Modern Mississauga and Heritage Mississauga have come together to present an ongoing series called “Way Back Wednesday.”
We’ll share information about the history of Mississauga here and answer your questions.
Today’s topic is the history of Mississauga's Silverthorn Family - Part 1.
This week’s submission is a proverbial tip of the iceberg, and we will come to revisit the fascinating history of the Silverthorn family in future articles, from time to time. In terms of local history, there is more information collected on the extended Silverthorn family than any other early settling family in historic Mississauga, not mention that the Silverthorn name, even more than 200 years after the family’s arrival, continues to be found on our modern landscape. Parks, roads, houses, a long term care facility, and likely more, still connect with the Silverthorn name today. One of the oldest surviving buildings in Mississauga, the historic Cherry Hill House, was a Silverthorn family home. But who were they?
Our connections to the family rest on three brothers: Joseph (1785-1879), Thomas (1788-1834) and Aaron (1790-1872). They were the children of John and Ester Silverthorn, who came to the Niagara area from New Jersey as Loyalists after the American Revolution. Joseph was granted land at the corner of what is now Cawthra Road (formerly 1st Line East) and Dundas Street in 1807. Joseph, together with his wife Jane (nee Chisholm, 1791-1879) are widely seen as the first non-Indigenous settlers to build a home for the themselves in historic Mississauga. Joseph’s parents and brothers followed in 1810, settling nearby.
Joseph and Jane built the Cherry Hill House between 1817 and 1822, after first living in a small log cabin. Cherry Hill was relocated slightly north of its original location in 1973 and was converted to a restaurant, and can be found today at 680 Silver Creek Boulevard (still on part of what was Joseph Silverthorn’s 200-acre land grant). Joseph and Jane had 12 children.
Joseph, along with his brothers, volunteered to serve in the militia during the War of 1812. He served as a Private in the Embodied Militia with the 2nd Regiment of York, and his duties were primarily associated with road maintenance and transport of supplies. Likely due to having a young family at home, Joseph does not seem to have been involved in direct military engagements, unlike his brothers (more on this in future articles).
Joseph died at 94 years of age in 1879 and was buried in Dixie Union Cemetery, behind the non-denominational church that he had helped to establish, alongside his wife and brothers. To learn more about the fascinating story of Joseph, Jane and Cherry Hill, read “The Life and Times of the Silverthorns of Cherry Hill” by Kathleen Hicks.