Ruthven Park is the former home of five generations of the Thompson family. Not the newspaper magnet or explorer, but an important family in their own right. With members of the military, actors, businessmen and politicians, the family contributed to the formative years of country and to the building of our nation up until the 1990’s. They were also active members of the Haldimand community.
David Thompson moved to the area from Wainfleet in the 1830’s. His interest in moving here was two-fold. First, he wanted to invest in the Grand River Navigation Company with funds he earned while being a contractor on the building of the first Welland Canal in the 1820’s. Secondly, he was interested in business. As a result of his move, David was instrumental in the laying out of the former 1200 acre town ofIndiana. He eventually owned two sawmills, as well as a gristmill, carding mill, cooperage and several stores. Overall, Indiana supported over 30 industries and was the largest industrial town in Haldimand County in the mid nineteenth century.
David was elected to the legislative assembly after the union of Upper and Lower Canada in 1841, and served as a reformer until his death in 1851.