Historical Plaque Properties


Alexander Morrison - Grain Broker
118 Norman Street
Stratford, ON

Joseph Johns purchased the property in 1871. Johns was the city tax collector and as many citizens at the time, he built a number of houses for rental income and investment. He built the house at 118 Norman in 1875. Joseph Johns and later his son Edwin, a druggist, held title to the property for many years. Johns and his family lived at 58 Norman Street.

Alexander Morrison, a corn agent or broker, his wife, Jane, and their family were the first occupants of the house. Alexander and his family emigrated from Scotland just before the birth of their son, Edward, in 1866. His older sons, Archibald, a marble cutter, and John, a cabinet maker, resided at 118 Norman with their parents along with the youngest son, Edward, and daughters Margaret and Daisy Jane.

Alexander was a corn agent or broker which meant he purchased grain on behalf of the merchants in Stratford. These merchants known as commission agents sold the grain to customers as far away as the United States and some even as far as Europe. The railway network through Stratford made foreign markets easily accessible.

The family remained in the house until 1880 when they relocated to Hughson Street in Hamilton, Ontario. According to the 1881 Hamilton census, Alexander continued his occupation as a broker. Living with Alexander and Jane were Edward, now 15, their older daughter Margaret, 25 and Daisy, 13. Jane died in 1885 and Alexander two years later in 1887 at the age of 69. At the time, Edward was making his own living as a bookkeeper.

By 1891, the census shows Edward working as a newspaper reporter and supporting his sisters. They remained in the family home on Hughson Street. The Hamilton City Directories indicate that Edward continued to work as a reporter and by 1896 was promoted to city editor.

Edward continued to look after his sisters. When he was promoted as editor to an Ottawa newspaper in 1900 they all moved to Ottawa together.