79 Division Street, Colborne

(c.1890)
Roll No. 1411-012-020-27900 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Folk Victorian

No. 79 Division Street, is one of the very few brick Folk Victorians in the village of Colborne.

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 every neighbourhood of rural areas and cities.

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. 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.

This property does not have either oriel or bay windows, nor Victorian gingerbread or any other sort of adornment short of shutters and painted brick arch “eyebrows”. It has a gable roof with no cross. The “L” has been enclosed to form an interior vestibule.

There is a board and batten addition at the rear of the property.

History or Associative Value

In 1873, Lawyer Simon H. Payne owned all the land on the South East side of Division Street which he divided into “Park Blocks” L,M,N,O,P. He sold to Mary Easton in 1873 and ten years later this lot was sold to Orpha Maria Snetsinger – one of the most prominent families in Colborne at the time. It is not possible to tell from land registry and census records who lived in this house over the years, nor when it was actually built. But it is clear that the Eastons and Snetsingers owned it from 1873 to 1921

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

79 Division Street

79 Division Street (along with 77, 83, and 85) sits on another of the Park Lots set up by Simon Payne in 1873, this time Block O. Payne sold this Block to Mary Easton (1839-1883), wife of Colborne grocer William D. Easton (1834-1897, married in 1865), on 10/29/1873. They don’t appear to have had any children. After her death of “phthisis” (tuberulosis) in 1883, the executors of her will transferred the property to William George Clarke (1871-1933). Or maybe it’s “Clark”, the spelling seems to jump back and forth in records. It’s “Clarke” in the Land Office records. Mary Easton had been born Mary Clarke, and William Clarke was her nephew. He was listed as living with her and her husband in the 1881 census. Although he was only 12 years old, William Clarke or, more likely, his guardians, sold the property to Orpha Maria Snetsinger (1841-1897) on 12/29/1883.

Orpha Snetsinger (née Dillard) was the wife of Noah Dickinson Snetsinger (1840-1915), a Colborne businessman (listed mostly as grain dealer, but also as trader, speculator, and, in 1891, hotel keeper) and uncle of even more prominent Colborne businessman Robert Snetsinger (1856-1934). Orpha married Noah in 1864 and they had six children: Henry Wiley (1865-1942), Josephine (1866-1905), John G. (1868-1897), Noah Dickinson (1870-?), Olpha Louise (1872-1932), and Harold Wiley (1877-1942).

After Orpha Snetsinger died of “inflammation of the bowels” in 1897, Park Lot O was inherited (on 1/1/1898) by her daughter Josephine, who had been working as a nurse in Buffalo, New York since 1886. She was still listed at the same occupation and residence in 1900. Josephine is the last owner for whom I have seen a record, although she died in 1905. She is buried in Colborne. I can find no indication that she ever married, except that the Land Office record of her acquisition of Park Block O refers to her as a “married nurse”. But her name was still Snetsinger.

So basically this property was owned by only two families between 1873 and 1921: the Eastons until 1883 and the Snetsingers thereafter. Both families owned properties elsewhere in Colborne, so it is unclear whether either one occupied Park Block O. However, one or the other had to have built the house, unless it’s younger than 1921. I don’t know what Mary Easton paid for the property, and William Clarke got it for $1 (as an inheritance). There was no Snetsinger listed as residing on Division Street in the 1911 census, but by that time the last owner for whom there is a record, Josephine Snetsinger, had died, so the house was probably rented to someone, by her estate. There are several residents of Division Street in the 1911 census who can’t be situated in a specific house.

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