Thomas Temple, born on November 4, 1818, in Bampton, Oxfordshire, England, was a multifaceted individual who made significant contributions as a farmer, lumberman, businessman, and political leader in Fredericton. Son to Charles Temple and Hannah Spiers, Temple received his education in England before migrating to New Brunswick in 1832.
Temple’s life was marked by a range of diverse experiences. He participated in the Aroostook War of 1838 as part of the York Light Dragoons and wed Susannah Howe from Southampton, New Brunswick, in 1842. From 1864 to 1883, he served as the high sheriff for York County.
Temple was a prominent figure in the region’s development, assuming the presidency of the Fredericton Railway Company in 1868. The company had been established two years earlier to expand the railway line from Fredericton to the Western Extension of the European and North American Railway. He held this position until at least 1897. Temple also contributed as the managing director of the Fredericton and St. Mary’s Railway Bridge Company (established in 1885) and served on the board of the People’s Bank of Fredericton and the Saint John Safety Fund Insurance Company.
In the realm of politics, Temple’s career began in earnest in 1884 when he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in a by-election following the demise of John Pickard. He secured re-election in the subsequent general elections of 1887 and 1891. As a member of the Conservative party, he served the York division in the House of Commons from 1884 until 1896. He then transitioned to the Senate of Canada, representing the same division from 1896 until his death in 1899.
Thomas Temple’s life in public service lasted over 15 years. One of his notable contributions to Fredericton was a fountain, now known as the Thomas Temple Fountain, which he gifted to the city shortly before his death. His final public act as a Senator was activating the water flow at the unveiling ceremony of the fountain in August 1899.