Description of Historic Place
The Dr. Jump House is a two-storey, square Italianate residence with a distinctive belvedere. Built circa 1875, it is located on an elevated property on Main Street in Hillsborough.
The Dr. Jump House is of local historic significance because of the immaculately maintained archetypical Italianate architecture it displays and because of its association with the people who have dwelt here. In the mid 1870’s, a thirty-year-old physician named Dr. Robert Purnell Jump arrived in Hillsborough from Kent, Delaware with his wife, Anne (Bennett) Jump and their two young children. He built this residence circa 1875. They had a third child in 1879. In 1887, the doctor passed away. Judging by Dr. Jump’s epitaph, this house may have been an attempt to reproduce a Delaware plantation house in downtown Hillsborough: “Warm summer sun, Shine kindly here, Warm Southern wind, Blow softly here.” His widow, Anne, moved with her children to Suffolk, Massachusetts. She was not to return to Hillsborough until 1937 when she was laid to rest beside her husband, in Gray’s Island Cemetery.
In 1887, the same year Dr. Jump died, the Honourable John Lewis, member of the province's Legislative Council, was between houses. He had sold his house and business to his grandson and the Widow Jump’s splendid home seemed a perfect fit for him, considering that John Lewis’s grandson, Dr. John Taylor Lewis, would be living with him and the house was already configured with waiting room and office areas. ‘Doctor John’ - as he was called in order to distinguish him from ‘Old Doctor’ Lewis, his cousin - was born the year of Confederation in 1867. He graduated with honours from Mount Allison and McGill before setting up practice in Lowell, Massachusetts. He moved back to Hillsborough to take up his cousin’s practice, as the Old Doctor’s political career was taking him to Ottawa. Depending on the season, his horse and chaise, or horse and cutter were a familiar sight on roads throughout Albert County. So familiar, in fact, that children had composed a chant to speed him on his way as he galloped past; “Doctor, oh Doctor, oh dear Doctor John, Your cod liver oil is so pure and so strong.” He enlisted and served as a medical officer in the First World War. He was mentioned in dispatches for having evacuated patients from his hospital while under severe bombardment. He returned to his medical practice after the war. In 1921, he married his third wife, Celia Peck, who was a cousin of his neighbour, John L. Peck. Doctor John Lewis passed away suddenly in 1929.
The Dr. Jump House is also recognized for its architecture. Built circa 1875, the house is a classic example of Italianate residential architecture. Although the main mass of the building is only 100 square metres, the verandas, wide, decorative, bracketed eaves and its elevated position lend this house the grandeur of a much larger building. It is a veritable wedding cake of a home with a large, elaborate belvedere as a decorative crowning glory.
Source: Heritage Hillsborough, William Henry Steeves House Museum, Local Historic places files
The character-defining elements relating to the Doctor Jump House include:
- overall symmetry;
- square, two-storey massing;
- very low-pitched hipped roof;
- belvedere with double-hung windows;
- extensive bracketing under eaves;
- bay windows with entablature headers on the second floor;
- enclosed wrap-around veranda with double hung windows;
- cement steps;
- clapboard sheathing;
- rear extension with a sloped roof.