Toronto neighbourhood: Community of Fairbank, former city of York.
Fairbank - People
Matthew Parsons (1816 - 1901) PDF Print E-mail

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.

Elizabeth Sophia McKay (1819 - 1900) PDF Print E-mail

Elizabeth Sophia McKay was born in Ontario (then Upper Canada) on December 4, 1819. She was the daughter of Jacob McKay, an American born emigrant of Scottish descent. She had at least two siblings - a brother William and a sister Caroline Matilda. Nothing is known of their mother.

Elizabeth married Matthew Parsons on November 11, 1841 in York Township. Her brother William and his brother Jacob were witnesses. Elizabeth's sister Caroline Matilda later married Matthew's younger stepbrother Joseph Watson in 1850.

Elizabeth and Matthew 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.

Elizabeth died on May 2, 1900 in York Township and is buried at Prospect Cemetery with her husband Matthew, sons Jacob and William, granddaughter Affie Elizabeth Parsons, and William's wives Annie Jane Bridgeland and Sarah Jane Geddes.

William Abbot Parsons (1844 - 1923) PDF Print E-mail

William Abbot Parsons (b. November 26, 1844 - d. March 23, 1923) was the son of Matthew Parsons, a carpenter and millwright, and Elizabeth Sophia McKay. William Abbot Parsons was married to Annie Jane Bridgland on June 3, 1868 and they had six children. After Annie Jane died on March 9, 1883 William Abbot Parsons married a second time to Sarah Jane Geddes on September 5, 1885 and they had no children. Although the assessment notices identify Parsons as a farmer, he was appointed in December 1892 as a Justice of the Peace. The Parsons farm property was known as Fairbank and various local histories identify this as the source of the name for the local post office and neighbourhood. Caroline Mathilda (William Abbot Parsons' aunt) married Joseph Watson who served as Deputy Reeve of the Township of York from 1872-1877. Matthew Parsons donated property at the south-east corner of his farm for the construction of Fairbank Methodist Church in 1889. Bridgland Avenue in North York was named also for Annie Jane Bridgland's family. William Abbot Parson's son Clark Bentom married Maggie "Maud" Ada Snider on April 27, 1910 and had four children. The first born child was Catherine Edith Parsons, the donor of these records. Maggie Snider's father, Henry Snider was a well known Pennsylvania-German settler who emigrated to York County and whose 1875 log home was moved to Black Creek Pioneer Village in 1966.

In the City of Toronto Archives:

Fonds consists of 7 journals written by farmer and justice of the peace, William Abbot Parsons. These document his daily work and home activities on the family farm, Fairbank, located near Eglinton Avenue and Dufferin Street in the Township of York. These journals reveal the yearly flow of farm activities through each season and the effect of weather conditions on such operations as hunting, fence building, trips to the mill, planting, and harvesting. The journals contain handwritten daily entries that detail grain, livestock and supply purchases, as well as grain, livestock and dairy product sales to and from local businesses. The records also provide details of the business and family dealings with government, schools, church, and neighbours.

Each volume was originally interleafed with diverse documents, correspondence, and pieces of ephemera retained by Parsons. These include property assessment notices, a report card, school inspection report, Justice of the Peace Oath of Office, published government financial statements and reports, bills of sale and receipts for grain, livestock and supplies, as well as newspaper clippings of poetry and anecdotes, and articles on politics, the temperance movement and farming. The small quantity of correspondence generally relates to financial transactions.

Fonds also includes 1 account book that details the probate of the estate of Matthew Parsons, who died in 1901. Payments made to beneficiaries from the estate continued during the period of 1901-1910. This volume also includes account details for mortgages held by W.A. Parsons for properties on lot 18 Eastside of Yonge Street, 1537 Dufferin Street, lots 9 and 10 Dufferin Street and a property on Craighurst. Also of note is a list of donations collected from homes in the area of Yonge and Eglinton for the Fred Victor Mission Society, dated 1913 and found on page 176 of this volume.

Fonds also contains a privately published history of the Parsons family from 1774 to 1985.