Historical Plaque Properties


Richard Pengelly - House Painter
141 Cobourg Street
Stratford, ON

Richard Pengelly was born in Kingston, Upper Canada  on September 11, 1841.  He was the oldest son of John Penwarden Pengelly, a carpenter, and Mary Ann Old who had both emigrated from England.


By 1861, Richard was living in Stratford with his mother, a brother and a sister and working as a house painter.


Two years later, in August 1863, twenty-one year old Richard married nineteen year old Sarah Ann Sanders, the daughter of Henry and Harriet Sanders of Stratford.


By 1867, at the age of twenty-five, Richard was able to purchase a parcel of land from the Primitive Methodist Congregation of Stratford. On part of this land, he built the Ontario Cottage that is today 141 Cobourg Street. Completed in 1868, the house was originally clad in clapboard while today it has a pebble-dash exterior.


Here, Richard and Sarah Ann started their family which would eventually grow to include five daughters and two sons. In the 1871 census, there were eight people living in the house which included Richard’s father and an apprentice. Richard’s father John died in 1873 and his mother, Mary Ann moved in with the family.


By the time the 1881 census was taken, there were nine family members in the house including Richard’s mother and his one month old daughter, Florence. It must have been a lively household.

In September 1885, Richard and Sarah Ann’s daughter, Louisa, married John Turner. John was also a house painter and quite possibly an apprentice of Richard. 141 Cobourg St. was turned over to Louisa and her new husband.  By 1891 two daughters, Jane and Nellie, had been born to the young couple.


Richard Pengelly built a number of houses on the original parcel of land that he had bought in 1867. By 1885, he and his family were living at 138 Cobourg. It is described in the 1891 Stratford City Directory as being on the north side of Cobourg Street and two houses east of Nile Street.

When the 1896 directory was printed, it showed a number of the Pengelly children were working but lived at home. Richard is described as a painter and paper hanger.


For twenty-eight years, Richard Pengelly was connected with the Stratford fire department. He was zealous in his attention to duty and rose to the position of captain and then to chief. His son, Robert, followed in his shoes and became a professional fireman.

Robert Henry Pengelly was born December 19, 1880. His occupation is written down as a fireman when he married Mamie (Mary Ellen) Thorpe in 1910. He joined the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Forces in January of 1916. At that time, he and his wife were living at 107 Erie Street. When Mamie died in 1930 they had moved and were living at 181 Queen Street. Robert Pengelly died in 1946.


When he died on March 24, 1911, his obituary stated that Mr. Pengelly was widely known and highly respected. He was sixty-eight years of age. His funeral took place from his late residence, 138 Cobourg Street, across from his original house.


Sarah Ann Sanders Pengelly lived until 1919. She and her husband are both buried in the Avondale Cemetery.