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Loyalist Exiles (1784-1799)

Stephen Fairfield's Double Stove

Stephen Fairfield's Double Stove

Stephen Fairfield's Double Stove, bought in 1812

Stephen Fairfield was the fifth son in William and Abigail Fairfield's family of six sons and six daughters. He became the second generation owner of the Fairfield farm and homestead. Stephen and Maria Pruyn had married in 1799. In 1805, William gave Stephen 150 acres of Lot 37. After William's death in December 1812, Stephen continued the already established activities of farming and keeping a licensed tavern at the house. In 1816, he purchased a schooner from Harman Pruyn, "Trader", of Fredericksburg. DISCOVER MOREReadmore Arrow

The cast iron double box stove appears on the December 1820 inventory of Stephen Fairfield's estate. Listed seven lines below the inventory of lands, it was grouped with two single stoves for a total value of 16. In 1794, Stephen's father had purchased a double stove for 10 from Kingston merchant Richard Cartwright.

The stove that remains in Fairfield House is not William's first stove. The front of the stove has the name "Shotts" cast on the door of the fire box; "Shotts" is also on the right of the double doors of the oven in the upper box. The Shotts Iron Works in Lanarkshire, Scotland began operation in 1802. Stephen's great-granddaughter Alice T. Fairfield in her essay, circa 1915 refers to this stove being "brought in 1812 by sleigh with two others from Montreal", according to the family's oral tradition.

The motif of draped garland, with the Prince of Wales feathers and a circular seal dangling below, that appears on the front of the stove is repeated on the back and the sides, since such stoves could be placed to be viewed and to provide warmth for all sides.

Decorative as the castings were in their day, by the 1830s and 1840s, cast iron techniques had changed to allow shapes in stoves that were more lively than the basic box, which appeared very old-fashioned. At some time, the Shotts 27 double stove was moved up to the attic for a functional purpose only. It could heat the east room of the attic where the family had their loom and near it the warping reel.

According to Alice Fairfield's essay, the spinning wheels and the loom in the attic were used "for three generations" to make "homespun clothing". The 1851 Agricultural Census documents the Fairfield farm producing 16 yards of flannel; the 1861 Census recorded 34 yards of flannel. Pieces of rag carpet left in the house by the Fairfields are likely to have been a product from the family loom.

Submitted courtesy of the Fairfield Homestead Heritage Association, Amherstview

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