Sunday, 4 December 2011

Lot 11, Lake Avenue

The Land Registry Office can be a great place to go and spend an afternoon.  This week I was looking at Lot 11, Lake Avenue - currently the lot where the Kennedy's have their guest cabin.

The Lot was first sold on 31 July 1884 by Franklin Crandall of Lindsay to Thomas Stewart of Lindsay.  A month later, it was sold on 1 Sept 1884, by Thomas Stewart to Edmund Gregory of Lindsay.

Edmund Gregory owned a drug store in Lindsay.  He had married Mary Wright of Lindsay in June of 1867 and they had one daughter and five sons – Ethelwyn (b. 1868), Alfred (b. 1869), William (b. 1872), Henry (b. 1874), Arthur (b. 1880) and Frank (b. 1883). 

They built the original two story white cottage.  Edmund died in February of 1892 and the family was able to keep the cottage for two more summers before selling it in September of 1894.  The only known picture of the cottage dates to after 1907 and shows the boathouse built by later owners.

The estate of Edmund Gregory sold the property on 13 Sept 1893 to Ernest McGaffey.

Ernest McGaffey was a dry goods merchant in Lindsay.  A life long bachelor, he shared his home with his older sister, Emma McGaffey.  On 30 Dec 1897, the property is transferred to Emma Gregory.

Emma Gregory sold the property on 27 May 1907 to Marjorie F.S. Jones.

Marjorie Campbell Jones was the daughter of Sir Alexander Campbell, Postmaster General of Canada and Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.  Sir Alexander had attended the Royal Grammar School in Kingston with Sir John A MacDonald.  He articled under John Cassidy and then MacDonald, before the two men became partners in the law firm MacDonald & Campbell.

Sir Alexander also served in MacDonald's cabinet.  While his "achievements as a cabinet minister were minor, some of his administrative decisions had wide ramifications.  He was minister of justice when Louis Riel was captured in 1885.  Under no circumstances did Campbell want the Metis leader tried in Winnipeg.  As he explained to MacDonald, Riel "should be sent under safe guard to Regina, and there be tried before Hugh Richardson and a jury of six, under the North West Territories Act," by which a prisoner was not entitled to a mixed anglophone and francophone jury.  A trial in Winnipeg, especially with some French-speaking jurymen, could easily have let to a verdict other than guilty, an outcome regarded by Campbell as a possible "miscarriage of justice."  With such a verdict Canada might have been spared the crisis surrounding Riel's execution or experienced a quite different one." [source: ]  This is of interest because the Jones' neighbours at Sturgeon Point included Major General Dr. Sterling Ryerson who had served on the Canadian Militia at the Battle of Batoche and who had treated Louis Riel.

During her father's time as Lieutenant Governor (appointed Feb 1887/died in office 1892), during his occupancy of Government House, Marjorie acted as his official hostess and "performed the social duties incident to her position with grace and tact."  The vice-regal residence, or Government House, was built in 1870 at the south-west corner of Simcoe and King Streets - across the street from Upper Canada college.  It was closed in 1912, and Marjorie and her husband attended the final state dinner.  It was replaced by Chorley park in Rosedale which opened in 1925. 

Government House - Vice Regal Residence, 1890 by Josiah Bruce
Corner of Simcoe & King Streets, Toronto - where Roy Thompson Hall and Metro Hall now stand
Archives of Ontario, Item # F1125-1-0-0-87

On 3 July 1894 Marjorie was married at St Thomas Church (Anglican) Toronto by Rev J. Charles Roper to William Wallace Jones.  Wallace was born on August 30th 1863, Toronto, one of ten children of Clarkson Jones and Zippa Simpson Roebuck. He was also a lawyer initially with a practice in the Gananoque-Brockville area. About 1900, they settled in Toronto where he initially joined Robert Simpson Co as a legal consultant.

They appear in the Toronto Blue Books in 1903-1904, 1906 and 1910
     Jones, Mr. and Mrs. W. Wallace (Campbell)
     5 Wellesley place
     Receives Monday

It is not known if the Jones’ made any additions to the original Gregory cottage, but they did build the boathouse.
The Jones Boat house, 1935 by Adam F. Barr
Courtesy of the Barr family

In May 1930, Marjorie Jones sold the property to Henry Eber Smith, who sold it several days later to Col. Eric Philips, who owned Lots 12 and 13, next door to the east.  Phillips took the cottage down but kept the original barn, using it as a garage.  A staff house was originally built at the back property line of Lot 12 and after the property was sold to Fred Connell, it was moved to the front of Lot 11 to be used as a guest house.

In 1935, Adam F. Barr, the neighbour to the west, looked at either purchasing the Jones’ boathouse or building a similar boathouse on Lot 10.  He took the only known detailed photographs of the boathouse.

The Jones Boat house, 1935 by Adam F. Barr
Courtesy of the Barr family

The boat house did not survive.  By the early 1940s when the Connell family bought the property, all that remained was a pile of timber and a snake.  Eventually a retaining wall was built and painted blue.  The old decking was filled with cement and it became known as the "Blue Dock".

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