35 Church Street West, Colborne

(mid to late 1800s)
Roll No. 1411-012-010-34200 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Folk Victorian

The literature describes the house at 35 Church Street West in the village of Colborne, as “Folk Victorian”, an architectural style which has a gable end on the front facade with a wing to one side which creates an “L” shape.

It is often wooden clapboard or board and batten and examples of this architectural style range from no adornment to abundant embellishment.

The windows are usually tall and narrow which is a nod to the Italianate style common to this area and the mid 18th century era. The front door is offset to one side in the “L” so access is into the kitchen rather than the parlour. No. 35 Church Street West, has a feature not found in all of the Folk Victorians, that is the side wing has been enclosed to form an interior vestibule.

This style of house often has a three panel bay window at ground level in the gable-end. That is the case here, but less common is the enclosed square projected area above the bay and below the gable.

Another common feature of this architectural style, not here present, is the three panel bay “Oriel” window above the ground sometimes found in other Folk Victorians.

This house is clad in siding and some of the windows appear to be two over two and of an older vintage.

No. 35 has a cross gable roof with a very interesting “step back” design on the front gable facade. The bow window has decorative hood molds and a small roof to keep out the elements.

History or Associative Value

In 1886, this property was sold to Joseph Jewell, an English cabinet maker, his wife Margaret and their five children. In 1902, it was sold to Thomas Brown, a commercial traveller (who owned and occupied 5 North Street in the late 19th century). Brown’s eldest son, Charles, bought the property and the 1911 census shows his family living there; unhappily Charles was insolvent by 1916 and the property was given to an assignee, then transferred back to his wife, Carrie May, a month later.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

35 Church Street West, Colborne, Ontario Cramahe Township, Concession 2, Lot 32, Reid Lot 135

Nathaniel Gaffield (ca. 1755-ca. 1838) (LINK) was the first owner of Concession 2, Lot 32, a 200 acre parcel part of which would later become Reid Lot 135. 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) (LINK) on 23 January 1806.

Keeler transferred the southern third of Concession 2, Lot 32 to his son Joseph Abbott Keeler (1788-1855) (LINK) 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) (LINK).

Joseph Keeler III continued his father’s tradition of selling off sections of this property. On 1 August 1857 he sold Reid Lots 134 and 135 to Milton Kinglsey Lockwood (1825-1914). He would retain the property until he sold it back to Joseph Keeler on 18 June 1870. Lockwood was a resident of Colborne in 1857, and his occupation was listed as “gentleman” on the Land Office record for his purchase of this property. By 1861, however, he had moved to Brighton and was a Customs Collector for most of the rest of his life. His wife was Lavinia Maria Merriman (1835-1920), granddaughter of early Cramahe resident Joel Merriman (1760-1832).

Joseph Keeler retained the property until his death in 1881, at which point it was inherited by his wife Octavia (née Phillips, 1827-1899). Octavia turned over the management of her various properties in Colborne to attorney William Lazarus Payne (1847-1928) on 29 April 1882. Payne sold Lots 134 and 135 to Alice Ridout (1859-?) on 17 October 1884. Alice was born Alice Boyer, and was the sister-in-law of Joseph and Octavia Keeler’s daughter Anna Sybilla (1854-1887), wife of John James Newton Boyer (1861-1893). She had married Walter Lionel Ridout (1858-1890), a Toronto architect, in 1881.

The Ridouts were residents of Toronto both when they purchased this property and when they sold Reid Lot 135 to Joseph Jewell (1829-1906) on 10 June 1886. Jewell was an English cabinet maker who appears in Cramahe censuses from 1851 through 1901. His wife was Margaret McKenzie (1838-?) and they had five children: Frederick J. (1858-?), Amelia Jane (1861-1924), Alice Maud (1863-1936), Joseph (1864-1931), and Ellen (1869-?). All of these offspring were living with their parents in 1881 but only Amelia, Alice and Ellen were still doing so in 1891.

Joseph and Margaret Jewell sold Reid Lot 135 to grocer Thomas Rutherford (1859-1950) on 25 March 1889 and Rutherford transferred it to his wife Ella (née Fowler, 1865-?, married 1884) on 3 February 1890. The Rutherfords had four children: Charles Frederick (1889-1952), Helen Maud (1890-1965), Robert Thomas (1893-?), and Mary Edith Norma (1896-?). Sometime between the 1891 census and the birth of their second son in 1893, the Rutherford family moved to Toronto.

On 18 February 1902 Ella Rutherford sold Lot 135 to Thomas Brown (1846-1911). Thomas Brown was a commercial traveller in 1875, 1881, 1878, 1881, 1883, and 1891. In the 1901 and 1911 censuses he is listed as a merchant. His wife was Sarah (née Archer, 1854-1922), and his children were Charles Philip (1875-1967), Edith (1878-?), James (1883-1948), and Beverley (1891-?).

A little less than three years later, on 17 December 1904, Thomas and Sarah Brown sold Lot 135 to their son Charles, who, like his father, was a merchant. His wife was Carrie May Thomas (1873-1949, married 1901). There appears to have been a single child: Marion I. (1902-?).

On 6 April 1916 Charles Brown was insolvent and Lot 135 was transferred to Charles Bonnick (?-?), a Toronto accountant, as assignee. About a month later (15 May 1916) Bonnick transferred it back to Carrie May Brown. By 1921 the Charles Brown family had moved to Deloro in Hastings County. They may have left when the sold Reid Lot 135 to Alfred Fisk (1852-?), a blacksmith from Dundonald, on 3 September 1918. Fisk’s wife was Mary Ann Reed (1854-?, married 1876).

The Fisks sold the property to Charles Arthur Bradley (1883-1927), a telephone lineman from Haldimand Township, on 19 September 1921. Bradley’s wife was Florence Mae Joice (1882-?) and there were four children: Dorothy (1904-?), Joseph (1905-?), Doreta (1910-?), and one other son. Bradley died of bronchopneumonia in Cobourg in 1927.

Land sale prices do not provide a clear indication of when the house might have been built. Keeler sold Lots 134 and 135 to Lockwood for £56 in 1857 and Lockwood sold it back to Keeler in 1870 or $224. Since the exchange rate in those days was $4 per pound, these were exactly the same price. It is unknown how much Alice Ridout paid for the property in 1884, but she sold Lot 135 alone to Joseph Jewell in 1886 for $500. Three years later (1889) Jewell sold it to Thomas Rutherford for $900 and Rutherford passed it on to Thomas Brown in 1902 for the same amount. Reid Lot 135 then remained in the Brown family until it was sold by Carrie May Brown to Alfred Fisk for $1600 in 1918. Fisk sold it to Charles Bradley in 1921 for $3000. So there were substantial increases in price during the ownerships of Joseph and Octavia Keeler or Alice Ridout (almost 200%), Joseph Jewell (180%), the Brown family (178%), and Alfred Fisk (188%). Any of these could have indicated a house having been built.

The only solid evidence for occupancy of the property comes from the 1911 census, when Charles Brown and family lived there. Joseph Jewell had owned Reid Lot 127 across the street since 1860 and he only owned Lot 135 for three years between 1886 and 1889, so he probably wasn’t a resident.

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