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Joseph Edward Sanderson, Governor of Ontario Ladies’ College, Whitby, a descendant of an old English family, was born in Toronto, January 13, 1830. His father, John Sanderson, shortly after his arrival from England in 1820, purchased twelve acres on Yonge street, built a cottage and planted an elm tree in front, which gave name to “Elm Cottage” and Elm Street, and remained, until a few years ago, a marked memento of early beginnings in “York.” In 1822, he married Miss Margaret Crawford, then recently arrived from the County of Tyrone, Ireland.
After a time they disposed of the city farm and invested in extensive farming lands in the townships of Toronto, Chinguacousy, and Gore of Toronto, where some of the early years of our subject were spent. Leaving the common school of Streetsville, he entered Victoria College, at the age of fourteen, and subsequently attended the Baptist College, Montreal, Toronto Academy, Upper Canada College, and University College, winning a Toronto University Scholarship, and graduating in 1855.
From what we have been able to ascertain in regard to the career of Mr. Sanderson while he was pursuing his studies, it is evident that he was a very ambitious student, if we may judge by his success in winning prizes. While in the Toronto Academy, he gained prizes in natural philosophy, scripture, history, Latin, Greek, algebra, and general knowledge; in Upper Canada
College, for drawing, English verse and English prose; and in Toronto University, in addition to a scholarship of $120 per annum, and first class honors in history, English literature, &c., prizes in metaphysics and ethics, a special prize of $25 by Wm. Matthie, Esq., for agriculture, including chemistry, mineralogy, geology, botany, &c., and the English poem and English essay prizes at graduation.
It is quite evident that his student life was a period of hard study. During that period he laid a firm and broad foundation, on which he is still building “better,”perhaps, “than he knows.”
Previous to his matriculation in Toronto University, Mr. Sanderson had entered on his probation for the Methodist ministry, and was ordained in 1856. He was stationed successively in Brampton, London, Montreal, Kingston, Aylmer and Ottawa, Trenton, Shefford, Compton, Perth, and Whitby. His labors as pastor were very acceptable and successful.
Leaving the Whitby circuit in 1874, he was appointed the first Principal and Governor of Ontario Ladies’ College, the founding of which was through his suggestion and early efforts. This institution is located on elevated and beautiful grounds in the eastern part of the town of Whitby. The buildings, for appropriateness of design, for school purposes, perfection of finish, and neatness of arrangement, it would be difficult to match in this Province, A complete and efficient staff of teachers is maintained, and under the careful and wise general management of the Governor, the school has proved a marvel of success. Though only five years old, it has grown into a first class ladies’ college, and is doing a noble work in fitting young women for spheres of great usefulness in life. About one hundred pupils are enjoying its excellent opportunities for mental drill, and its unequalled advantages for health.
Mr. Sanderson was married in 1860, to Miss Maggie E. Richmond, daughter of the late James Richmond, Esq., C.E., of Mitchellstown, Ireland, and has six children living.