Addison (Lewis’ Corners)

Addison from a map of 1861-62

The stone home that sits on the south west corner of the intersection at Addison, was built by a Mr. Lewis as a dwelling, but legend says that it was once an inn, a hotel, and later a general store. In the palmy days of the stagecoaches, it was a stagecoach station. Stables at the rear catered to the stage horses and provided shelter for the steeds used by horseback wayfarers, who stopped at the inn.

The house was strategically located at an intersection of country roads. From Brockville, the old Perth trail ran past the front door and veranda. The Greenbush- Addison- Athens road crossed the Perth Road at the intersection. In the pioneer days these were mere dirt roads, rutted in spring and fall, sometimes impassable because of the mud the spring and fall rains created.

Two United Empire Loyalists built most of the old stone houses still standing in this area. They were John Ketchum Jr. and Ira Lewis. Mr. Lewis was a refugee from the American Revolutionary War, who volunteered to fight for the British and Canadian Forces in the War of 1812. For his service to the Crown, Mr. Lewis gained a share of a special $50,000.00 fund set up by the Government of Upper Canada for 1812 veterans.

He married Phoebe, daughter of the founder of Lyn, Abel Coleman and they settled in Addison. Mr. Lewis then built the stone building on the corner in Addison.

Mr. Lewis also built an ashery near the house and ran a flourishing business. At one time he employed eight workers, working day and night producing potash, soda and lye for soap making. He shipped his products to Brockville and from there they were taken overseas for sale in Britain and the European continent.

John Ketchum was a United Empire Loyalist from Connecticut who fled the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War and reached Canada a few years before 1798 but did not reach this area until 1800. Mr. Ketchum built two of the Blanchard stone houses south of Addison.

For the first half of the 19th century, there were a couple of grist mills operating here. In 1873 one of the mills was replaced by a cheese factory, producing Addison cheese for 70 years until it closed in 1942. The factory was then turned into a feed mill and store.

Though a small village, Addison at one time, boasted its own newspaper. Bethuel Loverin, descendant of Greenbush area pioneers, farmed southwest of Addison. He was secretary of the Unionville Agricultural Fair and in addition to farming, he sold farm machinery.

In 1880 Mr. Loverin made a trip to Northern New York State and returned with a small printing press. He set up the machine in a room of his farm dwelling, and began turning out notices for sales and other advertising material. Then he decided to print a newspaper, and the “Addison Reporter” was born.

At first the Addison Reporter was a one page weekly. As he began to gather news, Mr. Loverin expanded the newspaper, but he soon realized that Athens, still known as Farmersville in the 1880’s, was ripe for a newspaper. He moved his operation to Farmersville and the “Athens Reporter” came into existence May 22, 1884.

In its heyday, Addison boasted two hotels, a stagecoach station, post office, two grist mills, a cheese factory, livery stable, shoemaker’s shop, barber shop, lumber business, livestock market, a newspaper, a millinery shop, dry goods store and two grocery stores.

Village Schools

The village’s first school was housed in an unused room of the Taplin Blacksmith Shop. Pioneer Thomas Taplin, who fled from Vermont after the American Revolutionary War, was the first school teacher.

In the 1820’s a log school was erected to replace the one room educational centre in the smithy. This building gave way to a stone school which served Addison for 90 years.

Charles O. Stowell, who married the two daughters of John Ketchum, was born in Massachusetts February 17, 1797. Educated in the United States he came to Canada as a young man with a teaching certificate. In 1832 he took a teaching job at the old Addison school about 200 yards south of the old Perth Trail. This pioneer log school was later torn down and the school moved into the Methodist Church. When the Methodists build a new stone church on the other side of the road, now the Addison United Church, the old house of worship became a permanent school. This school served the community for 90 years until it became unfit for school purposes. It ended its days as a stable on the Scott Farm, where it eventually gave way to decay and collapsed.

A wooden frame school replaced the stone structure and in the late 1960’s it was closed. The Addison School was listed as 21 (for additional photos of the school go to our post on “One Room School Houses in Elizabethtown)

(Recorder & Times c1980, Darling Scrapbook No.3 pages 1-9)

Addison School notice the boy without shoes
Addison School House taken in 2016
Addison School, Notice the Turnstile for a gate














Cyrenus Stowell

Cyrenus Stowell Home in Addison, taken from Leavitt History pub 1879

“Oliver O. Stowell was born in Massachusetts, February 19th, 1797. He came to Canada and began teaching at Lewis’ Corners about 47 years ago. At that time Ira Lewis Esq. was keeping a hotel at the Corners. After teaching about four years, Mr. Stowell devoted his attention to farming, settling on Lot No. 36 in the 8th Concession of Elizabethtown. He married Harriet Ketchum, who died in 1843; he subsequently married Abigail, a sister of his first wife. His son Cyrenus Stowell is a successful agriculturist, his farm being a model of neatness and order, in fact second to none in the wealthy Township of Elizabethtown. He has two children, Charles Mason and Edward Norman.”

(History of Leeds and Grenville by Thad. Leavitt pub 1879)


Coleman Lewis and the Lewis Family

At an early age, Ira Lewis ran away from home in Connecticut. At the time of his departure, he was a boy without money, and had no settled idea as to his destination. When he set out on his travels, he found a horse shoe, which he sold for 12 ½ ¢. He invested the money in a boys’ lottery and fortunately drew the highest prize of $1.00. With this ‘mine of wealth’, he journeyed to Ogdensburg, N.Y., a distance of 200 miles. After remaining in Ogdensburg a few years he proceeded to Brockville and from there to Lyn, where he opened a shoe shop (having learned the trade in Ogdensburg). While a resident of Lyn, he married Phoebe Coleman. Not being contented with the village, he removed to Brockville, but soon returned again to Lyn where he resided until 1824. During the year 1824 he purchased land at the point where the present village of Addison is located. After moving to that place, he for many years, operated a shoe shop, a farm and inn. During the War of 1812, he entered the British service, and subsequently received a pension for his patriotic conduct.

Coleman Lewis Home, taken from Leavitt History pub 1879

“Mr. Lewis’ eldest son, Wellington, married Cordelia Wilson. Coleman married Melinda Taplin; he is one of the most successful merchants in the County of Leeds, having conducted the mercantile business in Phillipsville and Addison, where he resides, carrying on a general store and a large farm. Two of his sons are also engaged in commercial pursuits: Levi S. at Newboro, and Charles H. at Brockville. Mr. Lewis’ residence is an elegant brick structure, a view of which is given in this work. Sarah Lewis married Mr. Adams of Oxford, Ira Jr. married Julia Dwight a grand-daughter of President Dwight of Yale College, Ira being a graduate of that University and a barrister. He practices his profession at Goderich, Ontario. William H. married Angelina Gates; Mary Louisa married Alfred Nelson of the Canadian Land Company, Toronto. We learned from Ira Lewis Sr. that the first house built in Farmersville was a log tavern which was kept by a man named Dickson.”

(History of Leeds and Grenville by Thad. Leavitt pub 1879)

Lewis Corners

Addison the corners in detail from a map of 1861-62

The original farm belonging to John Ketchum stretched from the present school site north to what is now Highway 29.

Where the road leading to the Ketchum farm intersected the old Perth Road (Hwy 29), the small settlement was known as Lewis Corners. The Lewis family had settled at the crossroads in 1784, built up a hamlet, and opened an inn and hotel, which is now used as a private dwelling.

(Recorder and Times; Darling Collection Book No.3)






Anglican Church – The land for this church was purchased from Levi Munroe in 1915 for $20.00. The cornerstone was laid in August, 1916 and completed in December of the same year.

“The church was a crenulated castle as a split from the Irish church at Redan, three miles north, which was considered too ‘high church’ because it put a cross on its steeple” (Elizabethtown: The Last of the Royal Townships, by Alvyn Austin pub 2009)

Anglican Church c1958
Methodist Church Built in 1881
Anglican Church
Interior of Anglican Church

Bethuel Loverin [1]

At one time Addison boasted a newspaper, which was a small sheet of paper, double about the size of a window pane. Bethuel Loverin owned the printing press, which was operated on his farm, situated next to the Stowells. He hired two printers, Lewis and Luther Murphy, twin brothers. Later the press was moved to Farmersville and in the passing of the ‘Addison Reporter’ we find the origins of the ‘Athens Reporter’.

In his early life Mr.Loverin followed farming for a time, and was secretary of the Unionville Fair for many years, travelling about the country as a machine agent, and installing Lodges of the Good Templars throughout the counties of Leeds and Grenville, and in New York State. He had always been greatly interested in printing, and in 1880 he bought a small press and started printing sale bills, fair notices etc. at his farm near Addison.


Potash [1]

While some farmers converted the ashes into potash themselves, it was more usual to sell the ashes to a potash factory.

At the Lewis ashery in Addison, “from eight to ten men were employed day and night, manufacturing the collected ashes into potash, soda and lye.”

The Telephone [1]

In 1878, the first telephone exchange in Canada was opened in Hamilton and in 1880, the Bell Telephone Company of Canada was organized. The telephone came soon after to Brockville as it was on the main line from Toronto to Montreal.

Brockville got its first telephone exchange in March, 1881 but only twelve subscribers out of a population of 7,000 were bold enough to have telephones installed.

It is no exaggeration to say that the people of those days were incredulous when they heard of the marvel of the telephone. That they would be able to speak to neighbours and friends who were out of sight and beyond ordinary hearing distance, seemed unbelievable. Indeed early users of the telephone used to shout into the instrument, thinking it would enable the other person to hear better.

When a demonstration of the long distance telephone service was held in Prescott, a farmer participated. He was amazed to hear voices speaking from Brockville, eleven miles away. On his return home he told a neighbour about the ‘miracle’, but the neighbour refused to believe it. “Utterly impossible and a complete fabrication”, he protested.

Addsion Rural Telephone Company, established in 1908, was purchased by Bell in 1964.

[1] Leeds and Grenville, their first two hundred years by Ruth McKenzie

Milk delivery to Addison General Store
Quinns General Store
Howe bros of Addison the house is on the east side of the road LtoR Levi, Carman, Harold and Fred
Howe Family Gathering on their front porch
Florida House Hotel, Addison
Calamity Janes in Addison
Flemming House Hwy 29 Addison
Ira Lewis Hotel operated in 1830 (Photo Alvyn Austin)
Welcome to Addison, woman unknown
Orange Lodge Building (Photo Alvyn Austin)
Methodist Church, Addison
Rev. R.H. Whiteside pastor Addison United Church 1933-35




























Patterson’s Hardware Store at Addison c1975





Addison Savings Bank Advertisement in “The Athens Reporter” 1892
Advertisement from The Athen’s Reporter c1889


Some Postcards from Addison -ca 1890-1900


Palace Cheese Factory, Addison, ONT


Public School, Addison, ONT


Selina St & Ashwood Hall Addison, ONT 1900 (looking East towards Greenbush)


Methodist Church & Parsonage, Addison, ONT Aug 189?

“Edna’s Scrapbook”

is a paperback book written by Edna B. Chant and was published in 1998. Edna Chant was a reported with the “Athens Reporter” for 23 years and she is the author of four books.

Her book, which is made up of news clippings from various sources, from which we have taken excerpts, gives us a glimpse into life in our area for over a hundred year period ending with stories from 1975.

While her book covers many areas of Leeds and Grenville we have only focused on the area within Elizabethtown-Kitley Township.

Her book, which is made up of news clippings from various sources, from which we have taken excerpts, gives us a glimpse into life in our area for over a hundred year period ending with stories from 1975.

While her book covers many areas of Leeds and Grenville we have only focused on the area within Elizabethtown-Kitley Township.



On August 3, 1890, two Addison men had a horse race to settle a bet and after the race, the winning horse seemed to be breathing heavily. It was decided to let off a little blood to relieve tension, but they could not get the bleeding stopped and the horse bled to death.

The barns and sheds of Horace Booth near Addison were burned on July 15, 1891 of unknown causes. No insurance was carried.

Two young men from Addison had reason to visit some lady friends at Forthton on January 22, 1895 and they tied their horse and cutter in John Forth’s shed. When they started home, they noticed that the horse was having great difficulty in travelling and pulling the cutter. When they got out to investigate they saw they had been making a track like a steamboat, and they found they had one of Mr.Forth’s pig troughs firmly wedged between the runners. It was all they could do to dislodge it, but finally were on their way home, the horse travelling on wings of light.

On April 26, 1895 an Addison man Chancey Botsford, was fatally injured when he fell from the platform of a moving train and had his right leg and his left foot cut off. He only lived a few minutes.

For some weeks a demented woman has been haunting Addison area and Redan. She stays in the swamp but comes out to farmhouses for food. One farmer caught her milking his cow, and she told him she was on her way to Ottawa. It is not know who she is or where she came from. On May 15, 1898, a group of men banned together to try to catch her, and take her to the insane asylum for treatment and care, but she ran deep into the swamp and eluded them.

The home of Philander Brown at Addison was burned on April 18, 1898 Neighbours were able to carry out most of the furniture.

An aged Addison man had no home, and had been going from farm to farm begging. A group of men got together and built him a small shack. But that didn’t solve the food problem On Nov 20th a meeting was called to discuss the problem. One farmer agreed to give him room and board for the winter for $40. A canvass was made of the village and $16. was collected. One farmer gave the huge sum of ten cents. It is hoped the remaining $24. can be collected.

A tramp was found in a barn at Addison on December 19, 1900. He was in a very sad condition. Both feet were frozen solid and he was taken to hospital where one foot had to be amputated, and all toes were removed from the other foot. He told police his name was Ryan and he gave his address as Montreal.

The beautiful home of Edward Duffield ¾ of a mile north of Addison was burned on January 20, 1907. It was a large frame house and one of the finest in the country and formerly occupied by Cyrenus Stowell of Brockville. Neighbours were able to carry out some of the furniture.

On March 28, 1908 fire destroyed the home of Frank Wiltse at Addison. Nothing was saved except for a few chairs. Overheated stove pipes were the cause.

James W. Brown of Addison age 79 years, died on February 13, 1920. He was going to his barn and slipped on ice and fell injuring his hip and was unable to rise. He was found four hours later by his son Malcome of Athens. Death was due to pneumonia. Ten children survive.

An Addison woman had an odd accident. She was hanging out cloths and took hold of the wire clothesline, and then found she could not let go. Her family and several neighbours offered advice but nothing helped. The line was then cut on each side of her hand which was then soaked in hot water. After several minutes her fingers opened.

The barns of W.H. Murphy of Addison were burned on July 20, 1917 after being struck by lightning. Volunteers were able to save the house, but one side was badly scorched.

Joseph Greenham 57 of Addison was drowned in a water tank May 3, 1921

Derk Vandermear, 7, was killed by a car near Addison on June 28, 1951

The barns of Asa Peterson at Addison were destroyed by fire June 27, 1953

On February 22, 1956 Nancy Ann Moore, 19, of Lyn District and Gerald Walker of Addison district were found dead in a car.

The home of Stanley Madigan of Addison was burned on June 8, 1958

On February 14, 1963 the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Djkes of Addison area was burned. The couple were visiting neighbours for the evening and when they returned home at 10:45 pm they saw a light in the window. When they opened the door they were met by flames. Mrs. Djkes ran back to the neighbours to call the fire department, but couldn’t get through. Mr. Djkes and his neighbour, Mr. Gringhuis tried to fight the fire with snow, but the flames gained the upper hand. They got all the cattle out of the nearby barn and by using snow were able to save it.

At the end of 1964, one of the few remaining telephone companies in eastern Ontario went out of existence when the Addison Rural Independent Telephone Co. was purchased by the Bell Telephone Company.

Theodore Martin Vanasseldonk, 16, of RR 1 Addison was fatally wounded in a hunting accident on the family farm.

Mrs. Anna Merkx, 62, of Addison was killed on 401 Highway.


4 thoughts on “Addison- A Village in Elizabethtown

  1. Very interesting!
    I am currently doing research on a property my father converted into a Ralston Purina feed mill in the late 70’s.
    It is located at 8073 county rd 29 , Addison On. I believe it is currently owned by Agribrands/Cargill.
    I would certainly like to hear from you if you have any historical knowledge of this property.
    Thank you.

  2. I am helping the owner of the Anglican church in Addison with some repairs and we are wondering if there is someone we can ask about getting into the crawl space under the church, is there an inside entrance?? thanks for your help.

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