Sometime before 1840 in the town of Templemore in Tipperary, Ireland, Thomas Kingsmill opened a dry goods business. It failed ten years later, a casualty of economic hardship, famine, and epidemic. Kingsmill and three of his children died soon after. His oldest son, Thomas Frazer, was apprenticed to a store owned by the family of his mother, Mary Frazer. He married a widow, Anne Ardagh Buriss, and emigrated to New York and then briefly to Georgia.

The poor import trade resulting from the American Civil War forced the Kingsmills to move again, this time to Toronto, where Thomas’ uncle, George Kingsmill, and a niece of Anne’s had settled. After working for a Toronto company and considering various locations, Kingsmill established his store in London in 1865, chosen because of its growing prominence as a military, industrial, and educational centre.

The Kingsmills’ three daughters attended Hellmuth Ladies College, and their eldest son, Thomas Frazer Kingsmill, Jr., graduated from Huron College, but left the ministry to work in the store. Another son was a graduate in medicine from Western University’s Medical School.

In its early years, Kingsmill’s specialized in the sale of imported carpets, linens, and cashmeres as well as embroidered handkerchiefs and gloves. Its range of retail goods was later expanded to include furniture, lamps, china, and housewares. In addition to their role as local merchants, members of the Kingsmill family are well known for their contribution of time and resources to service clubs, community events, church functions, and charities.


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130 Dundas Street
London, ON
42° 59' 0.5136" N, 81° 15' 3.726" W