Historical Plaque Properties


James McKie - Travelling Salesman - Massey - Harris
132 Douglas Street
Stratford, ON

The property where 132 Douglas Street is located was originally part of a one-quarter acre lot owned from 1900 to 1904 by Margaret Flynn, widow. There was a small, non-residential structure on the lot.

The current house was built on half of Margaret Flynn’s lot by Joseph Dunn, a mason whose family had settled in Downie Township, Perth County in 1851. Joseph did not occupy the house, and there is no record of him in Stratford after the construction of the house.


In 1905 James McKie bought the house and had an addition built. He and his wife Annie lived in the house with two tenants until about 1906. It appears that the house was rented by James A. Forbes in 1907 and 1908. In 1909 F.H. McLean purchased the house.


James McKie was born in Blandford Township, Oxford County on January 26, 1873 to John McKie and Melinda Borland, farmers. He was one of six children. His family had deep roots in Oxford County and were of Scottish and United Empire Loyalist stock.


On March 18, 1896 James McKie married Elizabeth Annie Maude (Annie) Barber in Haysville, Waterloo County. Annie Barber was born on May 19, 1870 in Wilmot Township, Waterloo County. Her mother, Agnes Vance, was born in eastern Ontario of Scottish parents, while her father, Robert Barber, a farmer, was born in Ireland and emigrated to Ontario with his parents by 1851.


James was a blacksmith when he was married to Annie in 1896. In the 1901 census James is listed as a blacksmith, and he and Annie were living in the village of Tara in Bruce County.

Of course, James was raised on a farm, and after being a blacksmith for several years, it makes sense that he might eventually become a salesman for a manufacturer of farm implements such as Massey-Harris. It would appear that he worked for this company until his death. While James and Annie were living at 132 Douglas Street, James is listed as a traveller (travelling salesman). In the 1911 census James and Annie were living in Listowel along with Annie’s mother, and James is listed as a general agent at Massey-Harris. By 1919 James and Annie were living in Stratford again, this time at 62 Front Street, and the city directory lists him as a traveller, Massey-Harris. In the 1921 census James is described as a traveller - implements.


James died on October 4, 1930 at his home at 62 Front Street, where he had lived for twelve years. He was an employee of Massey-Harris at the time of his death. Annie continued living in the same house until her death on March 31, 1936. Both James and Annie were buried in Chesterfield Cemetery, Blandford Township, Oxford County. They had no children.