Prins Residence – 1151 Ontario Street, Colborne

(early 1900s)
Roll No. 1411-012-020-36600 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Victorian Cottage

No. 1151 Ontario Street in the village of Colborne is an interesting property. In the mid 1800s, one of the three railway stations in Colborne was located just to the rear of this property, which today sits on an unpaved road at the western edge of the village.

If you mentally strip off the porches and other more modern additions, the building bears a slight resemblance to the Registry office in the village (see 51 King Street East). Could it have been a commercial building related to the railway? Or perhaps it is just a charming little 140 year old brick residence on a large treed property.

The current owners have added a number of outbuildings that are both functional and decoratively pleasing. (there is an artist in the family). The large building shown above was built in 2012/13 and it houses a number of functions, but despite the fact that it is a brand new build, it fits in with the other similarly designed and finished “bunkies” elsewhere on the property.

History or Associative Value

The most interesting thing about this property is that the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway Co. acquired properties in this area in 1910. The tracks ran diagonally northwest to southeast pretty much across the intersection of King Street West and Ontario Street. The station was south of 34 King St. and east of Ontario Street. Was this one of the railway buildings? Or perhaps the Station Master’s residence? Within 7 years, the CNOR was a financial failure and the government combined it with the Grand Trunk & CN.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

1151 Ontario Street, Colborne, Ontario Cramahe Township, Concession 1, Lot 32

Interestingly, from 1855 through 1921, this property was owned solely by women.

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.

Both Festus and Norman Bennett were farmers. Festus was married to Labina (surname unknown, ca. 1795-?) and had five children: Louisa (ca. 1813-?), Norman, Emily (ca. 1822-1898), Mary (ca. 1828-?), and Ann (ca. 1831-1857). Norman didn’t marry until he was about 42 years old. He married Margaret Payne (ca. 1840-1917), a woman 21 years his junior, in 1861. No records of children have been found.

When Norman Bennett died of heart disease in 1872, his properties in Concession 1, Lot 32 went to his sister Emily. Emily sold the piece of this property in the northwestern corner of Lot 32 to Allan Monroe Vandusen (1834-1920), a farmer, on 14 April 1893. This is the property on which 1151 Ontario Street now stands. Vandusen had married his second wife Mary Louise Thomas (1848-?) in Belleville in 1890. She was the daughter of John Thomas (ca. 1805-?) and Louisa Bennett, and so was Emily Bennett’s niece. Vandusen had three children by his first marriage, but none by his second.

The Vandusens sold their property to Ira B. Edwards (1879-?) on 4 June 1904. Edwards was a cooper, married to Maud Lavinia Martin (1879-?). They had one child: James Ira Martin Edwards (ca. 1917-1919). Edwards sold the property to the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway on 27 May 1910. The Colborne station for this now defunct railway was immediately north of the property of interest here. The CNOR owned the land until after 1921.

There is no reason whatsoever to think that Festus, Norman, or Emily Bennett lived on the property.

In fact it is fairly certain that Emily lived in the house now called 11 King Street West. Emily sold the property on which 1151 Ontario Street now stands to Allan Vandusen for $250 in 1893 and he sold it to Ira Edwards for $1375 in 1904. Edwards sold it to the CNOR in 1910 for $2000. The jump in price from 1893 to 1904 might indicate an improvement (house?). However, the 1893 transactions was between relatives, so the purchase price might have been deflated. If this is the case, the house might be older than 1893. If it is older than 1893, it was not built for the owner of the property to live in.

There is some speculation that the house was originally a railway station building. Although it certainly belonged to the railway after 1910, it is doubtful it was built for that purpose. The post-1900 prices seem too high for unimproved land.

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