TUTELA HEIGHTS – Arthur Stanford is a very interesting man with an even more interesting pedigree.
He is a son of Frances Stanford (Cockshutt), now in her 80s and they both live within the city of Brantford. They are direct descendants of the Cockshutts and of the Cockshutt Plow Company as well as many other industries of the mid to late 1800s. The Cockshutt name is also closely associated with local politics and that of the newly formed Dominion of Canada.
Arthur and Frances have intimate knowledge of not only the birth and growth of Brantford, but also that of the area known as Tutela Heights. After all, they are Cockshutts, a founding family who has lived on the bluffs of Tutela Heights since the early 1800s. That is, until just a few years ago, when the old homestead was sold to Walton International land bankers for a proposed housing development — a decision she now regrets.
“Yes I believe I was taken advantage of,” she told Two Row Times. “But my husband had died and I was alone, Arthur was teaching in China at the time and my other son was living in the States. I was not able to keep it up any more so I sold it. I wish I had not done that.”
Arthur is a little more forceful with his opinion on the matter.
“They ripped my mom off,” he offers. “Pretty well stole the property from her. You’re damn right they took advantage of her.”
He is also angered at the disregard the current city and county councils have shown for its own history, and all for the sake of money.
“When I read recent Expositor and Brant News articles explaining the benefits to the city of Brantford in exchange for millions of dollars in compensation to the county for destroying a beautiful piece of property that runs all along Tutela Heights, it bothers me,” says Stanford.
“The disregard for the residents there, whom I have known my entire life, who enjoy the peacefulness and tranquility and to be able to have a nice large lot and fresh air? All this is to be exchanged for this hi-density development to be built up regardless of any historical interest. That is more than I am willing to bear.”
He adds, “If this is to be, parts of that area must be seriously and extensively excavated. I believe the historical significance of that area is far too great to ever be built upon and should be returned to the residents who originally owned that. That property has so much historical significance and should be returned to Six Nations to be protected and preserved.”
A spokesperson from Archaeological Services Inc., the company hired by Walton, says that they too are aware of archaeologically sensitive sites, but they do not fall within the area they are contracted to survey in the first phase of development.
If the Walton project is given the go ahead as expected, there will be other phases to the develop some day and they will have to deal with the archaeological time bombs like the Tutelo longhouse and other known and unknown burial sites.
The Dr. Lafferty – Molly Johnson estate built around 1800 on the bluffs of Tutela Heights was bought by Ignatious Cockshutt in 1835 and, until recently, has remained in the family ever since with generations of Cockshutts living there at some point. A year later, in 1836, Cockshutt also bought the adjacent Phelps farm. The Bell Homestead, which was built later, was fashioned after the same floor plan as the Lafferty-Johnson home. The Cockshutt homestead was sold to Walton International land bankers only a few years ago by Frances Stanford-Cockshutt, now well into her 80s. Even today she regrets that decision and believes she was taken advantage of by the international land bankers. Photo by Jim Windle
CUTLINE: Head shots
Arthur Stanford and his mother Frances recall life and times at the old Cockshutt family homestead overlooking Tutela Heights. Although Frances did sell the property to Walton International a few years ago, she has many regrets and believes she was taken advantage of by the land bankers.