Saturday, March 3, 2018

Profile of the Hinton family - Part 1

After years of on-and-off research, I finally pulled together all of my research, and have put together a profile of the Hinton family. This is perhaps the column I am most proud of, for the amount of digging invested, and the importance of the subject matter. Until now, very very little has been written on the Hinton family (namesakes of Hintonburg). So for the first time, the Hinton family are being brought to life!

Bruce Elliott wrote a little about the Hintons in The City Beyond, and there are bits and pieces scattered around the internet on them, but largely their story has been largely hidden. And until recently, I had never even seen a photograph of them, nor had any of my historian contacts, some of whom had researched the Hintons themselves. It was through deep digging in the archives that I unearthed the first photo, which was mislabelled as "J. Hunton". I conferred with one of Ottawa's top historians Bryan Cook (who has published a book on William Pittman Lett, son-in-law of Joseph Hinton), and he shared with me a small, grainy old photo of what he believed was Joseph Hinton, though unconfirmed. We compared the two photos and agreed it was a close enough match. But I still was not 100% sure either or both photos were of Joseph. I then lucked out on finding a set of three photos donated to the Bytown Museum, which had photos of Joseph and Robert Hinton, as well as their famous Richmond Road farmhouse. The photo confirmed my original photo was Joseph as well! For good measure, some deep diving into the Lett family fonds at the city archives unearthed even one more photo of Joseph Hinton, and his wife! Sometimes it takes one domino to start things, to connect the dots.

With these great photos in hand, I was energized to get the written account finalized and published in the Kitchissippi Times. I stumbled across a handwritten biography of Joseph Hinton in the Lett family fonds, written by a grandson or nephew back around 1900. It was short, but contained some key pieces of info. I then took my 4+ years of notes on the Hintons, and began writing out the family chronology. Every time I came across a piece of information, or a newspaper article, I saved it in a file. Individually each piece says little, but put together, it tells a true story and gives a lot of key dates when the Hintons arrived, opened their farm, constructed their new house, and so on.

There was just so much information that I found it impossible to edit down into just one article. So it looks like my profile of the Hintons will be at least a two-parter, maybe even a three-parter.

The column includes the details of how Joseph's parents escaped death in a notable event in Ireland in 1798, how he made his way to Canada, the associations he made when he first arrived, his importance to the settling of Richmond, Ontario, and how he made his way to the neighbourhood that would soon bear his name - Hintonburg.

Please see this link for Part 1!:

Joseph Hinton in March 1871 (LAC)

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