Description of Historic Place
The McLeod-Mundle House is a one-and-a-half storey vernacular house with a gable roof that was built around 1831. The house is located on a one-acre lot on Main Street in Richibucto.
The McLeod-Mundle House is designated as a Local Historic Place for its architecture and for its association with two notable families of Richibucto, namely the McLeods and the Mundles.
This house is an example of vernacular architecture with Neo-Classical influences. This venerable dwelling still retains its ancient appearance with its original fenestration. The front façade has five bays which consist of a central door that is flanked on both sides by two windows. This door is located inside a two-storey porch that has windows on three sides. The house still has its ell or summer kitchen at the rear.
The interior of the dwelling still has much of its old or original detail such as the doors, the door and window frames, most of the panelling under the windows of the main level and the baseboards. On the second level, the small attic doors still retain their hand-forged strap hinges.
The post and beam frame of the main house is of the H-bent type. The timbers are axe-hewn and are joined together with mortises, tenons and wooden pins. In the frame of the main floor there are two trims, located one at each end of the house. These indicate the existence of two original fireplaces. The south one is larger, suggesting that this one was a cooking fireplace.
The second level of the ell still retains its original plaster walls as well as the original doors and door frames of the side attics. Graffiti on these walls, inscribed in pencil, date back to the 1940's.
The house was built by around 1831 by the Scotsman, William McLeod (1792-1861), who arrived in Richibucto around 1817. A merchant by trade, he prospered in shipbuilding as well as in the export of lumber and merchandise. He was co-owner of the Custom House in Saint John with the renowned brewer Alexander Keith.
William’s son, George McLeod, was born in the house in 1836. George greatly increased his father’s enterprises and became one of the most important merchants of Kent County. He owned sawmills at Richibucto, Kouchibouguac and Bouctouche. These mills supplied his main enterprise which was shipbuilding. He built ships in Richibucto, Kouchibouguac and Bouctouche as well as on the Saint John River.
In 1873, George owned more than 3,380 acres of land in Kent County, consisting of woodlots which supplied his mills. He also owned a store in Richibucto which was located across from his residence. In 1870, he built one of the largest wharves in the port city of Saint John.
George McLeod was also a politician and represented Kent County in Ottawa from 1874 to 1878. He left Richibucto in 1879 to establish businesses in Miramichi. He died in Saint John in 1905.
David I. Mundle acquired the property in 1900. He was an important farmer and possessed two other farms consisting of 80 acres, as well as a 100-acre lot at Marsh Point (Morgan Street area). He also operated a horse-drawn taxi service in Richibucto. His son Oswald inherited the property in 1932. Oswald also ran a large fox farm. The house is still in the possession of descendants of the Mundle family.
Sources: Richibucto Town Hall - Richibucto Historic Places files; Centre d'études acadiennes Anselme-Chiasson, Université de Moncton
The character-defining elements of the McLeod-Mundle House include:
- the one-and-a-half storey rectangular plan;
- the lateral gable roof;
- the original fenestration;
- the two-storey central bay of the main façade with windows on three sides and topped by a classical pediment;
- the old interior doors;
- the old interior door and window frames;
- the wooden panels under the windows of the front rooms on the main floor;
- the original attic doors with their hand-wrought strap hinges;
- the stone walls of the cellar;
- the exposed frame of the main floor (seen from the cellar);
- the original plaster finish of the second level of the ell.