Matthew Parsons (1816 – 1901)

Matthew Parsons was born May 23, 1816 in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England. His father, Jacob Parsons (c. 1774 -1864), was a farmer who emigrated to Canada with his family and settled on the west half of Lot 22, Concession 6 (north of present day Weston) in 1821.

Jacob Parsons was married three times – his son Matthew was a child from one of his first two marriages. Some records indicate that Margaret Archer was his mother but this is not true – she was his stepmother. Margaret married Jacob in 1829 in York after the accidental death of her husband Christopher Watson, the owner of the east half of Lot 22, Concession 6.

Matthew had a brother Jacob and three sisters – Eliza, Elizabeth and Mary Ann. He also had one half-brother, Richard and at least six step-siblings – Betty, Mary, William, John, Joseph and Thomas Watson.

Matthew Parsons and his stepbrother Joseph Watson (1823-1905) married sisters, Elizabeth Sophia McKay and Caroline Matilda McKay, the Ontario-born daughters of Jacob McKay, an emigrant of Scottish descent from the United States. The Parsons, Watsons and McKay families were integral to the settlement and development of the area around present-day Eglinton Avenue and Dufferin Street. It was in fact Matthew Parson’s “Fairbank’s Farm” on Lot 3, Concession 3, a property which had originally belonged to his father-in-law Jacob McKay, which gave the neighbourhood it’s name.

Matthew and his wife Elizabeth, who married in York Township on November 11, 1841, had at least six children – Jacob B., William Abbot, Hannah Matilda, Mary, Sarah Elizabeth and Amelia Jane. There is also reference in some sources to an unnamed fifth daughter who was deceased by 1885.

Matthew died January 17, 1901 in York Township and is buried in Prospect Cemetery with his wife Elizabeth, sons Jacob and William, his granddaughter Affie Elizabeth Parsons, and William’s wives Annie Jane Bridgeland and Sarah Jane Geddes.

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