11 Victoria Street, Colborne

(mid 1880s)
Roll No. 1411-012-020-16300 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Folk Victorian Vernacular

In the 19th century, No. 11 Victoria Street used to be a commercial building, a creamery for the village of Colborne, where milk, cream and butter were processed from the local farms, much as a grist mill processes wheat into flour. This indicates that what is now a fully residential area once had commercial roots.

Although this large house has upper and lower porches and a “tail”, the base building is essentially the Folk Victorian style. That is, the front facade is a gable-end and there is an “L” wing to one side; The “Folks” are often wooden clapboard as is this one or board and batten. No. 11 has no gingerbread or other Victoriana which does not in the least reduce its impact; the windows were probably two over two pane originally but they have now been replaced. Often the Folk Victorians have decorative window hood molds but in this case the windows are tall and narrow with decorative shutters. The window shape and the vertical footprint of the building are reminiscent of the Italianate. The front door is offset to one side in the “L” giving access into what was probably the kitchen before the present kitchen “tail” was added. This left the family parlour more private. This Folk Victorian does not have the three window bay at ground level in the gable- end, which is another of the common Folk Victorian features.

No. 11 Victoria is a very impressive anchor at the corner of Victoria and Simmons Streets, with its hip roof and two story porches.

The “tail” is quite large and a small courtyard leads to a double garage. Extensive foundation plantings, the siting and the pleasing appearance of the house all give No. 11 great presence.

History or Associative Value

James Scougale (senior) 1824-1890 first acquired this property from Joseph Keeler III in 1880. A blacksmith from Scotland, the father and sons became prominent dry goods purveyors in Colborne. In 1891, his widow, Mary, sold the property to the township to construct Simmons Street, not yet in existence. The Brydges, Ramsays, Walkers and Coyles were all owners over the decades and the house was probably built between 1891-1898 by Charles Brydges. Those who grew up in Colborne remember it being a creamery business.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

11 Victoria Street, Colborne, Ontario Reed Plan 222

When Cramahe Township was first surveyed in the 1790’s a seventh of its land was set aside for crown reserves and another seventh was set aside for clergy reserves. These reserves were rented to tenant farmers. The revenues from the crown reserves went to the government. The revenues from the clergy reserves originally went only to the Church of England (Anglican), but after 1824 the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) was granted a share, and by the 1840s all of the major protestant denominations were included (except the Baptists, who refused to participate). The clergy reserve system came to an end in 1854, when all revenues reverted to the government.

Lot 31, Concession 1, Cramahe Township, was one of the clergy reserves. Although roads didn’t exist when the lot was surveyed, it consisted of the 200 acres now bounded by on the north by King Street, on the west by Division Street, and on the east by Elgin Street. The southern boundary is now in the middle of the Ogden Point quarry. This clergy reserve included much what was to become the southern part of modern-day Colborne.

Although the Clergy reserve system wasn’t to end until 1854, the northwestern part of Lot 31 was granted by the Crown to Joseph Abbott Keeler (1788-1855) on 12 April 1842. The remainder of the northern part was retained as Glebe land associated with the Anglican Church in Colborne.

On 23 September 1854 Joseph A. Keeler transferred his 135 acres in Lot 31 to his son Joseph Keeler III (1824-1881).

Over the years Joseph Keeler III sold off his holdings in Lot 31, Concession 1. It wasn’t until 12 February 1880, the year before he died, that he sold Reid Lot 222 to James Scougale (ca. 1824-1890).

Scougale was a carriage maker who emigrated from Scotland. He married Mary Ann Robson (1828-1906) and had five children: Adam (1859-1922), John R. (1861-1932), Isabella V. (1863-?), James Andrew (1866-1927), and Andrew George (1868-1944). When James died in 1890 of “heart failure and paralysis of the brain”, the property was inherited by his widow.

On 21 November 1891 Mary Scougale sold Lot 222 to the Corporation of the Village of Colborne for the purpose of constructing Simmons Street, which had not existed until that time. On 28 March 1896 the village sold the part of Lot 222 that had not been used for the construction of the Street to Charles F. Brydges (ca. 1860-1898). Brydges was a Cramahe native. His wife was Emma Spencer (ca. 1867-?) and the 1891 census lists three children: Clarence Henry (1885-?), Alice Maud (1887-1894), and Charles Frederick (1891-?). Brydges was a farm labourer in 1881 and a farmer in 1891. At the time of his death from pneumonia in Colborne in 1898, he was again described as a labourer.

Lot 222 was inherited by Emma Brydges on 23 March 1898. The next recorded land transaction occurred on 3 January 1899, when Eva Marie Webb (née Kennedy, ca. 1868-?) and her husband Frank Leslie Webb (1864-1937) also granted the property to Emma Brydges. The Brydges’ had taken out a mortgage with the Webbs in 1896, so apparently there was some confusion about who owned the property following Charles Brydges’ death. This was rectified in 1899 when it was established that Emma Brydges was the owner.

Emma Brydges sold the property on 3 October 1901 to Emma Ramsay (née Sadd, 1866-?), wife of Colborne tailor Charles Walter Mason Ramsay (1863-?). The Ramsays were married in Toronto in 1891 and had four children: Isabel (1866-?), Florence (1896-?), Ermatrude (1902-?), and Jean (1904-?). They appear in Cramahe censuses only in 1901.

The Ramsays owned Reid Lot 222 for only a month, selling it on 8 November 1901 to George Emerson Walker (1837-1935), farmer. Walker had been married previously, to Rebecca Greenway (1845-1881), but when he purchased Reid lot 222 he was married to Emma Jane McDonald (1858-1908, married 1881). They had three children: Mary Emma (1883-1986), Ethel Louisa (1885-?), and Hermenia B. (?-?); Walker had had four children with his first wife as well. Walker may have retired to Colborne when he purchased Lot 222: When he purchased it his occupation was “farmer” but when he sold it in 1910 his profession was “retired farmer”. Walker would marry once more, to Hannah Margaret Morrow, in 1915. He died of chronic myocarditis in Colborne in 1937.

George Walker’s wife died of bowel cancer in 1908 and he sold Reid Lot 222 to Maud E. Coyle (1878-?) on 4 April 1910. Maud Coyle was born Maud E. Vandervoort and was married David William Coyle (1877-?) to the youngest of the six sons of Robert Coyle (1845-ca. 1906), all of whom were apple merchants. David and Maud Coyle were married in Hastings County in 1894, and had three children: Pearl Lily (1896-1944), William David (1898-1983), and Marie (ca. 1915-?).

Maud Coyle sold Reid Lot 222 to Donald Conacher Matthews (1859-1930) on 15 March 1919. Like Maud’s husband, Matthews was a fruit exporter. His wife was Catherine Pomeroy (1859-1936, married 1879). They had eleven children: Charles (1880-?), Frederick Giles (1882-1965), Theresa (1884-1917), Roy (1886-1960), Clara (1888-?), Claude (1889-1971), Arnold (1891-1899), James Isaac (1891-?), Margaret (1895-1896), Walter Lorne (1897-?), and Lorne (1907-?). Though still a resident of Colborne, Matthews died of myocarditis in Toronto in 1930. Before this, however (26 April 1921), he had transferred Lot 222 to his son Roy and Roy’s wife Mildred May Harnden (1888-1929). Roy and Mildred were married in 1910 and had six children: Clifford Bruce (1910-1987), Dorothy C. (1913-1982), Doris E. (1913-1967), N. James (1916-2002), and two others. In 1911 Roy’s occupation was listed as “odd jobs”. In 1921 he was a manufacturer. In his attestation papers when he signed up for the CEF during World War I, he was listed as a farmer. He served as a private in France.

James Scougale purchased Reid Lot 222 in 1880 for $100. The Corporation of Colborne paid $195 in 1891. Charles Brydges paid $175 in 1896. In 1901 Emma Ramsay paid $800 and a month later George Walker paid $900. Walker sold the Lot in 1910 to Maud Coyle for $1600. By 1919 Donald Matthews paid $2400. This suggests significant improvements to the property during the ownerships of Charles Brydges and of George Walker. Either one could represent the construction of a house. It is significant, however that both Charles Brydges and George Walker’s wife Emma were listed as residents of Victoria Street when they died in 1898 and 1908, respectively. Neither the Brydges nor the Walkers owned any other property on Victoria Street, so it is reasonable to conclude that each of them probably lived on Lot 222 at the time of their death. So unless there was another house on the Lot that predates the one standing there now, the current house has to predate 1898 and was probably built by Charles Brydges between 1891 and 1898. Emma Ramsay only owned the property for a month, so she probably didn’t live there. It is impossible to determine with the information at hand whether Maud Coyle, Donald Matthews, or Roy Matthews lived there. Each owned other properties in Colborne.

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