11 King Street West, Colborne

(late 1800’s)
Roll No. 1411-012-020-33800 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Italianate Vernacular

Before becoming Colborne’s funeral home in the 20th century, No. 11 King Street West was a classic Italianate Victorian probably built in the late 19th century.

The building sits in the very centre of the village of Colborne, across from the Municipal Hall, the Library and Victoria Square, the central park in the village.

No. 11 King Street West is a two story red brick with tall, narrow round head sash windows, a hip roof and rubble basement. It has decorative double brackets under the eaves. The front door is offset which creates a large foyer, staircase on one side and parlour on the other. One often finds a two story bay window in these Italianates (see No. 5 North Street, 57 King Street East, No. 16 North Street) but the fact that this house had a flat facade allowed a very large verandah with Doric columns to be built, giving the house a very different feel from the more fanciful Italianates with their scrolled porches and gingerbread trim.

No. 11 King Street West is bigger than many of its fellow Victorians as it is a rectangular footprint with a full two story brick rear portion instead of the usual “tail” which can be one or one and a half story. The interior spaces of these venerable old buildings were designed for the very large families of the mid 1800s, and the generous sized rooms, high ceilings and (often) decorative interiors are in keeping with the era.

There is a one story brick addition on the East side, serving the space needs of the funeral home and forever altering the appearance of the property.

There is also a modern two story addition on the rear of the building covered in horizontal siding. There is a terrace two stories up, on the rear of the property.

History or Associative Value

10/12/1855 Norman Bennett sold property on the South side of King St. W. which today encompasses six houses (#11 to #23), to his sisters Emily, Mary and Ann Bennett. In 1894, the property at #11 was sold by Emily Bennett to Joseph Cochrane (1852-1918) who was married to Ella Padginton, sister of one of Colborne’s most celebrated citizens. After her sister and brother in law died, Miss Eliza Padginton lived in this house until her death in 1961 at the age of 99 after 70 years serving as Colborne’s beloved Postmistress.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information
11 King Street West, Colborne, Ontario
Cramahe Township, Concession 1, Lot 32

John Ogden (1762-?) (LINK) was the first owner of the 200 acres that make up Concession 1, Lot 32, the Lot lying south of what is now King Street West. These 200 acres are now bounded by Ontario Street on the west, Division Street on the east, King Street on the north, and the western part of the Ogden Point Quarry on south. Ogden was granted this property by the Crown on 11 March 1809.

The next Land Office record for the south side of King Street West was the sale on 17 January 1821 of the northern 90 acres of Concession 1, Lot 32 by Jane Hodges, George G. Kent, and Hannah Kent (LINK) to Festus Bennett (?-ca. 1851) (LINK). Unfortunately, the transfer of the land from Ogden to Hodges et al. was not recorded.

Festus Bennett sold off only a little of his land during his lifetime. When he died sometime around 1851, most of it was inherited by his son Norman (ca. 1819-1872). This included all of the land in Concession 1, Lot 32 from King Street West south to about where the Grand Trunk railway tracks were soon to be laid, except for two properties in the northeastern corner previously sold by his father.

On 12 October 1855, Norman Bennett provided each of his sisters, Emily (ca. 1826-1898), Mary (ca. 1828-?), and Ann (ca. 1831-1857), with an acre of land in three contiguous blocks along the south side of King Street. 11 King Street West lies on the property that went to Emily.

Emily Bennett sold the eastern half of the property she had received from her brother in 1855 to Joseph Cochrane (1852-1918) on 1 March 1894. Cochrane was born and raised in Cramahe Township and married Ella E. Padgington (1865-1919) in 1895. Ella was long-time Colborne postmistress Eliza Padgington’s younger sister. Joseph and Ella apparently had no children.

As a young man Joseph Cochane worked as a farmer, but by the mid 1880’s he was running a grocery store called J. and J. Cochrane, Grocers. The other J. Cochrane was probably his cousin James (1852-1922). By 1889 Joseph was working as Postmaster of Colborne and Canadian Pacific Railway telegrapher. He held the post of Postmaster until his death (of cirrhosis of the liver) in 1918.

No record of Cochrane ever selling the property at 11 King Street has been found, so presumably he lived there for the rest of his life. Also presumably, it was inherited by his wife after he died. She herself died in 1919.

It’s an interesting addition to the Eliza Padgington story that the Postmaster she worked with for so many years, and whom she replaced as Postmaster after he died, was also her brother-in-law. In fact, she started working for him the same year he married her sister.

Of the two houses on Emily Bennett’s original property, the one at 11 King Street West appears to be older, so it was the one occupied by Emily herself, although in the 1881 census she was listed as living with her sister Louisa Thomas in Belleville. No doubt Joseph and Ella Cochrane also lived there after Emily sold it to them.


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