Richard Toomath: 25 Jan 1864 - 22 Aug 1959

Richard Toomath was born on January 25, 1864 in Maguiresbridge, a small villiage in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The village is named after the bridge over the Colebrooke River, first built by the local Maguire family about 1760. The village is 8 miles from Enniskillen and 3 miles from Lisnaskea. Richard was descended from Dutch ancestors who came over from Holland with King William III, Prince of Orange, landed at Carrickfergus and fought with the Prince at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Following the war his family was granted lands in Fermanagh, near Enniskillen.

Richard was an only child. His father died before he was born. Following the death of her husband, Richard's mother went to Scotland where she later remarried. Richard was reared by his grandparents on his father's side.

In 1892 Richard went to work for Messrs. John Milligan & Co. Ltd., coal merchants, in Belfast where, over a thirty year period, he worked his way up to manager. He subsequently started on his own account.

Ulster Volunteer Force and Larne Gun Running

In April 1914 Richard organized shipping for 25,000 rifles and several million rounds of ammunition to arm Northern Loyalists determined to maintain Ireland's connection with the Empire. Lord Carson later presented Richard with an engraved rifle in recognition of "Toomath's heroic part in that memorable gun-running episode..."Richard (far right) with Major Crawford (far left) and arms dealer Benny Spiro (front row).

Prior to emigrating to Canada aboard the C.P.R. steamer Marburn in Sep 1923, Richard resided in Lisfannon, 5 Dundela Park, Strandtown.

While residing in Belfast he took a keen interest in horse breeding, one of his favorite animals being Rigolina, which won races at the Curragh. He also sold several horses which did well in English race courses.

Richard married three times and fathered 25 children. Two daughters and one son from his first marriage died in infancy. Four sons and one daughter served in the Great War. His first son James lost his life when the s.s. Eveleen was torpedoed in 1918 and went down with all hands. Five of his children, three sons-in-law and one daughter-in-law served during the Second World War.

Richard was a devoted Orangeman all of his life. One of his ancestors belonged to Dian L.O.L. No 1, the fist lodge in Ireland. Richard was first connected with Maquiresbridge True Blue L.O.L. 450. Later he organized M'Calmont's True Blue L.O.L 525 Belfast, where he was W.M. for 18 years. He also helped to organize St. Patrick's Church Total Abstinence L.O.L., Bally-macarret. On going to Canada he affiliated with Victoria L.O.L. 779, Hamilton, later transferring to John Knox Lodge Toronto.

Richard was also a prominent member of the Masonic Order. He wrote poetry in his spare time and was named Canadian Father of the year in 1947. He was 5' 9" tall and had brown eyes.

Richard died on 22 Aug 1959. He was interred at St. John's (Norway) Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His third wife, Annie Goudy, is buried next to him.