Historical Plaque Properties


John Sayers - Farmer/ Flour & Feed Merchant
62 Charles Street
Stratford, ON

John Sayers began his eventful life on June 1, 1825 in the village of Henfield, Sussex, England. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Sayers, both of whom were journeymen boot and shoe makers.
By the time he was 15 years of age, John lived and worked on the farm of Thomas Bertenshaw, where at some point he met a relative, Margaret Bertenshaw, who caught his eye.


On March 18, 1849, 24-year old John married 19-year old Margaret at St. Nicholas Church in Brighton, Sussex, England. Margaret was the daughter of Richard Burtenshaw, a gardener, and his wife Mary. She was baptized in St. Mary’s church, Reigate Parish, Surrey on December 15, 1830.

At the time, John worked as a coachman but by the early 1850s he listed himself as a baker. Like so many young couples John and Margaret made the momentous decision hoping to improve their opportunity and future by emigratlng to Canada. In July 1855 they boarded the “Driver” under the command of Nicholas Holbertin, in the port of Liverpool, England bound for New York where they arrived on July 20th.

John and Margaret travelled to Perth County where they settled in Stratford and lived in a two-storey frame house. John established himself as a baker where business must have been good as he hired a second baker. He carried on in the trade until the late eighteen-sixties when they purchased a farm. John listed his occupation as a farmer in the 1871 Canadian census.

By the early sixties they also started a family with their first born Thomas (b. 1860) who was followed by another son John (b. 1862) and three daughters: Esther ( b. 1864); Alice ( b. 1867); and Margaret (b. 1871). It was at the time of their daughter Margaret’s birth that the family moved into a new house at 62 Charles Street, where they lived until the 1880s when they moved to a house on Norman Street.

By the 1870s John appears to have retired from farming, although he continued to own rural property near Fullerton, according to the 1880 census. It was during the eighties that John along with his son Thomas and a partner William Nichol established a flour and feed business on Ontario Street, which they ran for a number of years. At the same time John was elected and served as an alderman on Stratford City Council.

John and Margaret continued to live on Norman Street for the rest of their days. On April 24, 1892 Margaret suffered a massive stroke which proved fatal. John lived for another twenty-three years and died on January 21, 1915 at the age of 89 years. They are both buried in Avondale Cemetery.