The following historical facts relating to the Thornell Homestead
are derived from Deeds, Bonds, Mortgages, as well as McIntosh History of
Monroe County 1788-1877 and from the very precise and prolific records
of former owner, Mrs. Arthur Heath.
Joseph Thornell (originally Thornhill) was born in England in 1761 and
came to Pittsford in 1804. I don't have information on what brought him
here but he became the owner of a large farm. Joseph began the building
of his house about 1806. It was and is a fine example of a Federal style
building with several additions. The barns, privy, smoke house, and hog
house were all original outbuildings as well as three large barns. One
of those barns was donated to the Genesee County Village and Museum.
Joseph married Emily Beers, daughter of Edward Beers (part of Beers-Billinghurst
contingency) who came to this country from England about the same time
as Joseph. Probably their reason for coming was for religious freedom.
Joseph and Emily had numerous children, one of whom was William who married
Catherine Maxfield, daughter of Barnett and Hannah Maxfield, and built
the farm into a showplace and a fine working farm.
The interior and exterior of the home at 451 Thornell Road was carefully
renewed and restored around 1951 by owners Arthur and Emily Heath who purchased
the home from the children of William and Caroline Maxfield Thornell, (second
wife of William). By that time the homestead had deteriorated considerably,
The Heath family carefully removed old clapboards and replaced them with
new cedar clapboards matching the originals. Windows, which had been replaced
by 1 over 1 were restored to 6 over 6 to same specifications as originals.
New boards for the porch floors were also restored to same specifications
as before. Porch posts were replaced made to measurement of Lusk farmhouse.
The originals were stored in the barn.
A northwest wing had been added by one of the Thornells to be a bedroom,
but had no foundation. So the Heaths removed and rebuilt that wing with
a crawl space and brick foundation to match the Northwest corner.
On the interior, all woodwork, mantle, doors, and most of hardware are
original as are stairs. Floors were original and care was taken to match
original as far as possible.
All of this information was made available by Mrs. Emily Heath and I have
no information about what changes have been made since her ownership. The
current owners certainly seem to be fine stewards of this important historical
property and it is again a showplace, albeit with slightly less acreage.