Many United Empire Loyalists settled in the St. Lawrence Valley after the American Revolution. Dr. Solomon Jones (1756-1822) and his three brothers arrived in Augusta Township in 1784 to take up lands granted to them by the government. Jones commissioned Louis Brière, a Montreal mason and contractor, to build a "gentleman's residence" in stone overlooking the river in 1799. Although Homewood was constructed in the late Georgian style, the simplicity of some of its details, especially the shutters and metalwork, show a French-Canadian influence. Located just outside the village of Maitland, near Brockville, Homewood became the home for six generations of the Jones family. In the 1940s, Justus Jones, the last owner, constructed an addition that matched the design of the original home.
In addition to being a surgeon, Dr. Jones was an accomplished farmer and avid grower of fruit trees. His great-grandson, Harold Jones, followed in his footsteps and received international recognition for developing the Jones Red Fameuse apple in the early 1900s. Between 1900 and 1930, Homewood was the St. Lawrence Fruit Station, a division of the federal Central Experimental Farms in Ottawa.
In 1965 Justus Jones sold the property to the DuPont Corporation, an international chemical company, but continued living on the site until his death in 1972. DuPont developed a portion of the property as a chemical plant and donated Homewood along with 11 acres (4.5 hectares) of land and its collections to the Ontario Heritage Trust in 1974. The Trust restored the site with the help of the Grenville County Historical Society and the Canadian Parks Service. In partnership with the Trust, the Grenville County Historical Society operated a museum (1979-94) illustrating different periods in the history of the Jones family.
In addition to the house itself, visitors can explore Homewood's fascinating collection of furnishings and memorabilia accumulated over the 172 years in which it was occupied by the Jones family.
In 2001, several significant historical artifacts were secured at auction in Ottawa for the Homewood Museum, thanks to a generous donation by a Spencerville-area resident. Dating to the mid-1800s, the donated cultural artifacts have augmented the Trust's collection that once belonged to the Jones family. The artifacts include a claw foot mahogany table, a spinet desk, an early 1800s steeple clock, several Jones family photographs (including tintypes) and a 61-piece cobalt blue Adams Staffordshire dinner service, thought to be part of a 400-piece set owned by the second generation of the Jones family.
Homewood is available for tours by appointment (call 613-498-3003 for details).