Kelly/Verge Genealogy

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Kelly/Verge Genealogy

Strum-Stewart House

Martin's River, Lunenburg County

Strum-Stewart House, Martin's River, Lunenburg CountyFrom South Shore; Seasoned Timbers (Vol. 2)

Family lore has it that years ago an ell with a Hugh fireplace jutted to the rear of this long, narrow house. It is tempting to associate the memory with the sale of 30 acres to John Rehfus in 1781. When James and Peter Langille sold part of their 300 acre lot no money changed hands, but they imposed the condition that Rehfus "shall constantly dwell upon the said 30 acres . . . and that he shall not directly or entirely leave the said land on account of fear of an enemy". This was no idle condition since a year later the neighbouring town of Lunenburg was held to ransom by American patriots who looted it of �12,000 in money and goods and carried three Lunenburgers captive to Boston.

In 1783, the Langilles bought back their 30 acres. These two brothers owned a grist and sawmill on Martin's River a few hundred yards away, and may have given the river its name, for the Protestant Temple in Montbeliard, now a part of France, was the Eglise Saint-Martin. They were sons of Leopold Langille, a Montbeliardan who settled in North West about 1753.

The earliest part of the present house may date from 1835 when James Langille sold the site to George Harget. It is a good example of the flexibility of a wooden frame house, being a three quarter house containing the three windows and door on the left, and built around a brick chimney. It was first lengthened when a fourth window made it a full house, perhaps after James Langille's niece and her husband Joseph Strum bought it in 1839.

In the 1850's, Joseph added a large parlour, a move which seems to have got him into debt, so that by 1860 the new room had become the Martin's River Post Office with a sideline in groceries; its entrance being where the second window from the right now is.

The house is set, typically, on a treeless knoll to provide good drainage in a damp climate, as well as easy access to the cellar through a "doghouse" porch set into the slope. Access to the loft is not so easy, since the stairs up the chimney slope rival those of "Rosebank Cottage", New Ross, in steepness. They rise almost directly behind the attractive front door, the panels of which are decorated, Lunenburg fashion, with small square corner blocks connected by narrow strips of moulding.


© Copyright 2010 by Natalie Verge