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Charles James Crosby

Charles James Crosby, Maternal Great-Great Grandfather

This is my maternal Great-Great Grandfather, Charles James Crosby. Charles was born on January 27th, 1861 in Niagara Falls, New York, USA. Unfortunately that is all I know of his birth as I have been unable to locate any records and the only record I can find of a young Charles begins at age 10 when he appears in a Catholic orphanage in Toronto in the 1871 Census.


In the 1880 USA Census, Charles shows up working in the USA living and working in Kittson, Minnesota at age 19 for the railroad. Strangely enough both of his parents are listed as "English" although we (his descendants) have always been told he was Irish. Until I can locate his parents though, I can neither confirm nor deny that claim.


Although not famous in the way that some of my other ancestors are, I admire Charles for being able to survive being orphaned at a young age and making his own way in the world and becoming a very respectable citizen.


From what I have found, Charles was taken in at some point by William and Mary Usher in Toronto. From discussions with other Ancestry members who had William and Mary Usher listed in their pages, it appears that they were benevolent people who helped young people establish themselves. Luckily for my Great-Great Grandfather that was the case as I know abuse of orphans or those less well off economically was widespread during the 19th and early 20th century.


Charles must have enjoyed the Usher's as William Usher is listed on his marriage certificate where normally the groom's father's name would be listed.


Charles married my Great-Great Grandmother, Annie Dunlop (herself Irish although born in Scotland) on September 3, 1884 in York (now known as Toronto). Together they had 6 children (2 being twins although male/female so not identical) and 5 living into adulthood.


Charles began working for the Toronto Telegram in 1884 directly under the management of John Ross Robertson, himself a famous (or infamous) newspaper man who was, as you can imagine, very wealthy and powerful. Under John Ross Robertson's supervision, Charles rose through the ranks of the Telegram until he became the General Superintendant of the entire Toronto Telegram plant. Charles worked at the Telegram for the next 41 years.


Through family stories I have learned that Charles and John Ross Robertson had more than just a professional relationship and seemed to have a friendship as well. A cousin of mine is now in possession of a wall clock that John Ross Robertson used to have in his office that he gave to Charles as a gift when Robertson was remodelling his office.


Below is a copy of the memorial to my Great-Great Grandfather that was published upon his death in 1925.


I hope to be able to find out more about this man and his heritage in the future and be able to tell more about this remarkable person who managed to rise from adversity in his childhood and make a good, honest living and an impact on the lives of others.



Charles James Crosby obituary
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