71 King Street East, Colborne

(c. 1870s)
Roll No. 1411-012-020-09100 – Cramahe Township Ontario

“T” shaped Folk Victorian

71 King Street East is on the main street in the village of Colborne, and it is one of the many Folk Victorians to be found throughout Cramahe Township. This style, which was prevalent from 1870 to 1910 began as an orderly, less elaborate version of the classic Victorian.

Initially these Folk Victorians were found in remote/rural areas, made of local materials with or without adornment. Later they became very popular and today can be found in rural areas and cities in every neighbourhood.

The floor plan is usually straight forward with a parlour in front, kitchen in back, and bedrooms upstairs.

The classic Folk Victorian is tall, square and symmetrical with a front gable and a side wing which gives it an “L” shape (though many, like this one are more “T” shaped). It has a cross gable roof and a narrow front porch with spindles and gingerbread and sometimes flat jigsaw trim.

Some properties of this style have a three panel oriel window (on the upper floor level) in the Gothic Style and many others have ground floor three panel bay or bow windows as seen here.

This particular house probably began life as a classic Folk Victorian, then the sun porch was added to the West side, filling in the “L”. An open gingerbread trimmed porch filled in the East “L”. At some point, probably much later, a large one and a half or two story rear addition was added.

No. 71 has newer windows, and the tudor shaped hood mold along with the contrasting paint treatment gives the house a decorated look without the usual gingerbread. These Folk Victorians mix functionality with a lot of charm and No. 71 is no exception. Along with its neighbours, this house creates a pleasing streetscape of past history for those entering or leaving the village.

History or Associative Value

This property has a history of women and widowhood. In 1879, widow Mary Littlefield moved, with her two daughters, from Cornwall and bought this property. After her death, the girls sold to widow Mary Jane Clark in 1889, who sold to widow Jessie May Dudley in 1904. The widow Dudley sold to milliner Julia Catherine Culver in 1906. There is no record of Julia Catherine’s marital status so we don’t know if the saga continued. However it is clear that there were women of means in Upper Canada in the mid 19th century.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

71 King Street East, Colborne, Ontario
Cramahe Township, Concession 2, Lot 31, Reid Lot 172

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 the property that was to become Reid plan lots 171, 172, and 174 to Hiram Merriman (1791-1862) on 6 April 1832. As pointed out in the discussion of 65 King Street (LINK), Lot 171 is next door to Lot 170, sold by Keeler to Hiram’s brother-in-law George Stephens (1805-1875) in August of the same year. Hiram Merriman was a cabinet maker, and was one of the sons of early Cramahe settler Joel Merriman (1760-1832).

After Hiram Merriman’s death, the property was willed to his wife Nancy (née Rogers, 1802-?) on 22 April 1863. It then passed to their only surviving daughter, Mary Frances Merriman (1838-1877), who sold it, as well as the southeastern part of Lot 172, to Daniel Lewis Simmons (1830-1915) on 13 March 1874. This is the same Daniel Simmons who acquired Lot 170 in 1875 from Weymough G. Schreiber (1826-1898) (again, see the discussion under 65 King Street (LINK)).

When Mary Frances Merriman sold Lot 171 to Daniel Lewis Simmons (1830-1915) on 13 March 1874 (LINK), she also sold him the southwestern part of Lot 172. Simmons was the grandson of early Cramahe settler Smiton Simmons (1769-1865). He is listed in various censuses as a wood and lumber dealer, farmer, exporter, and fruit dealer. At various times he also owned Lot 170 and the southwestern part of Lot 173.

In 1879, Simmons split his property in Lot 172 into eastern and western halves. These halves correspond to the current properties associated with 71 King Street and 73 King Street. The western half (now 71 King Street) he sold to Mary Littlefield (1829-1886) on 3 November 1879. He himself retained ownership of the eastern half (now 73 King Street).
After this point, Lot 172, at least from the point of view of the houses on it, was divided into the three lots, with the modern addresses 69, 71, and 73 King Street. As of 1879, these properties were owned by Mary Frances Merriman, Mary Littlefield, and Daniel Lewis Simmons, respectively.

Mary Littlefield was a widow who moved to Colborne with her two daughters Augusta (1857-?) and Mary (1860-?) from Cornwall, Ontario sometime between 1871 and 1879. She was in the Cornwall census of 1871 and was listed as a resident of Colborne when she purchased Daniel Simmons’ property in 1879. In the 1881 census, when they were likely living on Lot 172, Mary the elder had no occupation listed. Her two daughters were listed as teachers.

On their mother’s death in Colborne on 6 May 1886, Augusta and Mary inherited the property. They were both residents of Toronto as of 1887, but whether they moved there before or after their mother died is unknown. They retained ownership until they sold the lot to Mary Jane Clark (1848-?) on 7 November 1889. Born Mary Jane Greenway, she was the widow of Cramahe farmer Richard Clark (1836-?).

Mary Clark sold the property to Jessie May Dudley (1878-?) on 17 May 1904. This is the same Jessie May Dudley who bought Lot 170 (65 King Street) from Daniel L. Simmons in 1906 (LINK). She was the widow of Colborne merchant Samuel D. Dudley (1877-?). Jessie May Dudley was born a McDonald, and was a great-granddaughter of early Cramahe settler Alexander McDonald (1776-1852).

Jessie Dudley in turn sold the property to Julia Catherine Culver (1865-?) on 14 October 1906, a few months after she bought Lot 170, 3 doors to the west. Julia Culver was a millener.

Finally, on 29 April 1921, Julia Culver sold the property to James J. Joslin (1876-?). Joslin immigrated into Canada from the USA the same year (1915) as Robert R. Joslin, who bought 8 North Street in 1920 (LINK). They may have been brothers. Like Robert, James is listed in the 1921 census as a “manager”, but it doesn’t stipulate in the census document what he managed.

When Daniel Simmons sold 71 King Street to Mary Littlefield, the sales documents specifically state that Simmons had built the houses now at 71 and 73 King Street. This means they were built sometime between 1874 and 1879.
The only solid evidence available for residence comes from the 1911 census. Julia Culver and her sister Sarah lived at 71 King Street.

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