A beautiful line drawing of the historic Moses Hudgin House was recently donated to us by Marjorie Sequin and to beat the winter blues, a colouring contest was held! The results are in and we have our four winners of the Hudgin House Colouring Contest!
The winners of the youth category were Jack and John who each drew wonderful renditions of the Hudgin House, complete with family members and tree swings! The winners of the adult category were Cheryl, who drew a true to life rendering and Brenda who made us wish springtime was here.
The Hudgin House Restoration Committee is currently raising funds to restore this piece of county history. For more information on the project and to donate click here.
A Few Words on Log Cabins and Houses Marjorie Cluett Seguin
The recent colouring contest of the Hudgin Log House resulted in four original and diverse views of the house, imagining life in the original dwelling from the perspective of each artist. In the childrens’ lively and vigourously-coloured renditions, there are birds and animals, and swings and a slide. In the two adult responses, one features carefully-coloured homey finishings such as painted wood trim, curtains, hollyhocks outside and candles in the windows. The house is warm and inviting. In the other adult artwork, care and thought is given to the materials used and the colours and textures are rendered realistically. Bravo to the artists!
The Hudgin Log House is of such interest in part because it is so rare a find in the County. What log houses and cabins there were have largely been lost over time, often relegated to shelter for livestock and then left to deteriorate. This house is a rare and solid example of what, due to its squared timbers and two full stories, is known as a log house rather than a cabin.*
Log structures were used widely in the earliest years of immigrant settlers in this part of North America. Trees were usually abundant, and what wasn’t needed for immediate use or logged for timber was burned to clear the land for agriculture. Logs made a readily available material with which to construct a dwelling.
The earliest structures were lean-to’s, often called ‘shanties’, loosely constructed to provide shelter in the earliest weeks of months of settlement. Very often these did not have windows, and nor were they likely to have chimneys.
Log cabins were the next structures to have been built, with a peaked roof and, if the residents were lucky, a window or two. In the earliest days there would not have been chimneys, and a hole in the ceiling had to suffice for ventilation. Similarly, no flooring existed in the earliest structures: once funds were available and time permitted, rough plank flooring may have been added.
Living was often done almost entirely in the main room on the ground floor. If the dwelling had a chimney and an attic, sometimes a ladder to a loft was added, and a sleeping space for the children was made upstairs, with some heat emanating from the chimney passing through the space.
Log cabins and houses were not seen then as we see them now, as charming or desirable, but rather as stepping stones to better houses, made of milled lumber, possibly stone, or fired brick, once time, money, and available materials permitted.
The Hudgin Log House is a considerably more substantial dwelling than many of the earliest log cabins and houses. Not only is the upstairs higher in ceiling than the first floor*, but the log house had an extension on it. Also, it was clad with wooden siding at an earlier point. Log cabins and houses allowed their inhabitants to make shelters with what they generally had at hand. This near self-sufficiency, mirrored in other aspects of the early settlers lives (with hunting, fishing, farming, and the making of their own clothes and foods,) accounts in part for the enduring appeal of these early structures, at a time when our lives have become so mechanized.
With advocates like architect Edwin Rouse and many other committed individuals, there is hope for restoring the lovely Hudgin Log House to its earlier beauty.
*Edwin Rouse presentation, September 19, 2020, summarized in SSJI Shoreliner #3
Also used for reference:
Pioneer Days in Upper Canada, Edwin C. Guillet, University of Toronto Press, 1933
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