TODD, WILLIAM, merchant, lumberman, railway promoter, and politician; b. at North Yarmouth, Maine, on 10 June or 10 July 1803, one of ten children of William Todd and Hannah Worthley; m. in 1826 to Clarissa Hill by whom he had 12 children, and on 9 July 1862 to Mrs Mary Jane Haney; d. 5 Aug. 1873 at St Stephen, N.B.
William Todd Sr had built a lucrative business in the Atlantic coast-West Indies trade, but the business was destroyed by the blockade during the Napoleonic Wars, and in 1811 the Todd family, like many of their countrymen, sought a new life in the security of British North America. They settled in St Stephen, N.B., where by the age of 22 William Jr had established himself as a merchant in nearby Milltown. Within a short time he moved into the lumber business, then the principal industry of the St Croix River valley. He was an able businessman and became one of the wealthiest lumbermen on the St Croix. His business interests in both New Brunswick and Maine were extensive, making him one of the leading members of the “international community” on the St Croix. At the time of his death, Todd’s estate was valued at $187,571.
Early in his career Todd became engaged in railway construction. He was president of the St Croix and Penobscot Railroad and of the St Stephen Branch Railroad (later known as the New Brunswick and Canada Railway). In addition he was a founder and director of the St Stephen’s Bank and served as its president from 1849 until 1873.
Todd was a member of the Congregational Church of St Stephen and was active in the affairs of the church and the community. His interest in education is indicated by the fact that he was a founder, and for many years a director, of the Milltown Academy – one of the leading schools of the province.
In 1854, the year in which the Liberals under Charles Fisher gained control of the assembly, Todd was appointed to the Legislative Council. At the deliberations of the council he was a strong supporter of the business community in general and of the lumber industry and railways in particular. During the confederation controversy Todd did not, at least in the beginning, take a strong stand. The St Stephen area was regarded as an anti-confederation centre and several influential lumbermen, including Todd’s brother, Freeman H. Todd, opposed the union of the provinces. As late as 1866 William remained uncommitted, but during the council session of that year he was influenced by the forceful case in favour of confederation which was presented by Edward Barron Chandler. Finally, when the resolution supporting confederation was placed before the council, Todd voted for it.
In October 1867 he was called to the Senate, but he was unwilling to go to Ottawa and declined the appointment. He retained his seat in the Legislative Council of the province where he made his last appearance during the session of 1872.
PANB, Department of Justice, Probate Court Records, Milltown, 873/Wm. Todd. New Brunswick, Legislative Council, Debates, 1866; Journals, 1854–72. Morning Freeman (Saint John, N.B.), 7 Aug. 1873. Statutory history of the railways of Canada (Dorman). H. A. Davis, An international community on the St. Croix, 1604–1930 (University of Maine Studies, 2nd ser., 64, Orono, 1950). G. H. Mowat, The diverting history of a loyalist town (St Andrews, N.B., 1932). Guy Murchie, Saint Croix, the sentinel river; historical sketches of its discovery, early conflicts and final occupation by English and American settlers, with some comments on Indian life (New York, 1947). William Todd, Todds of the St. Croix Valley (Mount Carmel, Conn., 1943).