7 Church Street East, Colborne

(c. 1900)
Roll No.1411-012-010-27800 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Late Victorian

No. 7 Church Street East is adjacent to two other red Brick Victorians which are a more easily identifiable architectural style. It is also adjacent to No. 9 Church Street East which is the only (and finest) example of NeoClassical architecture in the village of Colborne, and possibly the township. (No. 9 is modeled after the National Historic Site called “The Barnum House” in the nearby settlement of Grafton).

No. 7 is probably late Victorian – red brick, square, squat footprint, double Italianate brackets but wider, square windows (not the tall slender round head windows associated with classic Italianate), a large porch with doric columns and a hip roof make it hard to determine its age or actual architectural style.

History or Associative Value

In 1854, both the lots upon which modern day #7 and #9 Church Street East stand (#9 is the Keeler House) were transferred to Eliza Jane Gilchrist by her father Joseph Abbott Keeler (founder of Colborne). In 1859 Eliza Jane sold the property to her daughter Mary Louisa Ketchum, wife of Jay Ketchum, a prominent County Court Judge (see Cramahe Archives picture). We assume they lived in the Keeler House at #9 given their prominent social status. In 1914 David Coyle & family acquired #7 and owned it through 1921.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

7 Church Street East, Colborne, Ontario
Cramahe Township, Concession 2, Lot 31, Reid Lot 73

The first settlers in Cramahe Township arrived from Rutland, Vermont, in 1793 under the leadership of Joseph Keeler (1763-1839). Among the early settlers were George Asahel (1761-1833) and Hannah (1765-1832) Palmer (LINK). On their arrival, the Palmers took possession of the 200 acres of land in Concession 2, Lot 31. This land was officially deeded to George Palmer by the Crown on 15 July 1802.

Palmer sold his 200 acres to Joseph Keeler on 18 January 1812, on the same day buying from Keeler 150 acres in Concession 1, Lot 30, just to the south and one lot east of the property they sold. Basically, Palmer and Keeler appear to have simply exchanged the two properties.

Joseph Keeler transferred the “front part” of Lot 31 to his son Joseph Abbott Keeler (1788-1855) (LINK) on 15 January 1824. On acquiring the land from his father, Joseph A. Keeler proceeded to subdivide it.

On 23 September 1854 Joseph Abbott Keeler transferred title to the land he still owned in the area bounded by what is now Percy, Church, and King Streets and Victory Lane, to his son Joseph Keeler III (1824-1881) (LINK) and all of the rest of his property in the southern half of Lot 31 to his daughter Eliza Jane Gilchrist (1812-1897) (LINK). The land transferred to his son consisted of what is now the two westernmost blocks in the downtown section of Colborne, north of King Street. Eliza’s land consisted of the property north of Church Street.

Eliza Gilchrist sold off two parcels of this property to her daughters Martha Jane Weller (1832-1898) and Mary Louisa Ketchum (1838-1878) on 1 September 1859. 7 and 9 Church Street East both sit on Reid Lot 73, which is the property Eliza sold to Mary.

Mary Gilchrist married Colborne barrister and later county court judge Jay Ketchum (1835-1909) in 1858. Since the Keeler House (now 9 Church Street East) had been there since 1820 and since the Ketchums were Colborne upper-crust, they probably lived in that house, not in the house at 7 Church Street East. The Ketchums had three children, Charles Vincent (1860-1918), William Herbert (1864-1924), and Josephine Anne (1869-1887), who undoubtedly lived in the house as well. In 1892, 14 years after Mary’s death, Jay Ketchum at the age of 57 remarried Margaret Jane Davidson (1863-1917) of Woodbridge, ON, age 29. They had a further four children: John Davidson (1893-1962), Edward Jay (1894-1969), Hugh Ferrar (1897-?), and Philip Allan Cheyne (1899-1963). It is likely that the new Ketchum family also lived in the Keeler House until Jay sold it in 1900 (see below), but the first three children were long gone by the time their father remarried. Charles had married Carrie Ella Wood (1863-?) in Toronto in 1885. William had married Florence Crouter (1869-?) sometime between 1891 and 1901. Josephine had died at the age of 18 in 1887, probably in the Keeler House.

Jay Ketchum sold the southwestern part of Reid Lot 73, which included the modern lots at 7 and 9 Church Street, to Robert S. Coyle (1845-1905?) on 20 March 1900. He retained the rest of the Reid Lot, including the modern lot at 11 Church Street, until he sold it to Harriet Coyle (1849-?), Robert’s wife, in 1904. Robert and Harriet (née Williams) had married in 1865 and had six children: Mary (1866-?), Benjamin H. (1867-1933), Robert J. (1869-1930), John (1871-1916), James (1876-?), and David William (1877-?). Robert and all of his sons were all fruit dealers. None of their children were living with Robert and Harriet in 1901, and presumably not in 1900 when the Coyles bought the Ketchum property.

The date of Robert Coyle’s death is uncertain, but ownership of his property on Church Street and numerous other properties in Colborne passed to his wife in 1905, so it is likely that he died that year. Harriet Coyle lived on the property in 1911 along with her son James and his family.

On 18 November 1914 Harriet set up a series of trust deeds for several of her properties with various of her sons as head trustees. It is a bit confusing, but it looks as if the property where 7 Church Street East now stands came under the trusteeship of her son David. The Keeler House was not among these trust properties, so presumably Harriet and James continued to live there.

As with her husband, the date of Harriet’s death is unclear, but she is absent from the 1921 census so she may have died between 1914 and 1921. According to land ownership records, 9 Church Street East was still in her name in 1921, but likely it was James who lived there at the time. David continued to control 7 Church Street through 1921.

James Coyle married Mary C. Vandervoort (1873-?) of Frankford in 1892. There is something strange about James Coyle’s age. According to his marriage certificate he was 23 in 1892 when he married 19 year old Mary Vandervoort, suggesting he was born in about 1969. On the other hand, census records invariably place his birth in about 1876. If true, he would have been only 17 when he got married. In any case, James and Mary Coyle had two children, Harry James (1894-1958) and Gladys Marian (1899-?). Both of them were living with their parents in 1911, but both were gone by 1921. Harry probably left when he married Eleanor May Brown (1893-1979) in 1912 and Gladys when she married Gerald Edwin Fox (1903-?) in 1921.

David Coyle married to Mary’ sister Maud Elizabeth Vandervoort (1878-?) in 1894. They had three children: Pearl Lilly (1896-1944), William David (1898-1983), and Marie (ca. 1915-?). If the David Coyle family lived in the house now known as 7 Church Street East, it means that the Vandervoort sisters (who were also sisters-in-law), were next-door-neighbours.

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