Historical Plaque Properties

 

Mark Collins - Farmer
3645 Perth Road 125
1859

The property that is now 3645 Perth Rd 125 was once part of 100 acres of land known as Lot 10, Concession 4 of Downie Township. In 1833 William Collins, an immigrant from Ireland and the first owner, obtained a contract and, in 1839, the deed from the Canada Company for the property.  Three years later in 1847, Mark Collins, also Irish-born and possibly his son, held the deed for this property. History records little information about William, but he, Mark and their family members were among the very first settlers of Downie Township. A note of interest- in 1832 the population of the neighbouring hamlet that would become Stratford was 39.


In 1842 the Assessment Roll for Downie Township reveals that both William and Mark and six other family members were living on Lot 10, probably in a log house.  Mark remained on this rural property with his wife Annie Greer, until her death in 1879, when he moved into Stratford where he died at age 90. They raised a family of six, a son William Henry, and five daughters.  An 88 year old Ann Collins, a native of Ireland, (possibly his mother) lived with them. Research at the Land Registry office in Stratford by a subsequent owner, Ruth Ball, revealed that the stone house was built in 1859, perhaps by Scottish stone masons.


The Canadian Agricultural Census of 1861 indicates that 45 acres of the property were in crops which included wheat, peas, potatoes and turnips, about 20 acres were pasturelands, an orchard and garden area and buildings. The remaining acreage, (approximately 35) was either woodland or uncleared.


A brief resume about Mark and Annie’s family- Their only son William farmed with his father, did not marry, moved to Stratford with him and took up carpentry. He died in 1912 and is buried with his parents in Avondale Cemetary. The eldest daughter, Alice (Alica), made her way to Michigan. Matilda lived in Stratford and, in later life married Robert Martell, a widower, who worked for the railroad as a checker/ freight broker. There were no children. 


Her sister Catherine married Thomas Henderson a plasterer/ builder, from Stratford. Their elder son William Thomas, a lawyer married and living in Brantford when World War One began, enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force serving as a Captain and seeing action in the Battle of Gallipoli. Daughters Mabel and Minnie became teachers in Stratford. Minnie later married Luther Alexander, also a teacher, and moved to New York. A third daughter, Ella, a dressmaker, married John Robertson of Toronto.  Laura married Hector McKay, a train brakeman then located in Fort William, but died four years later leaving Hector twice widowed by age 40. The fifth daughter Ethel became a nurse, married James Moffat of Stratford, a designer and carver.  A second lawyer joined Mark and Annie’s family when Catherine’s younger sister Mary Jane married John Henry Babier who had a practice in Wiarton, Ontario.They relocated to Chicago. After his death Mary Jane returned to Stratford where she died in 1927, the same year as her sister Catherine Henderson.


In 1958 the acre of land on which the stone house is situated was severed from the farm property and now comprises 3645 Perth Road 125.