Backus-Page House Museum
The Backus-Page House Museum is located within the grounds of the John E. Pearce Provincial Park, situated within a restored Georgian style house which was constructed in 1850. It is one of the first brick homes built in what would eventually become Dunwich Township. The house was commissioned by Andrew and Mary Jane Backus. The Backus family was one of several families that had obtained land from Colonel Thomas Talbot and settled in the area which quickly came to be known as Little Ireland (a namesake due to the Irish ancestry of the settlers). The property that Andrew built his house on was given to him by his grandmother, Mary Storey, who received her original land grant in 1809. Upon the death of Andrew Backus in 1865 the estate along with what remained of the original land grant allotted to Mary Storey was bequeathed to his son, Andrew Storey Backus. Andrew Storey Backus sold the northern portion of that bequest, where in the house was located, to Robert Kennedy of Leskinfere Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland. Mr. Kennedy only owned the property 2 or 3 years before he returned to Ireland. The Backus-Page House and property was obtained by Jonas Page in 1925. The Page family had settled in the area in 1845 and maintained property further up Lakeview Line. Members of the Page family resided on the estate and farmed the property for over 40 years. The house underwent a number of physical changes as it aged, moving it away from its original 1850’s state. Morley and Grace Page were the last of the Pages to live on the farm and they sold it to the Ministry of Natural Resources in 1968. The Ministry of Natural Resources currently retains ownership of the Backus-Page House. The Ministry has entered into a lease agreement with the Tyrconnell Heritage Society. The society was incorporated in 1994 with the express purpose of restoring the house and property to its 1850’s condition. In 1998 the society undertook a restoration of the property, renamed the house in tribute to both its longtime owners and undertook a mandate of preservation and historical education regarding the estate and the Talbot Settlement in general.