Friday, 27 March 2009

A Walk along King Street

I now have two days' worth of St George's Ward under my belt. I was expecting dullness but, as ever, it isn't. With 100 of 489 schedules complete, this is what I have discovered.

The first three schedules were for Rossin House, a very large hotel for the time--five stories high, located on the southeast corner of King St West and York Streets. It burned down two or three years later. At the time of the census, there were just about exactly 100 residents including the Rossin family (two German brothers with wives and children), people newly arrived in Toronto including a university professor, salesmen and commercial travellers from elsewhere, and a big staff whose families were probably located elsewhere in the city.
The enumerator progressed from Rossin House eastward along King Street and then down to Melinda and Wellington West.

Many buildings were businesses with no one on the premises overnight. Some are listed as "vacant", others give the name of the proprietor and the phrase "Personal Census at Residence" which I have shortened to PCAR. I wish I had used the same term when doing St Lawrence's Ward. Amongst the PCARs was The Globe printing works with the schedule signed by George Brown himself. Capital invested in the business was $250,000--more than the $200,000 claimed by the furniture makers Jacques and Hay.

The largest family was that of Charles Rogers, a carver from Glasgow, Scotland. There were 11 children ranging in age from 24 to 2. He and his wife were in their 40s. In fact, his wife's age was written as a very small "40". That would have made her 16 when the first one was born--was she being truthful? The children were evenly spread every two to three years, so they were probably all of the same union. I couldn't help but compare the family with that of my Scottish great-great grandparents who were less than a decade older, and had a total of 13 children. They had already lost four by 1861 and were to lose another 3 in the next twelve years. I hope all the Rogers children made it to adulthood; their descendants could have splendid family reunions.

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