Belle Vue Conservancy

Ebenezer Reynolds, of Stowe, Colchester

 

 

(Editor’s Note: This is the sixteenth in a series of articles about the Belle Vue property, most of which have been written by Debra Honor. Honor is a local historian/genealogist and a member of the Belle Vue Conservancy.)

 

By Debra Honor UE, PLCGS

 

Thomas Reynolds family had three sons and two daughters. We read a lot about Robert, Catherine and Margaret, but not much is said of brothers Thomas Augustus and Ebenezer. Thomas Augustus joined the Royal Navy and moved away to England. Ebenezer has a story of his own in Essex County.

Born in 1778 at Detroit, Ebenezer grew up throughout the American Revolution. When Detroit was handed over to the Americans in 1796, he moved with his family to the new fort at Amherstburg. By 1803, at the age of 25, he was in partnership with his younger brother Robert, age 21, as merchants on First Street (now Dalhousie St.). That same year, Ebenezer married Rose Bouchette, daughter of Commander Jean Baptiste Bouchette of the Provincial Marines on 17 October 1803 at St. John’s Church in Sandwich.

By 1811, Ebenezer was farming on Lot 88 Concession 1 Colchester; the farm his father, Thomas, received as a Loyalist in the New Settlement. The farm was still owned by his father.

(Special to the RTT)

When war broke out in 1812, Ebenezer was a Major in the First Essex Militia under the command of Colonel Matthew Elliott. Ebenezer was present at the capture of Detroit with General Brock and Tecumseh. He fought at the Battle of Frenchtown (River Raisin), Fort Meigs and Fort Miami in 1813. On the 21 September 1813, Ebenezer achieved the rank of Lt.-Colonel of the 1st and 2nd Essex Militia.

After the war, in 1815, he purchased Lot 87, the farm beside his farm and the next year he purchased Lot 88 from his mother, Jean Reynolds. Ebenezer built himself a beautiful home that he named, Stowe, of which his sister, Catherine drew a picture and sent to their brother, Thomas in England.

In 1833, Ebenezer moved to Sandwich to become the Sheriff of the Western District. He remained the Sheriff for 3 years, finally resigning over the poor payment of the position. In 1851, Rose Reynolds his wife, died in Sandwich and was buried at Assumption Church since she was Catholic. Ebenezer moved to Amherstburg to live with his brother, Robert at Belle Vue, where he passed away on 11 December 1854 and was buried at Christ Church Anglican.

Please support our fundraising campaign. One hundred per cent of your contribution will be used for restoration of the Belle Vue House. You will receive a full tax receipt and a Belle Vue gift. Visit amherstburg.ca/donate to help us open up Belle Vue once again or visit www.bellevueconservancy.com for more information!

 

Belle Vue Conservancy pleased with “All that Jazz” fundraiser

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Belle Vue Conservancy is pleased with its most recent fundraiser, the June 25 “All That Jazz for Belle Vue” event.

A sold out crowd of over 80 people came to the Artisan Grill for the Monday night show with the featured entertainment being Renée King-Jackson and her Fabulous Foursome. Conservancy president Shirley Curson-Prue said the entertainment and the meal provided by the Artisan Grill made the night one to remember.

“That was an amazing combination,” said Curson-Prue. “(King-Jackson) is really, really professional.”

Curson-Prue said King-Jackson and the band got people involved as numerous people got up and danced throughout the night.

Renée King-Jackson and her Fabulous Foursome perform at the Belle Vue Conservancy’s “All That Jazz for Belle Vue” event recently at the Artisan Grill.

“She’s so enthusiastic about Belle Vue,” said Curson-Prue. “We couldn’t have asked for any better entertainment. We couldn’t have asked for better food.”

People who attended ranged in age and Curson-Prue said many commented as they were leaving that they had a good time. She added that few, if any, left as the event was happening.

“People liked the enthusiasm. It was a great combination,” said Curson-Prue. “It turned into a real party. Everyone loved the music. She really did appeal to everyone.”

The Belle Vue Conservancy had “generous sponsors” for the event with Curson-Prue adding that they also had a good partnership with the Amherstburg Freedom Museum, as the latter helped sell tickets.

“We sold out within two weeks,” said Curson-Prue.

The event raised over $2,600.

Plans are underway for the second annual “Birdies & Bogies for Belle Vue,” with this year’s event being a nine-hole event Aug. 10 at Sutton Creek Golf Club. Cost is $75 per person and includes nine holes of golf, a cart and a steak dinner. Register by contacting Meg Reiner at 519-890-4425 or e-mail her at megreiner9@gmail.com.

People can also register by calling Curson-Prue at 519-736-6947.

For more information on the Belle Vue Conservancy, visit www.bellevueconservancy.com or call

Painters in the Reynolds Family

 

By Debra Honor UE, PLCGS

 

(Editor’s Note: This is the fifteenth in a series of articles regarding the Belle Vue house and its history. Historian/genealogist Debra Honor is a member of the Belle Vue Conservancy.)

Among the children of Thomas and Jean Reynolds, were two daughters, Margaret and Catherine Reynolds. They never married, but they have become famous as painters.

Margaret Reynolds was born in Scotland in 1765. She was the oldest child of this family. Catherine Reynolds was born in Detroit, Quebec in 1784 as the youngest child. (Detroit was part of the Province of Quebec after 1760 when the British took over New France, until 1796, when it was handed over to the United States of America.) Therefore, Catherine has been named Canada’s earliest Canadian born female artist. Both women are recognized now for their artistic talent. Until recently, Catherine was considered the sole artist.

(Special to the RTT)

The discovery to the contrary was made in the 1980’s when the painting “View of Amherstburg 1812”, which had been attributed to Catherine, was restored and cleaned revealing the signature “Margaret Reynolds.” Art historians have since revisited the paintings and are attributing some to Margaret and some to Catherine.

The Royal Ontario Museum has a painting by Catherine Reynolds of the Amherstburg waterfront about 1850 from the same vantage point as the 1812 painting. Fort Malden N. H. S. had an artist paint a copy of this painting for use as a backdrop in an exhibit, which has now been installed on the back wall of the Amherstburg Town Council Chamber for everyone to admire.

We know Catherine did the paintings of Belle Vue from the back and the painting of the house called Stowe which belonged to her brother, Ebenezer. She sent these to her brother, Thomas Augustus in England to show their prosperity in Canada.

Margaret and Catherine may not have been formally taught in school to draw but with their father’s position, they would have had contact with military officers who were trained in art. Margaret’s paintings are more apt to be true life scenes. Catherine as well did true life scenes but also paintings in which she copied prints her father was able to provide.

(Special to the RTT)

Their skill truly shows in all the paintings that have been discovered.

Please support our fundraising campaign. One hundred per cent of your contribution will be used for restoration of the Belle Vue House. You will receive a full tax receipt and a Belle Vue gift. Visit amherstburg.ca/donate to help us open up Belle Vue once again!

For more information on the Belle Vue Conservancy and its upcoming events, please visit www.bellevueconservancy.com.

Mayor gives update into Belle Vue fundraising issue

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo is trying to provide more information as to issues regarding Belle Vue fundraising, starting with where money for a study came from.

Town council discussed Belle Vue as part of a two-hour in-camera meeting after the regular meeting of council had ended Monday night, with Belle Vue fundraising being one of the in-camera agenda items. DiCarlo said “there will likely be more coming forward” as it relates to Belle Vue, but did emphasize the $12,000 earmarked for the Crown Park Corporation is not coming from the taxpayers.

“I think the taxpayers have to know this is not taxpayer money,” said DiCarlo.

The $12,000 comes through the Amherstburg Community Foundation, which DiCarlo said is donor money. The Amherstburg Community Foundation (ACF) has been around since 2009, he added, noting that another recent project it was involved with was the resurfacing of the Miracle League field.

“The ACF has been an open body,” he said.

Work is continuing on the new roof at Belle Vue. (Photo by Paul Hertel)

DiCarlo said he was unaware that there were those that were unfamiliar with the organization and said that there was no intent to keep things quiet.

“The ACF is not a secret society at this point,” he stated.

According to DiCarlo, the Crown Park Corporation was brought in to perform one duty, with that duty being identified two weeks ago as being a study.

“The Crown Park Corporation was contracted out for a very specific task,” the mayor stated. “That task has been completed. Where we go from here is up to the Amherstburg Community Foundation.”

The Belle Vue Conservancy has been raising funds to refurbish the 200-year-old Dalhousie St. mansion and whether they remain the primary fundraisers is up to the conservancy, the mayor stated. He added the town remains open to grants and other sources of funding as they try to get the property and building restored.

“I guess we’ll see how it unfolds,” he said.

More information on the Belle Vue Conservancy can be found at www.bellevueconservancy.com while donations to the Amherstburg Community Foundation, the town’s fundraising arm, can be made at www.amherstburg.ca/donate. The conservancy’s funds that have been raised during the last two years have been subsequently turned over to the town and its foundation.

Town receives $100,000 grant for Belle Vue roof

 

By RTT Staff

The Town of Amherstburg will be receiving funding of up to $100,000 from Parks Canada towards the conservation of Belle Vue National Historic Site of Canada.

The town stated the funds, which come from Parks Canada’s National Cost-Sharing Program for Heritage Places, are slated for Belle Vue’s roof restoration.

An employee from Robertson Restoration works on the roof at Belle Vue. (Photo by Paul Hertel/Belle Vue Conservancy)

The town announced the grant via a press release issued Tuesday morning.

Robertson Restoration was awarded the tender bid and has begun the refurbishment. The house dates back to 1816 with the roof made of copper and cedar shingles.

The roof project is estimated at $283,400 which includes architectural consultation and drawings.

The remainder of funds have been raised by the Belle Vue Conservancy. For more information on that group, visit www.bellevueconservancy.com.

“Belle Vue is an important symbol of Canada’s identity and traditions, says CAO John Miceli. “Conserving this treasured place benefits not only the immediate community, but all Canadians.”