Historical Plaque Properties


James Peters - Cement Contractor
32 Duke Street
Stratford, ON

In 1910 a young, 17 year old James Peters, the son of Tobias Peters and Ellen Smart, left his home in Dundee, a coastal city in Scotland to travel across the Atlantic Ocean and begin his adult life in Canada.


Making his way to Stratford he lived as a lodger at 428 Downie Street until he travelled on to St Catharines where in 1912, he married Marjory Lawson, also from Dundee. After the birth of their daughter Marjory Ellen in 1914 they returned to Stratford where he was working as a cement contractor when he purchased, from Norval Babb, the eastern portion of Lot 9 in Corries Subdivision, McCarthy Survey, Avon Ward, a property that would become 32 Duke Street.


On Stratford’s October 1914 assessment rolls a prominent local jeweller, Norval Babb is listed as the owner of four adjoining lots in the Corries Subdivision. These properties were part of a six and a quarter acre tract of land formerly owned by Mr. Babb’s father-in-law, John Corrie, and which included Duke Street where the enterprising Mr. Babb had already built other houses. The street would eventually extend from Earl Street to Mornington Street.


A few years later when the 1921 Canadian census was taken James and Marjory and their daughter were living in London, Ontario, where James was working as a salesman. By 1923 they had crossed the border to live in Royal Oak, Michigan, an area within the city of Detroit, where James was employed as a chauffeur. Before they left Canada his widowed mother, Ellen, had come from Scotland to live with them and she accompanied them to Royal Oak as the 1930 US Federal Census includes her in their household.

In 1938 Marjory Ellen married Kenneth Krewish, a native of Illinois and they spent their married life in the Detroit area where he worked in the auto industry while they raised a family of four sons. After her husband’s death Marjory Ellen moved to California where she died in 1993.

The Peters family continued to travel westward and, in 1942, were living in San Diego, California where James, age 49, was notified, as World War II was underway, that he was registered for the US Draft although apparently he was not called to serve. He found work in a social club and died in California in 1962 at age 69.