313 French Settlement Road, South Gower Township
The former Township of South Gower, unlike the neighboring municipalities of Oxford and Wolford was surveyed with its concessions numbering from south to north. Settlement also seems to have occurred in that pattern, with the early population concentrating around the villages of Heckston and Peltons Corners. While the initial surveying of the Township began in 1799, it was not completed until 1830.
The first grant of land for Lot 3 in Concession 8 from the Crown, was not made until December 13th 1872, to Mary Ann Bower. On that same date, the entire 200 acres contained in Lot 3 were conveyed from her to (Dr.) Charles Ferguson of Kemptville. Prior to that, the Walling’s Map of 1861-62 (as reproduced in the “Historical Atlas of Leeds & Grenville” does not show that area of South Gower as even being accessible by a road. Also, the map does not list any settlers’ names in that area, as occupying the lands.
Curiously, despite the absence of any names on the Walling map and despite the fact that the lands were still owned by the Crown until late in 1872; the 1861 Census of South Gower enumerated a large number of residents, including two Arcand (“Arcaw”) families, who were later known to reside on Lot 3. In addition to the Arcand family, there were others enumerated in the same census with names which were obviously of French origin (i.e. Valcore and Sabourin, spelled “Sabra”), indicating that there was a pocket of French Canadians who had settled there from their previous place of residence in Lower Canada.
There were two Arcand families, which were shown in the 1861 Census. The first was that of “Christmas (probably anglicized from “Noel”) “Arcaw” and his wife Clarisa (?), along with their five children (Francis, Sarah, Louisa, Lewis and Henry). The second family was that of Leon “Arcott”, his wife Sarah and their three children Leon, Felix and Rose. All of the adults of both families are listed as having been born in Lower Canada. Interestingly, all of their children are shown as being born in Upper Canada. The oldest child at the time of the census was Christmas’ son Francis, who was 8 years old in 1861, thus putting his date of birth as c. 1853, in Upper Canada. This gives some indication of the date of the family’s arrival in Upper Canada, although not necessarily in South Gower.
History of Property Ownership:
The location of the subject lands are in the West 1⁄2 of Lot 3 in the Eighth Concession of South Gower. As noted previously, the original Crown Patent was only granted in December of 1872, to Mary Ann Bower, who immediately conveyed it to (Dr.) Charles Frederick Ferguson. Over the next ten years a series of mortgages and assignments were registered against the landholding, which consisted of the entire 200 acres of both the East 1⁄2 and West 1⁄2 of Lot 3, Concession 8.
On December 3rd 1881 the Mortgagee, Andrew Blackburn, entered into an Agreement for Sale of the lands with “John Christmas Arcaw & Francis Arcaw” (Instrument No C-482), for the sum of twelve- hundred dollars, payable in six annual installments of $200 each. There appears to have been some problem with the conveyance, since the Arcaw’s signed a Quit Claim Deed a month later in favour of Mr. Blackburn (i.e. signed on January 2nd 1882, and registered on March 6th 1882 as Instrument No D-505), in acknowledgment of them receiving $200 from him (i.e. their first installment returned ?). On the same date (March 6th 1882), Andrew Blackburn also registered the conveyance of all of Lot 3 “Under Power of Sale” to Elizabeth Ferguson, the wife of the Kemptville physician, Dr. Charles Frederick Ferguson (Instrument No D-506), for the sum of $1,581. Six months later, on September 19th 1882, the lands were again conveyed to “John Christmas Arcaw & Francis Arcaw,” this time from Elizabeth Ferguson for the sum of sixteen-hundred dollars.
On July 18th 1888, a series of Deeds were registered, which conveyed lands in Concession 8 from John Christmas Arcaw and his wife Clara to their sons. The West 1⁄2 of Lot 3 containing 100 acres more or less was sold to Francis Arcaw for the sum of $366.67 (Instrument No D-881). The portion of Lot 6 in Concession 8 “lying South of the Public Traveled Road Running across said lot ” containing 100 acres more or less, was sold to their son Henry Arcaw for the sum of $366.67 (Instrument No D-883). On the same date, the East 1⁄2 of Lot 3 Concession 8 was sold by John Christmas Arcaw, his wife Clara and their son Francis Arcaw to Lewis Arcaw for the sum of $366.67 (Instrument No D-885).
On December 7th 1895, “Louis Arkaw” died intestate. Subsequently, a Deed was registered on December 18th 1895, to convey the Northerly (or Rear) 20 acres of the East 1⁄2 of Lot 3 Concession 8 from Louis Arcaw and his wife to Levious Sabra (Instrument No E-1254). The conveyance probably occurred prior to Louis’ death and the Deed was registered later. Letters of Administration were filed on January 7th 1896 (Instrument No 2-1096), granting the administration of Louis’ estate to his widow, “Mary Ann Arkaw.” The remaining portion of the East 1⁄2 of Lot 3 Concession 8 (i.e. without the Northerly 20 acres) was then sold to Francis Arcaw by Mary Ann Arcaw (as Administrator of Louis Arcaw’s estate), for the sum of $795, by Administrator’s Deed registered on March 6th 1896 (Instrument No E-1269).
Francis Arcaw now owned nearly all of Lot 3 Concession 8, with the exception of the Northerly 20 acres, which had been sold to Levious Sabra. The Will of Francis Arcaw was dated September 30th 1897, but was registered on November 24th 1897 (Instrument No 2-1218), indicating that his death occurred sometime between those two dates. In his Will, Francis bequeathed all of his property to his wife Sarah Arcaw, “during the term of her natural life and after her decease to [their] two children Francis Joseph Arcaw and Mary Arcaw absolutely, share and share alike.” Francis also appointed Sarah as the sole executrix for his estate. It appears that the 100 acres of the West 1⁄2 of Lot 3 Concession 8 was conveyed to Francis Joseph Arcaw.
Francis Joseph Arcaw’s Will is dated August 16th 1915, but he died on January 24th 1922. In the administration of his estate, his widow and executrix “Elizabeth Arcand” and her co-executor “Michael Arcand” conveyed the West 1⁄2 of Lot 3 Concession 8 to Michael (Joseph) Arcand and his wife Rose Arcand, for the sum of $1,500 (Instrument No F-2521) .
Michael Joseph Arcand died on May 15th 1962. His widow and sole executrix of his estate, Rose Arcand, conveyed the 100 acres in the West 1⁄2 of Lot 3 Concession 8 to Claud D. Mulligan and Audrey T. Mulligan (Instrument No 12190), thus breaking the chain of family ownership of the Arcand homestead.
Despite the fact that the lands in Lot 3 Concession 8 were held by the Crown until December 1872, the Arcand (“Arcaw”) family appears to have settled there as early as 1853, and perhaps earlier. The first documentary record of their presence occurs in the 1861 Census, which also indicates that the family of “Christmas Arcaw” was living in a one storey log house, at the time. If it is assumed that the first log house which was constructed on the property was a more modest dwelling, then the present dwelling on the property is probably a second dwelling constructed sometime later. During renovations of the present residence in the 1990's a copy of the “United Canada” newspaper, dated Saturday, October 22nd 1892, was found between the log walls and the interior strapping on the ground floor. An 1890 Canada large penny was found in the framing around the upstairs gable window. Both of these artifacts support a date of construction in the early 1890's.
The house is one and one-half storeys in height and is constructed of squared logs. Vertical board and batten siding was installed over the exterior face of the logs and was probably the intended original finish. Stucco has since been applied to the board and batten siding and is not considered as part of the designation. The foundation under the main log portion of the house is made of rough- cut, rough-coarsed limestone.
The original two-over-two sash windows still exist in some locations. There is a central gable in the second storey at the front of the building that contains a two-over-two round-headed sash window, which confirms the late nineteenth century date of construction. The rear kitchen wing also appears to date to the late nineteenth century. The kitchen wing was originally clad in ship-lap wood siding, which has since been replaced with board-and-batten siding which is not included in this designation.
The original cedar roof shingles still exist under the modern sheet steel roof, which is not included in the designation. The original corbeled brick chimneys are no longer present on the main portion of the house or the kitchen wing. The front door is not original, and is not included in the designation. The front porch and rear carriage shed wing are later additions and are not included in the designation. Despite the number of changes over the past century, this house is still one of best preserved examples of a board-and-batten clad, squared-log dwelling in the Township.
There is a large barn / stable building on the property, which appears to date to the turn of the twentieth century and was built by Maurice Arcand. The lower portion is constructed of cordwood, which was the remnants of some of the earlier log buildings from the homestead. The upper storey of the barn is clad in vertical board siding. This structure is also included in the designation, since it is one of the few surviving examples of stack-wall construction in the area.
Both buildings are integral parts of a cultural landscape which includes several related outbuildings in their historic configuration, reflecting the mid-nineteenth century settlement pattern in the Township.