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Biography of Thomas Driffill

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Thomas Driffill, a pioneer settler at Bradford, is a native of Lincolnshire, England, a son of Samuel and Ann (Morwood) Driffill, and was born January 27, 1809. He received an ordinary education for business; learned the trade of a blacksmith with his father; came to Canada in 1830, and the next year settled where the village of Bradford now stands. At that time there were only two families on the site of the place, and no clearings, and no roads except such as had been extemporized among the trees. Farms, however, had been opened in various parts of the township, and a blacksmith was needed, so Mr. Driffill put up a small log. shop, and commenced work, December 13, 1831, following his trade here for more than twenty years, adding carriages after a few years. He then went into the mercantile trade, selling hardware, books and stationery, paints and oils. He has been quite successful as a merchant, having however, one serious set back, when in May, 1871, the village was almost totally destroyed by fire, and he lost fully $20,000 above his insurance. He is now in comfortable circumstances, and a good sample of the self made man, pushing on to success in a straightforward, honest, industrious manner.

Mr. Driffill was the first reeve of the village; has since held the same office one or two terms, making a useful member of the county council. He has also been in the village council, and has held the office of Magistrate for twenty-five years, being faithful in the discharge of every duty.

In politics Mr. Driffill is a Reformer, very firm, but not rabid. His religious connection is with the Methodist Church of Canada, and he has been Recording Steward of the circuit for nearly thirty years. He has also been a class leader a long time, and is living a consistent christian life.

Mr. Driffill first married in 1831, Miss Mary Sampson, of England, she dying the next year. In 1833 he married Miss Jane Hill of the county of Simcoe, and they reared eight children, besides losing three or four in infancy and youth. One son, Thomas, is a stenographer living in New York City, and the two other sons, Joseph Hill and James, are with their father in the store. Mary is the wife of Edward Jeff, farmer, and member of the township council of West Gwillimbury; Ann is the wife of Thomas S. Graham, member of the Bradford council; one daughter, Jane (Mrs. Strong), died, leaving three children; and two others, Clerinda and Charlotte M. are living at home.

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