Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Watch for it....but do it quickly

This is Stonewatch, the pre-1813 home of one of the earliest Ernestown Loyalists, Joshua Booth, who served as a sergeant in the Revolutionary war, and found it advisable at some point to emigrate. Booth went on to build numerous mills and become a prosperous landowner. His large stone house sits at 4423 Bath Road near Amherstview.

Well, not his exactly his. When I visited the spot on June 1, I noticed a for-sale sign. Today I looked for the listing, as it's a great way (the only way, usually) to get a wander about inside. Well, not to fall in love with this one - it appears to be sold.

Even without a feature sheet, we can tell a good lot of good things about this house. Rock-faced evenly coursed Kingston limestone with ashlar window sills, soldier lintels. Steel roof. Half-sidelights, divided transom. We can see that the eaves sport modillions and dignified eaves returns (PJS called them birds nests). The gable-end chimneys have been maintained, stonework ditto. Don't know if the sash windows are reconditioned or replica - look pretty crisp. Portico recently repaired. Window surrounds in good repair. Love the surround on the second floor centre window - classical influence.

period fence
McBurney and Byers report that this fine stone house (well, Joshua and Margaret) raised ten children, and was  named Stonewatch as it served as a lookout for roguish American ships during the 1812 awkwardness. And that the place is haunted. Doubtless, that didn't appear on the feature sheet; hopefully nothing has appeared to the new owners, either.

the view, oh did I mention the view?

The view across to the bay is astonishing, but the home's location on the primary waterway would have been a functional more than aesthetic decision, I'm guessing.

The one thing that the photo cannot convey is the noise! The traffic is very heavy - I had to dash to cross the road from my scrap of parking space, to get some close-ups. That would have to detract from one's enjoyment of the garden with its historic fence, mature trees and sunny lawn.

A last look. Going...going...gone! To the folks with $339,000. Asking price in a Googled listing. Less than one would need to purchase some truly graceless new monster home in the area's subdivisions. But then, I'm prejudiced. And I don't have to keep a 200 year old stone house warm in winter.


  1. Hi - Happy to see my home on your blog ! I have owned it since 2003 - it was for sale a couple of years ago but we ended up keeping it. we have done quite a bit of work in the last couple of years and it will be on the 2017 Kingston Symphony House tour on May 27. Happy to show you through if you are keen.
    Carole Russell

  2. Hi Carole, thanks for dropping by! I have May 27 in my plans already; I would love to see the property close up.

  3. Hello Carole Russell...your home (Stonewatch) is fabulous...indeed, a true heritage home. Question: Is there any truth to the urban legend tale that a War of 1812 soldier was killed in the Stonewatch home or on the property? I recall hearing this tale many years ago. Let me know if you have a moment.

  4. Hi Ken - glad you enjoyed touring Stonewatch. I don't know anything about a soldier being killed in the house, but I am pretty certain that there are several people buried in the back yard, including Joshua Booth, a couple of his children and 5 sailors who washed up on shore. During the tour, someone went through who had lived here many years ago and was familiar with a lot of history. They left their contact information, so we will being trying to spend some time with them to see what we can learn. By the way, the ghost seems to have gone AWOL - we haven't seen or heard anything of him since we bought the house in 2003.

  5. The Stonewatch House is such a peice of history! It's so beautiful. Joshua Booth was the husband of my 3rd great aunt Margaret Fraser. It is nice to know that you are living in the Stonewatch House and enjoying it!