George McCay, son of William McCay, a U.E. L. from Tuscarora, New York, constructed this first brick home north of Dundas Highway in 1847, on 200 acres of land that he had purchased from Duncan McGregor in 1839. The bricks were made at the Campbellville Brick Plant from clay taken from the McCay farm. In 1879 George sold the farm to John Nesbit who then sold it to John. F. Richardson, Deputy Reeve of Nelson Township in 1897. After serving as Reeve, John became Clerk of the Township in 1905, using this house as his office.
John’s name is inscribed at the top of the 104 cement steps built in 1919, connection Highville to Lowville. (Located in the northwest corner of Lowville Park).
Audrey Coulson inherited the farm in 1951 upon the death of her mother, Mary Richardson. Richard Sovereign, a 7th generation farmer whose U.E.L. ancestors settled in Upper Canada in 1793, bought the farm in 1965 from Audrey and her husband Leonard.
For 43 years, Richard made this land the hub of a large award-winning operation featuring the production of grains and the introduction of experimentation of new farming techniques in Partnership with the University of Guelph. Under his leadership, as President of the Ontario Soil and Crop Association, the Provincial Government adopted a Land Stewardship Program.
His wife, Helen Ramshaw, who grew up on a farm on #8 Sideroad, established her 1847 Farmhouse Pottery business here; pursued a Fine Arts Degree; and now creates large agricultural sculptures using primary farm materials.
Editor’s Note: At the top of the stairs, there are two inscription stones. The first credits C. Readhead, Reeve and F. Richardson, Clerk. The second credits the building of the steps to J. Auckland and Sons, 1919.
Contributing Author: Lowville Community Calendar Committee