One of the few buildings in the war ravaged Niagara region to survive relatively intact is McFarland house just minutes South of Niagara-on-the-Lake on the Niagara Parkway.

Built in around 1800 by John McFarland who plied his way to wealth and social status by hard work as a brick-maker and carpenter, McFarland built a "showcase" home to impress visitors and to house his nine children.

During the war of 1812, the house changed hands between the US and Britain several times with the US setting up a field hospital.

According to the tour guide, the American's came and asked John if he'd willingly give up his home to them and when he answered a curt "no", he was taken across the river and into imprisonment by the Americans. This prompted his sons to join the British/Canadian militia one of whom was eleven years old and worked as a "powder monkey" brining the gun powder to the artillery pieces in the field during battles.


The Americans all but practically destroyed the building by doing things like burning bits of it for fuel. Many soldiers were treated for wounds and illness in the house and according to one staff member, more than a few have been buried around the home near the river.

The strategic importance of the house is apparent in the fact that the British even built a gun emplacement in the rear of the home to defend the town of Newark.

After the war, John returned to his now crumbled home and two years later passed away of what legend says was a broken heart over what the American's had done to his home. (This "legend" is based on much truth to a degree as this point is even carved on his headstone in St. Mark's Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake.)

His sons did rebuild the home and lived there until it passed into the hands of Niagara Parks.

The home is lovingly re-created and tours given by guides in period costumes but with all this rather nasty history, we had to know if there were any ghost stories so we asked.

We were fortunate as the person we asked was a former guide on the ghost tours at Fort George and was very candid with us but sadly stated "I've never experienced anything here myself."

Still, we did find out through a staff member at Fort George that indeed a few people had experienced hushed voices and footsteps in the lower part of the original house that had been mistaken for visitors that had not vacated after closing.

Do any "ghostly" folks remain near or around McFarland House? There is always a possibility but we would STRONGLY recommend touring it for yourself and DO stop in for a WONDERFUL tea and scone (with clotted cream and jam) which is easily the best that our director tried (so he says) since his last trip to the Cotswolds in England.

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