic
    ELLA THORN  M English  28 <Ontario>  Catholic
    JOHN THORN    English  9 <Ontario> School  Catholic
    WILLIAM THORN    English  7 <Ontario> School  Catholic
    ROBERT THORN    English  4  <Ontario>  Catholic
    FRANCES MARY THORN  English  2  <Ontario>  Catholic

    Also listed in the same household (1881 census).  This was evidently trasncribed incorrectly (according to Nancy, a Collingwood genealogist) as this is Household 15 (not 14 as above):
    Rebecca Mason, Widow, age 48, born in England, Laundress, Church of England
    Elizabeth Mason, age 24, born in England, Church of England
    William Mason, age 20. born in England, Boilermaker, Church of England
    Joseph Mason, age 16 born in Ontario, Assistant Boiler Maker, Church of England
    Amelia Mason, age 14 born in Ontario, Church of England
    Amelia Elkington, Widow, age 74, born in England, Church of England

    Source Information:
      Census Place Collingwood, Simcoe North, Ontario
      Family History Library Film   1375887
      NA Film Number   C-13251
      District   139
      Sub-district   C
      Division   1
      Page Number   4
      Household Number   14

    It was originally thought these families lived together, but Nancy adds:

    Please note that you have two distinct families here. With two wage earning sons at home and their mother taking in laundry, they as well were not impoverished.

    John Thorne writes:
    I do believe that it was Robert Thorn's home (boarding house). As a train engineer, he wouldn't have been impoverished, per se. They were paid pretty well.  It wasn't til Robert died (May, 1884) that things really deteriorated. Ella took Uncle Will, Uncle Bob and little James (born 1883) to live with her Mullins family in Norwood (near Peterborough). James died (and is buried) there in 1886. Pop Thorne (John Joseph) was sent to live with other relatives in Hamilton, Ontario. He apparently hated his life there, and emigrated to Michigan in 1892. Uncle Will later joined him there; and eventually Great Grandma Ella and Uncle Bob moved across the Canadian border to be with them. And, that's the rest of the story!

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