The house was constructed for Perth’s first Anglican Minister, Rev. Major Michael Harris, in 1824. He left the house in 1833 and rented the property to lawyer Thomas Mabon Radenhurst, who subsequently purchased Inge-Va in 1839. In 1833 Upper Canada’s last fatal duel was fought near Inge-Va between Robert Lyon and John Wilson, local law students. Lyon, who was Radenhurst’s nephew and boarder, died at Inge-Va following the duel.
Edith Radenhurst, widowed in 1854, continued to live in the house and between 1855 and 1873 lost three of her 10 children to tuberculosis, one to typhoid and one to drowning. Edith died in 1878, leaving son William and daughter Annie, to live in the house until 1894. Ella Inderwick and her three children moved into the house in 1894 and gave it its current name, Inge-Va. It means ‘come here’ in the Tamil language of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) where Ella Inderwick had lived with her husband. Ella’s son Cyril, a local historian, helped establish the Perth and Lanark Historical Society, and became a founding member of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario in 1932. He lived in the house until his death in 1962. His wife Winnifred donated Inge-Va to the OHT in 1974. Through a life-tenancy agreement she remained in the house until her death in 1989.
Inge-Va’s archaeological value is one of its most important characteristics. Excavations carried out from 1987-1994 recovered approximately 50,000 artifacts, 15,000 of which came out of an abandoned privy. This pit contained over 350 china objects and 280 glass objects. Items recovered from the privy include 10 different sets of tableware, 280 bottles, 71 wine glasses, 108 pharmaceutical and toiletry bottles, 16 chamber pots and seven toiletry sets. These items were discarded in an attempt to rid the house of tuberculosis. These objects provide a unique insight into how medical threats were addressed in the latter part of the 19th Century.
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