Loving and Leaving Ebor House – Pt. 6 – Conclusion

Ron Coffin did such a great job restoring Ebor House that he was honoured for it.

Blog Photo - Ebor House MBedroom other view

He received the Newcastle Village and District Historical Society’s Preservation Award in 2011.
Blog Photo - Ebor House Master Bedroom

He also opened the house to the community on a recent architectural conservancy day and 600 visitors came.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Library

A pianist played beautiful music.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Living room reverse

The visitors toured the grand old house, admiring the furnishings and paintings, old and new.

Ron has invested untold time, love and money into his home.

“This place has nurtured me. Not just me but others too. One friend stayed here in the winter, healing from an accident. It’s nurtured her.”

The children are grown up. Ron says it’s time to leave. Ebor House is too big for one person.

He looks around at rooms sparkling with sunshine, beauty and a strong sense of well-being.  He tells me yet another story about the house and the Farncombs. He calls each family member by first name.

I say:  “You don’t sound like a man who’s selling this house.”

He says he is.  

“I truly believe the house is looking for a buyer, rather than a person looking for this house. It’s a very special place.  Last evening four of us had a wonderful supper under the trees and at the end of our meal we were visited by one of the hawks that have decided to call this place home this year.  Just magical!”

Blog Photo - Ebor House back lawn

**

As for me?

It started when I got lost a few weeks ago and saw this house.

I wanted to know more.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Front 2

But the single discovery that kept me searching was the August 1901 New York Times story about the drowning of the two Farncomb boys.

My heart sank when I read it.

A parent myself, I wanted – perhaps even needed –  to know that things turned out well for the family.

Of course — since this is real life and not a fairy tale — they did and they didn’t.

**

The Farncomb family survived and, over the decades, many thrived.

John and Jane and the boys were not forgotten.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Entrance and Stairs

But life must go on, at least after a while.

And so it did.

Farncomb descendants became successful in Canadian business, education, law, medicine and other fields such as literature and media.

They still own property in Bond Head, and still have influence. In 2002, one descendant (among other residents) protested against a plan to change the name of a local street. He argued it made no sense. He also pointed out that Farncombs had lived there for 150 years. And that he owned much of the land in the area.

His side won.

Blog Photo - Bond Head main street

**

My interest in a house became a story about other people’s lives.

I double-checked each finding, then begged homeowner Ron and Myno Van Dyke, secretary of the local historical society, to read some of what I’d written. I thank them.

I conclude the series knowing I’ve done my best to make it fair, factual — and kind. But I know there is much more to the story of Ebor House and its families than I’ve written here.

**

This story is dedicated to the descendants of Frederick and Jane Farncomb.

**

POST-SCRIPT: EBOR HOUSE HAS NEW OWNERS — OR PERHAPS I SHOULD CALL THEM ‘NEW STEWARDS’.  I WISH THEM JOYFUL TIMES IN THIS  EXCEPTIONAL HOME.

Thanks to: Newcastle Village and District Historical Society; Library and Archives Canada; Archives of the City of London, England; Trinity College, Port Hope; Canadian Anglican Church;  St. George’s, Newcastle; the Canadian Encyclopaedia; The New York Times and several other Canadian and American newspapers; and other sources. Some photos of Ebor House came from Promise First Realty’s website.

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63 Comments

Filed under A Good Home, Anglican Church, Architectural Conservancy, Art, Artist, Authors, Beautiful Neighborhoods, Birds, Bond Head, Canadian History, Canadian life, Canadians, Country Homes, Country Living, Country roads, Episcopalian Church, Family, Family Stories, Famous Places, Frederick Farncomb, Furniture, Heritage Homes, historic neighborhoods, Historical Society, Homes, Interior Design, John Farncomb, Life in canada, Newcastle, Newcastle Historical Society, Restoration Award, Restoring old houses, The Farncombs of Bond Head

63 responses to “Loving and Leaving Ebor House – Pt. 6 – Conclusion

  1. All to say, life does go on, for all of us. Right, Cynthia? 🙂

    And bravo, Ron!

  2. A beautiful, and beautifully researched, story, Cynthia. You have honoured the house and its history and its people. I feel terribly sad that Ron is planning to leave but it is great that he is confident that the house will find a new owner.

  3. I enjoyed your blogs on this house, its been a great insight.

  4. Thanks for this Cynthia. You have a knack for falling in love with old houses and making others fall in love with them too. Now when I look at the picture of Ebor house, it seems to be smiling.

    • I’m so glad. Thanks for your great encouragement to keep going. I knew some people would find this house intimidating. But there’s always so much more to a house like this. Ebor House IS smiling. The vast majority of its experiences have been happy ones, including the care and love it’s received from Ron.

  5. A wonderful series about a fascinating house and family. The story isn’t finished yet, is it?

    • Yes, do keep us posted about the sale and the new owner, if you are able. I like that Ron is selling; I like that spirit of non-attachment. As a person who has loved and left several houses, how does his decision affect you, Cynthia?

      • I understand and support his decision. Perhaps the house “spoke” to him because it needed Ron to come and restore it. And now he’s done his job, he can move on. He’s done a great job.

      • Aggie: I should also say that I relate very much to the struggle he went through before deciding, and even the loss he will feel when he leaves. But he will leave knowing he’s done such good for that house.

    • I really didn’t mean that I expected you to go on with this story now. I only meant that the house will continue to be a home for many years to come, especially after Ron’s wonderful renovation of it, and the house will generate more stories. I would hate it if you thought that I was putting pressure on you. I endorse Aggie’s request that you keep us posted on your road to recovery. You are in my prayers.

      • I got that this was one of the two possible ways I was meant to take your question. I chose to give the answer I did!

        Thanks so much, Clare.

        It will be a wonderful home for whoever buys it. What a great place!

    • I think your question has 2 meanings, Clare. I’ll answer one of them now.

      Ron may give me more news about the house, and if so, I’ll do an update, for sure.

      Right now, I feel completely exhausted.

      So there may be more, but right now, I’m just glad it’s done. My brain and body need a rest!! (smile)

  6. PS I would really appreciate an update now and than about your physical recovery. I’m sure many of your other readers also care.

    • Also, an observation: your book made so many situations come alive, but not the ordeal you have gone through. I’m curious whether anyone else has said this to you. I formed no imagery of your physical suffering. I did have imagery of the process of recovery, which you elaborated. This leads me to believe that you are very tough, very positive, and didn’t want to dwell on it, not that you are incapable of description. What do you think?

  7. Gail

    Beautifully written Cynthia.

  8. A beautiful place with a real story wonderfully told Cynthia. 😀

  9. Wow, you really dove into this story Cynthia. I almost had the impression your were working up to be the next owner of this house! Your passion and care shine through. Sorry to hear about your health.
    Please take care of yourself. 🙂

  10. I hope the house is purchased by people who will care for it and honor its history.

  11. I can understand that you’ve put in a lot of time and work to this series on Ebor House. Thank you for the interesting write-up and photos. Do have a good rest and be refreshed, Cynthia. 🙂 Kind regards, Iris.

  12. Thank you Cynthia, it was a compelling story about a house and the people who lived in it. And now when Ron goes there will be a new chapter. I wonder what is in store for the house in the future. New dramas being enacted within its walls. New stories.

    • I can’t help wondering about the future of the house myself. That house has such a big heart, and is shining very brightly again.
      Thank you, Chloris, for sticking with the series throughout. I really appreciate your interesting and warm responses to it. I also like your last two sentences, about new dramas and new stories. It aptly describes life in and with a home.

  13. He certainly did a fantastic job on the house, right down to the furnishings. I would think that the Farncomb family would want it back, in a big way.

  14. Beautiful home and I have really enjoyed reading all your post. It was like I was there with you visiting! What a wonderful home and all the history! 🙂

  15. Ron did a great job renovating such a lovely house, and I hope whoever buys it appreciates its “history.” As you, my friend, I can hardly wait until you get lost again. Not bad lost, mind you, but fun lost like this time. Hugs, Natalie 🙂

  16. A wonderful story. I love family history of the regular folk (that are not the rich and famous) and their lives.

  17. What a great story, Cynthia. Fascinating. And the house – so beautiful. One of my favorite periods in homes. I’m sure the house will find just the right person; Ron would’t have it any other way. What an amazing job he did.
    Getting lost can be a good thing! 🙂 Jeanne

  18. leeMck

    What a story…I just finished reading the last part. When I spoke to you a few days ago I did not realize that I had not read the first part – you getting lost and coming across the house. So I read it again this time from the beginning. For some reason the house did not feel as ominous as I first thought. I think because I was able to feel compassion and identify with the humanity of the family over the generations. I was disappointed that Ron was selling and moving on… but as he rightly said, his mission was completed. I really feel that mystically, you also had a mission to bring this family’s story to light. There is no coincidence in life, I truly believe.

    Great job my friend…we love your writing so much, we can never get enough! Please rest up and renew yourself in body, mind and spirit.

  19. beautiful tribute to a family and their home!! Good luck to Ron in his future endeavors where ever they may be

  20. Your series about Ebor House is my new favorite post(s) for the month of August 2014. It was excellent!

  21. Cynthia, this was a wonderful series. I enjoyed it very much. So much joy, so much tragedy. They say real life is stranger than fiction and I have found it to be true many times. Thank you for sharing this and have a lovely, peaceful and relaxing Sunday. 🙂

  22. How beautiful it looks! He’s done a great job. 🙂

  23. That’s amazing. Lovely house, lovely story. I’m sure I’m not the first commenter to say it but you should get lost more often! 😉

    • Glad you got to read the series, MT. I know how busy things are with the books and family life. I hope your parents are doing well.
      Yes, I’ve been flooded with advice to “get lost”, as you will see in the post “Get Lost, Cynthia.”

  24. Pingback: To Everything, A Season – Pt. 5 in the Series | Cynthia Reyes

  25. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    That was a great story! I was lucky to have had time to read but the story drew me in. It was sad about the two boys, that’s the way history is sometimes. ❤

    • Thanks for hanging in with the series, Jackie. Blogger friend Gallivanta reminded me that in the old days, tragedy was the silent companion at every dinner table. Whether it was disease, war or accidents such as drowning, virtually all families were touched by tragedy.

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