Mount Pleasant, Newport, Onondaga, Middleport, Ontario in Colour Photos – My Top 16 Picks

Township of Brantford

Brantford Township was the largest and most central township of Brant County. The first area settled was along Fairchild’s Creek north west of Cainsville. The township was blessed with many creeks that were developed with mills. The first industrial operation in the township was a mill operated by James Percy in Mount Pleasant. The township also has fertile soil and land was quickly settled and within twenty-five years was well under cultivation and thriving. Within the township are the villages of Mount Pleasant, Burtch, Newport, Cainsville and Langford, as well as the homes of Alexander Graham Bell and George Brown, a father of confederation.

Within decades of its founding in 1799 by the Ellis and Sturgis families, Mount Pleasant was a prosperous and cultured settlement with flourishing farms, inns, mills, schools, a drill hall, and commercial establishments. Today Mount Pleasant’s long and lovely main street retains much of its rural charm and many of its old homes, churches, and farmsteads. Mount Pleasant Road is part of the Long Point Trail, an old Indian trail which went from the Grand River in Brantford south to Lake Erie.

Emily Stowe was the first woman to practice medicine in Canada and also the first woman school principal. After her marriage in 1856 to carriage-maker John Stowe, she taught at the renowned Nelles Academy at 667 Mount Pleasant Road. She studied medicine in the United States because she was refused admission to a Canadian medical school. She did a lot of campaigning for increased education opportunities for women, and her daughter, Augusta Stowe Gullen, born in Mount Pleasant in 1857, became the first woman to graduate in medicine from a Canadian university in 1883.

One of the earliest settlers in the area of Newport was Edee Burtch who purchased land from Joseph Brant around 1796. As more settlers arrived, the area became known as Burtch’s Landing and was later renamed Newport. Newport was laid out for settlement by Thaddeus Smith in l857. Newport was a thriving shipping port offering passenger service to Buffalo on the Red Jacket and Queen paddle wheel steamers that operated on the Grand River. There were also facilities for handling general freight. The village with several hundred people had two wagon and carriage shops, two blacksmith shops, brickyards, several general stores, a post office, two churches, a school, a tavern/ hotel, a sawmill, grain warehouses and a grist mill.

Township of Onondaga

The township was named for the Onondagas, a nation within the Six Nations. They settled on land granted to the Six Nations under the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784. The Grand River, which forms the southern boundary of the county of Brant, was the main artery for transportation, communication, and economic sustenance. Today this river is mainly used for recreation. In the 1830s settlers began moving into this rich agricultural area.

This Village of Onondaga was first known as Smith’s Corners for David Smith who operated a grocery store and a saloon. The name was later changed to Onondaga. The village became a thriving community in the mid-19th century because of the Buffalo, Brantford, and Goderich Railway station located here. Schools, churches, hotels and taverns, grist and sawmills, blacksmith shops, stores and small manufacturing shops developed.

The Grand River Navigation Company played an important role in the establishment of the Village of Middleport. On November 7, 1848 navigation was opened on the Grand River from Brantford to Dunnville through a series of locks and dams. Middleport, founded by John Solomon Hager, was midway between the locks at Brantford and the Village of Caledonia making it an important port.

Architectural Photos, Mount Pleasant, Ontario
849 Mount Pleasant Road – circa 1850s – Italianate home – Archibald McEwen, a prosperous farmer and merchant, had a store on the same property.
Architectural Photos, Mount Pleasant, Ontario
726 Mount Pleasant Road – circa 1870s – Owned by Dr. Duncan Marquis, a highly-regarded local doctor, this charming vernacular frame house in the unusual dormer style was probably built in the 1870s and is essentially unaltered.
Architectural Photos, Mount Pleasant, Ontario
704 Mount Pleasant Road – Devlin’s Country Bistro – 1834 – This Neo-Gothic former general store and post office has been a landmark in the village since it was built in 1834. It is the birthplace of Arthur Sturgis Hardy, a prominent lawyer and the fourth Premier of Ontario.
Architectural Photos, Mount Pleasant, Ontario
657 Mount Pleasant Road – Abraham Cooke built this Georgian/Greek Revival mansion circa 1840. When Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada Lord Elgin visited in 1846, he was so impressed he asked for the privilege of naming it “Brucefield” after his family.
Architectural Photos, Mount Pleasant, Ontario
646 Mount Pleasant Road – Scape Spa – This circa 1850 Neo-Gothic style octagon is the only survivor of three similar buildings in Mount Pleasant. Shoemaker Richard Tennant took eight years to build it. Belvedere on the roof.
Architectural Photos, Mount Pleasant, Ontario
641 Mount Pleasant Road – This farmhouse was built in 1860 in distinctive Regency style evident in the long front windows in fitted panels. The bay window has Victorian details. Both the Phelps and McAllister families have a multi-generation history in the village reaching back to the early 1800s.
Architectural Photos, Mount Pleasant, Ontario
637 Mount Pleasant Road – Emily Townsend House, circa 1860s – Alvah Townsend built this house for his daughter. It is a Neo-Gothic style home which has been well maintained.
Architectural Photos, Mount Pleasant, Ontario
597 Mount Pleasant Road – Georgian Revival built circa 1848 for landowner and carriage maker Alvah Townsend. The style exhibits the horizontal profile and symmetrical arrangement of doors and windows.
Architectural Photos, Mount Pleasant, Ontario
538 Mount Pleasant Road – The Phelps-Guest House, circa 1840s, was built in three stages. The original home was of stone construction with a board and batten addition to the rear and a buff brick Italianate addition added to the front in the 1880s.
Architectural Photos, Mount Pleasant, Ontario
94 Tutela Heights Road – The Bell Homestead was built in 1858 by the original owner and builder Robert Morton. It was here on July 26, 1874 during his summer vacation that Alexander Graham Bell discovered the fundamental concept for the telephone. He returned to Brantford from Boston, Massachusetts in September 1875 at which time he drafted the patent specifications for the device. In 1876 Bell set up and completed the world’s first long distance telephone call between Brantford and Paris. The homestead evokes the formative influence of Bell’s father, an authority on the acoustics of speech, and of his mother who was deaf. They stimulated their son’s lifelong interest in teaching the deaf to speak, a passion that proved crucial to the discovery of the telephone.
Architectural Photos, Newport, Ontario
255 River Road, Newport – The Thomas house was built in 1835 at 1030 Colborne Street East by Captain Joseph Thomas on land purchased by his father John Thomas who helped build the Mohawk Chapel. John was a close friend of Captain Joseph Brant. The walls are one foot thick and the double-stud main frame is made of 12” x 12” beams. Massive fireplaces were built up from the lower level indicating that the masons did this work before the framers began. In 1993, to make way for development on Colborne Street, the house was cut in half and moved to where it sits today on top of the small hill on River Road. The owner has lovingly been restoring this home to its former glory.
Architectural Photos, Onondaga, Ontario
744 Highway 54, Onondaga
Architectural Photos, Onondaga, Ontario
1037 Highway 54 – Chiefswood was built from 1853-1856 by Chief George Johnson for his English wife Emily Howells. The two cultural traditions were blended in the construction of the house in the Italianate style. It has two front doors – one facing the Grand River and the other the highway. The large two-storey mansion is symmetrical with matching French windows. One of George and Emily’s children was Emily Pauline Johnson, the famous Indian poetess. Among her works are: “The Song My Paddle Sings” and “Train Dogs.” Check them out at http://www.bartleby.com/246/1267.html
Architectural Photos, Middleport, Ontario
518 Baptist Church Road, Middleport – Gothic Revival, corner quoins
Architectural Photos, Middleport, Ontario
291 Baptist Church Road, Middleport – Howden Home and Barns, 1883 – In 1856, Thomas Howden and his wife Jane came from Ireland and purchased this 100 acre farm. Their eleven children grew up here. There are 14 rooms, 3 sets of stairs, and more than 50 windows and doors. Three gables trimmed bargeboard contain Gothic windows. The front and side verandas are enclosed with pairs of rounded arched windows and the small gable on the front veranda contains a tiny Gothic window. Quoins accent the corners of the house.
Architectural Photos, Middleport, Ontario
301 Big Creek Road, Middleport – Cherwell House, circa 1850s – 1½-storey brick farmhouse – buff brick quoins on the corners, buff brick highlights around windows and door and a frieze at the top of the first storey elevation.