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The Brinsmeads in Canada

Canada became home to a number of Brinsmeads during the 19th and 20th centuries. Only one migration took root and gave rise to the many Brinsmeads right across the country today.  However, there were several others who came and either left for elsewhere, or produced no, or few, offspring.  Their stories are set out in these pages on "The Brinsmeads in Canada".

Hugh Brinsmead

The vast majority of Brinsmeads in Canada today descend from one young man, Hugh Brinsmead, who left St. Giles in the Wood, in Devon, as a teenager. He did not come alone; his sister Mary Brinsmead, who had just married and become Mary Tanton, appears to have come at the same time. Young Hugh and Mary joined an already established group of immigrants from the Great Torrington area of Devon who settled down in the relatively recently opened up areas around London, Ontario.  

Hugh Brinsmead married Helen Pacey, and went to live in nearby St Marys, Ontario.  There they became involved in the local Methodist community and raised a family of four boys and four girls, from whom the largest number of Canadian Brinsmeads have descended.

Mary Tanton (nee Brinsmead)

Hugh Brinsmead Jnr. had two siblings Elizabeth and Mary Ann. Elizabeth died as a young child in England. Mary, who was four years older than Hugh, married Thomas Tanton just before they all left for London, Ontario. The Tantons raised what proved to be a prominent family in London.

Others from St. Giles in the Wood

The presence of Brinsmeads as well as other St. Giles in the Wood families in London, Ontario attracted two other migrations; Henry Brinsmead and, via Ipswich, Essex, in England, Hadley and Arthur Brinsmead-Williams.  Henry married and moved to St. Thomas in Ontario.  Hadley married in London but the couple died without children.  Arthur Brinsmead-Williams moved to the United States.

Richard Brimsmead

Richard Brimsmead is believed to be related, but from way back, through the Irish line of Brinsmeads that originated in Cromwellian times. They stem from the Brinsmead family in Bishop's Hull, Somerset. , Richard, a veteran of Waterloo and apparently the last member of this Irish line, emigrated to the newly settled bush country in Medonte County, Ontario, South of Lake Simcoe.

Others from England

The other Brinsmeads we know of who settled in Canada are from Brinsmead lines that left St. Giles in the Wood or Weare Giffard in Devon and first went to London. Not all those who went up to London, England, prospered.  Fate brought several of them to Canada.  These included Noel Brinsmead, a grandson of John Brinsmead, the piano maker, who came to Canada and enlisted for WWI, not once, but twice, even after being wounded.  Another is John Charles Brinsmead who settled in the small town of Antler, Saskatchewan. A third is John Henry Brinsmead, the grandson of Henry Brinsmead, the brother of John Brinsmead and a piano maker in his own right. John Henry moved to Toronto, married, but died at a young age from TB.