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The Ontario Residences of Henry2 York

A summary of Henry's residences in St. Vincent Township:

25 Mar 1847 - circa 1855-7:

St. Vincent, Grey Co., Lot 20, Concession 7 (just opposite west end of Centerville Road) (Henry's letters (Appendix D): purchased per February 1847 letter; 100 acres per November 1847 letter; log house 20x18 per 25 Sep 1848 letter; plank house 27x18 per 3&4 Oct 1852 letters; addition to house 32 sq. ft. per 20 Aug 1854 letter.)  Tax Assessment Rolls show him still owning this land in 1861.

In the 1851 Census, seven years after his arrival in St. Vincent Township, he is shown with 100 acres of land, 15 of it cultivated, of which 12 was in crops, and 3 in pasture.  The remaining 85 acres was "bush".  He had 4 steers or oxen, 3 milch cows, 2 calves or heifers, 6 sheep and 5 pigs.  He and his children produced 60 bushels of wheat, 15 bushels of barley, 2 bushels of peas, 30 bushels of oats, 100 bushels of potatoes, 50 bushels of turnips, 2 bushels of hops, 7 tons of hay, 20 lbs of flax or hemp, 10 lb. of wool, 15 yd. of flannel, 100 lb. of butter and 2 1/2 cwt of pork.

circa 1855-7 - circa 1861:

St. Vincent, Grey Co., Lot 29, Concession 6.  This is the lot where he built the old stone house.  Tax Assessment Rolls show him owning this land in 1854 and 1856.

St. Vincent Township land records:

  • 25 Apr 1855 - Wilson Mallory to Henry York (Book 3 #4000, 4001);
  • 24 Feb 1859 - Henry York to Wm. A. Robinson (Frederick York held the mortgage from 24 Feb 1859 to 14 Dec 1859) (Book 3-1 #4433,4434). 

The limestone for the 24 inch thick walls of the old stone house came from the farm.  The house had a big fireplace at one end of the room which served for cooking as well as heating.  The rafters were hewed out of pine logs.  The plates on which the rafters rested were of squared pine logs.  The joists were of the same kind of logs flattened on one side so that the upper floor could be laid.  The house had two doors and over the front door the names of Henry and Elizabeth York were carved.

Meaford (ON) Express (date unknown): Stone Haven's Centennial

Stone Haven, the old home of the Robinson family, was primarily owned by Mr. Henry York, who came out from England in 1834 [sic] bringing with him his wife and several young children.  Mr. York was twice married, three of his children still living, Mrs. Lydia Stevenson of Carman, Manitoba; Mr. York, of Vancouver, B.C., and Dr. N.A. York, Lisbon, Iowa.

The house was built by a distant cousin of Mr. York, a stonemason who also came out from England, living here a short time.  Mr. York only lived in this house a short time when he traded farms with Mr. William Robinson, and it has since remained in the possession of the Robinson family, ...

On the Seventh line North, about half-way between Meaford and Mountain Lake, close to the road among the shrubbery and overhanging branches of apple trees the old house stands, or rather comfortably sits.  ... As we entered it seemed like a kindly, gracious old lady who beamed and smiled a welcome to all and we were captivated by the charm of its low beamed ceiling, deep window seats and great open fireplace.  ... the house has suffered home humiliations in the past, being used for a cooper shop and blacksmith shop, this is not likely to happen again,...

Lydia and Will both died in 1937 so the celebration of the house's centennial must have been a bit early, perhaps based on the erroneous 1834 migration date.  Little did the author of the article dream that the house would suffer its final tribulation as a target for practice in the Tank Range.

Henry heard that a schoolhouse was to be built a few miles farther away and wishing to be near school he traded his farm for a highly improved fruit farm about 2½ miles southwest of where they were living.  So the fine stone home was traded to the Robinson family whose descendants owned the place and lived there for many years.  At one time the stone house was converted into a blacksmith shop but was later restored and furnished with antique furniture and was used as a community center.

During World War II and for many years after that, the area where the house was located was closed to public access to be used as an artillery range.  During that time the stone house was either torn down or destroyed by shelling.  The site is still a restricted military area.

  • 28 Jun 1871 - Henry York and wife to Thomas York (1 acre) (Book 56, #1243);
  • 16 Sep 1871 - Thomas York and wife to Charles Bumstead (1 acre) (Book 56, #1244);
  • 16 Sep 1871 - Charles Bumstead and wife to Ann York (1 acre) (Book 56, #1245);
  • 16 Apr 1894 - Ann York to Rosa Ufland (Book 169, #8318))

circa 1861 - 1878:

St. Vincent, Grey Co., Lot 22, Concession 7 - traded Lot 29, Conc. 6 for fruit farm 2 1/2 miles S.W.; after 10 years he built a new house (circa 1871); Levi was 7 (born 1864) and Nathan Albert was 5 (born 11 Mar 1866).

It was a great disappointment to Henry to find that the school house location was changed after he had traded properties and was finally built two miles from the fruit farm.  The house on the fruit farm was small and old and after living in it for ten years, he built a new home.

The house was made of concrete with walls 18 inches thick.  There was no cement available so the concrete was a mixture of sand, lime and water.  One of the building challenges was supplying water for the concrete.  All of the water for the mixing was brought from a creek.  A barrel was sunk near the building site and Levi and Nathan were given the task of keeping that barrel filled with water from the creek.  They accomplished this by having another barrel on a stone boat, filling it at the creek, and having it pulled by a horse to the building site.

Gravel was hauled from the lake shore about a mile and a half away.  Lime was burned somewhere in the community.  The foundation was made of boulders from another farm.  The building took all summer.

The cellar was made for food storage and bins were built to hold the winter supply of vegetables, apples, potatoes etc., all grown on the farm.  Previous to this the food was kept in deep pits outside the house.  These pits were about ten inches deep, three feet wide and twelve feet long.  Over the fruit and vegetables were layers of hemlock boughs and over all dirt was piled several inches thick.  Snow added its protection.  Food stored in this manner was unlikely to freeze and when uncovered in the spring it would be solid and juicy.  Any surplus found a ready market.

St. Vincent Township land records:

  • Western part (40 acres) - 24 Feb 1859 - Wm. Robinson to Henry York (Frederick York held the mortgage from 24 Feb 1859 to 5 Apr 1865) (Book 1-3, 4670, 4674; Book 1-17, 11470). 
  • Assessment rolls, 1861: Frederick York, age 30, 80 acres, John York, age 21, 1 acre, Henry York, age 50, 39 acres (also 100 acres lot 21, conc.8)). 
  • 1878: the Court of Revisions altered the assessment roll to show that George Long was to be assessed as tenant for Henry York's farm.

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