Thomas Fildes was born in 1817 to John Fildes, a farmer, and his wife Sarah Taylor. The family resided in the town of Cadishead, located on the outskirts of Manchester. Thomas was baptized in the Church of England on August 9th 1818. Not a lot is know about the family though Thomas had an older sister named Mary Ann
Jane Jones Fildes was born on 9 February 1807 in Llanddorfel, Merionethshire Wales to John Jones, a shoemaker, and his wife Elizabeth, also born Jones (the most common name in Wales). She was baptized on 20 February 1807 in the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church. According to the parish register Jane had five younger siblings: Elizabeth (born 1808), John (born 1809), Edward (born 1819), Anne (born 1821) and David (born 1823). The gap between births appears odd and would seem to indicate that other children may have born but died before baptism.
Thomas and Jane were both residents of Salford, a suburb of Manchester, when they married on May 19th 1843.
It is interesting to note that Jane was over 10 years older than Thomas when they married. She is listed as a spinster so this apparently was her first marriage. The couple does not appear to have had children.
By 1852 the Fildes had emigrated to Canada. According to that year’s Census Thomas and Jane were residing at Lot 7 Concession 7 in East Gwillimbury where they farmed 50 acres of land and grew wheat, oats and potatoes, raised cows and pigs and produced butter. Their religion is listed as Methodist. Jane’s nephew Evan Morris lives with them as a “servant”. In the 1861 and 1871 census the couple lived next to Evan Morris and his family. The last mention of Thomas is in the 1877 Voter list which had him living at Lot 11 Concession 3, next to Richard and John Morris at Lot 10 Concession 3.
Jane died on October 25th 1878 at the age of 72. Thomas followed her on May 8th 1879 at the age of 61 years, 9 months. They are buried next to the Morris family.
It is interesting to note the bequests in Thomas’ will. His property totalling $7,268 including $5,750 of moneys secured by Mortgage and $970 in Book debts and promissory notes. A parcel of land located at Lot 10 Concession 6 East Gwillimbury was left to Ann Morris, eldest daughter of nephew Evan Morris. The remainder of the estate was divided between “his nieces and nephews, children of his wife’s brother Richard Morris”, including Will and Catherine Rowland. Evan Morris received $4,200. You can read the story of the Morris family here. It is not clear how Jane Jones and Richard Morris are related but presumably through second marriages of their parents
Nearer, Nearer, Nearer
Fold me in your arms
My longing soul in Jesus
Quakes not at deaths alarms
Ye come to bear my spirit
Far from grief away
Where I may dwell for ever
In an immortal day
Farewell dear friends my life is past
My love was true while life did last
And now for me no sorrow make
But love the Lord for my sake
Afflictions sore long time I bore
Physicians were in vain;
God thought it best that I should rest.
And eased me of my pain