More History on the Murphy Morphy McEwen House — Karen Prytula

More History on the Murphy Morphy McEwen House — Karen Prytula
“McEwen House Bell Street”

Linda, you asked me who the original owner of the lot that 119 Bell was constructed on. Here is some more history- Karen Prytula

The short answer is the Crown deeded the lot on Bell Street to John Murphy/Morphy in 1824 after completion of his settlement duties. This was originally an 80 acre lot. John was one of the 3 sons of Edmund Morphy. And I believe this lot to belong to son John because the other 2 sons of Edmund were James and William, and they owned land adjacent to this lot at the same time, and, their names were also spelled Murphy in the land records.

In 1839 John M sold 11 acres for 25 pounds. I would figure if he is selling off land, he probably is living on the land and so that log part of the house could be as early as 1824.

Balance: 69 acres

In 1841 JohnM sells 25 acres for 100 pounds to H. Baines. Balance: 44 acres

In 1841 JohnM also sells to H. Boulton, acreage not specified, for 63 pounds…

By 1861 JohnM is dead, and so probably left the remaining acreage to his son/brother William, whom I believe may have sold to H. Boulton.

The 1863 map shows an R. Bell owning the lot, and a Dr. Wilson owning the stone home (105 Bell) next to this one.

The 1879 map does not have names written on it like the earlier map does.

Because this house was on lot 15W, Concession XII – it’s a big lot and there are probably lots of houses that are made of log then covered with clapboard.

There were plenty of owners on this lot but not one of them was a McEwen. One of the walking tour pamphlets refers to this house as the Murphy/Morphy house – so I am confident this is probably where John Murphy/Morphy lived. Possibly Dr. McEwen rented it when he was living there.


PIN 05119-0129

The above legal description is of absolutely no help as it does not even mention the Concession #, which we know to be XII.

“Founded Upon A Rock” does not mention a Dr. McEwen at all. It mentions a John Morphy, but not in relation to the house.

If the house was built in the 1880s it could have been built by any number of the property owners listed on the land abstract, because, lots of families lived on lot 15. It’s impossible to know which family was on a certain acreage/sq.footage.

I think the log cabin was there for maybe close to 50 years and instead of tearing it down, a newer owner just clapboarded around it in the 1880s, and additions were added when necessary.

part of the log from the house that was hand hewed that we got for Jennifer for the museum

There is a technology out there called Dendrochronology (the science or technique of dating events, environmental change, and archaeological artifacts by using the characteristic patterns of annual growth rings in timber and tree trunks.) which can tell the year the log was taken down. I am reading up on it to see if maybe we can get the year the log was cut down which will tell us, if this was an original Morphy homestead.  i.e. if it was cut down before 1861 (the year I know John was deceased by) it was probably the original John Morphy homestead.  If the log was cut down after 1861 then it could not have been his home.

Photo- Adin Wesley Daigle

June 12, 2020 2:25 PM

After some of the siding was removed there stood a two storey log home. Yes the “McEwen home” was originally a two storey log home probably built in 1848 with the hard wood logs taken from the lot or the park across the street. Very unheard of to see a two storey log home and the people that built it must have been well off. I asked the developer to cut off part of one of the logs and thanks to Karen P and Mark Smith they carried it to her van for the museum so we would have part of the house.

As the home came down the smell of rot filled the air. The logs at the base of the house were basically all sawdust and apparently they had been trying to save the base logs patching for years. The house also had asbestos in it. Sadly there were little options for this home. Instead of being angry–don’t let other heritage houses get this far along so they can’t be saved.

Instead of discussion put your words into actions. JOIN and SUPPORT, DONATE to our Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum — (their website is
On the page you will see a tab called Join Us, all the information is there.) Instead of complaining..

Put your words into actions. Join our Municipal Heritage Committee.

Linda Seccaspina

William Morphy Family

Do You Know How Edmond Morphy Died?

What’s Changed in Your Home in 40 Years?

The Natives of Carleton Place — Violins and Deer

Who Came First? The Morphy or the Moore? The Name Game

Alfred Dulmage-The Son of the First White Child

Little Kenny Morphy Went Pike Fishing

Reusing the Past of Carleton Place — The Morphy’s and the McCann’s

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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