Description of Historic Place
This large two-storey well preserved home is set on nine acres near Victoria, PEI. It has Colonial Revival style elements including a symmetrical facade with verandah and centrally placed pedimented balcony above.
The house is valued for its Colonial Revival style elements and for its association with the Lea and Boswell families.
John C. Lea emigrated from Devonshire, England, in 1818. He constructed a log cabin near the shore in the Victoria area. This was later moved to the site of the present house and remodelled. The logs were replaced with hand hewn planks and a verandah with supporting pillars was added to the front. The house had a symmetrical facade with central entrance door with transom window and was then only one storey high.
The property was inherited by John Lea's son, Bertram Lea. By 1880, it was owned by Bertram's brother, Jabez Lea, and then included 75 acres.
Around 1919, the property was purchased by Edward Boswell (1860-1942). His wife, Rebecca (1868-1947), whom he had married in 1890 was a grand-daughter of the original owner, John Lea. Edward Boswell had been born in Souris, PEI. He was a prominent merchant in the Village of Victoria and also owned a house in the village at 98 Nelson Street.
Their son, Keith Boswell (1893-1967), would inherit this farm property when he came back from serving with the Second Siege Battery in WW I. He was wounded at the Battle of the Somme and had his horse shot from underneath him! In 1921, he married Ruth MacGregor (1896-1979) of New London, who was teaching school in Victoria at the time.
Keith and Ruth Boswell called the property "Lealand Farms". They also did major renovations to the house, adding a second storey. Keith Boswell excelled at improving the agricultural potential of his farm by establishing a herd of Dual Purpose Shorthorn cattle, keeping Clydesdale horses, and even fox ranching. Tragedy struck the farm in 1925 when the large barn burned down claiming his prized herd of cattle. The farm later grew potatoes and had a herd of Ayrshire cattle. These became quite celebrated as breeding stock and won the grand championship title at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. From his youth, Keith Boswell had been interested in farming, helping his uncle, Walter Maxwell Lea, with this herd of Holsteins. Walter M. Lea (1874-1936) would later serve as premier of PEI in the 1930s, the first farmer to hold that office.
Keith went on to serve in WW II as a Civilian Barrack Officer. After the war, he returned to his farm working with his family to maintain the property. He passed away in 1967 and was inducted into the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1973.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/V29
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the original sandstone foundation
- the two-storey wood frame with wood shingle cladding
- the symmetrical facade
- the large front verandah supported by pillars
- the centred balcony above the verandah with pediment
- the gable rooflines
- the brick chimneys
- the fenestration of the windows and doors
- the hood moulding above the windows
- the wall dormer window
- the additons to the side and back of the main house