13976 Highway 2, Colborne

(mid to late 1800s)
Roll No. 1411-011-020-12000 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Gothic Revival Cottage

This house on Highway No. 2 near Peacock Lane between Colborne and Brighton Ontario, in Cramahe Township is a fine example of the Gothic Revival Cottage (often called the Ontario Cottage).

It is unusual for these cottages to have a side wing, which is a design feature found frequently in the adjacent Prince Edward County. We don’t know why the “County” builders chose the side wing to house a kitchen and often a wood shed, but that decision gave rise to a number of quirky architectural features such as the angled second story windows found throughout Prince Edward County. This property has both a side and rear “tail” – the latter was the preferred solution for the utilitarian functions in Northumberland.

The red brick found throughout Northumberland County, the buff coloured corner quoins and round brick arches over the windows give the house a distinct look. The Palladian window in a steep gable with its tall finial, the beautiful full length windows with their multiple panes, and the multi pane glass transom and sidelights all combine to make this a very appealing century property.

The house sits high up on a hill overlooking Lake Ontario which is the perfect setting for so substantial a house.

History or Associative Value

A parade of farmers owned this property from the mid 1800s, although the co-proprietor of the Brunswick Hotel in Colborne, Spence Ventress, was owner in 1863. The property bounced around the family until Joseph Clayton Peacock acquired a portion of it in 1913. (the property is a stone’s throw from current day’s Peacock Lane). It is a fact that sales prices can point to a build date, and in this case, though they may be skewed by in-family transfers, the likely build date is before 1862 and the architecture supports that theory.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

13976 Highway 2, Colborne, Ontario Cramahe Township, Concession 2, Lot 20

The southeastern quarter of Concession 2, Lot 20 was granted by the crown to Yorkshireman Thomas Ventress (1795-1880) on 21 June 1851, though he had been a resident of Cramahe Township, perhaps on this property (?), since some time before 1839. At the time he was married to Millicent McGlennan (1812-1871), but had previously been married to Ann Spence (1802-1849). Thomas and Ann had eight children: Mark Thomas (1831-1916), Benjamin (1834-?), Spence (1835-1838), Charlotte Ida (1839-1891), another Spence (1839-1899), Thomas (1845-1929), Elizabeth (1850-?), and William D. (1859-?).

On 10 June 1863 Thomas Ventress transferred the property to his son Spence. Spence married Anne McDonald (1847-1880) later in 1863. They had five children: Ida (1865-1895), Maud Charlotte (1867-?), Charles Wallace (1870-1956), Minnie (1872-1887), and Anne (1876-1887).

On 23 November 1882 Spence Ventress sold the property to Thomas Ventress. Since Spence’s father Thomas was dead by then, this was his brother Thomas. He was married to Melissa Ann Stimers (1851-1938) and had a son Frank (1882-1953). On 29 November 1883 Thomas sold the property back to Spence.

On 23 May 1900 the property went to Spence’s daughter Maud Charlotte Ventress. She would marry Frederick Charles Blackstock Greer (1864-1927) in 1901.

Maude Greer sold the southwestern part of Lot 20 on 28 June 1913 to Joseph Clayton Peacock (1885-?). Peacock was married to Lottie Arthur (1887-?). Lottie’s step-sister Maude Amelia Fraser (1881-1942) was married to Frank Ventress, son of Spence’s brother Thomas.

On 21 November 1917 Clayton Peacock transferred ownership to his brother James Willoughby Peacock (1883-?). This second Peacock was married to Lottie Arthur’s sister Laura Evelyn Allen (1889-?).

All of the owners of this property were farmers, although Spence Ventress was for a time also the co- proprietor of the Brunswick Hotel in Colborne.

Sale prices among relatives are often of questionable use in determining property improvement because they are often greatly under-priced and occasionally over-priced (if, for instance, the transaction is being used as a mechanism for shifting money from one family member to another). That being said, the land prices in this case suggest that the house was probably built by Thomas Ventress before 1882. Thomas Ventress Sr. sold the property to Spencer Ventress in 1863 for £150 (equivalent of $600) and Spence sold it to his brother Thomas Ventress in 1882 to $3400.

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