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Ottawa Origins Guide


The Map below shows major areas of Ottawa and Hull at the time Benjamin Huckell and Ann Reading arrived there in 1858.

This view shows Ottawa in the 1850s looking downstream along the Ottawa River. Hull, Quebec (then called Lower Canada) is on the left and Ottawa, Ontario (Upper Canada) is on the right.

Ben and Ann settled in Hull first, living there from 1858 to 1860. The area that they lived in was a farm district which was located beyond this picture to the east (left). St. James Anglican Church (1), their first church in the district is shown at the lower left. They were buried, along with some of their children, in the St. James Cemetery (photo 1, photo2) which was further upstream on the banks of the river. The Union Bridge (2) was built in 1840 to link the two towns. It was destroyed in the 1900 fire which destroyed all of Hull and part of Ottawa, including some Huckell residences. Lebreton Flats (3) was the first place of business for Benjamin Jr. in 1860 where he ran a small mill.

After 1860 the family left  Hull and crossed the river into  Lower Town (4), Ottawa. Benjamin ran the Prince of Wales Hotel and then the Kingston Inn in this area. It was from here that William left for Chicago in 1866. Benjamin Jr. opened a flour and feed store and Thomas started his many enterprises from this area. In the 1867 Thomas Married Eliza Cleverly at St. Alban's Church and lived in the Sandy Hill (7) part of town.

Church allegiances had moved from St. James in Hull to Christ Church (6) above Lebreton Flats in the Upper Town. Benjamin Jr. married Catherine Starmer, Lucy married John Wesley Cross,  and Sarah Ann married Arthur Begg. Benjamin was among many parishioners who petitioned for a separate parish for the Lower Town residents but remained loyal to Christ Church.

After the children had married and left Benjamin and Ann moved to a cottage on Bank St. (5) in the Central Ward. Also moving to this area were Thomas and Eliza Huckell,  John and Harriet Huckell and Elizabeth and Richard Niles. Benjamin Jr. died in 1876 and his widow and most of their children (Katie Huckell stayed in Ottawa) left for British Columbia by 1880. Thomas and family left for Manitoba in 1883 a few months before his mother Ann passed away. Ben lived on in the cottage on Bank St. until his own death in 1896.

That cottage is long gone, but many other sites remain including John Huckell's house on Cooper St.,  the old Huckell Hall on Bank St., Lucy Huckell's house on Maclaren and the churches. All of the Lebreton Flats has been razed and little remains in the Lower Town. However the location of Benjamin Jr's last home in Ottawa, the building where the Feathers Hotel was located can still be seen facing Byward Market.