3861 County Road 25, Morganston

(late 1800s)
Roll No. 1411-011-040-07300-0000 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Gothic Revival Cottage (Ontario Cottage)

3861 Highway 25, is another of the ubiquitous “Ontario Cottages” as they are known throughout the province. That sobriquet is not an architectural style rather it is a “collective” of several architectural styles found in Northumberland. It is most often used to describe Gothic Revival Cottages and Regency Cottages.

Here we have a clapboard version of Gothic Revival. They are frequently found in the red brick so common in Northumberland county and, sometimes in stucco, though in that case, the original cladding may have been either of the other two options.

The classic Gothic Revival Cottage is a three bay structure with a steep gable on the front facade.

Often this gable is a riot of Victorian gingerbread with finials, dentil moulding, fretwork, scrolled brackets, flat sawn balusters and running trim. This house is devoid of all that fancy work save the little gable balcony.

It does have the usual Gothic peaked window in the gable, which is another feature that identifies this architectural style. There is a full front porch as well.

There is a two story tail on the rear, presumably adding space as families grew.

It has had modern upgrades – windows, steel roof etc. and it wasn’t possible to see the basement construction which would help date it, but the narrow gauge wooden cladding points to late 1800s–early 1900s.

History or Associative Value

This property has changed hands so many times it is impossible to say more than it has been owned by a physician, a wagon maker, a blacksmith and a lot of farmers. In 1854 Jabez Proctor Powers, a physician in Colborne, bought the property. In 1867, after a flurry of buying and selling, the exact piece of land upon which 3861 Hwy 25 sits was sold to William John Newman (1840-1904), the Postmaster of Morganston. The various owners had large numbers of children, most of which were probably born in this house.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

3861 Highway 25, Morganston, Ontario Cramahe Township, Concession 8, Lot 16

The hamlet of Morganston sits at the junction of Concessions 8 and 9 and Lots 16 and 17. 3891 Highway 25 sits in the northwestern corner of Lot 16 of Concession 8, on the southeastern corner of the intersection of Highways 25 and 27. It is the southeasternmost house in Morganston.

The 100 acres of the northern half of Lot 16 were granted by the Crown to the Canada Company on 17 February 1837. 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.

There is a gap in history for this property. The next available record was the sale of 30 acres of it by Cramahe farmer Matthias Strevel (1799-1862) in 1843. There is no record of its transfer from the Canada Company to Strevel.

The northernmost 70 acres in Lot 16 changed hands several times during the early 1850’s. Strevel and his wife Sarah (née McNary, 1805-1863) sold them to George Lapp (1820-1887), a Brighton Township farmer, on 10 June 1852. Lapp and his wife Jane (née Richmond, 1828-1915) passed them on to Jabez Proctor Powers (1803-1886) on 4 March 1854. Powers was a physician residing in Colborne. The 70 acres next passed from Powers and his wife Louisa (née Ford, 1812-1892) to Stephen Peter Eddy (1818-1892), a Haldimand Township farmer, on 15 December 1854. Eddy and his wife Jane (née Findley, 1824-1904) finally passed the property on to James Morgan (1811-1905) on 19 March 1855, and Morgan, who at the time of purchase was a wagon maker in Port Hope but later a farmer in Cramahe Township, retained them for the next 18 years.

During that time Morgan and his wife Catherine (née Baker, 1833-1900) sold half an acre in the northwestern corner of Lot 16 to William John Newman (1840-1904), another Cramahe Township farmer, on 4 June 1867. This is the land on which 3861 Highway 25 now stands.

The house specifically stands on the southern half of this half-acre lot and this half was sold by Newman and his wife Maria Mahitabel (née Cole, 1849-1920) to Robert Norman McDonald (1815-1919), a blacksmith, on 7 June 1887.

McDonald owned the property until 21 October 1904 when he and his wife Elva Jeneva (nee McDonald, 1859-1923) sold it to farmer Edward Blake Dingman (1876-1970). Dingman and his wife Ida May (née Allen, 1879-?) sold it a little over a year later (16 December 1905) to farmer Walter Hardinge (1861-?), who passed it on to his unmarried sister Maud Victoria Hardinge (1875-1960) on 1 April 1818.

John Newman, who would become the postmaster in Morganston, bought his half acre for $250 in 1867 and sold its southern half for $850 in 1887. This jump in price was undoubtedly because a house was built on the latter property between these dates. Newman therefore was almost certainly the first occupant of the house. It is likely that all of the subsequent owners, McDonald, Dingman, and two Hardinges, lived there as well.

Robert McDonald owned the property for 17 years. He was married to Elva McDonald (no relation as far as can be determined) and had six children: Byron Llewellyn (1881-?), Mary Gertrude (1883-1959), Eva Catherine (1890-?), Vera Maud (1893-1913), Robert Hibbert (1894-1924), and Alexander (1902-1924). The eldest of these was only about 7 years old when McDonald bought the property, so all of them undoubtedly lived there with their parents. Most of them were probably born there.

Edward Dingman was married to Ida May Allen and had three children: Harold Douglas (1900-?), Ida Lulu (1903-1989), and Edward Keith (1908-1981). If the Dingmans lived in the house under discussion, their two older children would have lived there as well. The youngest was born after ownership had passed to Walter Hardinge.

Hardinge was unmarried when he bought the property. He married Amelia Jennie Soper (1873-?) in Toronto in 1909, by which time he worked there as a railroad employee. He could easily have lived in the house in Morganston prior to that time, but evidence is lacking. He turned the house over to his sister in 1918, so perhaps the two of them lived in the house before Walter moved to Toronto. Maud kept it until 1932 when she transferred it to another as yet unmarried sister, Charlotte Jane Hardinge (1871-1958).

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