16 North Street, Colborne

Roll No. 1411-012-020-22700 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Italianate Vernacular

No. 16 North Street in the village of Colborne is another of the classic Italianate properties in the area.

Although the building is currently painted, it began life clad in the same red clay brick that is seen throughout Northumberland County.

With a few differences, No. 16 greatly resembles No. 5 North Street and Seaton House at 57 King Street East, also in Colborne, and indeed several others in close proximity. It has the two story triple bay window, the usual offset double front door, the Italianate brackets under the eaves but it also has a newer “L” shaped wing rather than the more common rear “tail”.

Like its “sister” properties, it has a rubble basement and hip roof with the tall slim Italianate round head windows.

The house sits on a corner lot and has extensive infrastructure with decks, landscaping and a pool, and a recently installed Victoriana style shed.

The interior layout features an enormous kitchen at the back of the house with a full staircase leading to the upper floor; a large dining room and parlour; ground floor laundry/washroom; and a grand front staircase with landing; which leads to the second floor and four large bedrooms, one with a bay window; and a bathroom. There is a petite balcony off the upstairs hallway.

This is another of the “grand old ladies” of North Street, well preserved and maintained given its age, which is probably about 130 years old.

History or Associative Value

In 1885 Jeremiah Scripture, a descendant of one of the area’s founding families, mortgaged the lots that today make up the property at No. 16 North Street. Possibly that is when the house was built. On 29 May 1890, the property was granted to a group of Colborne men as “Methodist Church Trustees Parsonage”. It remained the (now) United church manse until 3 January 1898 when it again became the property of Jeremiah Scripture who also owned a number of the adjacent properties on North Street and in the area.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

16 North Street, Colborne, Ontario
Cramahe Township, Concession 1, Lot 31, Reid Lots 263 and 264

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). Joseph Keeler and his wife Octavia (née Phillips, 1827-1899) mortgaged the property with the Commercial Bank of Canada on 29 March 1855.

On 5 May 1863 the Commercial Bank of Canada sold Lots 260 and 264, as well as Lot 250 on the other side of North St., to Farquahar 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. He probably lived in the house that is now at 5 North Street (Link).

On 15 March 1879, Farquhar McRae sold lots 260-264 to Jeremiah Chauncey Scripture (1851-1937) and Stephen Henry Scripture (1853-1915). Jeremiah and Stephen Scripture were sons of Simeon Liberty John Scripture, who in turn was the son of original Cramahe immigrants Jeremiah and Submit Scripture. Stephen was variously listed in censuses as a machinist, general agent, and carpenter; Jeremiah as machinist and farmer. Stephen would later (16 February 1885) transfer his rights to the properties to Jeremiah. Both brothers were unmarried at that point, but Jeremiah would later (1894 and 1896) have two children, Simeon and Charles. If Jeremiah lived on one of the properties, his children and his wife Gretta would undoubtedly have lived there with him.

The next series of transactions concerning Lots 260-264 are a bit confusing. On 9 April 1885, Jeremiah Scripture mortgaged the properties with the London Canadian Loan and Agency Company. On 29 May 1890 that company granted the land to a group of Colborne men who were referred in Land Office Records as “Trustees Methodist Church Trustees Parsonage”. The instrument was worded as “grant under power of sale”. Apparently the Methodist Church controlled these properties until they returned them to Jeremiah Scripture on 3 January 1898. Was the property used as a residence (“parsonage”) for the Methodist pastor during that time?

Scripture continued to own the property through 1921.

Residency on this property is unclear. All of the owners simultaneously owned other properties in Colborne. Farquhar McRae probably lived across North Street at 5 North Street. Similarly, sale prices are of little use as evidence for the age of the house. All sales included other properties.


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