John Cawthra (1789–1851) was a merchant, distiller and political figure in Upper Canada. He represented Simcoe from 1828 to 1830 in the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada as a Reformer and was the first Member of Parliament for Simcoe in the Parliament of the Province of Canada.
He was born in England somewhere near Guiseley, the son of Joseph Cawthra and Mary Turnpenny, and came to Toronto with his father while still young. He served in the militia during the War of 1812 in this war he helped to save the life of Lieutenant Archibald MacLean. After the battle he was offered reward money for the capture of Detroit however he did not take it. Cawthra settled in Newmarket about 1822. Cawthra died in Newmarket.
A heritage marker in Newmarket marks the site of his trading post, later replaced by Cawthra House, his residence, a general store and the town's first bank.
- Johnson, JK (1989). Becoming Prominent: Regional Leadership in Upper Canada, 1791-1841. p. 181. ISBN 0-7735-0641-1. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- "Joseph Cawthra". The Canadian biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self-made men. 1880. p. 205. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- "Heritage sidewalk markers, Town of Newmarket". Town of Newmarket. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- Gemmill, JA (1883). The Canadian parliamentary companion, 1883. p. 143. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
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