Markham - Private Residence - Washington St. A woman in a fedora hat looks out the window of this two story home on Washington St. What she's looking at or for is not known but here she stays.
It's thought that Mrs. Sarah Crosby is this elderly apparition seen from time to time in the home. One interesting feature may (or may not) be a sealed off bedroom on the second floor of the home.
This story comes straight from John Robert Colombo's Mysteries of Ontario which is an excellent book and is included here because of an article in the Toronto Star about the TGHRS and Toronto's ghosts.
UPDATE - July 2000
The present owner of the house sent us the following information on the house.
The owners had spoken with a neighbour who did some of the maintenance work on the house for an elderly woman who used to live there claimed that although he himself had not experienced a 'ghost' in the home, he had heard the stories of the ghost.
He told this person that the widow of a lawyer who lived here locked the room that they once shared as it was too painful a memory to go in the room. It has been rumoured to be either the upstairs bedroom facing the street or the middle living room.
Once, a teenage occupant ran to a close neighbours and refused to enter until his family came home as he said he saw a sailor in the kitchen.
People have also claimed to have heard a baby crying in the basement.
One semi-debunked claim was a light in the basement would turn on its own but according to this neighbour, he fixed it and claimed the problem was faulty wiring.
The present owner also has passed on more information to us from their collection of files about the house.
An article called "Ghostly goings on in Markham?" by Bruce Ethridge (Clipping taken from the Markham Community Library copied from the Markham Weekender dated October , 1987, section P13) made reference to owners Cathy and Barry Clulow who bought the house in question in 1971.
According to the article, "One night while lying in bed Cathy saw a "misty, female figure" -- her husband described it as a "white cloud" -- pass down the front hall and enter a bedroom. It didn't walk, Cathy says, "it floated". The apparition apparently had no feet to walk with."
"The presence wasn't distinctive, there was no detail in the transparent shape. "But it was definitely female" Cathy says. She describes the figure as a "human shape in a long flowing dress" with no discernible facial features."
The article also mentions the daughter (an infant) seeming to watch and "laugh" at the ghostly goings on making specific mention of a rocking chair that seemed to rock at will without human intervention.
The article goes on to say that Cathy mentioned the first tenant to lease the downstairs from them literally tore up his lease and stated, angrily, that the house was haunted.
"It terrified him so much he tore up his lease and left".
Moving cold spots were also mentioned and even seemed to involve their pets.
"The icy chills would pass through the dining room, Barry says, could be attributed to simply drafts in an old house. But he wonders why each time it happened the hair on their dog's back stood up and bristled "just like a cat's"."
Our 'reporter' (the current owner) also sent us a copy of an article called "Ghost haunts Markham home"
"The paper or date wasn't recorded on this photocopy and is also very poorly copied hence big gaps in the story." we have been warned.
This is one in a series of articles prepared by Astrid Taim. Any information or comments on the buildings featured in this series would be greatly appreciated.
This report mirrors the one from John Robert Colombo's more than the rest.
"The apparition always wears the same soft felt hat and has endured what seems to be unending existence at [the] Washington Street [home] in the old village of Markham." An interesting article to be sure...
"The fedora, it appears, is his favourite hat, and he's never caught without it."
"A quiet sort of individual, his face occasionally appears on the refrigerator door in the kitchen. Things do seem to persist in sliding off counter tops and tables, and the lights in the cellar never remain off or on for very long."
"But the occupants of the house don't really seem to mind their supernatural visitor, except maybe the cat who runs for cover when the face appears."
"No one knows where he came from. [The house] was built in 1887 on the site on an earlier frame dwelling occupied by Mrs. Sarah David Crosby of the prominent Crosby family of the Town of Markham."
"The most important "living" occupant of this beige brick house was Arthur Ferrier Wilson, the 16th Reeve of Markham. Although Reeve Wilson died in 1934, his wife remained in the house until her death in 1971. She was well into her 90's."
"For some unknown reason the master bedroom of the Wilson house was sealed off after the death of the Reeve and remained unopened for 37 years."
"The house employs a complex system consisting of multiple gables and although there are numerous chimneys to the structure, the interior is void of any fireplaces. ["NOT SO TODAY" comments the current owners] Much of the interior remains relatively unchanged from the original. The majority of the window glassing in the house is original and 90 percent of the floors are maple."
Below is extra notes from the current owner...
Finally, I'll include some historical background on the people who once lived here taken from the Markham Museum. Excellent research! Both the current owners have stressed that to date, neither of them have ever experienced any "ghosts" in their house and both of them are more than a little amused by the home's legends.
The house built c. 1887 on Plan 18, Part Lot 5 and 6 in Markham Village.
The property on which the house was built previously contained a frame house which was lived in by Sarah D. Crosby. Sarah was a descendant of the prominent Crosby Family, who came to Markham Township in 1807 from Herkimer County, New York. The Crosby's were farmers who worked properties to the south of Markham Village in the vicinity of Vinegar Hill.
Early in its history the house became the home of Arthur Ferrier Wilson. Arthur was a prominent business man in Markham as the owner of the Maple Leaf Woollen Mills, a large imposing structure at the west end of Robinson Street, built in 1886. The Mill was a going concern, and reached a height of production blankets for the Canadian Army during World War I.
Unfortunately, on May 19, 1917, lightning struck the factor and it was totally destroyed at a loss of $150,000. Insurance coverage was only $90,000 and the mill was never rebuilt. At the time the building employed 40-50 people.
The Wilsons were a prominent family in Markham Village. Henry Wilson, owner of the large house at 144 Main Street North (Markham Village Lanes) was a store keeper in the village. As was John Wilson, who kept a boot and shoe shop, which is still in existence at the corner of Main and Dublin Streets.
Arthur Wilson was involved in local politics in Markham, serving as Reeve of Markham Village from 1923 to 1925. He was succeeded by a George Wilson from 1926 to 29, before serving as Reeve again in 1930.
Arthur Wilson passed away in 1934. His wife remained in the house until her death in 1971 when she was in her 90s. Following the death of Arthur Wilson, the master bedroom was sealed off and remained unopened for 37 years.