Thomas Rodman Merritt

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Thomas Rodman Merritt
Source: Library and Archives Canada ThomasRodmanMerritt23.jpg
Thomas Rodman Merritt
Source: Library and Archives Canada

Thomas Rodman Merritt (October 17, 1824 January 11, 1906) was a businessman and political figure in Upper Canada, later Ontario, Canada. He represented Lincoln in the House of Commons of Canada as a Liberal member from 1868 to 1874.

Upper Canada 19th century British colony in present-day Ontario

The Province of Upper Canada was a part of British Canada established in 1791 by the Kingdom of Great Britain, to govern the central third of the lands in British North America, formerly part of the Province of Quebec since 1763. Upper Canada included all of modern-day Southern Ontario and all those areas of Northern Ontario in the Pays d'en Haut which had formed part of New France, essentially the watersheds of the Ottawa River or Lakes Huron and Superior, excluding any lands within the watershed of Hudson Bay. The "upper" prefix in the name reflects its geographic position along the Great Lakes, mostly above the headwaters of the Saint Lawrence River, contrasted with Lower Canada to the northeast.

Ontario Province of Canada

Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital.

Lincoln was a federal electoral district represented in the House of Commons of Canada from 1867 to 1883 and from 1904 to 1997. It was on the Niagara Peninsula in the Canadian province of Ontario. At various times, there was also an electoral district of the same name used in provincial elections.

He was born in Mayville, New York in 1824, the son of William Hamilton Merritt. He studied at Upper Canada College and Grantham Academy in St. Catharines. In 1839, he was working at a store in St. Catharines. In 1843, he opened a general store there in partnership with James Rea Benson. The partners bought flour mills and had two ships built to transport flour. The partnership split up in 1849 and Merritt kept the mills and ships. In 1850, he set up a shipping line that transported goods to Brantford and returned to St. Catharines with wheat. In 1853, he married Mary Benson, the daughter of his former partner's brother Thomas Benson .

Merritt served on the St. Catharines town council from 1857 to 1859. He was elected in an 1868 by-election to represent Lincoln in the House of Commons and was reelected in 1872. In 1869, his mills and ships were sold to the firm of Norris and Neelon. Merritt served as vice-president of the Niagara District Bank and became vice-president of the Imperial Bank of Canada after the two banks merged. He was also president of several companies in the area, including the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company and the St Catharines Gas Light Company. He retired from politics in 1874. He helped found Bishop Ridley College at St. Catharines and served as president from 1888 to 1899. He died in St. Catharines in 1906.

Sylvester Neelon was an Ontario businessman and political figure. He represented Lincoln in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as a Liberal member in 1875 and from 1879 to 1886.

Ridley College university-preparatory school in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Ridley College is a private boarding and day university-preparatory school located in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, 20 miles (32 km) from Niagara Falls. The school confers the Ontario Secondary School Diploma and the International Baccalaureate diploma programme. Ridley is one of the oldest private schools in Canada, and has the largest boarding program in Ontario, with students representing over 45 countries.

His former home, Rodman Hall, now serves as an art gallery.

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