Port Hope, Canada – Biographical

AMONG the numerous gentlemen who have taken a prominent share in the public affairs of the Town, there are two in particular, distinguished by especial virtues, whose names should not be omitted in this volume. These are the late Thomas Benson and the late William Craig. The former gentleman was born at Fintona, Ireland, Jan. 11th, 1804, whence his family crossed to America in 1816. About 1819 they settled at Kingston where the father, James Benson died in 1828. Thomas Benson entered upon the mercantile life, remaining in Kingston until 1832, when he removed to Port Hope, where he resided for five years.

During the rebellion of 1837 and subsequent years he served as Captain. In 1845 he settled at Peterborough but returned to Port Hope in 1853 to assume the duties of Secretary-Treasurer of the Port Hope and Peterborough Railway, which he fulfilled in the most able manner until his premature death in the Desjardins Canal catastrophe, March 12th, 1857. Of a family of twelve children, the eldest surviving son is Thomas Moore Benson, of Port Hope, Senior Judge of the United Counties and a man who ably fills his father’s place in the community. Richard Lowe Benson, for some years Deputy Sheriff of the Counties of Northumberland and Durham ; Lieut.-Col. Frederick Albert Benson and four daughters are still living.

The late William Craig was born in Yorkshire, England, Feb. 2 7th, 1819, but did not come to Port Hope until 1852. In that year he started the Tannery which still bears his name. Until his death on Friday, 29th May, 1891, he was actively connected with the philanthropic and benevolent institutions of the Town, was for many years the main-stay of the Baptist Church and for four years was Mayor of the Town. He was the father of four sons and two daughters who occupy most honorable positions in the various places where destiny has placed them. Of the daughters, one is the wife of Judge Chisholm, of Berlin, for many years a well-known citizen of Port Hope and the other is the wife of Dr. J. W. Clemesha, a foremost physician of the Town. Of the sons T. Dixon sat for two terms as member for East Durham ; John is a missionary in India ; Joseph resides in Minneapolis and William succeeded to his father’s business in Port Hope.