73 King Street East, Colborne

Roll No. 1411-012-020-08900 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Folk Victorian

No. 73 King Street East sits in a row of similar houses on the North face of King Street East in the village of Colborne. All are what is known as Folk Victorian. 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 usual floor plan is straight forward with a parlour in front, kitchen in back, and bedrooms upstairs.

The classic Folk Victorian has a tall, square symmetrical shape with a front gable and a side wing which gives it an “L” shape (or sometimes a “T”). It has a cross gable roof and often a 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 this one does.

This particular house has two over two pane windows, a cross peak roof and a small enclosed vestibule filling in the “L” and another which gives access to a shed roof addition on the rear of the building. The tudor shaped hood mold and the exquisite trim around the three panel bow window gives the house a charming customized look without the usual gingerbread.

The colour choices too add to the pleasing appearance of this property, reminiscent of the Victorian “Painted Ladies” found in abundance in St. Francisco. These Folk Victorians certainly add to the village streetscape with their mix of functionality and charm.

History or Associative Value

The Reid Plan Lot 172 comprises 3 properties, 69, 71 and 73 King Street East. Daniel Simmons owned the entire lot at one point and he built the houses at 71 and 73 King Street East sometime between 1874 and 1879. Robert Coyle, a local apple merchant bought No. 73 in 1887 and it remained in the family until 1906.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

73 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.

On 18 March 1887 Daniel L. Simmons sold his remaining part of Lot 172 (the part now designated 73 King Street) to Robert Coyle (1845-?). The property then stayed in the Coyle family until 1906, passing first to Robert’s wife Harriet Coyle (1849-?) on 7 Jun 1887, then to their son Benjamin H. Coyle (1867-1933) on 26 March 1896. This is the same Benjamin Coyle who bought 3 North Street in 1893 and financed his son Elmer’s purchase of 63 King Street in 1920 (LINKS). The Coyles were all apple dealers.

On 30 May 1906, Benjamin Coyle sold the property to Amy E. Rutherford (1882-?), wife of apple dealer Ralph J. Rutherford (1876-?; son of Robert J. Rutherford who, along with Byron Hinman and Ephraim Card, had owned 69 King Street from 1883 to 1889 (LINK)). Amy soon thereafter (15 September 1906) sold it to Mary Dency Irena Simmons (née Taylor, 1854-1930), who then transferred it to her husband Oscar A. Simmons (1850-1918) on 5 April 1909. On that same date, Oscar Simmons received Lot 171 (67 King Street) from his uncle Daniel L. Simmons (convoluted, isn’t it?). Oscar was a retired farmer.
Oscar Simmons owned the property through 1921.

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 I have for residence comes from the 1911 census when Oscar and Mary Simmons lived at 73 King Street.


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