Thomas Cowherd

(March 20, 1817 – April 4, 1907 / England)

Biography of Thomas Cowherd

Thomas C. Cowherd (March 20, 1817 – April 4, 1907) was a tinsmith and poet.
Cowherd was born in Kendal, Westmorland, England. He apprenticed as a tinsmith from age 13 to 20 in England. His family immigrated to Canada in 1837. Cowherd eventually settled on Colborne Street in Brantford, Ontario.

He was President of the Brantford Branch Bible Society, President of the Brantford Mechanic's Institute and Literary Association, a school trustee, and was elected as a town councillor in 1869.He was a prolific poet and song writer. Much of his poetry appeared in newspapers. A collection, The Emigrant Mechanic and Other Tales in Verse", was published in 1884.

His first marriage, to Ann Batty, produced five children. After her death, his second marriage, to Ann's sister Ellen, produced eleven more children.
The Cowherd family were friends and associates of Alexander Graham Bell. Bell used the tinsmithing services of the Cowherds to help produce prototypes for the telephone, and to open the world's first telephone factory. He also called on them to string wire and to assist in demonstrations. Thomas spent many hours speaking with Alexander on the telephone between the Cowherd home in Brantford and the Bell Homestead.

He died in Chatham, Ontario.

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Farewell To My Harp

Farewell my rude Harp and my still ruder Lyre!
For season your tones may not fall on my ear;
At the bench will hard labor repress rhyming fire,
And Fact over Fancy triumphant appear.

Yet I will remember the exquisite pleasure
For full thirty years freely rendered by you;
How oft in that time you have proved a rich treasure-
Still constant abiding and evermore true.

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