David Thompson (1793 – 1851) was one of the first industrialists along the Grand River. He served as an officer in the militia during the War of 1812 and was a contractor during the construction of the first Welland Canal.
He moved into the Haldimand area in the 1830’s to invest in the Grand River Navigation Company with William Hamilton Merritt, an enterprise which transformed the Grand River into a navigable waterway for commercial activity between Brantford and Lake Erie.
David was instrumental in the laying out of the former 1200 acre town of Indiana. 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 cleared land and built his home on what is now the Ruthven Estate, a National Historic Site of Canada.
The first in a long line of political figures in Canada, David represented Haldimand as a Reformer in the Legislative Assembly from 1841 to 1851 after the Union of Upper and Lower Canada .