*William Merrick House c. 1821 – 129 Mill Street — Merrickville
The third and last home of the Village founder and pioneer industrialist William Merrick. It was later owned by industrialist and foundryman William Pearson and his daughter Mary Pearson.
Lieutenant Roger Stevens, a King’s Ranger from Vermont, was the first to arrive on this land and by 1791 had started construction of his mill on the swift moving waters of the Great Falls, the future sight of Merrickville. Unfortunately, it was the falls that got the better of Stevens and he died by drowning shortly after.
AFTER William Merrick had crossed his Rubicon, he built a log cabin on the north side of the Rideau on lot 8, Concession “B” of Montague,’ and here his wife and two children came to their new home, and here the other children of a family of five boys and two girla were born, the youngest in 1813. In 1821, Merrick constructed a larger and substantial house of stone.
In those days they built for permanency. The cellar-kitchen walls are three feet thick; ground- floor walls are two and a half feet; bedroom floor, two feet and at the gable floor one foot and a half. Attached to the house in the early days was a huge wood- shed in the loft of which were built four bunks containing hay or straw placed there for Native transients.
Apparently William Merrick was on friendly terms with the nomadic Indian hunters. When Merrick’s son occupied the house, the Natives would come seeking shelter, and would explain: “This is old Merrick’s House and we have a right to stay here.” Shelter was never refused to them.
The servants lived in the basement of the William Merrick house until 1830. Then they moved upstairs over the carriage room to quarters that included indoor toilets the non-flush variety– four in a row.
Mr. William Merrick died in Merrickville in 1844 in his 82nd year. There are today in the village substantial stone buildings erected by him, one which was the original part of the Percival Plow and Stove Companys plant. The grinding mills, a carding mill and saw mill were in operation n 1844 and bequeathed to his sons; two sons receiving property on the north ride of the Rideau, and two those on the south side, and the fifth, land in Kent county, Ontario. The two daughters, who married, received money as their share of their fathers estate.
Industrialist and foundryman William Pearson bought the house in 1869 and his descendants lived here for 90 years. His niece sold the house in 1959 to a couple who had thoughts of turning the place into a nursing home. In 1972, the Milnes and their two young children moved in and then it was up for sale in 1978.
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