Thursday, 10 December 2009

St Patrick's Ward gets started

St Patrick's Ward started out just where I expected--at the northwest corner of Queen Street West and University with an enumeration district of 261 houses. The enumerator made his way along the north side of Queen for about three blocks and then proceeded to work on the side streets. At least, this is what appeared from what I saw on Tuesday and checked later with the streets directory section of Mitchell's City Directory of 1864.

I usually try to photograph 75 folios or households a day, but on Tuesday I had forgotten one of my preparational steps. Thus, my camera told me its memory card was full as I reached house 57. Today I have made sure my camera is empty to start with, but I must look out my second 2GB memory card.

The families were quite a mixture, with occupations stretching from labourer up to "gentlemen" and merchants, with a fair sprinkling of men and widowed women who did not see fit to tell the census authorities what, if anything, they did to keep the wolf from the door. There were at least two people who lived alone, and some very large families (one of seventeen members including a few servants). Three households were impossible to read--a high score for one day's work. The unusual thing was the number of deaths in 1860 recorded. The enumerator must have been especially vigilant on this score. I have found census districts which did not include any at all and I am sure Toronto was not that healthy at the time.

The proofreading of St John's District 3 was completed before starting on St Patrick's and with luck I can finish the small District 6 north of College over the weekend. District 6 was so different from the rest of the ward. Suburbia I guess you would call it. Yonge Street was commercial and included Thomas Christie's first biscuit factory and a large builder's with a lot of men recorded there. The surnames in the builder's yard were familiar. The employer may simply have listed all his workmen or the employees may have stayed there over a Sunday night prior to going to a nearby job on the Monday morning. University College was completing construction at the time and there were at least four painters in that list. Back of Yonge Street were clerks, bookkeepers, merchants and barristers and the one titled person I have found in the whole of Toronto: Lady Macauley. Her late husband had been a judge and had died in 1859. Knox College was in the middle of this ward and St Michael's on the edge of it. Most of their "inmates" will probably be found in the Institutions file I have yet to get to on the second film of St Patrick's Ward.

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