Historical Plaque Properties


Augusta Elsie Starr - First Owner/ No Known Occupation
91 Peel Street S.
St. Marys, ON

The house at 91 Peel Street South was built about 1902 for Augusta Elsie Starr.

Augusta Elsie Starr was an American, born about 1847 in Penfield Township, southwest of Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, Russell Hoyt Starr, was originally from New York State and her mother, Caroline Leach, from Connecticut. The Starrs had five other children.

Caroline Leach Starr was born in 1816. She had one known sibling, an older sister Cornelia, born in Connecticut in 1815. Sometime after 1850, when she was living in Ohio with Caroline’s family, Cornelia married Robert Armstrong, who had emigrated from Northern Ireland.


Likely after their marriage, Cornelia and Robert moved to Canada where they first turn up in the Canada census for 1861. By then, they were farmers in East Nissouri Township in Oxford County south of St. Marys. The Armstrongs do not appear to have had children. Robert later became a prosperous storeowner in Lakeside, a small community in East Nissouri. In the early 1880s the couple retired to St. Marys and Robert died there in 1884. The next year Cornelia purchased a sizeable two-storey house, currently 97 Peel Street South.

By 1880 Augusta Starr, then 32, and her widowed mother, Caroline, were living in Holmes, Michigan with the family of Augusta’s sister, Cornelia Lean, whose husband was a teacher. Sometime later that decade Caroline and Augusta moved to St. Marys to live with their sister and aunt, Cornelia Armstrong. One can speculate that Cornelia, who was well off and living alone in a big house, invited her sister, Caroline, and niece, Augusta, to come and stay with her. The move may also have been related to illness, because Caroline died soon after in 1890.

At the time of the 1891 census Augusta was still living with her aunt Cornelia, who appears to have regarded Augusta as her heir and in 1893 transferred property in St. Marys to her. Cornelia, 84, died in early 1900 and is buried with her husband, Robert, and mother, Caroline, in St. Marys Cemetery.

A year or two later Augusta severed the northerly part of the Peel Street property and built a new house, now 91 Peel Street South. She rented the old house and moved into the new one, where she lived for only a few years. In 1905 the house was sold to John Copeland. In 1913 Leonard Follick, a dentist, acquired the property from John Copeland’s estate.

Meanwhile Augusta, who never married, and who had no known occupation, had moved back to her native country and appears to have spent the rest of her life in Los Angeles. She died there in 1931 at age 84.