Historical Plaque Properties


Stephen King - Gentleman
35 Earl Street
Stratford, ON

Stephen King was born in Portsmouth, England in 1852 to Stephen King and Kate Hicks. According to the 1861 Portsmouth census, Stephen Sr. was a plumber and the family consisted of two daughters and one son.

The family emigrated from England to Canada around 1867 and settled in London, Ontario. Here, Stephen Jr. became a tinsmith and married Esther (Ettie) Parkinson. She was the daughter of Bridget and John Parkinson, a clerk.  At the time of their marriage, Ettie was a dressmaker, one of the few occupations open to women in the 1870s.

The couple settled in Ingersoll where Stephen set up a business as a tinsmith. Within a few years, the business, called Star House, became quite successful. An ad in the 1900 Ingersoll Directory lists the business as an Eavetrough and Conductor Pipe Manufacturer.  The ad displays stoves, tinware, general house furnishings, sheet iron, and copperware as some of the items for sale.

The couple had no children and in July, 1914, Ettie, age 64, died of pneumonia.

In April, 1915, Stephen King married a widow, Mary Elizabeth Stevenson, from Stratford. He was 63 at the time and she was 45. Mary was born in Berlin, now Kitchener, and was the daughter of Margaret, a Milner, and Henry Aletter, a bookkeeper.

Mary Elizabeth married Robert J. Stevenson, an insurance agent, in 1904. The couple who had one child, a daughter, Frances, who was born in 1908. The family lived originally at 76 Earl Street and later at 186 Mornington Street. Robert Stevenson died in 1911.

After Stephen King and Mary Elizabeth were married, he sold his business and moved to Stratford. According to the Stratford City assessment records of 1915, Mary Stevenson owned the lots where numbers 35 and 39 Earl Street are located. In 1916 Stephen King built the house at 35 Earl Street.

Stephen King died in 1919 of a liver ailment. Mary and her daughter, Frances, continued to live in the house for many years.