319 Old Percy St. Castleton

(1855)
Roll No. 1411-011-050-08000 – Cramahe Township Ontario

“T” shaped Folk Victorian

No. 319 Old Percy Road in the hamlet of Castleton, bears a strong resemblance to No. 28 Toronto Street in the village of Colborne. (among many others).

Both are what is known as Folk Victorian, a 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 often a front porch with spindles and gingerbread and sometimes flat jigsaw trim.

Some properties of this style have a three panel oriel window (on the upper floor level) in the Gothic Style and many others have a ground floor three panel bay or bow window as this one does.

This particular house has the narrow gauge wooden clapboard siding, painted an era appropriate colour, with newer windows, which were probably two over two pane originally. There is a small porch which shelters the kitchen door, and there is a modest gingerbread embellishment in the gable.

These Folk Victorians mix longevity, family space and functionality with a lot of charm.

History or Associative Value

In 1855, this lot was purchased by Harriet Allen, the wife of farmer Obediah Allen. They had 10 children! Child number 9, daughter Leathy, acquired the property from her mother in 1885 for “natural love and affection plus $1”. Leathy had three children and she married a total of three times, though she remained the owner of the house on Old Percy Road. (G. Ghent 1872, J.W. Johnston 1892 and David James Franklin in 1927). Clearly the house was built by the Allen family.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

319 Old Percy Road, Castleton, Ontario Cramahe Township, Concession 7, Lot 34, Castleton Lot 30

When Cramahe Township was first surveyed in the 1790’s a seventh of its land was set aside for crown reserves and another seventh was set aside for clergy reserves. These reserves were rented to tenant farmers. The revenues from the crown reserves went to the government. The revenues from the clergy reserves originally went only to the Church of England (Anglican), but after 1824 the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) was granted a share, and by the 1840s all of the major protestant denominations were included (except the Baptists, who refused to participate). The clergy reserve system came to an end in 1854, when all revenues reverted to the government.

The first official owner of the land on which the 307 Old Percy Road now stands was the Canada Company. The Canada Company was a private British corporation incorporated in 1826 to aid in the development and colonization of Upper Canada with an emphasis on the Crown and Clergy Reserves. Among the lands acquired by the Canada Company were the southern 100 acres of Concession 7, Lot 34, Cramahe Township, where the western part of Castleton now sits. The Company was granted this land by the Crown on 28 May 1830.

By 1834 the 100 acres were in the hands of Joseph Abbott Keeler (1788-1855). No record has been seen of his acquiring them from the Canada Company, although there is an 1881 document certifying that the transfer had indeed been made. The Keelers were involved in the history of the area long before they were official owners of this property, having built a mill in Castleton as early as 1806.

Joseph A. Keeler sold of parcels of this property over the years, and what was left went to his son Joseph Keeler (1824-1881) on 23 September 1854. The younger Keeler sold Castleton Lot 30 to Harriet L. Allen (1819-1890) on 7 September 1855. Harriet Allen was born Harriet Williams and was the wife of farmer Obediah Allen (1810-1856). The Allens had 10 children: Serepta (1837-1921), Maria (1838-?), Isban (1840-1921), Louisa (1843-1921), George (1844-?), Adeline (1848-1920), Benjamin (1849-1912), female (name unknown, 1851-1851), Leathy Ann (1852-1934), and Emma Polly (1857-1896).

On 21 September 1885 Harriet Allen gave the property (“natural love and affection plus $1) to her daughter Leathy, who had married George Orvil Ghent (1854-1891) in 1872. Leathy would own the it until her death in 1934. She had three children with George Ghent: Isban (1877-?), George Orvil (1878-?), and John Robert (1882-1902). In 1892 she married James William Johnston (ca. 1859-?) and in 1927 she married David James Franklin (1850-?).

Clearly the house on Lot 30 was built by the Allen family.

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