Historical Plaque Properties


Arthur H King - Business & Builder
111 Wellington Street
Stratford, ON

The Stratford businessman, Arthur Henry King, who built the new house at 111 Wellington Street in 1913, was born in 1856 on a farm in Downie Township. His grandparents , Henry and Mary King, who were among the township’s first residents, settled on Lot 5, Concession 5 in 1841 upon their arrival from England.  By the time of the 1861 Canadian census their son Henry, his wife Mary and their 3 young children, Arthur, Emma and Henry had moved to Stratford where he was listed as a tavern keeper. 


After finishing school, Arthur found employment with the Canadian Express Company, a business which operated in conjunction with the Grand Trunk Railway, Wells Fargo, American Express and other agencies as a delivery service for parcels and other merchandise. This position took him to Toronto where he met and married Anna Della Walker, a young lady from Belleville Ontario. Their son, Henry Frederick, was born in Toronto and their daughter, Fuschia Beatrice and second son, Arthur Walker came along after their return to Stratford. Sadly, baby Arthur only lived for two months.

In the mid 1880s an advertisement for the American House Hotel, located on Downie Street opposite the Grand Trunk Railway station identifies A. H. King as the proprietor. He appears to have maintained an association with that hotel for several years while pursuing other business interests including, according to the 1901 census, cigar manufacturing. In 1896 Arthur was managing the Stratford Soda Water Works Company, located on Huron Street at St Vincent. This business, which became very well known across southwestern Ontario, manufactured and bottled a wide assortment of mineral and carbonated beverages.

Another business investment was the Stratford Wholesale Grocery Company which he developed and for which, in 1905, he engaged the architectural firm of Orr and Russell to design and build a new warehouse at the corner of Downie and George Street. He also served as a director of The Anchor Wire Fence Company of Canada, manufacturers of farm and ornamental fences and gates This business was established in Stratford in 1897 but quickly became very successful with customers across the country. When his daughter Beatrice was married in 1909 he had moved into the real estate business and building houses.

Anna and Arthur’s son, Henry Frederick, made his way to Montreal where he became the manager of an optical company, married Pearl Seath and together they raised a son Peter Walker King.  Beatrice married William Randall Brown, a London optician. They made their home there with their son Warren and daughters Lois and Dorothy.

According to his obituary the young Arthur King was an outstanding lacrosse and cricket player in Stratford’s sporting circles. He was also a keen supporter of lawn bowling, curling, various lodges and community organizations.  For many years he was a member of St James Anglican Church.

Arthur died very suddenly in the evening of July 25,1930 while watching a parachute jumping demonstration at the local airport in Downie Township He was 74 years of age. His wife Anna passed away ten years later and both are buried in Avondale Cemetery.