Updated on 8/7/02
See the Gillbards who emigrated page.

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I believe that the Gillbard line died out in Canada in the early 1900's, but would be delighted to find some of their descendants, if you are one of them or know of any of them please get in touch with
John Gillbard, see homepage.

Thomas Gillbard 1829 - 1907 was instrumental in building the
Thomas Gillbard School in Cobourg, Ontario.( See below for his life story)

In Union Cemetary he built a Memorial Mortuary Chapel in 1904
in memory of his only sister JANE.

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In this Chapel you will find this Plaque in her Memory
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Ad Gloriam Dei
This mortuary chapel was erected AD 1904 by Thomas Gillbard, Esquire, of Cobourg, in loving memory of his only sister Jane Gillbard Smale,who died at Orono, June 12, 1860 and her only son William Thomas Smale who was cruelly murdered in his own home at Eskridge, Kansas, U.S.A. November 9, 1903.
Blessed are the dead, which die in the Lord.
The Life of THOMAS GILLBARD (1826 - 1907)
He emigrated in 1847 to Cobourg, Ontario, Canada with his father William, mother Grace(Symons) and two brothers, William & John, and sister Jane. It is believed that he already had an Aunt living there, called Ann Kenner who was married in 1832 in Tresmere Parish Church , next to his own parish of North Petherwin, where he was born, in 1826, Cornwall, U.K.
His father was a Tailor and so he learnt the trade and started up in business in Cobourg, where he lived all his life. In 1848 he married a Selina Floyd, she emigrated in 1830, also of Cornish extraction, and were married for 59 years, but had no children.

His family were Methodist - Bible Christians (this sect was founded not far from where he lived in Cornwall by William O'Bryan, who visited Canada in 1833/4.) and they worshipped firstly in a chapel in the Orange St location, and later in a new brick built church at the North Eastern corner of James and Bond St. Due to various the amalgamations of the Methodists he also worshipped at the Methodist Church at King and Ball Street. Most of this time he was acting as a Sunday School Superintendant, through his love for children and his Lord Jesus Christ. He was also a Methodist Local Preacher taking services in various local chapels.

In 1853 Thomas moved into the Retallack Block( another good Cornish name) of three stories, thus expanding his business, and for 20 years, ran an extensive tailoring and clothing business. He sold out to James and Shaun Clarke, in 1873 but retained ownership of the premises.

From 1873 until 1877 he was a Cobourg Town Councillor, later serving as the Town Treasurer.
( Many Gillbard's have served on town councils through the years in the U.K at present there are at least two, Mike in Liskeard, Cornwall & Bernard in East Grinstead, Sussex.)

In 1864 he became a member of the Public School Board, and served on it for over 40 years until his death, in 1907. In 1869 he was made the Chairman and occupied this position 12 times. He recognised that the schooling was taking place in several locations and felt that it would be more efficient if all the children were brought togther in one building. Financial help was thus needed, so he gave $10,000 towards its erection, it was finished in his time but he died only a few days prior to its opening, his name appeared on the official opening programme, as one of those taking part in its opening proceedings. Later the School Board prepared a Memorium statement in which they said that " But for Mr Gillbard's generous donation, it seems not probable that Cobourgs Public School would have remained in inferior accomodation and equipment for many years to come. His cheery presence, his friendly greeting and his good advice will be greatly missed by both trustees and teachers."

The Cobourg Public Library received a legacy of $200 from his estate for use in purchasing new books.

Today the George Street Public School, the original one he helped to bring about bears his name.
See the picture above.
I wish to thank the Saturday Morning Post of March 22, 1919, and the Cobourg & District Historical Society, for most of the above information, and Thomas Ronayne for his help and information.
To bring matters up to date see below:
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Below is Ted Peterson a descendant of Thomas Gillbard representing the Gillbard Family .
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Thanks to Thomas Gillbard

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