Glengarry House National Historic Site of Canada

Cornwall, Ontario
General view of the ruin of Glengarry House, showing the fieldstone gable walls, 1996. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Dennis Carter-Edwards, 1996.
General view
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Dennis Carter-Edwards, 1996.
General view of the ruin of Glengarry House, showing the fieldstone gable walls, 1996. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Dennis Carter-Edwards, 1996.Historical view of Glengarry House circa 1920. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, c.1920.View of the HSMBC plaque by Highway 2 © Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, 2005
Address : Highway 2, Cornwall, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1921-05-21
Dates:
  • 1792 to 1792 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell  (Builder)
Other Name(s):
  • Glengarry House  (Designation Name)
  • Lieutenant-Colonel John MacDonell (Aberchalder) c. 1750-1809  (Plaque name)
Research Report Number: 2008-CED-SDC-043
DFRP Number: 56556 00

Plaque(s)


Existing plaque:  Highway 2, Cornwall, Ontario

Born in Scotland, Macdonell came to New York in 1773. Commissioned ensign in the Royal Highland Emigrants (84th Regiment) in June 1775 and later transferred to Butler's Rangers, Macdonell served with distinction until 1784 when he settled with his clansmen in Charlottenburg Township. He represented Glengarry in the Legislative Assembly (1792-1800) and was chosen first speaker (1792-96). Macdonell served as Lieutenant of Glengarry (1793-1808), commander of the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Volunteers (1796-1802), and paymaster of the 10th Royal Veteran Battalion from 1803 until his death.

Original plaque dismantled / removed / replaced:  Highway 2, Cornwall, Ontario

The home of Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonell, (Aberchalder), a gallant and distinguished officer in the Royal Highland Emigrants (84th Regiment) and Butler's Rangers, in the War of the American Revolution, 1775-84; a member for the county of Glengarry in the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada, 1792-95; First Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of that province; Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the Second Battalion and Royal Canadian Volunteers, 1796-1802; Colonel commanding the Glengarry Militia, 1803-8; Lieutenant of the County of Glengarry, 1792-1808. Died in Québec in 1809.

Description of Historic Place

Glengarry House National Historic Site of Canada is located on Stonehouse Point, just east of Cornwall, Ontario. Now a ruin, the fieldstone gable walls of the house are overgrown by thick brush. The house was likely built in 1792 by Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell, the first Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada and a pioneer in the settlement of Ontario. The designated place is the ruin of Glengarry House on its footprint.

Heritage Value

Glengarry House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1921 because: it was the residence of Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell (Aberchalder), a pioneer in the settlement of Ontario and first Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada.

John Macdonell received a land grant from the Crown at the conclusion of the American Revolution in recognition of his military service. Although he likely first constructed a log dwelling, it was recorded that he had almost completed a large fieldstone house near the shore of the St. Lawrence River in 1792. Macdonell called the house Glengarry House.

It is unclear what happened to the house after Macdonell’s death. During the War of 1812, it was converted into a barracks for the local militia and was badly damaged by the soldiers. There is a local tradition that the house burned in 1813, but this seems unlikely, since claims were made in 1815 and 1825 to the British authorities for the cost of repairs. By the 1890s, the building was in ruin with only the gable walls standing. In 1921, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recommended that the house be recognized as a national historic site of Canada.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1921, December 2008.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include: its rural siting on Stonehouse Point near the St. Lawrence River; the massing and form of the two standing gable walls, and the spatial relationship between them; the fieldstone construction of the standing walls; the integrity of any potential archaeological remains that may be found within the site related to the period of John Macdonell, including features, artefacts and remains in both their original placement and extent; viewscapes to the St. Lawrence River.