Thomas Cottle had two children, Thomas John and Grace Bell. When he died in 1828 the Round Hill estate was inherited by Thomas John, then 20 years old.
On Emancipation six years later an apprenticeship system tied the freed slaves to the estates for a further four to seven years but in time many of the labourers moved to build their own villages. Sugar production suffered as plantations deteriorated. In 1843 the island suffered a strong earthquake.
His father being a prominent citizen of Nevis and at various times its president Thomas John would have been acquainted with the naval families based in Antigua, the East Caribbean Station. It was from here that Nelson as a young officer had tried to prevent American traders from smuggling sugar and rum out of Nevis.
Among the naval officers living in Antigua were the families of Admiral Henry Vansittart and Captain Philip Graham who owned a house in Nevis. By the 1830s both men as half-pay officers had acquired land in the small settlement of Woodstock of less than 900 inhabitants some miles south west of Toronto in what was then Upper Canada.
Thomas John had been educated in England but had returned to Nevis after his father died. His sister Grace Bell lived in England. But he and his mother left Nevis for Canada in 1843 where he bought the property in Woodstock originally set aside for Admiral Vansittart and married a daughter, Laetitia, of Captain Graham in 1847. He named his property Round Hill after the family estate in Nevis. In its substantial grounds of lawns, flowerbeds and shrubberies Thomas John who had become the first president of the Horticultural Society held its opening show in July 1852.
By this time Thomas John had been first a magistrate then councillor and later director of a road building company as well as owning a flax mill. Several streets in Woodstock are named after four of his children, Edward, Mary, Grace and George. In 1860 as mayor of the town he hosted a reception for the visit of Edward Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.
Back in Nevis the Cottle Church had become known as “Mrs Cottle's Chapel”. She, the mother of Thomas John, died in Woodstock in 1862. Thomas John himself died there in 1871 and both are buried in Old St Paul's Cemetery. His descendants live in Toronto.(Source: George Calder, Woodstock historian)
“A lovely setting"
“Beautiful, peaceful location - quite emotional”
“Quiet and contemplative”
“First integrated church in the caribbean”
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More about The Cottle Church:
Key figures in the Church's history
Visiting the Church
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