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 Robert Baldwin
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Photo added by Anne Philbrick

Robert Baldwin

  • Birth 12 May 1804 York, Haldimand County, Ontario, Canada
  • Death 9 Dec 1858 Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
  • Cenotaph Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
  • Plot Lot 18-A Hill
  • Memorial ID 84039368

Canadian Statesman. Premier of Canada West. The son of William Warren Baldwin, he pursued a career in the law and was admitted to the bar in 1825. That same year he fell in love with his first cousin Augusta Elizabeth Sullivan. The families discouraged the match initially, but on May 31, 1827 they were married. They had four children. Baldwin became involved in politics in 1828, and in 1829 had his first election victory. He dropped from the political scene in 1830. Not only did he dislike politics, he was kept busy with the demands of his law practice and family life, including a frail spouse. The 1834 birth of their fourth child Robert by surgical means furthered weakened his wife. Her death on January 11, 1836 at age 25 devastated Baldwin. She was interred in the family cemetery at Spadina, the family homestead. After his wife's death, Baldwin reluctantly returned to politics. As a gentleman, he considered public service a duty. After the union of the two Canadas in 1841, he became a member of its executive council, but soon resigned. Baldwin formed a Reform party administration with Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, and became Premier of Canada West. They served together from 1842 to 1843, and again from 1848 to 1851. Baldwin established the University of Toronto. He retired from political life and his law practice in the early 1850's. He spent all his time at Spadina where he died and was buried in 1858; there is also a cenotaph for him at Saint James Cemetery in Toronto. His last years had left him even more obsessed with his deceased wife, and he left explicit instructions to his family as to the manner in which he was to be buried with her. This included his wish to have an abdominal incision that would match that which his wife had received at the time of their last child's birth. Eight years later, in 1866, his older son sold Spadina because he had come into financial difficulties. (This was after the January 1866 death of his sister Phoebe Maria, who had remained a spinster at Spadina at their father Robert's insistence, despite at least two offers of marriage.) The estate was purchased by businessman James Austin and remained in the Austin family for several generations. The house that James Austin built on the estate in 1866 is now a museum.

Bio by: Anne Philbrick


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Anne Philbrick
  • Added: 26 Jan 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 84039368
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Baldwin (12 May 1804–9 Dec 1858), Find A Grave Memorial no. 84039368, citing Saint James Cemetery, Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada ; Maintained by Find A Grave .