In 1861 Jacob Rumph signed the deed for Lot 26, Concession 3. It was a one hundred acre lot which he farmed, probably in mixed grains. In the early 1900’s the Jamieson Family took on the property, continuing to farm. The Twin Pines property changed hands over several years and the farm house remained abandoned for many years. When Joe Vansteenkiste came across the property in 1966, he and his wife Alma, and then 3 children, were living in a brand-new bungalow in London. Joe was teaching at Clarke Road Secondary School and very much yearning to raise his family in the country. He successfully transferred to North Middlesex District High School and the family made plans to make their move, now with 4 children, as Mike was born in February of 1968. In June of that year, the young family settled into the main floor of a once beautiful, very old abandoned farm house with no heat, questionable wiring and plenty of squirrels, raccoons, mice and bats. As you can imagine, coming from a new home, Alma was not thrilled, especially since she was caring for 4 children under the age of eight (one who was just 4 months old). But Alma shared Joe’s dream of living on a farm with the focus on the family and the couple began to tear up the house from the inside, rewiring, dry walling, adding plumbing, a furnace with proper duct work, roofing and adding a large double garage. They sided the clap-board, added a beautiful new kitchen, deck and verandah and transformed the grounds into a show piece of gardens and ponds. Even then, Alma and Joe realised what a beautiful property they had. It was just very difficult to see at first!
Those first summers were filled with many, many bonfires and lots of adventure for young and old! The Thedford area was where both Alma and Joe had been raised, so they had some valuable support from family. It was soon after that, in 1970, that Joe planted, by hand, his first apple trees. As these roots took hold, his legacy had begun!