TOUR STOP 10: The Hotchkiss House Murder - 196 Main St.

The house on this lot was a log house with a frame addition and a lean-to summer kitchen.  Jane Eaton lived here.  Her first husband, David Hotchkiss, had died in the early 1840s and left her with a young son Erastus.  She married a second time to Chancy Eaton and had two daughters with him.  By the time the girls were young adults their father had died.  In 1875 Jane was still living here with her 34 year old son Erastus, her brother-law Adam McKee and his son John Henry.  It was a troubled household.

The Seeley’s Bay neighbourhood generally understood that Erastus had serious mental health issues.  They remember a few year ago how he had broken the glass in all the windows of the school house, was seen talking incoherently to himself on the village streets and became so violent that he was imprisoned in Brockville for insanity.  After a time, he seemed to have regained control of himself, and was returned home to his farm.  His mother, his married sisters and immediate neighbours managed to deal with him but by 1875 he was displaying his old symptoms of fits of insanity and putting his mother’s life at risk with death threats.  Even a neighbour, Edward Chapman, heard him threatening her and warned Jane Eaton that he was afraid Erastus would hurt her.  Erastus wanted total control of the farm but his mother knew he was unable to handle it.

Another problem developing was that Erastus wanted to get married, but no eligible young woman would keep his company.  Erastus was causing quite a commotion in the Chapman home nearby, attempting to persuade young Jane Anne or Jenny Chapman to marry him.  On this particular day he went over to the Chapman’s home when he knew the mother had gone to the village to do some shopping and was chasing Jenny around house begging her to marry him.  Finally she told him that he didn’t need her because he had his mother at home.  Erastus went home feeling that all that stood between him and Jenny was his mother.

When he arrived home the mid-day meal was in progress and he sat down but was too upset to eat.  His mother asked where he had been and when he told her he was at Chapman’s she advised him not to go down there again.  At this, he pushed his chair back and left the house in a rage.  Jane got up a looked out the window and saw Erastus take the axe and go.  She sat back down and asked John Henry McKee to go see what Erastus was up to.  There must have been a slight noise that caused Jane to turn around at the very last moment.  As she turned, the axe came swinging down at her with such force that it passed through her chest into her back bone.  Jane fell over onto the floor and died, her face in a pool of blood.  

Erastus ran out past the barn and into the fields but was soon apprehended by men from the neighbourhood.  He was tried, found guilty and almost hanged for the murder of his mother, but was committed to the provincial insane asylum where he died in August, 1891.  The funeral was held at the Seeley’s Bay Methodist Church with a large crowd in attendance.  To prove that he really was dead, the lid of the coffin was removed and the remains viewed by all who were present.

Seeley's Bay Heritage Walking Tour - 130 Mill Street
  1. TOUR STOP 2: Seeley's Bay Wharf and the Rideau Queen - 130 Mill St.
  2. TOUR STOP 3: Seeley's Bay Saw Mill (Hartley's) - 136 Mill St.
  3. TOUR STOP 4: The Plane Crash - 130 Mill St.
  4. TOUR STOP 5: Horse Racing and Ice Cutting on the Bay
  5. TOUR STOP 6: The Dr. Christie House - 148 Mill St.
  6. TOUR STOP 7: The National Hotel - 160 Main St.
  7. TOUR STOP 8: The Brown House- Bootlegger - 179 Main St.
  8. TOUR STOP 9: Home of John Bracken - 172 Main St.
  9. TOUR STOP 10: The Hotchkiss House Murder - 196 Main St.
  10. TOUR STOP 11: Coleman's Hotel - 152 Main St.
  11. TOUR STOP 12: Dr. Gardiner House- presently Ridgway Confections - 159 Main St.
  12. TOUR STOP 13: The Bank - 148 Main St.
  13. TOUR STOP 14: Stage Coach Depot/ George Cheetham's Blacksmith Shop - 103 Bracken St.
  14. TOUR STOP 15: Kelly’s Fresh Mart formerly Sweets - 144 Main St.
  15. TOUR STOP 16: St. Peter's Anglican Church - 155 Main St.
  16. TOUR STOP 17: Dr. Bowen's House -145 Main Street
  17. TOUR STOP 18: Seeley's Bay Masonic Hall - 108 Adelaide St.
  18. TOUR STOP 19: Seeley's Bay United Church - 129 Hellen St.
  19. TOUR STOP 20 - A. Neal and Son, Brick and Tile Co. Circa 1900 - 109 Hellen St.
  20. TOUR STOP 21: A.J. Sly's Furniture and Undertaking - 140 Main St.
  21. TOUR STOP 22: Gilbert Carriage Works - 129 Main St.
  22. TOUR STOP 23: Gilt Edge Cheese Factory - 118 Main St.
  23. TOUR STOP 24: Sunny Acres- The Ashery - 119 Haskins Point Rd.
  24. TOUR STOP 25: Haskins Point - 148 Haskins Point Rd.