63 King Street East, Colborne

(late 1800s)
Roll No. 1411-012-020-07700 – Cramahe Township Ontario

American Four Square

The American Four Square is a house style popular from the mid-1890s to the late 1930s. It was a reaction to the ornate mass produced elements of the Victorian and other Revival styles popular throughout the last half of the 19th century. The American Four Square has regal simplicity and stately presence, often incorporating handcrafted “honest” woodwork rather than the “frilly” Victorian trim. This style incorporates elements of the Prairie and Craftsman school of Frank Lloyd Wright.

The style is also called the Transitional Period, marking the bridge between the Victorian age and the new 20th century.

The hallmarks of the Four Square style include a basic square design, two-and-one-half stories high, usually with four large, square rooms to a floor, a center dormer in the one half story, symmetrical groups of windows, a hipped roof with deep overhangs and a large wraparound porch with wide stairs.

The Four Square is usually found in older urban streetcar suburbs, built on very narrow lots and built for efficiency and practicality. These homes are sturdy and solid and maximize family living space.

No. 63 King Street East, Colborne is a very handsome version of the American Four Square style. Its most unusual feature is the buff coloured brick in a sea of red brick found throughout Cramahe Township. It is a two and one half story with a charming little dormer in the half story. The upper windows on the facade are symmetrically spaced and have an interesting 12 square mullion pattern. The two lower windows are not similar, and there is the usual exterior staircase with an entry porch. There is a two story verandah on the rear East side with sturdy pillars, and also a chimney on the east side.

History or Associative Value

Farmer John McFall acquired the property at 63 King Street East in 1851, he died a year later and his 1 year old grandson, John E. Moss inherited.Tragically, he died of measles at 20 years old and when young John’s mother Roxsena lost her husband in 1872, she married Alexander Chatterson, and they held the property until 1892. W. Deverall acquired it and 5 years later a lawsuit resulted in Barrister Frank L. Webb buying the property for $1,000.00. Probably Barrister Webb built the house at the end of the 19th century.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

63 King Street, Colborne, Ontario
Cramahe Township, Concession 2, Lot 31, Reid Lot 169

Lot 31, Concession 2 was first settled by George (1761-1833) and Hannah (1765-1832) Palmer, who arrived with Joseph Keeler (1763-1839) in 1793 or shortly thereafter (LINK). George Palmer was officially granted the 200 acres comprising Lot 31 on 15 July 1802 and he sold them to Joseph Keeler on 18 January 1812 (LINK). On 15 January 1824, Joseph Keeler transferred the southern 100 acres of Lot 31 to his son Joseph Abbott Keeler (1788-1855) (LINK).

Joseph Abbott Keeler sold lot 169 to his son-in-law Stephen Niles Casey (1820-1861), who also owned the Seaton House at one point (LINK), on 11 November 1850. Almost a year later, on 23 October 1851, Casey sold the property to John McFall (ca. 1791-1852), a local farmer, who soon died and on 23 November 1852 willed it to his 1 year old grandson John E. Moss (1851-1872).

John was the only son of George Moss (1816-?), an Irishman who worked as a tailor in Colborne, and Roxsena McFall (1824-1891), John McFall’s daughter. George Moss died sometime between 1851 (the census) and 1858, when Roxsena remarried Alexander Chatterson (1835-1915), another local farmer. There doesn’t seem to be a census record for John Moss for 1861, but in 1871 he was living with his mother and step-father and their family in Cramahe Township. He died of the measles in 1872 at the age of 20. The Chattersons then held the property for the next 20 years.

Roxsena McFall Moss Chatterson died in 1891 and on 1 July 1892 her husband Alexander and their children Estella (1858-1942), Walter Grey (1861-1913), and Trevanion Leopold (1863-?) and the wives of Walter and Trevanion (Harriet Heseltine (1864-1944) and Harriet A. Spencer (1864-1952)) jointly granted the property to William Deverell (1846-?) of York County. Deverell was the husband of Alexander Chatterson’s younger sister Euphemia (1847-?). Although Euphemia grew up in Cramahe Township, she and her husband didn’t live there after their marriage. The last of Alexander Chatterson’s sons, Charles Alexander (1865-1939), then a resident of Winnipeg, “sold” his interest in the property to Deverell on 25 March 1897 for $1.

On 19 November 1897 a lawsuit involving Lot 169 was decided, with William Deverell as defendant and Frank Leslie Webb (1864-1937), a Colborne barrister, as plaintiff. The details of this suit are not available, but apparently Deverell won the case, then proceeded to sell the property to Webb on 18 December 1898 for $1000. Webb and his family were listed as resident on the lot in the 1911 census.

There is some evidence that the property was subdivided in 1915 into the two parcels still evident today. This is suggested by Webb and his wife Eva having received a $900 mortgage for the “SW pt. frontage 40 ft. of the King St.” from Alexander Crichton (1863-1935), a Castleton physician, on 18 May of that year. Webb continued to retain ownership of both parcels.

On 16 April 1920 Webb and his wife Eva Maria Kennedy (1868-?) sold the larger (eastern) section of Lot 169 to Elmer O. Coyle (1896-?) for $5000. This was just 7 days after the 27-year-old Coyle, a fruit dealer, had married Marjorie McDonald.

The smaller (western) section was sold by the Webbs to Harrison (1867-1935) and Letitia (née McCracken, 1874-?) Patrick on 6 December 1920. The land office records list the Patricks as “joint tenants”, but the transaction is listed as a “grant” for $1400, not as a lease. Harrison Patrick’s occupation was listed as “farmer” in the 1911 census. Interestingly, Letitia Patrick was Elmer Coyle’s second cousin (her mother was his father’s cousin). Whether this has any bearing on Elmer and Letitia ending up owning property adjacent to each other is unclear.

Who actually lived on the lot and who built the house? Keeler and Casey probably didn’t live there, both owned other properties. John McFall through most of his life was a farmer near Colborne, but not in Concession 2, Lot 31. He was in his 60s or 70s when he bought Lot 169 from Keeler in 1851, so he may have retired to town and lived on the property. However, he died less than a year later, so it is unlikely that he built the house that now sits there. If he did, he didn’t get to live in it for long. John E. Moss was only 1 year old when he inherited the property in 1852. He moved to the Chatterson farm in 1858 and was still there as of the 1871 census. He died at the age of 20 in 1872, so it doesn’t look like he ever lived on lot 169, unless his parents lived there with him between 1852 (or 1851 if they lived with grandfather McFall) and 1858. Again, it is unlikely that he is responsible for the current house. The Chattersons were not residents in Colborne in 1871, 1881, or 1891, and William Deverell was never even a resident of Northumberland County, so none of them lived on the lot during their ownership between 1872 and 1898, and so none were likely to have been responsible for building the house. Frank Webb, who acquired the property in 1898 is the only owner we know actually lived there, since he is listed as doing so in the 1911 census. Did he build the house? As a barrister, he probably had more money than any of the previous owners. If he built the house, it couldn’t be older than 1898.

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