Historic deed returns to Dawn-Euphemia

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Blake Ellis Photo Members of the Fansher family were on hand as the crown deed from 1834 of the Fansher homestead was presented to Dawn-Euphemia Township. Harry Fansher, left, holds the framed crown deed along with Dawn-Euphemia Mayor Al Broad, with Donna Mitchell and Helen Fansher.

Blake Ellis/The Independent

A piece of Dawn-Euphemia’s history has come home.

Descendants of David Fansher were on hand June 20, as the crown deed of the homestead of the Fansher family was presented to Dawn-Euphemia Mayor Al Broad by Ontario Minister of Mines and Timmins MPP George Pirie.

The crown deed has been passed down through the generations of the family and has travelled throughout Canada.

Donna Mitchell of South Porcupine, Ontario was the last of the family to have the 190 year-old document. Wanting to return it to the municipality from which it originated, she contacted Pirie, who is her local MPP.

It was through his office that arrangements were made to return it to Dawn-Euphemia.
David Fansher received the crown deed for Lot 18, Concession 3 in what was then Zone Township in Kent County. Lambton County did not exist yet and the farm would later be situated in the former Euphemia Township in Lambton County.

At first, the homestead was passed down from generation to generation, and the deed was stored flat in a cardboard box.

Fred Fansher was the last of the family to farm the old homestead.

In the mid 1980s, Fred handed the deed to his cousin, Harry Fansher who lived in Calgary. The deed made the trip out west in the same cardboard container.

Harry’s daughter, Helen was a teacher and periodically the deed would be used as a teaching tool in her class. Helen’s students were enthralled at being able to see and touch the old document.

Harry decided to have it framed and put under glass a couple of years later.
It was then decided to return it to Ontario.

Harry gave the deed to his sister, Bernice St. Pierre who lived in Ontario. It then ended up in the possession of St. Pierre’s daughter. She asked the MPP to deliver it back to the municipality where its long journey began.

The deed represents seven or eight generations of the family.

Broad was happy to receive the historic document and said it would be the decision of council where to display the deed, but he suggested that it should be hung in the council chambers of the Dawn-Euphemia municipal office.

The original house on the property was replaced in the early 1900s. That house remains standing today.