EDITOR’S NOTE: This series on Boyd House, an old stone farmhouse on Huntmar Drive, originally appeared a year ago on OttawaStart.com. We’re updating and republishing the original research over the next few weeks on StittsvilleCentral.ca. Photos and research by Glen Gower.
Could the woman on the porch be Jane Boyd? The Boyd family says it is. She was one of the original owners of the old stone house at 173 Huntmar Drive, along with her husband James. She would have been about 54 years old in this photo. Born Jane Bradley in Goulborn Township in 1846, she was the daughter of Jacob and Nancy (Tetlock) Bradley. The Bradley name is still prominent in Stittsville today.
James was born in 1845, and was the first Canadian-born son in his family. His parents were Margaret and Alexander Boyd. Alexander was 20 when he arrived in Huntley Township from Antrim, Northern Ireland in 1841. He met Margaret Dorning soon after and they set up a household next to the Carp River. (Here’s a short article from a 1932 edition of the Ottawa Citizen with some information about Alexander’s early life in the area.)
James preferred to go by “Jimmy”, according to their great-granddaughter Melodie McCullough, who now lives in Peterborough.
James and Jane were married on December 22, 1875. It looks like the Boyd family (either James or his parents) purchased the land that they would eventually build the house on around 1872. It was previously owned by the Burroughs family, who were granted the land at Lot 1 Concession 1, Huntley Township from the Crown in 1823 and farmed there for nearly 50 years.
The Burroughs built a small log barn on the property, visible on the left of this aerial photograph. That old barn was standing as recently as September 2013, but has since collapsed. The Burroughs sold to the Boyds in 1872 and moved to Manitoba.
Before the stone house at 173 Huntmar was built, Jane and James lived for a few years in a small log home just to the south of the current home, only a few meters from what’s now the Fairwinds subdivision in Stittsville.
According to family history, the Boyd family’s stone house was built in 1887 by a Scottish stonemason who worked on several nearby buildings. The stone was quarried from a spot further down Hazeldean Road on the way to Stittsville. The family built a large barn on the property in 1901.
Jane and James raised a large family at the house. Official records disagree on the exact number of kids and their names, but it’s likely there were five girls and two boys. The oldest were Margaret Ann, Mabel McGellan, Gertrude Beatrice, Ida Theressa, and Elsie Jane. The youngest William James and Alexander Byron. Another source says there were five children: Margaret Ann, Malinda May, Ida Teresa, Elsie Jane and Oscar Lorne. The descrepency could be due to bad record keeping, or the sad fact that many children didn’t survive until adulthood in the 19th century.
You can see some of the young Boyd women in this 1901 photo (click for full size).
The article mentions “two of our Fenian Raid Veterans, John Kemp and James Boyd”. Kemp owned the land and tavern south of Hazeldean Road that’s now known as Cabotto’s restaurant. The Fenian raids were a series of events between 1866-1871 by an Irish Republican organization on British targets in Canada. (Perhaps a history buff could look into some of the history of early Stittsville residents and their involvement in the Fenian raids?)
UPDATE: Jeff Linttell, a Boyd family descendant, sent me this note:
“As far as the Fenian involvement goes, I know very little. What my dad told me was that James was a volunteer defender against the Fenian attackers, and for that he was granted 100 acres of land in the Abbitibi region of northern Ontario. I remember seeing a very fancy and colourfull deed to the same that dad’s oldest brother had. My grandmother, Margaret Ann, received some money from a logging company back in the 1950’s after it was discovered that they had been cutting lumber from this land. My parents went up to the area in the late 1960’s in search of this grant. The closest they got was an area registry office. In order to see the land, they would have to take a boat up the Abbitibi river (I believe). The land was under water at that time. The government didn’t lose much by granting this black fly infested area to its loyal defenders.”
Here’s a scan from the 1911 Census, showing an entry for the Boyd family. The family is all recorded as “Irish, Canadian, Presbyterian”. James’ occupation: “Farmer”. Two sons are listed as living at the house, along with a 16-year-old named “Robert Sparks” listed as “Domestic”.
Here are a few clippings from local newspapers that reference the Boyd family:
The Goulbourn Museum has about 50 artifacts from the Boyd family in their collection, including iron pulleys, a carriage box, a child’s sled, a minnow bucket, an iron wheel, a wood shelving unit that is painted blue, a paper dispenser, a hay lift fork, painted green milk cans, aluminum pots and pans, buckets, a mini cast iron electric fireplace, shoe lasts, Royal souvenir teacups, electrical insulators, cigarette boxes and glass bottles.
I saw this old broken wheel at the edge of the property when I visited in December 2013. I bet there are a lot of other items around the property and inside the buildings with stories to tell.
Jane Boyd died in 1914. James Boyd died in 1916. They were buried at the Carp Road Presbyterian Cemetery. Their land at 173 Huntmar was farmed by descendants of the Boyds until the 1970s, when Lyman James Boyd sold it.
Several people have owned the property since then, including the Doutriaux family for about three decades from 1980 to 2011. It’s now owned by Bob Karam. The house is still there, boarded up to protect against trespassers. The barns have collapsed.
NEXT IN THIS SERIES: Photos of Boyd House and the old barns on the property
PREVIOUSLY: Boyd House: The Old Stone Home at 173 Huntmar
Sources used to research this story include:
- Huntley Township Historical Society: Newsletter No. 280, September 15, 2013
- City of Ottawa Report: Designation of the Boyd House, October 30, 2014
- Information provided by Kathryn Jamieson of the Goulbourn Museum.
- Thanks to Christopher Ryan for archival searches.