8 Victory Street, Colborne

(c.1860s-1880s)
Roll No. 1411-012-010-30100 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Queen Anne Victorian

The British Victorian version of the Queen Anne style empathizes more closely with the Arts and Crafts movement than does its American counterpart.

The historic precedents of the Queen Anne style were broad: Fine brickwork, often in a warmer, softer finish than the Victorians characteristically used, varied with terra-cotta panels; tile-hung upper stories, with crisply-painted white woodwork; blond limestone detailing; Oriel windows, and/or bow/bay windows often stacked one above the other; corner towers; asymmetrical facades and picturesque massing, Flemish Masters’ sunken panels of strap-work; deeply shadowed entrances; and broad porches. All in all, a domesticated free Renaissance style.

Because of the modest means and perhaps character of the initial settlers who were both United Empire Loyalists fleeing several generations of living in the American colonies, together with “half pay” officers de-mobbed out of the British military, the century homes of Upper Canada were usually more restrained than the classic architectural styles they emulated.

The Queen Anne vernacular house at 8 Victory Street (formerly Lane) is very large, with an impressive three story tower and a “deeply shadowed entrance” under a series of arches. There are two large chimneys which were probably original to the house.

The brickwork is worthy of note as it has decorative features such as the added course between floors, associated with the Queen Annes and a relatively rare find in Cramahe township. The half story tower shingles, cornice bead work and multiple windows make this a very impressive home that has been well maintained over its long life.

History or Associative Value

The property was part of the land transfer from Joseph A. Keeler to his daughter Eliza Jane Gilchrist (1812-1897) in 1854. From the age of 8, Eliza lived in the historic Keeler House at #9 Church Street not far from #8 Victory (then) Lane. She probably moved out in 1828 to marry Dr. Matthew Gilchrist, and was back living in the Keeler House in 1881 with her son-in-law. 8 Victory Lane was probably her actual abode before that and she continued to own it until her demise in 1897. Robert Snetsinger owned it from 1904 to 1921.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

8 Victory Lane, Colborne, Ontario
Cramahe Township, Concession 2, Lot 31

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).

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.

The house at 8 Victory Lane is on the land received by Eliza Gilchrist. Undoubtedly, Eliza had lived in the Keeler House on what is now Church Street from the age of 8. She likely moved out at the age of 16 when she married Dr. Matthew Gilchrist in 1828. She owned the Keeler house herself between 1854 and 1859, when she transferred it to her daughter Mary Louise Ketchum (LINK). She was not living with the Ketchums when the censuses were taken in 1861 or 1871, suggesting she didn’t live in the Keeler House at that time, and the house at 8 Victory Lane seems like a likely spot for her home, if the house is that old. She was back living with Jay Ketchum, the husband of her by then deceased daughter, in 1881, when she was 69 years old.

Despite the possibility that Eliza (by then Eliza Burke) moved back into the Keeler House between 1871 and 1881, she continued to own the property on which 8 Victory Lane stands until her death in 1897. It then passed to Emma McCallum (1855-1919). McCallum sold it to Colborne apple merchant Robert Snetsinger (1856-1934) on 20 May 1904. He retained it through 1921.

Who lived in the house depends on when it was built. If prior to 1881, the likely first occupant was Eliza Jane Keeler Gilchrist Burke. If she ever did live in the house, there is some indication she may have left it by 1881. After that, if she wasn’t the resident, it is uncertain who lived there until Eliza’s death in 1897. Perhaps one of her offspring. Emma McCallum, who was the great-granddaughter of Eliza’s aunt Clarissa Strong, owned the property from 1899 to 1904. She may or may not have lived there. If she did, other possible occupants would have been her husband Charles James McCallum (1856-1922) her step-daughter Edna Maria (1880-1972), and her children Kenneth Ketchum (1888-?), and Harold G. (1890-?).

Robert Snetsinger owned the property from 1904 through 1921. Since he was apparently fairly well-to-do and since the house at 8 Victory Lane isn’t exactly a hovel, it wouldn’t be surprising if lived there. If so, he was accompanied by his wife, Mary Ann (nee Dougherty, 1864-1953) and children Herbert Allen (1890-?), Mabel Clare (1891-1957), Helen Maria (1892-1956), and James Matthias (1894-1958). James married Ada Mary Warren (1895-1978) of Wentworth in 1921. Clara and Helen were still living with their father that year. Herbert hadn’t yet married, but he was living in Toronto by then. Snetsinger died of acute enteritis in Colborne in 1934.

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