Historical Plaque Properties


Joseph Berry - Merchant/Grocer
40 Bay Street
Stratford, ON

Joseph Berry was born in England (possibly Devon) in June 1831. His father was John Berry, and, while the records are inconsistent, it would seem that his mother’s name was Louisa Berry, according to the record of Joseph’s second marriage.

In 1851 Joseph married Adelaide Scown (born Feb. 1, 1835 in Stonehouse, Devon, England). Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was born between 1853 and 1856 in England. Their second daughter, Alice, was born in Canada or England between 1855 and 1859. Their third daughter, Susan, was born in Canada between 1858 and 1863, so it can be assumed that they emigrated to Canada some time between 1855 and 1860. The census and other records about the Berry family are extremely inconsistent about the birth dates of the three daughters.

In the 1861 census Joseph is listed as a shoemaker living in Stratford. In the Perth and Stratford directories from 1863 to 1871, Joseph continues to be listed as a shoemaker. From 1876 to 1888 he is listed as a merchant or grocer, with both his shop and home being at 88 Downie Street.

It would appear that when Joseph and Adelaide emigrated to Canada in the late 1850s, Adelaide’s parents, William (a bricklayer) and Elizabeth Ann (Mitchell) Scown, along with their four youngest children, emigrated as well. All are listed in the 1861 census living in Stratford. Because their entries in the census are adjoining, we can assume that both families were living in the same house, or they were living next door to each other.

Joseph Berry and his family never lived at 40 Bay Street. He purchased the property in 1879 and in 1880 had the house built. It would appear that it was intended as an income property: in 1880 Joseph Roderick was the first tenant, and in 1881 James Wright was the second tenant. The house was sold to George Lewis, another grocer, in 1886.

On August 1, 1901 Adelaide died while visiting her daughter Susan in Chicago and was buried in Avondale Cemetery. On August 20, 1901 Joseph married Sarah Tew. Around 1903 Joseph and Sarah moved to Toronto. In the spring of 1907 they went to Chicago to have an extended visit with Joseph’s youngest and only living daughter, Susan Cook. Joseph died there on July 29, 1907, and his body was returned to Stratford to be buried in Avondale Cemetery.

Joseph and Adelaide’s eldest daughter Elizabeth Gowans died in 1898 and is buried with them. Alice Simpson, their middle daughter, died in 1905. Joseph’s father, John (also a shoemaker), came to Stratford to live with his son and wife in 1869 and died in 1874. He is buried with Joseph, Adelaide, and Elizabeth in Avondale Cemetery.