Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | December 31, 2015

Artifact of the Week. Canadian Silver at Inverarden House, Cornwall.


Silver dessert spoons with a double Montreal hallmark.  On the left, Robert Cruickshank (1767 -1809) and the right Nathaniel Starnes (1794 – 1851).  It would appear that Starnes purchased pre hallmarked spoons from Cruickshank’s estate when he opened shop in Montreal shortly after Cruickshanks sudden death, and added his mark.  This dessert and teaspoons were acquired from the descendants of Nor’Wester John McDonald of Garth and were part of the Inverarden Regency Cottage Museum collection, significant parts of which are in possession of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Historical Society and in the collection of the Cornwall Community Museum.  It is significant to note that Cruickshank made trade silver for the North West Company.


A portrait of John McDonald of Garth, done in London, circa 1804.  The original watercolour  made its way to Hawaii and was last known to be in the possession of Mrs. Garth McDonald.


A sterling silver dessert spoon made by Montreal silversmith James Adam Dwight, in Montreal from ca.1818 to 1847.  The crest depicts a boar’s head and the initials “J.D.C.”  As the spoon was acquired from the descendants of Nor’Wester John Duncan Campbell, and as the boar’s head is the Campbell crest, it is reasonable to asset that the spoon belonged to him and was used at Inverarden Regency Cottage Museum.  The spoon is owned by the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Historical Society in their collection at the Cornwall Community Museum.scan0103

A photograph of a coloured miniature of John Duncan Campbell, 1773 to 1835.

scan0105Inverarden is Gaelic for “the high headland overlooking the water to the sea.”  Located just east of Cornwall, the house overlooks the St. Lawrence River.  It was originally constructed for Nor’Wester John McDonald of Garth in 1816 upon his retirement.  He subsequently sold the house to his partner and son-in-law John Duncan Campbell.  The Campbell family lived here until 1965.  This photograph is from the 1920s.


Inverarden House in 1967.  As anyone who has lived in an old house can tell you, they need constant maintenance.  Once abandoned Inverarden was vandalized and fell into a sorry state of disrepair.  In the late 1970s it was lovingly restored by Parks Canada, who leased it to the City of Cornwall who then sub-leased it to the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Historical Society to turn it into Inverarden Regency Cottage Museum.


Inverarden Regency Cottage Museum, 1979 to 1999.  When the Historical Society took over the empty building, I was hired to refurnish it in the style and manner of a retired Northwest Company partner’s home.  Through the generous financial assistance from the City of Cornwall, numerous charitable foundations and individuals, and Wintario (aka Trillium), I was able to refurnish the house within five years and make it the “place to visit” when in Cornwall.

Returned to Parks Canada in the fall of 1999,  as the City of Cornwall could no longer afford to subsidize Parks Canada’s property, the building has now fallen into a state of disrepair once again.

Significant parts of the collection, were, however, preserved and are in the collection of the Cornwall Community Museum.

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