French Family Association

Famous French Architecture

The Jeremiah French Jr. House,
aka the French-Robertson House,
Upper Canada Village, Canada, 1784

Updated by Mara French on 4/6/08

The original Jeremiah French House, 1784-1787, enlarged to the present state (below) by 1820, relocated from Mille Roches, Ontario to Upper Canada Village. Originally it was a 16’ x 20’ frame house.

 

The French-Robertson House was enlarged to 30’ x 54’ by 1820 and included a second story. Do not copy this photo without permission. This photo is from the Stormont/Dundas/Glengarry Historical Society. P.O. Box 773, Cornwall, Ontario, K6H 5T5. Located at 160 Water Street in Cornwall (613) 936-0842. The French-Robertson house is somewhere in this photo as per the Stormont Historical Society.

 

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The French-Robertson House in 2005 following the dedication of the new headstone for Lt. Jeremiah French who built this house. Standing in front of the house are Jeremiah’s direct descendants. Photo from Bill French, coordinator of Chart #11.

About 1760, Jeremiah Sr.’s son, Jeremiah Jr., and others formed a group called the Nine Partners - a land developing company. They purchased the original patents the King gave about 61 of his buddies, and subdivided and sold them. Jeremiah Jr. surveyed much of the town of Manchester, Bennington County, VT, and was the first Town Clerk. He eventually moved to Manchester.

Jeremiah French Jr, was a Loyalist and a Captain in the Queens Loyal Rangers, then later a Lt. in the Royal Regiment of New York, (called the "Yorkers"). He forfeited much of his lands in VT. He moved to Cornwall in Ontario where he became a very prominent citizen and was the area's first representative to Parliament in Ottawa. His house was actually moved from land now submerged to make way for the 1950's St. Lawrence Seaway Project enabling freighters to travel into Lake Ontario from the Atlantic Ocean. He sold his original house to a son-in-law, George Robertson. That house is still standing at Upper Canada Villages, near Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. The house is called the "Robertson House”. Captain French originally served with the Queens Loyal Rangers and was taken prisoner by the Americans at the Battle of Bennington. As a condition of his release, he was ordered not to take up arms against the rebel uprising in Vermont, so he made is way to New York and subsequently joined the KRRNY, under command of Sir John Johnson. Much of the early activity of the Hydro Power Project was centered on the stretch along the river situated two miles west of Cornwall just "next door" to Mille Roches. Through the community passed the Cornwall Canal with Lock 20 placed directly across from the area's  small hotel, a convenient arrangement for fatigued travelers.  Maple Grove became known for its Hydro substation which transferred power across the river to the United States.  It was here that Robertson Creek flowed into the St. Lawrence River (Cornwall Canal) between two low hills with the French-Robertson House perched on the north side.

The house has precedents in architecture found in upstate New York and on Cape Cod, notably the high entrance faćade, which blurs the distinction between the stories. It also has Adamesque details, including the successful and original aedicules serving as window and door surrounds on the entrance faćade, which were added in 1820 by Robertson. The house is a unique amalgam of cottage and high-style features, quite apart from the Adamesque details. The seven-bay faćade is a remarkable sublimation of a Palladian composition, for example, in the two-bay grouping of windows to either side of the three-bay entrance. The absence of dormers, the composition of the bays, and the low, bold proportions clearly distinguish the domestic architecture of Upper Canada in the period 1784-1815.

Also see Jeremiah French’s earlier home in Manchester, Vermont, called the 1811 House Bed and Breakfast. Jeremiah French is an ancestor from FFA Chart #11.