In the fall of 1957 it was announced that the home of one of Sarnia’s leading families for 100 years, Pinehurst, would be razed to make way for a modern Insurance office. The office building wasn’t built on the site, but years later it would become the site of Harvey’s Restaurant on Christina Street.
The builder of the home, James Flintoft Sr., was born in Yorkshire, England in 1806, coming to Canada with his family in 1820. Persuaded by Malcolm Cameron to leave Perth, Ont. and move to Sarnia, he built the Sarnia Mills, precursor to King’s Mill, in 1845.
After a short time he sold the mill to Malcolm Cameron but remained as manager. In 1853, Flintoft became Lambton County’s first sheriff, a position he would hold until 1872 when, due to ill health, he resigned. His son, James Flintoft Jr, then filled the post.
During 1856 materials for the building were assembled, including the individually paper-wrapped ultra-white bricks from Michigan for the façade, and window glass from Ohio. Construction began in January 1857.
Three generations of Flintoft’s, the only family to live in the house, resided there until the death on Feb. 26, 1956 at the age of 81, of Miss Frances Mary Flintoft, granddaughter of James Sr. and the last local family member.
Heirs from Toronto and Montreal sifted through the contents and sold many items to local residents and tourists, and what remained went to local historian George Smith.
The property was purchased the Mutual Life Assurance Co. of Canada, Ltd. for $42,000.
John Rochon is a Sarnian with a lifelong passion for local history