Thursday, June 20, 2013

House Histories: First House on Hall Street

History Dogs: Denny and Dexter visiting 85 Hall Street. Copyright Catherine McDiarmid-Watt, from OshawaJournal.com
Denny and Dexter checking out 85 Hall Street
Photo credit: © Catherine McDiarmid-Watt
On the 1850's map of Oshawa, there doesn't appear even to BE a Hall Street - nothing is showing between Mill Street to the south and Avenue Street to the north.

I believe at that point in time, all this area - below Royal Street, west of Simcoe to Oshawa Creek, above Bloor Street - belonged to the McGregor family, but I haven't confirmed that yet.

According to this old map of Oshawa, Hall Street was at one point called Hull Street. I am still researching if this was simply a print error, or why the name was changed?

Reamended Plan of Town Lots [Plan 48] by R. G. McGrigor. Source: Whitby Land Registry Office
Re-amended Plan of Town Lots
[Plan 48] by R. G. McGrigor [McGregor],
drawn up on December 23rd, 1872
Source: Whitby Land Registry Office
Public Domain: Copyright expired
In the Re-amended Plan of Town Lots [Plan 48] by R. G. McGrigor [McGregor], drawn up on December 23rd, 1872 - there are five lots marked off on the south side of Hall Street between Centre Street South to the east and the Oshawa Creek to the west.

The lots numbered 59 at the corner of Hall and Centre Street, 61, 62, 53 and 64 to the west at Oshawa Creek.

On the north side, there were six lots marked off, where the railway tracks runs today. The Lots were numbered 58 to the west at Oshawa Creek, 57, 53, 52, 50 and 45 at the corner of Hall and Centre.

On the Oshawa Census of 1879, the street is listed as Hall Street. There is only one family living on Hall Street listed in this census, on Lot 64.

The original lot measured roughly 1 chain by 1.37 chains - that is equivalent to 66 feet wide by 90 feet 5 inches deep (if I am converting this right!)

The current address for Lot 64 would be 85 Hall Street. Looking at the current house [pictured above], this is not the house built on Lot 64 way back in 1879.

According to the Oshawa Census of 1879, the Gilbert family lived on Lot 64 Hall Street:
Francis Gilbert and his wife Lucy, with seven of their children: Edwin, Alfred, Rosline, Mortimer, Caroline, Bennet, and Harry.

History Dogs: Dexter and Denny checking out what once was the edge of Mill Pond [South Pond] Copyright © Catherine McDiarmid-Watt, from OshawaJournal.com
Dexter and Denny checking out what once was
the edge of Mill Pond at the end of Hall Street
Photo credit: © Catherine McDiarmid-Watt
According to the Ontario County 1877 map, it looks like the Oshawa Creek valley was filled to the brim with Mill Pond [also called: South Pond or Lower Pond].

I can't help wondering what it must have been like for Lucy to raise so many little ones that close to such a deep pond?

However, in the days before running water, it would be great for easy access to fresh water for cooking, and washing up! Swimming in the summer, and skating in the winter right at your doorstep would be wonderful!

On the other hand, I wonder how "fresh" the water would be, with all the manufacturing mills that were growing up around the Oshawa Creek?

I was unable to locate a listing for the Gilbert family in the following directories:
Canada Directory 1851
The County of Ontario Directory 1869
Province of Ontario Gazetteer and Directory 1869
Lovell’s Province of Ontario Directory for 1871
Ontario Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1884-85,
Ontario Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1886-87
Directory of the Counties of Grey, Ontario and Simcoe 1887
Ontario Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1888-89
Ontario Gazetteer and Directory for 1892-93
Ontario Gazetteer and Directory for 1895
Business and Professional Directory of All Cities in Ontario, 1899-1900

Makes me wonder if every person got listed in these directories? Probably not.

Canadian County Atlas Digital Project:
I found a John Gilbert living in Mount Albert, Scott Township, Ontario County from 1866 to at least 1877. John was born in England and is listed as a farmer. Perhaps he is related to James Gilbert, listed below?

Census of Canada, 1871 Image No.: 4396344_00562. Source: Library and Archives Canada
Census of Canada, 1871 Image No.: 4396344_00562
Source: Library and Archives Canada
Public Domain: Copyright expired
On the Federal Census of 1871, the only Gilbert listed in Oshawa at that time was James Gilbert - 60 years old, born in England, his religion was Bible Christian, his occupation: Farm Servant.
Province: Ontario
District Name: Ontario South
Sub-District Name: Whitby East

Could this be the father of Francis Gilbert?

I was able to locate a James Gilbert in the Leeds area in the 1851 Census and a J. Gilbert in the Leeds area in the Digital Atlas Project in 1862, so it is possible.

Census of Canada, 1871 Image No.: 4396762_00044. Source: Library and Archives Canada
Census of Canada, 1871 Image No.: 4396762_00044
Source: Library and Archives Canada
Public Domain: Copyright expired
Francis Gilbert and his family were living in Merrickville, Leeds and Grenville North in 1871, according to the Census.

Francis was born about 1823 in England, and was 48 years old. He worked as a civil engineer.
Lucie (Lucy?) - 38 years old
Edith - 16 years old, worked as a milliner
Edwin - 15 years old
Alfred G - 12 years old, born in France
Province: Ontario
District Name: Leeds and Grenville North
Sub-District Name: Merrickville

Since Alfred was born in France, about 1859, they may have immigrated to Canada sometime between 1859 and 1871.
Census of Canada, 1881 Image No.: e008180632. Source: Library and Archives Canada
Census of Canada, 1881 Image No.: e008180632
Source: Library and Archives Canada
Public Domain: Copyright expired
On the Federal Census of 1881, I found the Gilbert family living in Oshawa:
Francis S. Gilbert - 59 years old (Mechanical Engineer)
Lucy Gilbert - 46 years old
E. F. (Edwin?) Gilbert - 25 years old (Moulder)
Rosalie (Rosline?) Gilbert - 20 years old (Dress Maker)
Alfred Gilbert - 22 years old (Machinist)
Earnest Ed Gilbert - 18 years old (Machinist)
Cammlie (Caroline?) Gilbert - 16 years old (Dress Maker)
Bennett Gilbert -14 years old
Hy Andrew (Harry?) Gilbert - 9 years old
Province: Ontario
District Name: Ontario South
Sub-District Name: Oshawa

I don't see Edith listed in the 1881 Census, so I wonder if she married and moved away before they came to Oshawa? She would have been 26 years old in 1881.

They have also added four new children's names, ages 9-18 years. I wonder why Rosalie, Earnest, Cammlie and Bennett were not listed on the 1871 Census? They would have been 10, 8, 6, and 4 years old. Who and where is Mortimer, listed in the Oshawa 1879 Census, but nowhere else? What has become of poor Mortimer?

Census of Canada, 1891 Image No.: 30953_148174-00318. Source: Library and Archives Canada
Census of Canada, 1891 Image No.: 30953_148174-00318
Source: Library and Archives Canada
Public Domain: Copyright expired
By the Federal Census of 1891, some of the family has moved to Toronto, but the father, Francis Gilbert, has died.
Lucy - 58 years old - widowed
Edwin - 34 years old - Com Trav'r Shoes
Caroline - 26 years old - Com Trav'r Shoes
Bennet - 24 years old - Life Insurance Agent
Henry (Harry?) - 19 years old - Life Insurance Agent
Province: Ontario
District Name: Toronto (City)
Sub-District Name: St. Patrick's Ward

So it appears that the Gilbert family owned Lot 64 on Hall Street from sometime after 1871 until sometime before 1891. After the Gilbert family moved away, I wasn't able to find any further details online for this property for many years.

Vernon’s Oshawa and Whitby City Directory 1926. Source: OshawaLibrary.ca
Details from the 1926
Vernon’s Oshawa and Whitby City Directory

Source: OshawaLibrary.ca
Public Domain: Copyright expired

Checking the Vernon's City Directories from the early 1900's, the very first record of 85 Hall Street is A. C. Blatche in 1926, listed as the owner of the property.

This is probably the house that currently stands on the property. There seems to have been quite a number of small houses of this style (originally one story houses) built after the First World War in this area.

A. C. Blatche is also listed at 85 Hall Street in the 1928 and 1929 Vernon Directory.

I will continue to update this page as new information comes in. Do you know anything about the history of Lot 64 on Hall Street? Please share! I figure learning more about who the neighbours were, may help me track down the original owners of my house!

P.S. Click on the pictures above to see larger versions if you would like to see more details.



Well, I hope you enjoyed this little history of the first house on Hall Street. I look forward to researching another house in the Village of Oshawa soon. If only researching my own house was so easy!

PLEASE NOTE: My house histories are for entertainment only. Although I do my best to be as accurate as possible - I make no guarantees as the the accuracy of my articles. 
If it is important to you that the information found here is 100% accurate, I have included my resources so you can research further on your own.
If you do find any inaccuracies in my post, please let me know! I always appreciate being given the opportunity to correct any errors!



SEARCH: Birth Records | Marriage Records | Obituary Records | Death Records | Cemetery Records

TODAY'S BOOK SUGGESTION:
House Histories: A Guide to Tracing the Genealogy of Your Home, by Sally Light, Margaret EberleHouse Histories: A Guide to Tracing the Genealogy of Your Home (US)
by Sally Light, Margaret Eberle
-- Many people who have acquired older homes over the past decade have often become intrigued by questions about its origins, style, materials, past owners and events.

In this comprehensive book, the reader is guided through the fun of finding the clues to his or her home's history.
Find it on: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk


Catherine McDiarmid-Watt, author of OshawaJournal.com~*~ by Catherine McDiarmid-Watt, author of OshawaJournal.com, researching her 1850's house, the history of old homes, the genealogy of the founding families in Oshawa - as well as citylife and farm life in the 1800's, with old news clippings, well-researched articles, and "then and now" photos with the help of her "history dogs", Denny and Dexter.

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