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Timothy Theobald Coleman, a pioneer physician at Seaforth, and a prominent manufacturer, was born in the county of Kerry, Ireland, February 11, 1828, his father being Thomas Coleman, a farmer, who died when our subject was four years old. Young as he was, Timothy was the oldest of three children, left to the care of the widowed mother. He was kept at school until eighteen years old, receiving an English and classical education, being obliged to drop his studies at that age on account of the famine in Ireland in 1846, when he had to resort to manual labor to keep the family alive.
In 1848 Mr. Coleman emigrated to America; taught two years in an academy at Le Roy, Genesee county, New York; came to Canada West in 1850, and taught two years in the township of Scarborough, studying medicine at the same time with Dr. Hamilton; attended medical lectures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine in March, 1857; was licensed the next year by the Medical Board of Canada; and practiced at Harpurhey, one mile from where Seaforth now stands, from 1857 until 1861, when the latter place began to show signs of becoming a village.
When Dr. Coleman settled in this neighborhood, and opened an office (1857) Seaforth had only two houses, the country was sparsely settled, and roads in some directions were unmade. Many a long horseback ride he was forced to take through the old primeval forests, part of the way without even a dim path to guide him. Moving into the village of Seaforth, in 1861, he continued the practice of medicine and surgery until 1872, having, however, started salt works here three years earlier. In addition to salt he is now manufacturing lumber, staves and barrels, having for a partner his stepson, Dr. William C. Gouinlock. They make from 65,000 to 75,000 barrels of salt annually; cut 2,500,000 feet of lumber; make their own staves and barrels, having an extensive cooperage, and supply other parties with barrels, there being three salt manufacturing establishments in Seaforth, aggregating about 200,000 barrels.
The Doctor has dealt a great deal in real estate, and with marked success. Like Midas, his touch seems to turn everything to gold or its equivalent, and he had a competency years ago.
Dr. Coleman was county coroner from 1857 to about 1866, when he resigned on being appointed a Magistrate, an office which he still holds. He was the first trustee of the public school here, when only one teacher was required, and where eight are now employed; was the first reeve of the town, and the second mayor, holding the latter office in 1877 and 1878. He is a public spirited citizen, and under his administration, improvements were multiplied and marked.
He has been very active at times in politics, being quite independent, and voting for such men as he thought would carry out the best measures. Usually, but not always, he has affiliated with the Conservatives.
In 1861, at the time of the Trent affair, he raised a company of Volunteers, and is now a Brevet Lieut.-Colonel of the 33rd Battalion.
He is a Chapter Mason, having been a member of the order since 1857.
In 1858 he married Mrs. Hannah Matilda Gouinlock, daughter of Dr. William Chalk, of the village of Harpurhey, and by him she has four children.