(The log home at 6760 Mansfield Road was moved in 2020 and repurposed. Photo: André Bergevin)
Imagine the stories that our rural log homes and barns could tell. The labour involved to construct the incredible buildings. The tales of long hours spent in the barn tending the animals. With all of the log structures you see during rural drives, one wonders what was stored in each. On most farmsteads, the barns were usually built to the north on the land to form wind protection for the house. Ideally, a creek would run through the property so water was accessible for the barn and home.
There is one picturesque log house that calls attention to its history and was located at 6760 Mansfield Road on the fringe of the community of Mansfield and close to Munster. This house was home to many ancestors of the former Goulbourn Township. Their names are still familiar today, adding to the history of our community with road and neighbourhood namings in honour of the families that once resided on the land. Well known families with the names of Healey and McCoy once made 6760 Mansfield their home.
It is a farm 200 acres in size and was recently sold. The new owners are busily tile draining the land and clearing the overgrowth. The log house with the echoes of children’s laughter and family stories has disappeared. But more on that later. The main residence (log home) for these 200 acres is known as 6832 Mansfield Road.
Other than the Orange Hall, there are few remnants of the former Mansfield community, at one time the seat of government for the township, until the township hall, built in 1853, burned down and was rebuilt at Stanley’s Corners (formerly Rathwells Corners) in 1872. The township hall was originally built on Carleton Cathcart’s land at Mansfield. Cathcart was the township’s first clerk. The 1872 township hall is now the home of the Goulbourn Museum. Mansfield was a historic community of Goulbourn Township, named after the Mann family, who were pioneer settlers in the area (Mann’s Store on Stittsville Main). The community grew up in the 1840’s and 1850’s. At one time, there was a Methodist Church built in 1847 and the first Orange Hall was built just to the east of it. The Mansfield school, School Section No. 6, was built at the corner of Mansfield and Conley Roads but was later moved to just east of Conley Road, where it still stands.
The family history of the 6760 Mansfield Road property and the one beside at 6832 Mansfield Road begins in 1819. That was the year when William Healy Sr., at approximately 45 years of age, and one of the earliest settlers in Goulbourn, emigrated to Canada from Ireland. He, along with his 21-year old son, William Jr., and 19-year old daughter, Margaret, settled in Goulbourn on what today is Mansfield Road. William Sr. and his daughter settled on the east half of Lot 18, Concession 6, while William Jr. settled on the west half – Lot 19, Concession 6 and now known as 6760 Mansfield Road. There are several descendants of the Heal(e)y family who continue to reside in the Goulbourn/ Stittsville area. Howard Healey being one and who provided the history of his family settling in Goulbourn.
The properties also hold personal meaning to Keith Hobbs, past-President of the Goulbourn Museum and Goulbourn Township Historical Society member. His family were early McCoy family occupants of the property and are a part of his maternal grandmother’s heritage.
Keith shared with Stittsville Central, “Orville McCoy bought it. My grandma, Lila May McCoy, was first born and raised by her Healey maternal grandmother. Lila had brothers Bill and Norman. Her cousins included Alfred (A.H.), Harold and Orville. There used to be a two story unpainted clapboard house across Mansfield on the knoll slightly to the east where a gateway remains. So I don’t know which is which, i.e. my grandma Lila’s parents home and her mother’s parents home, or another nearby. Orville McCoy had a new barn built at 6832 Mansfield, so this may have involved your grandfather”. Yes, indeed, this Editor’s grandfather, Orville Parks, was the head carpenter that built the barn according to the business logs he left behind.
As was said – more on that later – regarding the log house. There have been rumours that the original log house was to be moved to Golden Lake and repurposed. The original house has in fact been dismantled log by log professionally in 2020 and moved to another property where it has been reconstructed and repurposed. Stittsville Central reached out to the new owner of the log home, but as of this date, have not received a direct response, but do have photos to share from the current owner.
There has been much kerfuffle recently on a Facebook post about the fact the current owners were burning the log home. When in fact, that is not true. The couple were burning the leftover unusable wood scraps from their main house renovations.
We reached out to the new owners who are long time dairy farmers from our region. They were perplexed to see the Facebook posting and the comments that followed. This editor actually went to high school with their uncle, Richard, at South Carleton High and can add that the Hill family is very respected in their community.
Spencer and Brittany Hill are the new proud owners of the historical 6760 Mansfield Road and are 7th generation dairy farmers of the Hill family from the Barrhaven/Richmond area. They told Stittsville Central that the former home was dismantled log by log and is being repurposed and were excited to provide photos of the rebuild in process.
The Hill family are new to Munster, but not new to farming and all it entails. They have every intention of keeping the local history alive, hence the family’s reason for purchasing the land to maintain the integrity of and participate in the continuation of our local history. Brittany told us, “I know the community wants the history to continue. We would love to be a part of that – we are new to Munster.”
The Hills emphasized, “We have purchased the property to move further from the city as our home farm and barns are on Moodie drive right in Barrhaven. We now farm here with our 2 year old son, and so far we can’t say enough great things about Munster.”
We must make a concerted effort to preserve our heritage. Heritage quite literally makes us who we are – culturally, educationally, inspirationally and economically. “The preservation of our rural heritage is just as valid a goal as urban heritage”, said Barb Bottriell, past-President of the Goulbourn Township Historical Society and author of Stittsville: A Sense of Place.