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Elson Homestead

Elson Homestead
Plaque no. 14
Date of plaque unveiling
14 October 1972
Leslie Gray
1057 Oxford Street West, London, Ontario

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Joseph Elson was born in 1804 in Markham Township, the son of a Hessian soldier who had come to Canada after the American Revolution. His parents died when he was a small boy and he was raised by various relatives.

After working at farming, milling, whiskey- making, and pottery, Elson was granted 200 acres of land in the 1820’s in London Township by Colonel Thomas Talbot. He also bought 100 acres from the Canada Company on the north-east corner of Oxford Street and Hyde Park Sideroad in 1834. Elson is thought to have cleared single-handedly 81 acres of this land and to have built a log house and a pottery.

In the early years there was no church in the settlement. Neighbours would congregate here to sing hymns, accompanied by Mrs. Elson on the piano, and to listen to itinerant preachers.

In 1855, Elson built the present brick house in which his descendants lived for generations.

Peter Elson (son of Joseph and his wife, Samantha Hart) inherited the farm in 1860 and added another 180 acres. He served as a school trustee, Reeve of London Township, Warden of the County of Middlesex, and Member of Parliament for East Middlesex from 1904 to 1913.

His son, Paul, assumed ownership of the farm in 1903, built a new barn, and enlarged the house. Paul’s brother, Reverend Albert J. Elson, B.A., B.D., was educated at the Western University of London, Ontario and the University of Toronto. He spent 17 years as a missionary in China, and 23 years as a Presbyterian minister in Middlesex County.

Howard B. Elson, son of Paul, acquired the farm in 1936 and added two more farms to the property. He also served as a township councillor, Reeve of London Township, Warden of Middlesex County, Chairman of the London Township Planning Board, member of the London Township Police Commission, and of the East Middlesex High School Board.

Robert Elson, son of Howard, represented the fifth generation to live on this property.