The residence side of Ham House was finished with plaster while the store and the upstairs storage areas were finished in beaded planks. Most wall plaster had failed by the 1930's The plank walls remained intact, however, covered by many layers of wallpaper.

At this time we have not yet removed the wallpaper from the upstairs storage area as it is exceptionally early (the bottom layer from 1818 or 1825). In one spot we do see the letters 'PH'. Peter Ham owned the house from 1818 until his death in 1829. We have encountered his initials in countless areas around the house.

On the plank walls of the store - particularly on the south side of the store and apparently around the stove - was extensive graffitti in two themes. The first seems to be from the Upper Canada Rebellion and was originally behind the door to the store. The prevalence of pin holes suggests it was also later covered with posters.

Figure 1. Upper Canada Rebellion
Col Hill
Right foot
High nee


Colonel Hill was in command of the 4th battalion of militia during the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837/38 and we know a battalion was stationed in Bath at this time. Apparently Rebecca Ham profited by billeting the army in Ham House and this was the Canadian militia making fun of their officer teaching them how to march. This is not a stretch as her brother-in-law George Ham (who was previously a part owner of the building) was by this time a Lt. Colonel in Northumberland Militia. There is an account of the militia on parade in Kingston where they note Col. Hill's Battalion was 'extra smart on parade'.

In the SE corner of the store were writings about the Maple Leaf.

Figure 2. Maple Leaf graffiti


Near the top in darker text

13th Decm 1851


And below that:

Maple leaf
left Kingston 1st
day of April
the first
boat down the...


In the same handwriting was also written:

Ice broke up on the night of the 8th 1853
Ice broke up on April 15th 1854


It turns out the Maple Leaf was a rather famous boat and is a U.S. National Historic Landmark shipwreck in Jacksonville Florida. She was a side paddle wheeler built in Kingston for Donald Bethune and Co. of Toronto in 1851 for the mail run on Lake Ontario. When the Toronto firm failed in 1855, she was sold to a Rochester interest where she continued to do the mail run on Lake Ontario until she was sold to a Boston interest in 1862 and then leased to the U.S. Army for transporting Union troops during the U.S. Civil War. In 1864 she struck a Confederate mine about 11 miles up the St. Johns River from Jacksonville Florida and sank. In 1984 she became the subject of an archeological investigation and owing to preservation in mud, turned out to be a vast treasure-trove of Civil War artifacts.

Figure 3. Maple Leaf in 1856

It seems Hawley's tavern may have been the watering hole for the crew of the Maple Leaf whenever it arrived with the mail in Bath. Most of the writing is from the last year of the tavern so they may have been getting nostalgic. The Dec. 13 1851 date is curious as the Maple Leaf made her maiden trip in September 1851 and was in service before freeze up. Was perhaps Dec. 13th the first visit the Maple Leaf made to Hawley's Tavern?