One of the oldest journalists in the county of Durham, or this part of the Province of Ontario, is William Furby, a native of Bridlington, Yorkshire, England, and a son of John Furby, a school teacher, who, during the winter season, made a specialty of instructing sailors in navigation. Our subject was born September 5, 1799, and at the time of preparing this sketch is in his 80th year. He was educated by his father; learned the printer’s and cabinetmaker’s trade; in 1819 crossed the Atlantic ocean, and spent five or six years with an older brother, Robert Furby, at Waterford, Vermont, teaching most of the time; then spent a short time in Montreal, working at his trade, and in 1826 settled in Port Hope, here being engaged in the furniture business for many years.
In 1831, Mr. Furby purchased a young weekly paper called The Telegraph, in which he could “see no money,” and which he soon disposed of. A little later he started another paper called the Port Hope Gazette and Durham Advertiser, and in 1850, he established the Port Hope Guide, now the oldest paper in the town, and published daily as well as weekly, by George Wilson. Mr. Furby edited and published the Guide in connection with the furniture business, until 1856, after which his son George managed it a while, selling out in 1858.
Mr. Furby is just rounding up his four score years; yet is in fair health, and has the use of all his mental faculties. He has been a very industrious man, of excellent habits in all respects; is a member of the Church of England, and has been all his days, and is spending the evening of his life with his son George, in comfort, and in reading and quiet meditation. A correct, christian life usually guarantees a serene close.
A few years ago he published a series of articles in the Guide entitled “Reminiscences of Port Hope,” which were full of local interest, and will be very valuable to the future historian. We have had occasion to draw from them some data in this work.
In 1831, Miss Ann Manning, of Port Hope, was joined in. wedlock with Mr. Furby, and had six children, three of them dying in infancy. Mrs. Furby died in 1844, and he never married again. The children living are all married. Annie Sophia is the wife of Alex. Forsyth Scott, judge of the county of Peel; William Henry is a mechanic residing in Hamilton, and George, the elder son, is secretary and treasurer of the Port Hope Gas Company, and clerk of the Division Court. In 1856 he married Jane Peters, daughter of William Peters, an early settler in the township of Hope, and they have three children.
The father of William Furby was a printer, and descendants of the family are still engaged in that business in Bridlington, keeping also an extensive book and stationery store in connection with the printing office.