Thomas Claxton

Thomas Claxton. Publisher, instrumentalist, bandmaster, b Norfolk, England, 15 Mar 1837, d Toronto 19 Jan 1923. He came to Kingston, Canada West (Ontario), in 1850 and joined the Queen's Own Rifles Band, Toronto, in 1863 as a player and temporary bandmaster.

Claxton, Thomas

Thomas Claxton. Publisher, instrumentalist, bandmaster, b Norfolk, England, 15 Mar 1837, d Toronto 19 Jan 1923. He came to Kingston, Canada West (Ontario), in 1850 and joined the Queen's Own Rifles Band, Toronto, in 1863 as a player and temporary bandmaster. A few years later he apprenticed as an organ tuner and instrument repairman with R.S. Williams, and in 1869 he began to import band and orchestral instruments. He established a store on Yonge St, had added a sheet music and mail order business by 1882, and later claimed to have been the first in Toronto to sell Edison phonographs and Berliner talking machines. After his retirement (ca 1911) the store was operated under a different management until about 1931. Claxton also established (ca 1885) Claxton's Celebrated Orchestra, a group of 30 to 35 theatre musicians (highly regarded by H.L. Clarke who played in it 1887-8) and Claxton's Military Band. He was the first president of the Toronto Musical Protective Association. Music publications issued by Claxton consist mostly of dances, marches, and songs, dating from the period 1879-87. Some 30 are known; they include The Regimental March of the Queen's Own Rifles, Charles Bohner'sClaxton's Grand March, pieces by J.F. Davis, Edwin Gledhill, and G.W. Strathy, and several works by non-Canadians.


Further Reading

  • 'Trade notes,' MJ, vol 2, Jul-Aug 1888

    'Pioneer merchant dies at ripe age,' Toronto Globe, 20 Jan 1923

    'Thomas Claxton deceased,' CMTJ, vol 23, Feb 1923