88 Percy Street, (or 88 Big Apple Drive), Colborne

(c.1860s)
Roll No. 1411-011-010-13400 – Cramahe Township Ontario

Ontario Farmhouse

88 Percy Street (or 88 Big Apple Drive) in the village of Colborne, is a magnificent Ontario farmhouse sitting on the Northern boundary line and was once actually outside the boundaries of the village.

From its roots in the mid 19th century, it has been restored and preserved so that it looks as new today as the day it was built.

It is clad in the red brick so common to Northumberland County, though it is of a paler hue than most of its compatriots. It has the classic peaked gabled facade with a single story three panel bay window in the gable end.

The chimneys are either original or restored, complete with the extra course of bricks near the top (a building feature commonly found in adjacent Prince Edward County).

There is a single story section on the South side, also brick, which fits into the main house seamlessly. The windows are all round head two over two pane which are usually associated with Italianate architecture. The lot on which the house sits is steeply sloped to the South giving the house an interesting setting. This house is currently owned by a professional couple and they have built a faithful replica next door on their acreage to serve as the office and care centre. The front porch and unique wooden barge board peak embellishment make the house stand out amongst its neighbours. There is a massive two story carriage house in the rear of the residence, again built to replicate the architecture of the era.

No. 88 is a truly beautiful example of the classic Ontario farmhouse and a handsome welcome into the village, sitting as it does on the main entrance road from the North.

History or Associative Value

An interesting feature of this property is that it was owned by a succession of retired farmers after 1889. To wit, John Atchison, Benjamin Williams, William Bellamy, R.B. Garrison, William Oliver and finally Charles Turney. Testament to its rural borders and their wish to live “near” town. The current owners date the house to the 1860s (when there was a boom in building after Colborne was incorporated in 1859) so the builders were probably James and Marie Strong (and their 8 children) who owned it during that period.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

88 Percy Street, Colborne, Ontario
Cramahe Township, Concession 2, Lot 31

Although the house associated with Northumberland Veterinary Hospital until recently was north of the town limit of Colborne, it is of historical interest and it’s now within the town limits.

Lot 31, Concession 2 was granted to George Asahel Palmer (1761-1833) (LINK) on 15 July 1804. The 200 acres in this Lot extend from Percy Street on the west to Elgin Street on the east and from Purdy Road on the north to King Street on the south, although none of those roads, except the Danforth Road which corresponded to modern King Street, were present in 1803. On 18 January 1812 Palmer sold the 200 acres to Joseph Keeler (1763-1839) (LINK), apparently in exchange for the northern 2/3 of Lot 30, Concession 1, which Palmer received from Keeler on the same day. On 1 June 1827 Keeler sold the northern half of Lot 31 to his son-in-law Ozem Strong (1784-1857) (LINK).

On 1/16/1855, Ozem Strong willed his property in Lot 31, among others, to his son James Stuart Strong (1815-1896). James Strong was a farmer, merchant, and fruit dealer at various times. He married Maria Ewing Powers (1820-1905) in 1843 and had eight children: Charles S. (1843-1936), Helene C. (1849-?), Mary B. (1851-1869), Caroline (1855-1924), Frank Powers (1857-1928), Frederick (1860-?), William B. (1861-?), and Lydia Daisy (1867-?).

On 23 August 1856 James Strong sold the northern half of Lot 31, again with other properties, to William Sherwood Buell (1796-1865) of Rochester, NY. Buell was the second husband of James S. Strong’s wife Maria’s mother Clarissa Ewing (1793-1866), and therefore Maria’s step-father. He never occupied the property and on 4 August 1859 he sold it back to the Strongs.

Maria Strong sold the block of land at the southwestern corner of the northern half of Lot 31 (the property on which the vet hospital now stands) to Julia Augusta Dewey (1843-1914) on 27 November 1876. Julia Dewey was born Julia Augusta Coleman and married Josiah Burghardt Dewey (1828-1901), a Colborne merchant, in about 1866. Josiah Dewey was a son of Benedict Dewey (1787-1842) and Sophia Keeler (1792-1870). Sophia was a daughter of Joseph Keeler I. This means that both Maria’s husband and Julia’s husband were Keeler’s grandsons, making Maria and Julia what? Cousins-in-law-in-law? Josiah and Julia Dewey had three children: William (1868-?), Charles Arthur (1869-?), and Martha Augusta (1876-?).

Josiah and Julia Dewey mortgaged the property with James Scougale (ca. 1824-1890) on 29 November 1877, and again on 26 December 1877 with the Ontario Loan and Savings Company. It also appears that on 21 June 1880 the Ontario Loan and Savings Company transferred their interest in the property to James Scougale, so he became the sole mortgage holder. James Scougale is discussed in the write-up of 3 King Street West (LINK). The Deweys must have defaulted on their loan, because on 6 December 1889 Scougale sold the property to Adam Miller (1823-1903), a Haldimand Township farmer. Miller appeared in Haldimand Township censuses all of his adult life, including 1891, the census between his purchase of the Colborne property in 1889 and his selling it in 1894, so it doesn’t appear that he ever lived in Colborne.

Miller sold the property to John Atchison (1842-?) on 6 June 1894. Atchison was a Cramahe farmer who married Permelia Honeywell (ca. 1853-1932) in 1870 and had five children: Leroy (1871-?), Loraine (1871-?), James Kenneth (1873-?), Jennie (1877-?), and William John (1880-?). Leroy and Loraine were twins.

On 1 February 1898, John Atchison transferred title to his wife Permelia and on 9 December 1899 Permelia sold it to Archibald Finlay McDonald (1872-1904). In a few years McDonald would also buy the adjacent land to the south. McDonald was an apple dealer. He married Myrtle Estelle Philp (1878-1921) in 1899, six months before his purchase of the property, so he probably bought it to live on with his new family. There was at least one son, Gordon R. (1900-?), and one genealogy lists a second child, but the information is designated “private”.

After his death in 1904 of arteriosclerosis, Archibald McDonald’s wife Myrtle sold the property (on 14 November 1904) to Benjamin R. Williams (1839-1911), a retired Cramahe farmer. Although born in Canada, he spent several years in Kansas, but was living in Cramahe by 1901. His wife was Nancy Huyck (1846-1922) and they had two children: Dwight Harvey (1878-?) and Bessie (1883-?).

Benjamin Williams died instantaneously of “heart trouble” (undoubtedly a heart attack) in 1911. Nancy Williams, as legatee of his estate, gave the property on 7 February 1911 to her son Dwight, who was at that time working as a painter in Rochester, NY. Dwight (1878-?) was born in Leavenworth, Kansas and married Lena May Perry (1877-?) in Port Hope in 1899. Although he was living in Colborne as of the 1901 census, there is no evidence that he lived there after inheriting the property under discussion. At any rate, he soon (12 February 1912) sold it to Catherine (“Cassie”) Larue Coyle (1866-1921). Cassie Coyle (née Chapin) was the wife of Robert J. Coyle (1869-1930), one of the myriad sons of Robert S. Coyle (1845-?), all of whom were apple dealers.

The Coyles owned property all over Colborne, and Cassie only owned this one for two months, so it is unlikey that she lived on it. She sold it to William Nelson Bellamy (1851-1934), another retired farmer, on 16 April 1912. Bellamy was a native of Cramahe who had moved to Simcoe County, but retired back to Colborne. His wife was Lydia Rushten Donaghy (1851-1928) and his children were William J. (1881-?), Mary (1882-?), and Inez (1890-?). All of the children were adults in 1912 and probably didn’t move to Colborne with their parents.

William Bellamy sold the property to R. B. Garrison (ca. 1844-?) of Roulette County, North Dakota, on 5 May 1917. Garrison was born in Ontario and he appeared in the Colborne census for 1921 (where his wife’s name was listed as Minnie), but there isn’t any further definite information about him. There was a Robert Baldwin Garrison who married Minnie Hicks (nee Rowland, ca. 1857-?) in Belleville in 1906. This was probably the same man, though it can’t be conclusively determined. Robert and Minnie were married at 62 and 49; they had no children, although each had been married before and so there may have been step-children.

R. B. Garrison sold the property to William Henry Oliver (ca. 1874-?), a Percy Twp. farmer, on 1 March 1920. Like Garrison, Oliver appeared in Cramahe censuses only in 1921, where he is accompanied by his wife Fanny Irene Chappell (ca. 1871-?; married in Percy Twp. in 1906) and several of his in-laws.

Finally, just under the wire for our 1921 cut-off, William and Fanny Oliver sold the property to Charles Taggart Turney (1862-1937) on 29 October 1921. Turney was from Cramahe Twp., and was yet another retired farmer. He was a Cramahe native. He married Mary “Minnie” Cox (1861-1909) in 1884. Their children were Pearl Edith (1886-?), Florice (1887-?), Ernest Claude (1890-?), Clifford Lloyd (1898-?), and William Arthur (1900-?).

According to the current residents of 88 Percy Street, their house dates from the 1860’s. If this is true, it would appear that it was probably built by James and Maria Strong, since they owned the property until 1876. If the house is of a later date, it would have to have been built by Josiah and Julia Dewey between 1876 and 1889, Adam Miller between 1889 and 1894, John and Permilia Atchison between 1894 and 1899, Archibald and Myrtle McDonald between 1899 and 1904, Benjamin Williams between 1904 and 1911, Dwight and Lena Williams in 1911 or 1912, Robert and Cassie Coyle in 1912, William and Lydia Bellamy between 1912 and 1917, R. B. and Minnie Garrison between 1917 and 1920, William and Fanny Oliver in 1920 or 1921, or Charles Turney (or someone else) in 1921 or later. Some of these seem much less likely than others (for instance, Cassie Coyle almost certainly didn’t live in the house and Adam Miller and Dwight Williams don’t even appear to have been residents of Cramahe while they owned the property.

An interesting trend with this house is that for much of its history it seemed to pass pretty much from one retired farmer to another. The next documented occupant after the Deweys there was John Atchison was a 52 year old farmer. Archibald McDonald wasn’t a retired farmer but he was followed by Benjamin Williams, a retired farmer. The next occupant was probably William Bellamy, another retired farmer. He was followed by R. B. Garrison, another retired farmer. Then came William Oliver, another farmer, 49 years old (retired?). Finally Charles Turney, retired farmer. Seemingly, farmers who retired to town preferred to stay on the outskirts rather than move into the congested centre.

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