30 Toronto Street, Colborne

(c.1870s)
Roll No. 1411-012-010-08100 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Folk Victorian

No. 30 Toronto Street, Colborne stands next door to another large property which is the same popular style, found throughout Cramahe Township.

No. 30 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 properties of this style have a three pane oriel window (on the upper floor level) in the Gothic Style and many others have ground floor three panel bay or bow windows as this one does in the “L” wing.

This particular house has two over two window panes in the old style, and the tudor shaped faux hood molds give the house a charming decorated look without the usual gingerbread.

This house has the usual gable end with the “L” shaped wing, but it also has a substantial “tail” adding more square footage.

The “L” wing has been enclosed to provide an interior vestibule with a small spindle porch and steps. There is another roof overhang porch in the rear “tail” which shelters a back door. No. 30 is a very attractive and welcome sight as visitors enter the village from the West.

History or Associative Value

The genealogy of this property parallels that of 28 Toronto Street, next door, since the lots on which these two houses stand were transacted together from the earliest records. In 1905 James Raglan Elliot, a Colborne carpenter, bought the parcel and transferred it to his wife a year later. The 1911 census lists him as a resident of Toronto Street, though the street numbering system has since changed. Elliot died in Colborne of pneumonia in 1933.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

30 Toronto Street, Colborne Ontario Cramahe Township, Concession 2, Lot 32, Reid Lot 89

Nathaniel Gaffield (ca. 1755-ca. 1838) was the first owner of Concession 2, Lot 32, a 200 acre parcel part of which would later become Reid Lot 88. To read more about Nathaniel Gaffield, … (LINK). Lot 32 is bounded on the south by King Street West, and on the north by Orchard and Purdy Roads. On the east it is bounded by the undeveloped road allowance running north from Ontario Street. On the west the southern half of the Lot is bounded by Percy Street. Percy Street angles northwestward in the northern half of Lot 32, and the western edge of the lot is along the line Percy would have taken if it had headed straight north.
Although he had probably lived there since at least 1797, Gaffield wasn’t officially granted Lot 32 until 13 May 1804. He sold it to Joseph Keeler (1763-1839) on 23 January 1806. For more on the Keeler family… (LINK).

Keeler transferred the southern third of Concession 2, Lot 32 to his son Joseph Abbott Keeler (1788-1855) on 1 January 1824. This was the area now bounded by Ontario Street on the west, Percy Street on the east, and King Street on the south. The northern limit was along the backs of the modern properties along the north side of Park Street.

Over the next 30 years Joseph Abbott Keeler sold off bits and pieces of this land to a variety of people. On 28 September 1854 he transferred most of what was left of his property in this area to his son Joseph Keeler III (1824-1881).

Joseph Keeler III continued his father’s tradition of selling off lots. Reid Lots 88 and 89 at the corner of Toronto Street and Norton Lane went to his daughter Anna Sybilla Keeler (1854-1887) on 1 September 1875. Three months later (25 December 1875) Anna married John James Newton Parry Boyer (1861-1893). The Boyers would eventually have three children (Mary Frothingham, 1878-1954; Ruth 1880-1948; and Octavia, 1882-?), but none of them had arrived before their parents sold Lots 88 and 89 to Daniel Lewis Simmons (1830-1915) on 6 September 1877.

Simmons was listed in various sources as a wood and lumber dealer (1870), a fruit dealer/exporter (1881- 1911), and a farmer (1901, 1911). He married Eliza Ann Webb (1830-1914) in 1860. After she died of heart failure following a paralytic stroke, he remarried in 1915 to Nancy Eleanor Sanderson (née Greenway, 1846-1933), the widow of George Sanderson (1834-1914). When they were married, Daniel was 85 and Nancy was 69. Daniel and Eliza Simmons had a single daughter, Lena Estella (1861-1869), who died when she was eight years old. Some time prior to 1881 they adopted Annie Eliza Bader (1870-1926), thereafter known as Annie Eliza Simmons. Apart from the occupations listed above, Simmons seems to have had a lot of real estate dealings in the Colborne area, including the transaction under discussion here.

On 2 June 1881 Simmons transferred Lots 88 and 89 to James Craick (1825-1912) and William Johnson (?-?). These gentlemen were Port Hope merchants who had been made trustees under a marriage settlement made by Thomas Wallace Cumming (1846-1880) and Daniel Lewis in contemplation of a marriage between Cumming and Martha Helena Maybee (1847-1882), which had occurred in 1873. It is unclear what this marriage had to do with Reid Lots 88 and 89, especially given the fact that Cumming had been dead for over a year when Craick and Johnson became involved with the properties.

Craick and Johnson retained control over the properties until 27 March 1901 when Reid Lot 89 and an adjacent bit of Lot 88 went to Alice Louisa Cumming (1879-?) and the remainder of Lot 88 went to Ina McMurray Johns (1880-?). These were the two surviving daughters of Thomas and Martha Cumming. Ina was married electrician Bartholomew Johns (ca. 1877-?) of Rossland, British Columbia. Alice was unmarried and still living in Colborne. 30 Toronto Street stands on the land that went to Alice Cumming and 28 Toronto Street stands on the land that went to Ina Johns.

On 11 February 1902 Ina Johns transferred her part of Reid Lot 88 to her sister, so that Alice again owned all of both lots 88 and 89. By 28 August 1905, when she sold the northern part of her property to James Raglan Elliott (1859-1933), she had moved to Port Hope. Elliott was a Colborne carpenter who was married to Isabella Hendren (1870-1914). He also seems to have been married to one or two other women, but the sequence of wives and children is unclear. He died of lobar pneumonia in Colborne in 1933. On 13 September 1906 Elliott transferred ownership of Reid Lot 89 to his wife.

Anna Sybilla Keeler got Lots 88 and 89 from her father for $1 in 1875. She and her husband sold them to Daniel Simmons in 1877 for $370. The Lots then passed into the trusteeship of Craick and Johnson in 1881 and finally returned, in 2 parts, to Alice Cumming and Ina Johns in 1901. Both of them paid $1. Finally, James Elliott paid $850 in 1905 for half that had gone to Alice Cumming. This suggests that there was probably no house present before 1877. Since $850 was paid in 1905 for only part of the land that had cost Daniel Simmons $375 in 1877, it looks as if the house was probably there by then. If true, the house was built by Daniel Simmons or it was built while the property was under the trusteeship of Craick and Johnson.

Occupancy is also unclear. Daniel Simmons lived in a house on King Street East. Craick and Johnson were residents of Port Hope. Some member or members of the Cumming family could have lived there during the Craick/Johnson period, since those gentlemen seem to have been holding it as trustees for that family. Both Ina Johns and Alice Cumming owned property elsewhere in town, so it is uncertain where they lived. The only resident we can be sure of was James Elliott. He is listed in the 1911 census as a resident of 89 Toronto Street.

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