Jacob Cummer of Willowdale

Growing up on a Willowdale street named for the Cummer family, has long left me with a curiosity in this surname. As a child, many a visit was made to the Don River very near the home of Jacob Cummer. The significance of this spot was unknown to me at the time.

Travelling eastward on Cummer Avenue, crossing Bayview and soon dropping steeply down into a valley where on its flat bottom winds a small feeder branch of the Don River.

Jacob Cummer Home on Lot 23 east, Concession 2 York Township

Here, Jacob Cummer II built his family home on the east half of Lot 23 Concession 2 in York Township around the year 1850. He was at the time, manager of the mill situated in that valley on the Don River. Through his father’s Will, the senior Jacob Cummer had left other lands to his son, but that was not where the younger man chose to make his homestead. His choice was in the gently valley with a meandering tributary of the local river.

The family of Jacob Sr. and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer came to Upper Canada about 1796. Their first three children: Mary Ann, Elizabeth and Daniel, were all born in Pennsylvania. The fourth child of Jacob and Elizabeth was John. He was born in the community of Eglinton, in York Township, Upper Canada.

Before the family was complete, another ten children were born: Katherine, Jacob, David, Joseph, Sally, Sarah, Nancy, Joshua, Peter and Samuel.

The Adult Children of Jacob and Elizabeth

Mary Ann, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, married John Willson the third.

Mary Ann Cummer

Mary Ann (Cummer) Willson

John Willson

John Willson

Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born 20 November 1793 in Pennsylvania. She died April 4 1881 in Eglinton, York Township, Ontario.

Daniel, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on 21 August 1795. He died 8 December 1881 in Crowland Township, Welland County, Ontario.

Daniel Cummer

John, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born in the Eglinton community, Upper Canada on 28 March 1797. He died 11 September 1868 in Toronto. John’s wife was Sarah, born 1806 in Upper Canada and who died 10 April 1870 at Waterdown, Ontario

Katherine, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born 10 December 1798 at Willowdale, Upper Canada. She died 11 August 1886 in Aurora, Ontario.

Jacob, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born 20 November 1800 in Willowdale, Upper Canada. He married Agnes Endicott around 1824. She was born in Weston, Upper Canada in 1802 and died in Willowdale on 29 March 1873

Jacob died at Willowdale on 26 March 1880.

Jacob and Agnes (Endicott) Cummer headstone

David, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born in Willowdale on 31 January 1803. He married Abigail McKergan.

David died in Willowdale on 11 January 1876. Abigail (McKergan) Cummer died in April 1872. David Cummer died in January 1876 at Willowdale

David Cummer

David and Abigail Cummer Headstone

Abigail (McKergan) Cummer

Joseph, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born 19 September 1804 in Willowdale and died there at the young age of eight years on 9 April 1812.

Sally, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born in 1806 and her sister, Sarah, was born 28 May 1806 in Willowdale. Sarah died 26 June 1838 in Willowdale.

Nancy, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born 16 August 1808 at Willowdale. She died 26 May 1864 in York County, Canada West.

Joshua, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born 19 September 1810 in Willowdale. He died 29 September 1879 in Aurora, Ontario.

Peter, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born 10 September 1812 in Willowdale. He died 10 March 1813 in Willowdale at the tender age of 6 months.

Samuel, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born in Willowdale on 8 December 1815. He married Mary Ann Tule, who was born 2 June 1817 in Pennsylvania, United States. She died at Toronto, Ontario on 3 August 1889.

Jacob Cummer Sr. with his wife, the former Elizabeth Fisher, travelled from Pennsylvania to the town of York, Upper Canada marking their arrival here by the spring of 1797. Leaving his pregnant wife and three small children in a rough log cabin about where today, Eglinton crosses Yonge Street, Jacob headed further north into the wilderness forest. He followed a narrow path for a quite some time, finally to a point about six miles north of Eglinton. Here he built a permanent home for his family.

In time, the location of Jacob and Elizabeth’s cabin became the centre of a small community that was known as the Cummer Settlement. In time its name was changed to Willowdale.

In time, a small section of land south of where the Jacob Cummer family resided, was set aside for a church. It was built and as the years progressed, a burial ground surrounding the church was filled with the headstones of those departed. It is here that Jacob and Elizabeth rest along with many of their family members.

Cummer Burial Grounds

Cummer Burial Grounds circa 1900

Source: Photos from Public Tree of Helen Russell

People of Canada

Samuel, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fisher) Cummer, was born in Willowdale on 8 December 1815. He married Mary Ann Tule, who was born 2 June 1817 in Pennsylvania, United States. She died at Toronto, Ontario on 3 August 1889.