Joseph Hill lawrence

After Thomas Fair’s death in 1885, his widow, Elizabeth, renamed the firm E. Fair and Co. and with the help of her three sons, took over management of the company. The large property, known as the Fair Estate for many years, was sold to Mary and Richard Stephenson in 1922.

With no indoor plumbing or modern heating system, the five-bedroom house needed a great deal of work, and the Stephensons’ daughter Muriel recalls that her father, the owner of several hotels, spent a considerable amount of money installing these conveniences. The “beautiful grounds” that once surrounded the house were subdivided into thirty-four lots and sold in the 1940s when wartime housing was needed.

Like the first lady of the house, Muriel Stephenson, a talented pianist who performed throughout the world, also taught music in the house for many years. Today, the stately residence, under new ownership, is home to an art gallery.

Joseph Hill Lawrence

The salient facts about Joseph Hill Lawrence reported in his obituary printed in the Enterprise on Thursday June 14, 1877 read as follows:

On Saturday evening last, about eight o’clock, Joseph Hill Lawrence, for over nineteen years clerk of this municipality, departed this life peacefully, and in hopes of a glorious immortality.

The deceased gentleman was born in Newmarket on the 24th of May 1808, his father, Morris Lawrence, as U.E. Loyalist, having taken up his abode with his family, there at the time of the American revolution. At an early age Joseph Hill Lawrence was sent to school, where he received what was then considered a very fair education. On leaving school he chose the printing as a calling, and was, when about sixteen years of age apprenticed in the Canada Gazette office, the official paper of the country. He remained for several years in this office as apprentice and journeyman, and in 1834 we find his name in the records of Parliament as Printer to the Parliament of Canada. After leaving the Gazette he travelled for a short time in the United States and then returned to Toronto where he assumed a position in the Christian Guardian Office as foreman, and afterwards as publisher; in that office he remained about fourteen years. In 1833,he married Miss Sarah D. Bliss, a teacher by whom several of the older members of the late Chief Justice Robinson McLean and other leading families, received their earlier educational training, for which, since then, most of them have taken prominent positions in the country. By his wife he had seven daughters and one son, all of whom with the exception of two daughters, are still living. About the year 1849 he tired of the printing, and having accumulated some means he left the city and removed to Cheltenham, in the County of York, where he opened a general store; at this place he only remained about one year, when he removed to Bolton’s Village and entered into partnership with his brother George as general storekeepers. The firm lasted about three years, when Mr. J. H. Lawrence retired and removed to Lloydtown, where he assumed the position of book keeper for his brother in law, J.H. Smith. About this time, 1853, Collingwood had been fixed on as the terminus of the Toronto, Simcoe and Lake Huron Railway, and a perfect rush was made for the rising city, which was to rival Chicago within three years. Mr. Lawrence having caught the mania, removed in 1853 to what was then known as Hurontario village, now a portion of this town. At Hurontario he, in partnership with Mr. J.H. Smith, opened a general store, and two days after getting their goods in order and ready for customers they were unfortunately burned out. This, however, did not deter him, and with his usual energy in two or three days another building, Phoenix like, was made to do duty as a place to barter and sell to the early settlers of Nottawasaga the tea and sugar, factory and prints in exchange for their [cereals]. In 1854 they erected a large frame building on Hurontario street [illegible].