15 Creek Street, Colborne

(1900)
Roll No. 1411-012-020-23500 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Folk Victorian

No. 15 Creek Street sits on the North side of the street, across from the properties backing onto Colborne creek. At the other end of the street is the popular ballpark.

There are a number of these buildings in Cramahe Township, this is the only one on Creek Street.

No. 15 is what is known as a Folk Victorian. This style which was prevalent from 1870 to 1910 began as an orderly, less elaborate version of the classic Victorian.

Initially these Folk Victorians were found in remote/rural areas, made of local materials with or without adornment. Later they became very popular and today can be found in rural areas and cities in every neighbourhood.

The floor plan is straight forward with a parlour in front, kitchen in back, and bedrooms upstairs.

The classic Folk Victorian has a tall, square symmetrical shape with a front gable and a side wing which gives it an “L” shape. It has a cross gable roof and a front porch with spindles and gingerbread and sometimes flat jigsaw trim.

Some “Folk” properties have a three panel oriel window (on the upper floor level) in the Gothic Style and many others have ground floor three pane bay or bow windows, as does No. 15 with its two story bow. The house is also enhanced by an open picket porch which fills in the “L”.

The roof is cross gable and there is a small roof over the double bow window.

The foundation appears to be concrete rather than the rubble foundations found in century homes, indicating that this house might have been built in the early 1900s.

History or Associative Value

Local folk lore and the current owner think No. 15 Creek Street was built by “Mr. Scripture” probably around 1900. Generations of the Scriptures, at one time, owned many of the lots on North Street, one block North of Creek Street. In fact today Scripture descendants live in No.10 North Street which is contiguous with No. 15 Creek Street making them back door neighbours. Obviously the Scriptures were very early property developers who helped in the settlement of the area.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

15 Creek Street, Colborne, Ontario
Cramahe Township, Concession 1, Lot 31, Reid Lot 267

Lot 31, Concession 1, Cramahe Township, was originally set aside as a Clergy Reserves (LINK). Although roads didn’t exist when the lot was surveyed, it consisted of the 200 acres now bounded by on the north by King St., on the west by Division St., and on the east by Elgin St. 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 northern half of Lot 31, including all of the land in the reserve that is now part of Colborne, was granted by the Crown to Joseph Abbott Keeler (1788-1855) (LINK) on 12 April 1842.

On 23 September 1854 Joseph A. Keeler transferred his 135 acres in Lot 31 to his son Joseph Keeler III (1824-1881) (LINK). On 5 May 1863 the Commercial Bank of Canada sold Reid Lots 260 and 264-267 to Farquhar McRae (1832-?). McRae was listed in the 1861 census as a boot and shoe maker and farmer, in 1871 as a merchant, and in 1881 as a clerk. McRae was a native of Scotland. His family consisted of his wife Isabella (née Robson, 1833-?, married 1859 in Brighton) and children Isabella (1860-?), Duncan (1861-1946), John (1866-1914), Anna (?-?), another Isabella (?-?), and Catherine (1870-?). On 1 October 1873 McRae added Reid Lots 261 and 262 to his land, so that at that point he owned the eastern half of the block bounded by North, Victoria, Creek, and Division Streets.

On 18 March 1879 Alexander Cameron (?-?), his wife Catherine (?-?), James Scougale (ca. 1824-1890), his wife Mary Ann (1828-1906), and Farquhar and Isabella McRae sold Reid Lots 260-267 to Jeremiah Chauncey Scripture (1851-1937) and Stephen Henry Scripture (1853-1915). Land records don’t make it clear how the Camerons and Scougales came to be involved. James Scougale was a Colborne carriage maker. Alexander Cameron was a contractor from Portsmouth in Frontenac Co., Ontario.

Jeremiah and Stephen Scripture were sons of Simeon Liberty John Scripture (1815-1877). They ran the Scripture Brothers sawmill and foundary. Jeremiah married Gretta Margaret Waite (1874-1923) in 1894 and had two children: Simeon David (1894-1972) and Charles Lester (1896-1976). Stephen married Isabella Pirie (1854-1944) in 1886 and also had two children: Eva A. (1891-1891) and a son (name unknown). Both brothers died in Colborne, Stephen of pernicious anemia in 1915 and Jeremiah in 1937 of chronic myocarditis.

Stephen Scripture sold his share of the property to Jeremiah on 16 February 1885.

Jeremiah Scripture mortgaged the property with the London and Canadian Loan and Agency Company on 12 December 1885 and the loan company sold it to the Trustees of the Wesleyan Methodist Church Parsonage on 29 May 1890. The Wesleyan Church had been at the corner of King and Elgin, two blocks away, but it had been sold into private hands when the Wesleyan and Episcopal Methodists united in 1884. The Methodist church sold Lots 260-267 back to Jeremiah Scripture on 3 January 1898.

Scripture retained the property until 6 February 1914 when he sold Reid Lots 267-269 to Edgar Waite (1835-1918), a Colborne “gentleman”. Edgar Waite was Jeremiah Scripture’s father-in-law. He was retired when he received the property, but he had been a farmer. When he died of a paralytic stroke in 1918 the property went to his wife, Victorina Bellyou (1843-1920, married 1861). Edgar and Victorina had seven children besides Scripture’s wife Gretta: Samuel (1862-?), Jennie M. (1864-1947), Edgar Samuel (1866-1952), Charles (1868-1870), Nellie Lisetta (1875-1946), Reuben S. (1876-1956), and Frances Iva (1882-1957).

Victorina Waite died in 1920 and the property apparently passed into the hands of her daughters because their names (and not their brothers’) appear on a land transaction dated 29 May 1920 which passed ownership to William Alyea (1860-1926) and his wife Sarah Margaret Lont (1863-1944). William Alyea was a farmer. He died of bowel cancer in 1926 in Colborne.

Determining the age of the house is difficult because in all of the transactions discussed here Reid Lot 267 was included with between three and six other Reid Lots in the immediate vicinity. This makes purchase prices hard to compare. Farquhar McRae owned numerous other properties in Colborne and probably lived on Reid Lot 250 across North Street from the properties under discussion (now 5 North Street (LINK)). He probably didn’t build the house at 15 Creek Street, unless it was for rental purposes. Jeremiah Scripture owned the property from 1879 to 1914, with a brief hiatus between 1890 and 1898 when it was owned by the Methodist Church. It wouldn’t be surprising if he built the house, though whether he lived there is impossible to tell. He certainly owned properties elsewhere in Colborne at the same time. Edgar Waite was listed as living at 268 Creek Street in the 1911 census. Whether this is a typo for 267 or whether he actually lived in the lot immediately west of Lot 267 (where conceivably his daughter Gretta lived), is open to conjecture.

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