13512 County Road 2, Colborne

Roll No. 1411-011-020-198000 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Italianate Vernacular – Designated

This two story, brick veneer house is built in the Italianate style popular in the mid to late 19th century. Italianate architecture (1860 to 1890) is reminiscent of the architecture of the Tuscan country villas.

The modest houses of early settlers were replaced by large, often highly decorated houses to coincide with society’s growing affluence.

Cedarwood, built in 1876, is sited to provide a panoramic view of Lake Ontario, on the North side of the old Kingston–York road (Ontario Hwy2). The front facade of the first story has two symmetrical 2 over 2 pane 3 bay windows. There are 20 Italianate brackets decorating the eves.

There is photographic evidence of an arcade style porch, with hanging finials, on the East elevation of the house, but it was missing until it was restored in the early 1990s with
the help of a grant and support of the local LACAC Committee.

The main entrance of the house is on the East side through the above noted porch. A second entrance from the kitchen also leads out onto the porch. The kitchen entrance door consists of two gothic, glass top panels; two centre glass panels and two lower wood panels. The main entrance door has two small top wood panels; two larger bottom wood panels and a centre glass panel, it retains its original hardware and crank bell. The house retains its original sash and storm windows.

The back part of the house is covered by a board and batten tail section (not designated).

The roof has asphalt shingles and the original is suspected to have been either metal or wood shingles.

There is an original board and batten one and three quarter story carriage house/barn to the rear/east.

Cedarwood Farm, on the York- Kingston Highway, boasts a 160 year old apple tree, thought to be the oldest in Canada, still producing. This speaks to the genesis of the apple industry that defines Cramahe.

History or Associative Value

Henry Frient (1770-1850) was the first owner of the land where Cedarwood Farm stands today. The Crown granted all of Concession 2 to Frient in 1809 and from the 1797 census one can infer he was among the earliest settlers of Cramahe. Indications are this house was built in two stages with the board and batten rear portion the oldest (C.1842) It had a “keeping room” with a loft up a primitive staircase, and a narrow landing which led to a small bedroom above the kitchen. The brick front section came later (1876).

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information
13512 Highway 2, Colborne, Ontario
Cramahe Township, Concession 2, Lot 26
Cedarwood Farm

On 3 March 1809 the Crown officially granted all of Concession 2, Lot 26 to Henry Frint (1770-1850). His surname is sometimes seen as “Frent”, “Frient”, or “Freint”, and in fact it is “Frient” on his gravestone in the Salem Cemetery. But most references seem to agree on “Frint” as the spelling.

Information about Henry Frint is sparse. He appeared in the 1797 Cramahe census, so he may have been one of the original settlers who arrived with Joseph Keeler. Also in early censuses were Asa, John, and Martin Frint. Martin and John also appeared as early as 1797 and they may have been Henry’s brothers. However, the 1797 census stated that Henry Frint “has paid patent fees for himself and for his father John Frint”, so John was Henry’s father John Frint (1745-?). Asa first appeared in 1815 and may have been a son of Henry or Martin.

A document produced by the Cramahe Township Local Architectural Conservancy Advisory Committee for the Cramahe Bicentennial in 1992 states that Concession 2, Lot 26 “was awarded to Henry Frint on 1 May 1799 and the patent for proved land was issued on 3 March 1809”. He clearly was present on the property even before 1799, because he was listed as resident there in the 1797 census. In the same census his father was listed as residing on Concession 2, Lot 22, and (his brother?, his uncle?) Martin on Concession 2, Lot 21.
Henry Frint married Ellen Gould (1802-1876) sometime after 1822, when Henry was at least 52 years old and Ellen was at least 30. No reference has been seen regarding children. There is one genealogy that suggests that he had been married once before (ca. 1790), but it doesn’t list his first wife’s name and, again, makes no reference to children.

Henry Frint sold Lot 26 to John Mix (1784-?) on 9 January 1810. Two months later Mix sold Frint the 200 acres in Lot 23, Concession 2, which he had been granted by the Crown in 1807. So apparently this was a simple land swap. John Mix was the husband of Eunice Gaffield (1784-?), one of the daughters of Nathaniel Gaffield (1755-ca. 1838) . They married in 1799 and had seven children: Nathaniel (b. 1800), John (b. 1801), James (b. 1802), Stephen (b. 1807), Hannah (b. 1809), Charity (b. 1812), and an unnamed daughter (b. 1812). John Mix first appeared in Cramahe censuses in 1804, and the final census reference to him was in 1823. Intriguingly, one genealogy has been seen that suggests that he died in Iowa City, Iowa in 1840. If this is the same John Mix, he was a very early resident of Iowa City, which was founded only the year before, in 1839.

John Mix sold Lot 26, still undivided, to Joseph Abbott Keeler (1788-1855) on 9 February1824 , and it was Keeler who first began to subdivide the Lot. He sold 20.5 acres in the southwestern corner to his son-in-law Stephen Niles Casey (1822-1861) in 1851. On 19 March 1855 Joseph A. Keeler mortgaged the remaining 179.5 acres in Lot 26 with the Commercial Bank of Canada. Then some monetary shenanigans occurred, because the Commercial Bank sold the property to a merchant living in London, England named Robert Fisher (?-?) on 21 October 1858 and Fisher quickly (25 May 1859) deeded it back to the Commercial Bank. Note that Keeler’s mortgage was negotiated in the same year that he died. Unfortunately, his exact date of death is unclear, so this mortgage may have been made by him directly, or by his estate after he died.

The 179.5 acres was eventually purchased from the Commercial Bank of Canada by Thomas Howard Peterson (1822-1896) and James Fletcher Peterson (1832-1878) on 16 October 1862. Thomas and James were brothers, and both merchants. They ran a general store in Colborne. They arrived in Cramahe with their parents some time before the 1851 census. Thomas was married to Sarah Catherine Pettingill (1831-1906) and had three children: Angus Martin (b. 1851), Charles Wesley (b. 1853), and Susan Mary (b. 1857). James married Ann Hannah Thompson (1831-1870) in 1869 and Anne Jane Greer (1840-?) in 1871. No reference has been seen to children.

In a quit-claim grant in 13 August 1868, Thomas Peterson turned over his rights to the property to his brother. On 4 October 1871 James Peterson sold 36.25 acres in the southeastern part of Lot 26 to Arthur Elliott, and on 1 October 1872 he sold the northern 50 acres to Lorenzo McDonald. The remaining 93.25 acres (referred to as 96 acres in Land Office documentation) he sold to Sanford Poller Minaker (1845-1936) on 26 November 1874. The Minaker purchase included the property now occupied by Cedarwood Farm.

Sanford Minaker’s occupation is listed in Land Office records as “yeoman”, which usually means “farmer”. He doesn’t appear in any Cramahe census, but there is a birth record for his son, George Bidwell Minaker, born in Cramahe in 1878. It looks like Minaker was a Cramahe resident in the period after the 1871 census and before the 1881 census. Minaker married Sarah Emily Redner (1851-1924) in 1867 and had nine children: Etta Augusta (b. 1870), Samuel L. (b. 1872), David Albert (b. 1875), George Bidwell (b.1878), Ralph Ethridge (b. 1881), Sanford Austin (b. 1883), Charles Planette (b. 1885), Francis Redner (b. 1887), and John Russell (b. 1893). He died in Niagara, Ontario in 1936. Sanford’s brother Isaac purchased the Fannin House from George Sanderson in 1902 .

The next sale involved the 19 acres that pretty much corresponds to the modern lot on which the Cedarwood house now stands. Sanford Minaker sold this property to Mary Emily Johnston (1845-1945) on 5 May 1876. Mary Johnston was born Mary Emily Adeline Way in Prince Edward County and was the wife of Marshall Arthur Johnston (1842-1881). They married in 1866 and appear to have had four daughters: Alzina (b. ca. 1869), Grace (b. ca. 1871), Helena (b. ca. 1871), and Emma Rachel (b. 1873). Marshall Johnston was listed as a merchant in the 1871 census of Ameliasburgh, Prince Edward Co. and a gardener at the time of his death in 1881. He died of Consumption in Ameliasburgh. His wife and children were residents of Colborne at the time.

After Marshall Johnston’s death, his widow sold their property in Lot 26 (on 9 December1882) to Willett Dorland Insley (1839-1910). Mary had already moved to Brandon, Manitoba by that time. She would eventually die in 1945 in Vancouver at almost 100 years old.

Like the Johnstons, Willet Insley was from Prince Edward County. He appeared in Cramahe censuses first in 1881, although he purchased 34 acres in Lot 26, Concession 1 (across the road from the property of interest here) seven years earlier in 1874. In references for 1881 and 1882 his occupation was listed as carpenter or builder (also so listed in the 1871 Prince Edward County census). After 1882, all references listed him as a fruit grower. Insley’s wife was Mahalia Melissa Dailey (1842-1926), whom he married in 1860. They had seven children: Alan Lochlin (b. 1864), Nelson Stanley (b. 1870), Maude C. (b. 1875), Fred (b. 1876), Alberta Mae (b. 1880), Martin Peterson (b. 1883), and Herbert Finley (b. 1885).

There are no more Land Office records prior to the 1921 cut-off, so apparently Willet Insley continued to own the property until his death in 1910, and his wife retained it thereafter. She was to die in 1926.

Who built the house and who lived in it? Tradition gives us a construction date of 1876, but the 1992 Centennial document by the Cramahe Township Local Architectural Conservancy Advisory Committee says simply that “the brick part of the house is likely circa 1875”. Where did the more exact date come from? Is there accurate information available, or was this just an assumption based on the earlier “circa 1875” comment and another in the same document that Mary Johnston acquired the property in 1876? If the mid-1870’s date is correct, the current house might have been built by Marshall and Mary Johnston, or it might have been built by Sanford Minaker, who owned the property from 1874 to 1876 or by James Thompson, who owned for the 12 years before that. However, it is most likely that the Johnstons were the builders, because Mary bought the property for $400 in 1876 and sold it for $1500 in 1882.

The Centennial committee document also suggests that:

“Indications are that the rear portion of the present house, a board and batten structure, was the original house. It consists of one “keeping room” or possibly two, with a loft above accessible by a primitive stairway. A narrow landing leads to a small bedroom with a dormer window situated above the kitchen, an important feature of which is an original built-in cupboard.”

Assuming this is correct, when might this original part of the house have been built? The only house on Lot 26 that is referenced in the 1842 census (as analyzed in “Tenants in Time”) was a frame one, but there is no way of knowing for sure if this was the same house that we are discussing. Quite possibly it is. If so, it had to have been built prior to 1842. Henry Frint probably lived in Lot 26, but he sold it in 1810, and his house would probably have been made of logs. The same is true of John Mix. He sold Lot 26 in 1824 to Joseph Keeler.

It is interesting to note that if the house referenced in the 1842 census is now the back part of the Cedarwood house, this means that it was built at a time when the owner of the property didn’t live there. It therefore would have to have been built by a tenant, and we have no definitive record of who that was. Catherine Wilson (author of “Tenants in Time”) lists the the occupant of the property on which the Lot 26 house stood was Alexander McDonald, Jr., but she doesn’t list Joseph Keeler as his landlord. On the other hand, there is no record of Alexander McDonald owning land in Lot 26 in 1842 either, so perhaps the census was wrong in excluding Keeler’s name. “Alexander McDonald” is a rather common name, and there were several scattered through Cramahe history, but it is pretty certain that this “Alexander McDonald, Jr.” was Alexander H. McDonald (1823-1865), whose father was the original owner of Lot 26, Concession 1, immediately across the Kingston Road from the property of interest here.

Who else might have lived on the property? The Peterson brothers probably did not: they were storekeepers in town and both owned properties there. Sanford Minaker probably did live on the property. He owned no other property in Cramahe Twp. The same is true of the Johnstons. There is little question that Willet Insley lived there. In fact it looks like he bought a 34 acre piece of land south of the Kingston Road in 1874 with the intention of farming apples on it, but was unable to get started until the early 1880’s. Until then he had to make a living as a carpenter, his old profession. Once he acquired the wherewithal to start farming, he bought the house across the road to live in.


Colborne Art Gallery

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