35 Elgin Street, Colborne

(c.1850s)
Roll No. 1411-012-030-31600 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Ontario Farmhouse

No. 35 Elgin Street sits on a street of houses which were probably built mid to late 1900s, which gives it a certain gravitas. A sort of historical anchor for an area that perhaps had other century homes or perhaps it was open farming land in the 1800s. The large house has a property which is appropriate to its mass and age and one can imagine it might have been the only farmhouse in the area at one time.

It is a very typical Ontario Farmhouse but does not have the “Gothic” features some of these large century homes have.

The property is typical in the fact that it has a prominent gable end with a “T” shaped two story wing.

Nestled into the wing on the left facade is a wonderful mid century Victorian vestibule which is surrounded by plantings and obviously no longer in use. The right wing has a gable roof line and a front door. The gable end has a three panel bay window at ground level.

There is a one story addition on the back and what appears to be a shed behind that.

The building is covered in the narrow clapboard of the era which has been painted an historical colour.

All the windows are two over two pane and look original and they all have a very subtle Tudor shaped drip mold. The front door in the wing has a glass transom and sidelights which are probably original to the house, under a small covered porch.

The roof is cross gable with an extra gable peak over the front door and a central chimney. There is no particular Victorian embellishment such as “S” brackets or gingerbread and there is a rubble stone foundation common to the mid 1800s.

History or Associative Value

Henry Brown, a Pennsylvania born carpenter, acquired this property in the 1870s, half in 1874 and the other half in 1877. Thereafter it was sold as a single block to a Trenton grain dealer, William Ford Baker, in 1880. A year later William Peck, a machinist, bought it. Subsequently, a series of farmers owned this property. Today it is the only century property on Elgin Street, South of Highway 2, which give it a certain distinction.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

35 Elgin Street, Colborne, Ontario Concession 1, Lot 30, Grover Lots 49 and 50

The Crown granted Concession 1, Lot 30 to Joseph Keeler (1763-1839) on 6 December 1803 (LINK?). This Lot consists of 200 acres now bounded on the north by King Street, on the west by Elgin Street, and on the east by the driveway to the derelict house just west of the Streamside Drive subdivision. The southern limit of Concession 1, Lot 30 is now in the eastern end of the Ogden Point quarry.

On 18 January 1812, Keeler sold the northern 150 acres of this property to George Asahel Palmer (1761-1833) (LINK?), apparently in exchange for Concession 2, Lot 31, which Palmer had sold Keeler 6 days earlier (12 January 1812).

Palmer sold the eastern third of his 150 acres in 1819 but he retained the remaining 100 acres in the northwestern part of Lot 30 until 9 April 1831, when he sold them to James D. Goslee (1794-1865) (LINK?). Goslee transferred these 100 acres (minus the Grand Trunk Railway right-of-way, which he had sold in 1855) to his son George Goslee (1823-1882) on 1 March 1856. Ownership then passed to the Trust and Loan Company of Upper Canada on 20 August 1858 and then to George Goslee’s brother-in- law John Merriam Grover (1815-1888) on 12 June 1860.

Grover had the property surveyed and subdivided (the Grover Plan), and started selling off small parcels in 1864. What he still owned by 5 September 1868, including Grover Lots 49 and 50, he sold to Willet McConnell Platt (1820-1902), a Brighton lumber merchant.

In a quit claim grant on 11 March 1873 Platt gave up his claim to the land to Almira G. Foley (1807-1893), John M. Grover’s sister and the widow of James Foley (1810-1864). Grover Lot 50, at the corner of Elgin and Princess Streets (the latter of which no longer exists) was sold by Almira Foley to Henry Brown (1846-1929) on 24 July 1874 and on 29 June 1877 she also sold him the adjacent Grover Lot 49. Thereafter Lots 49 and 50 were to be transferred as a single block of property.

Jacob Henry Brown (invariably called “Henry” in records) was a carpenter. He was born in Pennsylvania. His wife was Joan Reive (1855-1906) and there were eight children: Grace (1876-1955), Lewis (1878-1898), Jay (1880-1865), Charles (1882-1974), Agnes (1885-1963), Florence (1889-1953), Amelia (1892-?), and Marian (1898-1979). In 1911 he remarried, this time to Adeline Elizabeth Alley (1846-1923). Brown died in 1929 of gangrene following surgical removal of a tumour from his ear.

Henry Brown sold Grover Lots 49 and 50 to William Ford Baker (1845-1900), a Trenton grain dealer, on 22 October 1880. Baker sold them to William W. Peck (1849-?) on 13 August 1881.

William Peck was a machinist. He married Rachel Maria Scripture (1848-1887) in 1873 and Rachel’s sister Florence D. Scripture (1858-?) in 1889. No reference has been found to children.

William and Rachel Peck appear in Cramahe censuses only in 1881. They may have left in 1886 because on 21 June of that year they sold Grover Lots 49 and 50 to Alice Melissa Brintnell (née Perry, 1847-1918), wife of Joel Brintnell (1831-1906, married 1875), a farmer. There were three children: Bertha J. (1878-1879), Effie Myrtle (1881-?), and Roy (1885-1885). Alice would marry again to Charles Barrett (1839-?) in 1906. She died of heart failure in Castleton in 1918.
On 2 January 1903 Alice Brintnell sold Lots 49 and 50 to William Eakins (1868-?), a farmer, and his wife Melissa Owens (1868-?). Eakins was born in Scotland. He and Melissa had three children: Edna Evelyn (1899-?), Victoria (1900-?), and Glenn (ca. 1901-?).

On 27 July 1908 Melissa gained full ownership and on 5 April 1909 she sold the property to James Frederick Black (1878-1918) and his wife Effie Myrtle, daughter of Joel and Alice Brintnell (Alice having sold the property to Melissa Eakins and her husband in the first place). James Black was another farmer, though some records record him as a teamster. He married Effie Brintnell in 1898 and had two children: Viva May (1899-?) and Effie Dora Blanche (1908-1980). The Blacks appear in Cramahe censuses for 1901 and 1911. Black died of liver cancer in Haldimand Township in 1918. Effie would remarry in 1921, to Clarence Mills (1891-?).

From James Black Lots 49 and 50 passed to William Runnalls (1845-1918), a Haldimand Township farmer, on 3 February 1910. Runnalls was born in England. No indication has been found that he ever married. Runnalls died in 1918 and the executors of his will sold the property on 8 June of that year to Frederick Russell McMurray (1877-1949), another farmer (not to be confused with Fred MacMurray, the actor, who was 30 years younger and whose middle name was Martin). He married Marietta McDonald (1885-1971) in 1903 and they had 11 children: Arthur (1903-1903), Velma Irene (1906-1994), Cora Louise (1907-?), Marjory (1909-?), Helen Jean (1911-1999), Madeline Dorothy (1913-1997), Lloyd George E. (1915-2002), Ruth (1919-?), Douglas Donald (1921-1990), Ted (1923-?), and Doris Bernice (1925-2006).

Frederick and Marietta (“Mary”) McMurray sold Lots 49 and 50 on 27 March 1919 to Olivia Alberta Bellamy (née Bland, 1893-1985), wife of Charles S. Bellamy (1890-1956), another farmer. They married in 1911 and had three children: Violet May (1912-1998), Thomas Melville (1913-1918), and Kenneth Charles (1919-2007).

On 18 April 1921 the Bellamys sold Lots 49 and 50 to Almira Halt or Hatt and Henrietta Roney. Almira at least was a resident of Indiana at the time. No clear information has been found about either of these women, but there were two Cramahe sisters Mary Almira (1860-?) and Henrietta (1866-?) who were cousins of Charles Bellamy’s father. No information has been found concerning their husbands, but there is a good chance they were Messrs. Halt (or Hatt) and Roney.

The house at 35 Elgin Street sits squarely on the line between Grover Lots 49 and 50 (half of the house in each lot), so it is unlikely that it was built before Henry Brown combined the lots in 1879. He paid $100 for Lot 50 and $75 for Lot 49. He then sold the combined lots in 1880 for $1000. All subsequent sales of the combined lots were for $1000 or less (except the last one before the 1921 cut-off date of 1921, which was for $1400). This appears to be pretty strong circumstantial evidence that the house was built by Henry Brown in the late 1870’s.

There is a good chance that most of the owners of Grover Lots 49 and 50 lived there, except William Ford Baker, though for the most part they didn’t stay very long. Almost all of them were farmers. William Runnells was a resident of Elgin Street in 1911, presumably in this house.

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