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The Church Manse: Woodlawn on Leslie Street (1843)

You may have passed this stately house on Leslie Street between the Anglican Church and the United Church in Sharon. This home was known as Woodlawn, and it was a property that was owned by the Church. It was located on concession 2, lot 9 and it was originally a clergy reserve; because the church owned it but no one lived on the property, they did not have to pay to maintain the road on the front. This presumably annoyed the neighbors to either side of the house.

In 1832, a minister for the Children of Peace named Samuel Hughes purchased this property to hold it in trust for the sect. Over time, he broke up the 100 acres of land and sold it to members of the community. Peter Rowan purchased part of the property closest to Leslie Street some time later. Peter was a farmer, blacksmith, wheelwright, carriage maker, and painter; he is also listed as a builder for the Temple of the Children of Peace. He also participated in the Rebellion of 1837, forging pikes for the rebels for the march down to Montgomery’s Tavern. Unfortunately, he was one of those who was caught and served time in prison, presumably at the Don Jail in Toronto. After the rebellion, he did very well for himself, building the brick house that stands on the property; the plaque that remains on the building today proclaims that Peter Rowan, wheelwright, built this house in 1843.

We know that this house was lived in by the Russell family in the 1990’s. Does anyone know who lives in this house now? Please let us know in the comments!

[Photo credit: Pencil drawing from the East Gwillimbury Historical Society publication, September 1993].

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