Description of Historic Place
The Underhay House is a one and one-half storey brick farm house with a truncated hip roof and a gable-roofed kitchen wing located in the rural Kings County community of Eglington.
The Underhay House is valued for its age, construction materials and method, its associations with the Underhay family, the history of the area, and its importance to its community as a visual landmark.
Built for successful farmer, land surveyor, Justice of the Peace, and Member of the House of Assembly, John Collier Underhay (1829-1919), the house is a rare rural farm residence constructed of Prince Edward Island brick. Built in 1876 by a Mr. Pratt of St. Peters, it is believed the bricks were made in Southport, now Stratford, and shipped along the coast. John Collier or J.C. Underhay was born in Eglington to parents William Underhay and Mary Ann Withers. William Underhay (ca. 1792-1865) emigrated to Prince Edward Island from Devonshire, England in 1818 settling on land adjacent to this farm which the family called “Ayrslie”. William Underhay was a sheriff and magistrate. His son, John Collier Underhay married Roseline Craswell (1837-1910) in1856 and they had nine children.
J.C. Underhay studied mathematics and became a land surveyor at an early age, as well as farmed. He held several government commissions including Commissioner of the Court for Small Debts, postmaster for Grand River, and was appointed Justice of Peace at the age of 24, the youngest J.P. in the province’s history. Underhay also served as a school trustee, and was a leader in the establishment of the Bay Fortune Presbyterian Church. A member of the Independent Order of Good Templars from 1868, Underhay became their Grand Chief in 1870. He ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the provincial legislative council in 1874, but was elected in 1879, representing 1st Kings until 1882, and 2nd Kings from 1886 to 1893. Underhay believed in responsible government, tenant land ownership, temperance and free schools. A local historian, Underhay contributed an article regarding Bay Fortune to the 1906 publication Past and Present of Prince Edward Island by D.A. MacKinnon and A.B. Warburton.
After his death in 1919, ownership of the house passed from J.C. Underhay to his son William Henry Underhay, then to his grandson Reid Underhay in 1926. The Underhay House remains with the Underhay family with J.C. Underhay’s great great grandson as the current owner.
The Underhay House continues to be an important visual and cultural landmark in its community
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, Department of Tourism and Culture, Charlottetown, PEI File #: 4310-20/U4
The heritage value of the Underhay House is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the overall massing of the house
- the brick construction
- the symmetrical construction of the house
- the pitch of the truncated hip roof
- the gable-roofed kitchen wing
- the pitch of the gable roof of the kitchen wing
- the placement of the doors
- the size and placement of the windows
- the Wallace stone window lintels
- the brick detailing above the windows and front entrance
- the wood-shingled roof dormers
- the transom or fanlight and side lights of the front entrance
Here are some recent pictures of the house: