August 4, 2016
William Nodwell came to Canada from Ireland in 1838 and settled on Lot 24, concession 8 in Erin Township. Nazareth Hill hadn’t yet given his name to the town that grew around the farm. At the time of the county atlas in 1877 the mill ponds hadn’t been created on the Gooderham and Worts property across the street.
His first log home burned down within a year. Nodwell then sold the east half of the lot to Angus McMurchy and constructed another log house and barns. In 1868 the brick house shown in this pictorial was built. The cover view shows the front of the now abandoned house with it’s second story oriel window. This is the view of the side of the house as you approach from the driveway.
William Nodwell died in 1845 leaving the farm to his two sons. Robert bought out Thomas by trading him another farm for his half of the homestead. A frame barn (now demolished) and shed were added in 1857. This is the side entrance to the house and possibly the most frequently used of the three.
In the 1890’s the Nodwells were known for raising short-horn cattle. The family was active in St. Andrews Presbyterian Church which was located on the corner of their property. The picture below shows the side porch of the house.
In 1895 the house at the corner of the lane was added for use by family members. In 1926 Mungo Nodwell took over running the farm which was well known for the seed potatoes he grew. They also kept a herd of dairy cattle and delivered milk in town with horse and wagon. This view shows the back corner of the house and the side door which has been bricked closed.
Ross R. Mackay public school is built on land donated by Mungo Nodwell in 1960 from the side of his dairy pasture. For the next decade an electric fence would separate the cows from the school children. The east side, or rear of the house, has had a back porch removed. This room would have served as a place for the removal of dirty shoes and work clothes before entering the house. Some would call this a mud room.
In 2004 Mungo’s daughter Nina sold the farm and moved to Markdale. Access to all windows has been closed off with bricks since then. This shot shows the basement window.
The great room in the house had a plank table that could seat 12 and the family was known for it’s hospitality. This is the front view of the house facing toward the west and the main street of Hillsburgh.
As I was admiring the oriel window a blue jay arrived to get to the nest that hides behind the front facing.
On the east side of the laneway stands the driving shed. The Nodwell’s kept many of their farming implements in there when the farm was active.
A look up into the ceiling of the driving shed.
All of the tools were removed from the driving shed except for this level.
The back of the driving shed.
Today there is a proposal to develop Homestead Farm into a subdivision. Fortunately it looks like the old Nodwell house will be preserved. More on the history of Hillsburgh can be found in this previous post.
Google Maps link: Hillsburgh
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