Cobblestone Buildings in Canada
With the exception of one or two ¹, all cobblestone buildings known to exist in Canada are located in the vicinity of Paris, Ontario. They were mostly the work of master stone mason Levi Boughton who came to Paris in 1838 from Stephentown, Rensselaer County, in eastern New York State. These structures span a period of time between 1839 and the the early 1860s.
Houses, churches, garden walls, basements and a smoke house reflect the touch of Levi Boughton's trowel and that of stone masons who were trained by him. Those who lived or worshipped in these structures felt a sense of pride and respect. This sense has become tradition among those who continue to be caretakers of the cobblestones.
The vast majority of people who live in cobblestone houses is they are just the current caretakers. They feel it is a privilege to live in such a dwelling. There is a feeling that one never truly owns the house but watches over it and strives to maintain it in its original condition as much as possible for the next generation who will take up residence therein.
There is a respect for the original builders and owners who ventured to use the local ancient cobbles in building these structures. This particular style of cobblestone veneer is unique in Ontario thanks to Levi Boughton. He was born in May 26, 1805. He was one of nine children of Ira and Anna Dean Boughton. He eventually became a mason. He married Lydia Mann on September 2, 1827. They first settled in Brantford in 1835. They eventually had 16 children. At the time this area was booming and there was plenty of work for a skilled mason. They later moved to Paris.
Note: He has frequently been confused with a distant relative of the same name who lived in Victor, Ontario County, New York, also reputed to have built cobblestone buildings in that area. He was born Aug. 13, 1811 and lived there all his life, where he died on Aug. 13, 1886. Richard Palmer blog.
¹ Editor's Note: This statement is inaccurate and the author Richard Palmer has been notified. A significant number of cobblestone structures exist in Hastings County, Ontario. Please refer to the menus Ontario > Hastings to view the structures that have been located. Lindi Pierce in her 03/21/2020 Ancestral Roofs blog posting has identified 13 structures and is assisting this editor to include all 13 structures in the Cobblestone Info Base.