Personalities Of Moore Township: Thomas Sutherland (1772 - 1850)

portrait of Thomas Sutherland

A prominent early resident of Moore Township was Thomas Sutherland.  Thomas was born in Croydon, Surrey, England on May 23, 1772.  Following an education at the Archbishop's School, he began his career in the Royal Navy.  He soon changed careers, however, and become a tailor in Edinburgh.  Family tradition holds that he served many notables, including making a plaid for Sir Water Scott.

With his first wife, Elizabeth Beddoes, he had three children, one of whom died in England.  His second wife was the Honourable Grace Hogg, daughter of an English admiral.  They had five children, one of whom died in England.

While still in Edinburgh, Thomas settled a dispute between masters and journeymen, for which service he was presented with a silver cup.  This cup is now part of the Moore Museum collection.

Sailing from Scotland on April 25, 1833, on the ship European, Thomas and Grace Sutherland and their family departed for their new home in Canada.  The crossing took eight weeks, and the trip from Quebec City to Cobourg another five weeks.  Further travel brought them to the shores of the St. Clair River where Thomas purchased Lots 30, 31 and 32.

The family's furniture, china, silver, books and paintings must have seemed out of place in the new log home.  As well as a home for his family, Thomas built a store and warehouse.  The store was stocked with a large supply of merchandise which he had brought with him.  Thomas also built a wharf in order to do business with steamers on the river, selling them cordwood for fuel and potash to sell in Europe.

Crown land grants were made along the St. Clair River to British soldiers and sailors and to United Empire Loyalists.  Those who did not wish to settle in the area sold out cheaply and thus by 1849, Thomas Sutherland owned 2,395 acres.

Thomas Sutherland was very community-minded, donating land and money for the establishment of a church, cemetery and school.  He loaned his books to his neighbours, held Sunday School in his home and allowed his neighbours to use his warehouse to store their crops.

Thomas and Grace Sutherland both lived long lives.  He died in 1850 at the age of 78 and she in 1853 at the age of 76.  They are buried together in the cemetery that bears their name, overlooking the St. Clair River at what was then the community of Sutherland's Wharf.


Lambton Centennial Series - The Sutherland Saga - No. 38 by Winning Pendergast