November 18, 2013

Boyd House: Who were James and Jane Boyd (Part 2)

Boyd House at 173 Huntmar Drive in Stittsville, circa 1900.
Could the woman on the porch be Jane Boyd?  The Boyd family says it is. She was one of the original owners of the old stone house at 173 Huntmar Drive, along with her husband James.  She would have been about 54 years old in this photo.  Born Jane Bradley in Goulborn Township in 1846, she was the daughter of Jacob and Nancy (Tetlock) Bradley.  The Bradley name is still prominent in Stittsville today.

James was born in 1845, and was the first Canadian-born son in his family.  His parents were Margaret and Alexander Boyd. Alexander was 20 when he arrived in Huntley Township from Antrim, Northern Ireland in 1841. He met Margaret Dorning soon after and they set up a household next to the Carp River. (Here's a short article from a 1932 edition of the Ottawa Citizen with some information about Alexander's early life in the area.)

James and Jane were married on December 22, 1875. I haven't been able to access actual property records yet, but it looks like the Boyd family (either James or his parents) purchased the land that they would eventually build the house on around 1872. It was previously owned by the Burroughs family, who were granted the land at Lot 1 Concession 1, Huntley Township from the Crown in 1823 and farmed there for nearly 50 years.

The Burroughs built a small log barn on the property, visible on the left of this aerial photograph. That old barn was standing as recently as September 2013, but has since collapsed.  The Burroughs sold to the Boyds in 1872 and moved to Manitoba.

Update: John Francis, a descendent of the Burroughs, sent along this note:
My 5x great-grandfather, John Burroughs obtained N1/2, Lot 1, Concession 1 Huntley (about 100 acres) in 1822 and settled with his 6 children. After the great fire of 1870 which burned down the original log home, my 3x great-grandfather, James Burroughs and his wife, Sarah Jane (nee Alexander) sold the lot on Sept 24, 1872 to James Boyd for $4,000 ($2,000 down and a $2,000 mortgage). The sale was witnessed by Nicholas Sparks, who was John Burroughs' business partner and family lawyer. James and family moved to Elma Township and then in 1897 to homestead in the Thundercreek/Dropmore, Manitoba area.

Aerial photo from Bing Maps, circa 2011.

Before the stone house at 173 Huntmar was built, Jane and James lived for a few years in a small log home just to the south of the current home, only a few meters from what's now the Fairwinds subdivision in Stittsville.

According to family history, the Boyd family's stone house was built in 1887 by a Scottish stonemason who worked on several nearby buildings. The stone was quarried from a spot further down Hazeldean Road on the way to Stittsville. The family built a large barn on the property in 1901. (I'll post more info about these buildings later this week.)



Jane and James raised a large family at the house. Official records disagree on the exact number of kids and their names, but it's likely there were five girls and two boys. The oldest were Margaret Ann, Mabel McGellan, Gertrude Beatrice, Ida Theressa, and Elsie Jane. The youngest William James and Alexander Byron.  Another source says there were five children: Margaret Ann, Malinda May, Ida Teresa, Elsie Jane and Oscar Lorne. The descrepency could be due to bad record keeping, or the sad fact that many children didn't survive until adulthood in the 19th century.

You can see some of the young Boyd women in this 1901 photo (click for full size).
Stittsville Reprint of an article originally appearing in the Carleton Place Herold in January 22nd, 1901 regarding the homecoming of Slias Manual Bradley from the Boer War.  Standing left to right: Harold Richardson, Sidney Bradley, Miss Burroughs, Bernice Bradley, Champness Bradley, Alph Cummings, Mabel Boyd, Elsie Boyd, Herb Watt, Alonzo Richarson.  Sitting left to right: Ida Boyd, Francy Richardson, Laura Bradley, Amy Davidson, Harry Cummings, Ella Cummings, Eldon Bradley, Lila Allen  Centre: Silas Manuel Bradley, Jim Gillespie. Source: internetgeneology.com



Here's a scan from the 1911 Census, showing an entry for the Boyd family. The family is all recorded as "Irish, Canadian, Presbyterian".  James' occupation: "Farmer".  Two sons are listed as living at the house, along with a 16-year-old named "Robert Sparks" listed as "Domestic".



Here are a few clippings from local newspapers that reference the Boyd family:
Ottawa Journal, January 1899.
Ottawa Journal, January 1899.
Ottawa Journal, March 1899.
Ottawa Citizen, August 29, 1937.

The Goulbourn Museum has about 50 artifacts from the Boyd family in their collection, including iron pulleys, a carriage box, a child's sled, a minnow bucket, an iron wheel, a wood shelving unit that is painted blue, a paper dispenser, a hay lift fork, painted green milk cans, aluminum pots and pans, buckets, a mini cast iron electric fireplace, shoe lasts, Royal souvenir teacups, electrical insulators, cigarette boxes and glass bottles.

I saw this old broken wheel at the edge of the property when I visited the other day. I bet there are a lot of other items around the property and inside the buildings with stories to tell.


Jane Boyd died in 1914. James Boyd died in 1916. They were buried at the Carp Road Presbyterian Cemetery. Their land at 173 Huntmar was farmed by descendants of the Boyds until the 1970s, when Lyman James Boyd sold it.

Several people have owned the property since then, including the Doutriaux family for about three decades from 1980 to 2011. It's now owned by Bob Karam.  The house is still there, although nobody lives in it. The barns have collapsed.



Read Part 3: Close-up photos showing the exterior of Boyd House and of the other buildings on the property. 

Do you know anything about this house or the Boyd family who lived there? Send us a note at feedback@ottawastart.com, or follow along on Twitter and Instagram using hashtag #173huntmar.

Sources used to research this story include:
More in this series:

See also: Ottawa History Guide
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3 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I have friends who used to live close to there. As for the ages of the children - probably some of them died young as children did in those days.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous11:02 AM

    My 5 greats- grandfather, John Burroughs obtained N1/2 Lot 1 Conc 1 Huntley in 1822 and settled with his 6 children, After the great fire of 1870 which burned down the original log home, my 3 greats-grandfather, James Burroughs and his wife, Sarah Jane (nee Alexander) sold the lot on Sept 24, 1872 to James Boyd for $4,000 - $2,000 down and a $2,000 mortgage. The sale was witnessed by Nicholas Sparks, who was John Burroughs' business partner and family lawyer. James' and family moved to Elma Twp and then in 1897 to homestead in the Thundercreek/Dropmore MB area.
    Don Francis

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the reply Don. Make sure you read later parts in this series. I have a bit more about the Burroughs, including a photo of the headstone on the property belonging to a William Alexander, probably a relation to Sarah Jane Burroughs.

    ReplyDelete