This house on the corner of Clothier and Rideau Streets in Kemptville, is a well-known landmark in the town. It was built some time in the early 1840’s. Nathaniel Fenton bought the property in 1843, apparently using the funds of a  secret republican group that had been exposed and forced to flee the town in 1838. Fenton had been the Treasurer of the group, and felt free to use the funds for himself, knowing no-one would dare take him to court to claim the money as their own! Fenton and his wife opened the house as a hotel. After his death in 1849, Charlotte Fenton and her new husband kept a store in the east side of the house, and part of the building housed a private day school, where the young ladies of the village learned the gentle arts of painting, sewing and penmanship. One of the pupils was Elisabeth Wallace Bell, who later married local doctor, C.F. Ferguson, and the couple bought the house in 1897. At the time, three families were occupying it, and the back part of the house was quite separated from the front. The new owners made improvements to the interior, making it a fine home and a meeting place for the social and political elite of the region. Dr. Ferguson served as Member of Parliament from 1874 until 1896. One of Dr. Ferguson’s sons was Ontario Premier, G. Howard Ferguson. It remained in the Ferguson family until 1953. The original property included all the land between Clothier and Oxford Streets, and as far west as the Anglican Church property, and had beautiful gardens and shrubbery, some of which the photograph shows. Over time, parts of the property were sold off for homes and the Salvation Army Hall on Oxford Street.


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