Rickard Family of Ceresmore Farms

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Ceresmore Farms is a site on this year’s tour! Want to know some of the family history before visiting?

James Rickard from Devon, England married Loveday Sleeman in 1803. They had two sons. The second son was John Rickard. John married Maria Parsons in 1836. In 1847, John and Maria and their four children: Maria, John, William, and Thomas crossed the Atlantic from Plymouth to Quebec, from there they took a lake steamer up the St. Lawrence and through the various canal systems until they arrived at Port Darlington, in the Township of Darlington, District of Newcastle, Canada West! There they lived in a log cabin across the road from our present day homestead on Highway 2. There, shortly after arriving to this destination, James Garnet Rickard was born on September 6, 1847. Soon after, two more sons, George and Samuel were born. John was a farm laborer and worked for the Lovekin family at Kilcolman (the Lovekin family are considered to be one of, if not the earliest settler family in Clarke Township, having come in the early summer of 1796 from Ireland). The Rickard family moved to Concession 2, Lots 33 and 34, where John is listed as a farmer and householder in the 1857 assessment roll. By 1861, John Rickard had purchased the farm in Lot 1, Broken Front and Con 1 Darlington (across from present day Algoma Orchard). In 1866, John bought a second farm, which is Lot 2 Concession 1 and where the centre of Ceresmore Farms is today.

Eventually, their son, James Rickard, and his wife, lived at this location and called the farm “Meadowlark”. The rest of the Rickard children came to own and work the land from what is now Bragg Road to what is now east of Rudell Road. James Rickard married Elizabeth Symons of Port Hope in 1874. Their six surviving children were Ada, Walter James Stanley, Mabel, Florence, Howard, and Roy. Walter Rickard married Gertrude Pearce from Newcastle, in 1910, and they resided and farmed at Meadowlark They had five children: Stanley, Marion, Garnet Baker, Helen, and Brenton.

Garnet Rickard married Annabelle Hendry from the lakeshore in Newcastle. They had three boys, James Garnet Rickard and Donald Hendry Rickard and Walter Rickard, who died of encephalitis in 1967. During Garnet’s farming career, the name of the farm was changed to Ceresmore because the name Meadowlark was already in use for the Registered Shorthorn records. Ceres is the Greek goddess of agriculture and the root name for the word “cereals”, which is apt for the basis for the farm name because the farm has been involved in growing certified seed for many years. Garnet started a local seed cleaning plant in the east end of the barn in 1939. He built the current seed cleaning plant building in 1948. He also partnered with Cyanamid to open the Ceresdale fertilizer plant in Newcastle in 1966.

Garnet was active in politics and became the first Mayor of the Town of Newcastle in 1974 when Durham Region was formed. Garnet was a recipient of The Order of Canada for his leadership in agriculture, his involvement in local politics, and his dedication to his community.

Jim (James) and Don have farmed together since graduating from the University of Guelph in 1966 and 1968 respectively. The operated two beef feedlots, a cow-calf barn, two finishing barns for hogs. They increased the apple orchard acreage and grew contract crops for Stokely Van Camp’s. They ran the seed cleaning plant and still grow certified seed crops.

Today, the farming operation has been streamlined in that there is no more livestock, no canning crops and no orchard. The focus is on corn and seed crops of winter wheat, soybeans and white beans. Ceresmore owns 600 acres, including the original land purchased by their ancestors, and rents another 700 acres of land. Both Jim and Don have been, and still are, very active at an executive level in many local, provincial and nation-wide organizations.
Jim Rickard has two sons, Bradley James Rickard and Craig Worden Rickard, who
reside in the USA.

Don Rickard married Gail Williams of Mississauga and their son Alan Donald Rickard lives in Guelph, Ontario, and their daughter, Karen Elizabeth Rickard resides in Colorado.

Although Jim and Don’s children all worked on the farm in their high school years, none are currently involved in the family farm.


To follow the lineage of the generations farming in Durham from 1847 to the current
year, 2019:
1. John & Maria Rickard
2. James & Elizabeth Rickard
3. Walter & Gertrude Rickard
4. Garnet & Annabelle Rickard
5.1 James Rickard
5.2 Donald Rickard


If you want to learn more or come experience the house and farm for yourself, come out to 3061 Highway 2 on June 8th!