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Sunday, February 5, 2023
Exploring Photos: ‘The Wilderness’ by Nicholas Hornyansky
‘The Wilderness’ by Nicholas Hornyansky. Supplied

This remarkable Old Town property – over four contiguous, heavily forested acres through which meanders One Mile Creek – has passed intact through many hands.

The present home on “The Wilderness” was built in 1816-17 after the first one was burned during the War of 1812.

The property was given to Mrs. Ann Johnson Claus in 1799 by the Six Nations in gratitude for her family’s “many kindnesses” toward them.

Her only son, the Hon. William Claus, inherited the property and as deputy superintendent of Indian Affairs often met with Indigenous leaders on the site.

The present house consists of several extensions to the original construction.

Claus and his wife Catherine were pioneering horticulturalists who may have planted the now remarkable sycamore trees that line the property along King Street.

They also introduced tender fruit cultivation to the area, planting peach and nectarine orchards.

Both kept diaries, which not only document the progress of the building but also the planting of flowers, ornamental trees and vines on the extensive property

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