This farm’s very first record of ownership is dated 1820. A gentleman by the name of Mr. Stark picked the property of 100 acres from the Crown literally “out of a hat” as was the norm back then. He built a little cabin on it however moved away shortly afterwards and the property was returned to the Crown. The old ruins of this early foundation can be found on the West side of the existing sugar bush, by the fence line.
In 1826, Mr. William Anderson received the Crown deed to the property but very few records of activities exist between 1826 and 1851 at which time it was returned once again to the Crown.
It was in 1852 that the very first Mr. John Mather received the property from the Crown, he was 30 years old. He built a log barn (where the existing barn is located today) and resided in a log house in the village where he started a wagon-making business. In 1856, he purchased another 50 acres but sadly passed away a year later in 1857 at the age of 35. His wife remarried and moved to Paisley, Ontario with their 2 sons, John and Henry who were too young to take over the farm. No records have been found of any activities between 1859 and 1869. In 1870, both John and Henry moved to their father’s log house in the village of Middleville and relocated their father’s log barn to where the “Machinery Barn” is today (on top of the hill). That same year, they built the first extension of the main barn. This part is still standing and can be seen by simply looking up at the ceiling when in the Upper Hay Loft. In 1875, the property was equally divided between the brothers and together, they started farming the property.
In 1888, the village’s first Cheese Factory was built on the North side of this property. The Cheese Factory was set up as a cooperative venture, where as much as 100,000 pounds of cheese were produced in a good year. It unfortunately burned down in 1929 and the foundation ruins are still visible today if you drive up the 6th Line and look on your left amongst the trees (before the “dip” on the 6th Line). In 1890, Henry sold his half of the property to his older brother John and moved off the farm. John moved their father’s log house from the village onto the property, making it the official farmhouse. The “milking parlour” was added to the main barn in 1907 and in 1910, John passed down the family farm to his eldest son, John Mather. A hen house was added to the main barn that year, now used as a seasonal storage room. In 1944, the property was passed down again but this time to the second born son, Lyall Mather, as the first born son, John Earl Mather, was not interested in farming and instead became an Engineer. Lyall and his younger brother, Ellis, both shared the milking farm responsibilities.
In 1959, a devastating fire destroyed much of the Lanark village. Lyall and his mother were just returning from the village and could see the “glow” and smoke rising into the sky from the farm. In 1974, new government regulations mandated that a new “milk house” be built by the “milking parlour” to store the collected milk under controlled conditions. In 1992, Lyall Mather took his well-deserved retirement and sold the family farm to a new owner who then sold the farm again in 2002, when Patrick and Caroline Ouellette purchased it and called it Ferme Ouellette Farm. The “milk house” was renovated to become the Farm Gate where beef, chicken and eggs are sold. Make no mistake, the farm is still known to the locals as the Mather Farm but it is slowly but surely changing to be recognized as the Ouellette Farm.