Historical Plaque Properties

 

William Daly - Builder & City Alderman
106 Cobourg Street
1907

William Daly, born in 1849 in Ireland, came to Canada with his parents who were early

settlers in West Nissouri Township in Oxford County where they cleared the land for a
farm.

 

On New Year’s Day in 1872 William married Mary Skelly, also of Irish heritage, and the
young couple eventually made their way to Stratford. William’s skills as a
carpenter enabled him to move eventually into the house building business to meet the needs of the many new residents arriving in the emerging community. William also found time to become involved in the affairs of the community, serving as a city alderman for five one-year terms beginning in 1899.

 

The property now known as 106 Cobourg Street was part of a larger parcel of land owned in 1900 by Thomas S. Tobin, the son of Stratford's first bailiff, also named Thomas Tobin. In 1905 William purchased an eighth-of-an-acre property (Lot E177) on Cobourg Street from Tobin where he built a new house and immediately rented it to James Peter King and his wife, the former Alice Maude Kennedy, who had recently married in Detroit, Michigan. The King family would remain in this house until 1910 when they moved to Church Street and the James Bottemly family took up residence there.

 

James Peter King, born in 1873 in Trois Pistoles, Quebec, was the son of James King and Lea Fournier whose ancestors came from France to Canada in 1687. He completed his education in Quebec and after working for an electrical company in Montreal came to Stratford in 1904 as manager of the Stratford Gas Company Limited.

Established in 1872 the Stratford Gas Company managed the city's gas and electrical supply until it was taken over by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) in 1928.

 

James and Maude became the parents of a son Maurice and a daughter Lea, likely
named after his French Canadian mother. James became very involved in community
endeavours serving as a member of the Stratford General Hospital Trust and its Board of Directors, a trustee on the Separate School Board, a director of the Perth Mutual Fire


Insurance Company and local service clubs. However, it was his activities on behalf of
local veterans returning from service in the First World War for which he was most remembered and revered.

It became James’s custom, at any hour of the day or night, to meet the trainloads of soldiers arriving at Stratford's railway station and to make every effort to ensure they all had a place to go, received any needed rehabilitation and were able to find work and get their lives back on track. His unexpected death in 1941 was reported in a front page announcement followed by a lengthy obituary in the Beacon Herald. Maude predeceased him in 1936 and both are buried in Avondale cemetery.

 

Their son Maurice became a lawyer, served as an alderman and then Mayor of Stratford in 1946-47. He was later appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario. Maurice collapsed and died very suddenly in April 1972 just as he was finishing a speech at the Stratford Festival Theatre.