Historic Oakville house receives new commemorative plaque


Published June 26, 2024 at 3:42 pm

hiram smith oakville plaque house

An historic house in Oakville recently received a new plaque commemorating one of its original owners, Hiram Smith.

According to information supplied by the Oakville Historical Society, 457 Smith Lane was originally part of a plot granted to King’s College (now part of the University of Toronto) in 1828. In 1840, they sold it to Hiram Smith. The Smith involvement in the area, however, goes further back.

Joel Smith, Hiram’s father, was born 24 April 1779. When he married Margaret Campbell (1786-1840), he was a millwright in Thorold Township. She was the daughter of Robert Campbell, Sgt.-Maj. of Butler’s Rangers of American Revolutionary War fame.


As she was the daughter of a United Empire Loyalist, she was entitled to a land grant and received Lot 22, Concession 3, SDS in 1804. Joel became the partner of Oakville founder William Chisholm in the operation of their shop at Burlington Beach and later in one of the first buildings to be put in downtown Oakville on William Street.

In 1833, Lot 22 passed to their son, Robert, who built a mill on the Little Sixteen Mile Creek which passes through the property and Lot 21 to the east before passing under Fourth Line, turning south and emptying into Lake Ontario.

The Creek is now known as McCraney Creek after William McCraney who owned Lot 20 on the east side of Fourth Line.

In 1838, Joel Smith bought Lot 23 from King’s College and built another sawmill. It stopped running after his death in 1845. Robert’s mill, however, flourished and, by 1851, was cutting 100,000 feet of lumber annually and employed eight men.


Hiram Smith was born in 1804 and, in 1832, married Hannah Philipse Chisholm, daughter of Colonel John Chisholm and Sarah Davis.

When the Upper Canada Rebellion started in 1837, Captain Hiram Smith was ordered to raise men to help put down the rebellion. He was given command of the Oakville and Wellington Square companies of the Gore Militia which were dispatched on Christmas Day 1837 to Lundy’s Lane.

After he returned home, Hiram bought Lot 21 and, about 1860, built what is now 457 Smith Lane.

The original house was a very typical Ontario Gothic house. They are typically 1 ½ storeys with a gable over the front door. They were built of logs, board and batten, stone, stucco and brick, frequently with quoins of a different colour.

This one is made of local brick and has had several additions over the years. The single storey addition to what is now the front of the house was added about 1890. Hiram and his family farmed the property and had several orchards.

Hiram and Hannah had eight children, William, John, Margaret, Helen, Catherine, Colin, Isabell and Miles.

Colin took over the house and farm. Bits and pieces were sold over the years, the first being a strip to the railway in the 1880s. After Hiram’s death in 1876, the property was split up amongst some of his heirs.

It was apparently a working farm until the last remaining portion was sold to a developer in 1959 by Colin’s son, Reginald.

Information in this story was supplied by the Oakville Historical Society

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