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Address: 2306 Relin Way


Location: Pt Lot 22, Con 3; also Pt 4, Plan 5R-6615

Date and Fabric: c 1852, two storey stone

Known Owners: prior to 1937 - see narrative

Cowell connection 1937 - 1984
Nancy and Lawrence Engel 1984 -

photograph 1997

See also "Presence of the Past for January, 1990.

This attractive stone farmhouse was probably built around 1852-1854 by Peter Barthleman. Inscribed on its front are the initials P.B. and the date 1852 but the current [1990] owners, Mr. and Mrs Lawrence Engel, have found tokens in the wall dating from 1854.

In 1845, George Morgan sold to Barthleman, for 175, the land on which the house is located, being the west half of lot 22, concession 3, North Gower Township. Ten years later Peter and Nancy Barthleman sold the same land, excepting three village lots of 5,000 "superficial" feet, 71 to Johnson Fenton, a local merchant, for 1,000. The high price suggests that the newly built stone house was included in the transaction. In 1862, Fenton sold the same lot of approximately 100 acres to one Andrew Whitson who sold it back to Fenton in 1864, possibly being unable to continue payments on the 1,100 mortgage he had secured from Fenton. In the same year, the half lot was sold to William Trimble who, in 1876, sold different sections to his brother Andrew and to James Hall. By 1881, both of these men had sold their land to Henry Seabrook who, by 1886, had discharged a $5,300 mortgage borrowed from Hall. Using the high prices as indicators, a tentative ownership path can be traced from Barthleman to Fenton to William Trimble to Hall to Seabrook.

However, after 1886, Registry Office records fail to note any further transactions on lot 22 until 1909 72. Mr Harry Seabrook remembered his grandfather owning the farm and house around 1900. The Seabrooks must have soon sold to James Callendar since he apparently sold the house to Richard and Margaret Brown in 1905. The Browns in turn sold to Benson and Lola Cowell in 1937, and it passed briefly to their son Garnett and his wife Mildred before being sold, in 1984, to the Engels. Prior to this, the principal occupation of residents seems to have been farming, but by 1984 most of the farmland had been sold off and the house came with only one and a half acres of land.

The floors are of thick red pine and this, together with the two-foot thick stone walls, gives the house a very solid feel. The exterior walls and roof were built before the non-bearing partitions, as evidenced by the long uncut baseboards that line the inside of the four exterior walls. On the second floor the baseboard stops abruptly at the point of the front window and is replaced by moulding for the length of the window. This indicates either that the front window was originally built as a door or, more plausibly, as a window that could easily be converted to a door. Mr. Engel noted that one explanation for the existence of a "suicide door" was that taxes were lower for the owners of buildings who planned to build additions.

The house had at one time a wooden shingle roof but this was replaced by a metal roof sometime after 1915-1920. It has no fireplace but rather two chimneys, one on each side of the house, designed for woodstoves. The dirt-floored basement with a side entrance is of full size, and a summer kitchen extends out from the back of the house. Sometime after 1937 a dormer window was put in the rear roof and an upstairs bathroom was installed. Plumbing was added, probably at the same time. Sometime later an external storm porch was constructed, which concealed a much altered front doorway. Internally there have been some changes, including the replacement of the original centre hall with a central staircase.

The Engels have undertaken a major and sensitive restoration of the house, which required repointing and substantial repairs. They removed the ugly modern storm porch and, by great good fortune, found lying in the basement the cast-off original entrance with its rectangular transom and sidelights. Although beyond restoration, this served as a model for a meticulous copy which re-establishes the elegance of the original.

[after Peter Davidson, 1986, Sources 1, 3, 4, and "Presence of the Past", January,



The house was designated by by-law 91A/86 of December 2, 1986. Reasons for designation read as follows:

This is a good example of the Classic Revival styled stone cottages of the Rideau Corridor, and an outstanding house in the North Gower area, distinguished by its age, architectural style and construction.

71 i.e., 5,000 square feet, or approximately seventy feet by seventy feet

72 Mr. Davidson cites this date, but there is no logic to it - could it be a typo for 1905?

March. 1990

Table of Contents Explanatory Notes