History of the Mayholme Land

William May, a United Empire Loyalist, was born in upstate New York. He was the youngest child of his German parents, who emigrated from “Hoogduytsland” around 1723. He first joined the Indian Department under Sir John Johnston, then later served seven years in Butler’s Rangers during the American Revolution. In 1784, at the close of the war, William received a Crown Grant for seven hundred acres of land in Grantham Township in Upper Canada, where he settled with his wife and five children.

As the son of a United Empire Loyalist, Peter May, William's eldest son, received 100 acres of land on Lot 21, situated next to his father, in the Second Concession of Grantham in 1801. George May, Peter' youngest son and William's grandson, had Mayholme built in 1857, by Orren Cole, of the Cole Brothers, from Ten Mile Creek in Homer. Upon its completion around January 1857, George moved his wife and baby daughter Anna Maria May into their new home.

George farmed the 100 acres until his death in 1891, when he willed the property to his daughter, Anna May, who had married Eugene F. Dwyer in 1877. Their son Leslie continued farming, and then sold most of the land shortly before his death in 1970. The remaining property and house were inherited by his daughter, Corlene (Dwyer) Taylor.

Mayholme is the second house built on this property. The house was designed in a relatively simple Classic Revival style - it has high ceilings, and no fireplaces, as it was heated by stoves. It has had a few changes made since it was built, although both of the original chimneys have been removed. The major change was the replacement of the woodshed to the north by a pine board and batten clad large room to be used as the research facility. Some of the old painted floors, trim, doors and baseboards are original. The fancy wood-work on the open verandah at the side of the house, as well as the surround of hand-painted glass at the front door appear to be original. The recently uncovered original finish of faux painted marble will be conserved in the main entrance hall - it is one of the few examples of this type of craftsmanship left in Ontario. Many of the furnishings of the house have been handed down through the May family.

The original Crown Deed and Wax Seal are on display in the Library, along with a photo of the house taken by an itinerant photographer about 1865. The little girl in this picture is Corlene’s grandmother, Anna, with her parents George and Anna (Leighton) May and her brother Rolland.

Corlene (Dwyer) Taylor is the fifth generation to live in this house. She has donated her family home and property to the Mayholme Foundation which she founded. The house and property are to be used as a library, archives, museum and research facility for the preservation and exhibition of historical documents and records, and the surrounding land is to be preserved as a park-like setting for the facility.