James Best - Grocer

James Best was born in Emily Township, Upper Canada in the year 1828. In 1844, when he was 18 years old, James entered the employ of Messers Nicholls and Hall, staying with this company until 1856.  That latter year, James set up his own grocery business at 421 George Street.

Location of James Best’s first grocery store at 421 George Street, present day location of the Nation Bank
Source: Google Maps

About 1859, James married Frances Mary Crawford. Frances was born 8 January 1838 in Saratoga Springs, New York, United States and was one of three known daughters born to Elias Crawford and his wife, Deborah Ann Jones.

The first child born to James and Frances was a son, born about 1860, whom they named Francis Seymour Best. Francis lived only into his mid twenties, his death occurring on 11 March 1885 in Peterborough.

Another son, Frederick, was born and died in 1863. The third son, James Crawford Best, was born 28 April 1867.  James married Thirza Jane Frise, the daughter of John and Johanna (Vosper) Frise. They had a son, Crawford born in 1896 and a daughter Marjorie born in 1898. Thirza Jane (Frise) Best died on 16 December 1928. James Crawford Best die on 6 February 1948. They rest in Little Lake Cemetery.

Edith Best was the youngest child and only daughter, born to James and Frances Mary (Crawford) Best. Edith died of tuberculosis on 17 September 1888 at the age of 18 years.

James Best died at his Water Street home on 28 February 1892. His wife, Frances Mary (Crawford) Best, died in Peterborough on 6 April 1915. They are buried in Little Lake Cemetery, Peterborough.

The Crawford Connection

The younger sisters of Frances were Sarah, born in 1839 and Lucy Jane, born in 1844. Their father,  Elias Crawford, died 14 September 1868, possibly in the United States. His wife, Deborah Ann (Jones) Crawford came to Canada to live with her daughter Frances (Crawford) Best. Deborah is found in Peterborough in 1871 and died here on 18 January 1878. Deborah was 75 years at the date of her death.

Sarah Crawford married Alexander Stewart in the 1860s. They had a son, Charles Stewart, born in 1869. Alexander died in 1929. Sarah (Crawford) Stewart died in 1913. Their son, Charles, died in 1941.

Lucy Jane Crawford, born in 1844, in Massachusetts, United States, married James Harvey Dixon in Peterborough, Ontario on 20 May 1863. James, a son of William and Isabella (Harvey) Dixon, lived his married life with his wife, Lucy, in town. James died 15 July 1879. Lucy Jane died at her Harvey Street home on 17 December 1925. They rest in Little Lake Cemetery.Lucy and James had a family of seven children. Fanny was born in 1864. Maggie Dixon was born in 1866. She married George Dawson in 1889 at Peterborough. They had a family of three sons and a daughter.

Lily Elizabeth Dixon was born in 1869. She married William Franklin Nelson on 22 October 1895 at Peterborough. William Crawford Dixon was born in 1871. He married Mary Burns on 6 September 1899 at Belleville, Ontario. Fred Dixon was born in 1873. He married Florence Davidson on 16 October 1901, at Peterborough. George Chester Dixon was the second youngest child. He was born in 1873. The youngest son of James and Lucy was James Harvey Dixon born in 1880 and named after his father.