Jackson Stitt’s descendants preserve heritage through barn restorations

(Photo: Great Lakes Barn Restoration web site)

In follow-up to our story about the Bradley-Craig barn and Darby Ace’s related thesis, Patricia Barlosky of the Goulbourn Township Historical Society (GTHS) got in touch with me to relate what she discovered about the Stitt family in follow-up to a research request last summer. Patricia is the Research Coordinator for GTHS.

Here’s a bit of background on Jackson Stitt for whom Stittsville was named. The community businesses were few but those that existed were integral to any small village – a tanner, general store, blacksmith and a traveller’s inn. Mr. Stitt was the proprietor of the stopping place, as inns were referred to in those days, and hence, the village, including the Fair Green cattle and horse sales marketplace, was known as Stitt’s Corners. Jackson Stitt was named as our first postmaster so it was only fitting that the village’s name be changed to Stittsville in 1854. Jackson Stitt eventually departed the village and his descendants scattered throughout Canada and the United States.

Last summer Patricia received a question which was sent from someone in northern Michigan. It resulted in a correspondence in which she learned that some members of the original Stitt family who settled in what became Stittsville, Ontario, had moved to Norwich Township in Michigan and founded a town of Stittsville there. Stittsville, Michigan was a thriving logging town through most of the 1800s, but is now essentially a ghost town. Photos of what is left of the town can be seen here: http://99wfmk.com/stittsvillemi/.

However, the reason why Patricia is commenting on an article about barn preservation is this: “while researching my response to the question, I found an article in the GTHS collection: They Give Old Barns New Life: Family of barnwrights are preserving history, which originally appeared in the Feb/Mar 2003 edition of Country Magazine. http://greatlakesbarn.com/articles/country.html.

It tells the story of Sam Stitt III, a direct descendant of the original Stitt settlers.  His company, Great Lakes Barn Preservation, has worked to restore and preserve heritage barns in Michigan.”

Barn Restoration & Preservation – Michigan

Another Stitt descendant is Mark Stitt, who has his own company, Stitt Barn Preservation: https://www.stittbarnpreservation.com/about.

Patricia went on to say, “It has been so interesting to learn that descendants of the original Stitt family have been passionate about the preservation and restoration of heritage barns in Michigan – and what an amazing connection to the ongoing effort in Stittsville, Ontario to preserve the Bradley-Craig barn and the heritage it represents!”

**Editor’s Note: I’m sure Jackson Stitt would be proud of the work his descendants are doing to preserve heritage. It is worth reading the Country Magazine’s short article, if not just to see the dilapidated barn at the end of article that was restored by Sam Stitt III. Perhaps Richcraft could consult or hire either or both of the Stitt family members to help with the restoration of our own Bradley-Craig barn especially because of their connection to Stittsville.


4 thoughts on “Jackson Stitt’s descendants preserve heritage through barn restorations”

  1. I was told by a long time resident that the original name was Stittville. It became Stittsville later in. He has a print of a painting in which it is called Stittville.

    1. The village was called Stittsville. When the village name was added to the train station building that was once here, it had been misspelled – leaving out the ‘s’ after Stitt. My Mom is from one of the original families here and my parents owned the painting of the old train station with the misspelling, which I have now inherited.

      1. HI Lesley, My name is Aaron Stitt and I am a descendent of Jackson Stitt as well. My father is John William Stitt and his Father was William Detlor Stitt and his father was Albert Stitt and his father was William Stitt and his father was Jackson. So 3 great Grandfathers down the family tree you will see Jackson from myself and my siblings. We are from Hastings, NE. This is where William Stitt, Jackson’s son moved after being in Canada. What a super cool article to read and thank you for sharing this great knowledge!

        Thank you, Aaron

        1. Aaron – thank you so much for sharing your family connection to Jackson Stitt. It is always interesting to learn where the family members who had lived in Stittsville had moved and where the descendant’s of the Stitt family now reside. Below is some family information I thought you may be interested in reading on Jackson “Stitt” Wilson, a grandson of Jackson Stitt and son of Jackson’s sister – Sarah Ann Stitt.
          He was a prominent Christian Socialist, politician, municipal reformer and Suffragist at the turn of the 20th century. His ideas shaped opinions in regard to: social equity, labour movements, tax and education reform, women’s rights, alternative medicines and even prohibition. He championed the founding of the British Labour Party; was an ordained Methodist minister; had degrees in sociology and economics; was a social worker in the slums of Chicago; ran for the office of governor of California; became the first Socialist mayor of Berkeley, California; and travelled widely as a professional speaker throughout the USA and Britain between 1890 and 1940. His two daughters both became well known movie stars of the silent film era! His name was Jackson “Stitt” Wilson and he was the grandson and namesake of Jackson Stitt, the man that Stittsville is named after. His mother was Sarah Ann Stitt, who was born in Goulbourn in 1842. Her father, Jackson Stitt, owned a store and possibly a small hotel and tavern on a crossroads, then called the Fair Green (in the vicinity of today’s Carp and Hazeldean Roads in Stittsville), and ran a prosperous business there for many years. Jackson Stitt eventually became the first Postmaster of “Stitt’s Corners” in 1854, but the family then moved to Huron County near Goderich, Ontario, in about 1857. In 1864, Sarah Ann Stitt married William Wilson, a devout Methodist farmer and shoemaker. They settled near the town of Auburn, Ontario.

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