Historical Plaque Properties


Thomas Coppin - Salesman - Mooney Biscuit & Candy Co.
150 Cobourg Street
Stratford, ON

Thomas Coppin bought the lot for 150 Cobourg in 1912 from Georgina McNaughton, a spinster, and the house was built within the year.

Thomas Pascoe Coppin was born in Mitchell, Ontario in December 1871. His parents, John Coppin, the local bailiff, and Charlotte Pascoe had emigrated from Cornwall, England where John had been a policeman. Thomas was the fifth child in a family of seven children.

Thomas was an entrepreneurial spirit and had a number of occupations before settling in Stratford as a salesman for the Mooney Biscuit and Candy Co.  In the 1891 Mitchell census, he was living with his parents and working as a photographer.

In 1898, when 26 year old Thomas married Maude Levett of Stratford, his occupation is noted as a merchant tailor. He continued in this career for a number of years according to the 1901 Mitchell census. By the time the 1911 census was taken, Thomas, Maude, their children, John, Isabelle and Jean, as well as Maude’s father, were living in Toronto. Thomas was earning a living as a retail grocer.

In 1912, the family moved into the new house at 150 Cobourg Street. Two years later, their last child, Norma, was born. Thomas was then employed at the Mooney Biscuit and Candy Co.

The Mooney company was situated on the corner of Downie and Falstaff Street. It was founded by a local resident, William James Mooney in 1903. By 1914 the company produced up to six tons of biscuits and chocolates daily.  It had its own fleet of boxcars which could load directly from a railway siding beside the factory connected to the main GTR line. Their packaging with a “Made in Stratford Ontario” label acted as an ambassador for promoting our city.

The family lived at 150 Cobourg until 1920 when they sold the house to Lenny and Jeanette Walton and moved to 42 Centre Street. Their daughters, Jean, Norma and Isabelle became stenographers. Thomas’ sister, Esther, married Albert Goebel, a jeweller from Mitchell. Andrew died young and Esther lived with her brother’s family in the Centre Street home.

Their son, John Stevens Coppin, became a prominent painter, muralist and illustrator. He moved to Michigan where he became the Director of AAA Motor News and was noted for his covers of the publication. His portrait subjects included Sir Alec Guinness, Henry Ford and four Michigan governors.

Thomas Coppin lived on Centre Street until his death in 1937. He and other members of his family are buried in the Mitchell Cemetery.