21 King Street West, Colborne

(1906)
Roll No. 1411-012-020-34300 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Italianate Vernacular

21 King Street West in Colborne is a significant and prominent century home in the village.

It is a very large, meticulously maintained house which is clad in the red brick common to Northumberland County. And although it most closely resembles Italianate architecture, particularly the offset front entrance and the “S” brackets. The windows are larger, more square and each has a transom, none of which is common to that style. The transom windows on the front facade are stained glass which add considerably to the charm of this property whether experienced from the exterior or interior.

The house has a hip roof, decorative brackets and large porches on the front, the rear and on the upper and lower East side of the building.

There is a one and a half story section on the rear of the building which gives panoramic views of the beautiful gardens. Like the other houses on this street, 21 King Street West has a very large and deep garden which gives onto vacant municipal land, adding to the vista.

The concrete foundation might indicate that this residence was built in the very late Victorian era, probably after 1900. Although the timeline for concrete began with the Romans, August Perre made concrete an acceptable architectural material when he built the Théatre Champs Elysée in Paris in 1903. Many of the properties in the township that were built in the mid 19th century have rubble stone foundations. However, it was not uncommon to “parge” the rubble, thereby creating thick and solid basement walls as is the case here.

The beautifully maintained landscaping of this property is worth a mention. It is appropriate, absolutely meticulous and shows the house to its best advantage.

History or Associative Value

Three stately side by side Victorian homes on King Street W. are so similar that they are known locally as the “sister properties”. Records show Norman Bennett deeded these and other contiguous properties on the South side of King West to his sisters Emily, Mary and Ann Bennett in 1855. A Colborne livery stable operator, Walter J. Burleigh, bought the property in 4/14/1906 and according to Land Registry records, he and his wife Emma Gill, (probably) built the house. They had one child named Roy Glen.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

21 King Street West, Colborne, Ontario
Cramahe Township, Concession 1, Lot 32

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.

On 12 October 1855, Norman Bennett provided each of his sisters, Emily (ca. 1826-1898), Mary (ca. 1828-?), and Ann (ca. 1831-1857), with an acre of land in three contiguous blocks along the south side of King Street. Ann Bennett’s property was the westernmost of these three blocks. 21 King Street West is on the eastern half of her property.

Ann had married attorney Anson Perry Thayer (1828-1905) and moved to New York. After she died, Thayer sold the property to his sister-in-law Emily Bennett on 11 June1894. After Emily died the executors of her will sold the property, along with the rest of her holdings, to Robert Snetsinger (1856-1934) on 29 June 1903.

Robert Snetsinger owned 21 King Street West for only three years and, since it was only part of a much larger acquisition from the estate of Emily Bennett, there is no evidence that he lived there. His occupations were farmer (1881), mariner (1892), and trader (1894). By 1901 he had become an apple grower and exporter, and this remained his occupation for the rest of his life. His wife was Mary Ann Dougherty (1864-1953) and his children were Herbert Allen (1890-?), Mabel Clara (1891-1957), Helen Maria (1892-1956), and James Matthias (1894-1858). If he did live at 21 King Street West, all of these children were of an age that they likely would have lived there as well. Snetsinger died of acute enteritis in Colborne in 1934.

Snetsinger sold the property at 21 King Street West to Charles H. Craig (1863-1906), a Colborne barber, on 15 February 1906. Craig was married to Catherine Maud Clarke (1877-1931) and appears to have had a single child, Charles Clarke (1904-?).

There is a convergence of surnames during this period and relationships seem likely. Catherine Snetsinger’s maiden name was Clarke. George Hawkins who owned property across the street, was married to Mary Anne Clarke. Relationship? Also, Catherine Craig’s mother’s name was Sarah Dougherty. Robert Snetsinger’s wife was Mary Ann Dougherty. And again, Mary Ann Dougherty’s mother’s name was Ellen Redfearn. One of the owners of 15 King Street West, just up the street, was Maud Redfearn.

Craig died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1906, less than a month after he had purchased 21 King Street West. The property was then sold to Walter J. Burleigh (1863-?) on 14 April 1906. Burleigh moved to Colborne from Percy Township sometime between 1881 and 1891. He married his wife, Emma Gill (1869-?) in Colborne in 1890. They appear to have had a single child, Roy Glen (1893-?). Burleigh was a livery stable operator.

Burleigh sold the property to Annie Robertson (1842-1929) on 9 April 1908 and moved with his family to Rochester, NY in 1909. Annie Robertson was the eldest of four sisters, none of whom appear to have ever married. The others were Elizabeth (1847-1929), Janet (1854-1919), and Isabella (1866-1911). Annie and Isabella at one time or another were music teachers and Annie and Elizabeth co-owned a “fancy goods” store in Colborne. It doesn’t appear that she lived on the property of interest: her address in 1911 was on Toronto Street.

Annie Robertson sold the property to William J. Hammond (1874-1915) on 1 November 1912. Hammond was the station agent for the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway, which had just started operations down the street. No further information about Hammond is available except that the executors of his will sold the property to Robert J. Rutherford (see discussion under 17 King Street LINK) on 1 April 1919, and Rutherford still owned it in 1921.

Who lived at 21 King Street West? There is no reason to think that Robert Snetsinger did. Charles Craig lived less than a month after buying the property. It is more likely that Walter Burleigh lived there; his livery stable was in easy walking distance away along the south side of King Street East. Annie Robertson probably did not live there but it seems logical that William Hammond did, since the house is so conveniently located to the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway station where he was employed.

Charles Craig bought the property from Robert Snetsinger for $175, and Walter Burleigh from Craig for the same amount. Annie Robertson bought it for $3500, and William Hammond for $3000. This suggests that Walter Burleigh probably built the house.

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