KIRKPATRICK, THOMAS, lawyer and politician; b. 25 Dec. 1805 at Coolmine House, Clonsilla, near Dublin (Republic of Ireland), fourth son of Alexander Kirkpatrick and Marianne Sutton; m. in 1829, Helen, daughter of Alexander Fisher, a judge of the Midland District of Upper Canada, and they had five sons and three daughters; d. 26 March 1870 at Kingston, Ont.
Thomas Kirkpatrick came to Canada in 1823 and settled at Kingston where he read law in the office of Christopher Hagerman*. He was called to the bar in 1828 and established a flourishing practice in Kingston. From 1828 until 1845 he was collector of customs at Kingston, a lucrative position he probably owed to the influence of Hagerman whom he succeeded in the post. He became a qc in 1846.
Although he was not considered a brilliant lawyer, Kirkpatrick was a successful one and had a reputation for integrity and soundness of judgement especially in business matters. He was president of the Kingston Permanent Building Society and was the local solicitor of the Bank of Upper Canada from about 1837 until its collapse in 1866 and local solicitor to its trustees until his death. He was also a director of the bank on six occasions between 1846 and 1853 and a trustee of the property of James Morton, one of the bank’s largest debtors.
Kirkpatrick was a staunch Conservative who was influential in Kingston and Frontenac County politics; he took an active interest in local affairs. He was elected first mayor of the town of Kingston in 1838 but had to be disqualified as a non-resident. In 1847 he was elected as the city’s second mayor. After being defeated by Alexander Campbell* in a bid for the Legislative Council in 1858, he became mp for Frontenac in the first dominion parliament in 1867.
Kirkpatrick was an example of the sober upper middle class which ruled the cities and towns of Ontario until the end of World War I. Kirkpatrick’s descendants retained their influence in Kingston after his death; his son, George Airey*, succeeded his father as mp and in 1892 was appointed lieutenant governor of Ontario.
QUA, Thomas Kirkpatrick papers; Kirkpatrick-Nickle legal records. Daily British Whig (Kingston), 28 March 1870. Armstrong, Handbook of Upper Canadian chronology. Canadian directory of parl. (Johnson). Chadwick, Ontarian families.