C o u n t r y I n n
Delta is one of the earliest settlements in the region, founded c.1796 by Abel Stevens, a Loyalist settler from Vermont. Stevens arrived with six families in early 1794, settling on the upper reaches of Plum Hollow Creek. Stevens petitioned the government for land around present day Delta (he wanted the rapids in that spot for water power for a mill).
The area was unsurveyed and it was not until 1796 that land was granted to Stevens (after initial surveys had been done), allowing him to build his first mill (a wooden sawmill) which formed the nucleus of a new community that became known as Stevenstown.
After the building of the Old Stone Mill (1810-1812) it became known as Stone Mills. Then, in 1821, the name was changed to Beverley in honour of Sir John Beverley Robinson, a member of the Legislative Assembly. However, in 1857, when an application was made for a post office it was discovered that a Beverley already existed, and the name was changed to Delta because the shapes of Upper and Lower Beverley lakes, and the village between them all form triangles, the shape of the Greek letter Delta.
Joachim Denaut, from Laprarie, Lower Canada, settled at Johnstown, County of Grennville, about the year 1800. The family was originally from France, Bishop Denaut, of Lower Canada, being a brother to the grandfather of Walter.
Walter was born in Prescott in 1807. He lived in Prescott until 1825, when he came to the village of Delta (then still known as Beverley) to work as a clerk for Hartwell and Schofield, who were presumably merchants. After four years he moved to Brockville, where he tried his hand at a couple of strangely divergent careers. He first apprenticed himself to Dr Hubbell as a student of medicine, but soon found the profession was not to his liking. His next job was as deputy collector of custom duties. However, during this same period he formed a company with James Crawford, in order to work on the construction of canals along the St Lawrence. They secured several contracts, and Denaut's fortunes were obviously on the rise, as in 1839 he reappeared in Beverley. Here he opened a business as a general merchant. His store, which subsequently included a post-office, was situated in a stone building that was to later become the Ackland Blacksmith Shop.
Walter married Julia Easton, sister of George Easton, Esq. The wedding took place in 1843. They have four children, Roderick, George, Walter, and Julia. His wife unfortunately dies and Walter marries Harriet Jones, of Connecticut, but she passes away not long after. Walter, who obviously preferred the married state, soon marries Caroline Dunham, who presented him with no less than seven childrenn.
In 1889 Mr. Walter H. Denaut dies at his home in Delta. It was on a Saturday, and was buried on Monday. Mr. or Squire Denaut as he was called, was well known and loved, and with his death the country lost a man who has been closely identified with the progress of the area.
(Source: "My Own Four Walls" by Diana Haskins)
In 1848 Walter Denaut manages to buy land where he plans to build his new home. The land was originally owned by Abel Stevens Senior, it had later been purchased by Nicholas Mattice and then, in turn, by Nicholas's son. Once the land was in Walter's hands, he must have started building almost immediately, as his house appeared for the first time on the township assessment rolls of 1849.
The census of 1851 revealed that Walter was fully settled in his new home, together with his wife, Julia Easton, and their three children.
His mansion is located on a hill above Delta, It is an example of the type of elegance that many attempted, but never fully achieved. The stone from which it was built had been quarried from a local farm, and the brick manufactured on the site where Bill Birch later owned and operated a brick kiln.
Their staff included two clerks, Sherwood Hall and Edward Kilborn, a laborer, John Cars, and two servants, Ann Morris and Bridget Jordan, both natives of Ireland. He also had a butler named John Le Claire, also known as ‘Black Jack’. There is an island on Lower Beverley Lake named after him.
In this same year Walter was also shown as owning a farm of 320 acres with sixty cultivated. The Canada Directory of 1857-1858 gave further evidence of how steadily he was moving up in the world. He was then listed as postmaster, general merchant, grist, saw, and carding mill owner.
The Denaut House
Walter H. Denaut