Historical Plaque Properties


David Crippen - Blacksmith
207 Huron Street
Stratford, ON


David Crippen was born on August 7, 1824 in Durham County, Ontario. He was the son of Ebenezer Crippen, a blacksmith, whose ancestry traced back to the Mayflower through Samuel Fuller, and Rebecca Smith, a Canadian. David was the third child in a family of eleven. David’s parents later emigrated from Canada to Michigan where they are listed in the 1850 United States census.


Twenty-one year old David married Ann Jenkin around 1845 in Durham County. Ann, who was eight years older than David, was the widow of Michael Jacka, a tin miner from Cornwall, England. Ann had three children from her 1837 marriage to Michael. The Jacka family is recorded in the 1841 census from Cornwall and included Michael 25, Ann 25, Elizabeth 2, Mary Jane 1 and John 1 day. No records could be found to show if Ann emigrated with her husband or if she came alone after his death but Ann’s life drastically changed over the next few years.



David followed in his father’s footsteps. In the 1851 census for Darlington Township, Durham County, David Crippen’s occupation is noted as a blacksmith. Ann, her children from her first marriage, as well as two children from her marriage to David, seven year old Sabrina and three year old Emily, made up the family. The census shows they lived in a one storey frame home. A blacksmith shop was also on the property.


In The Canada Directory of 1851, David Crippen is listed as a blacksmith and wagon maker in the town of Enniskillen, Darlington Township. Enniskillen had a population of about 100 at the time. The town was located about 8 miles from Bowmanville and 48 miles from Toronto. David appears to have had an innovative spirit as by 1857, the directory has David Crippen listed as having a foundry and wagon factory.



By 1860, the Crippen family moved to Stratford and rented the house at 207 Huron Street. David purchased the house in 1862. At the time, the house was a one storey, frame dwelling. Their neighbours were John Hamilton, the town clerk, and John Worth, a butcher.


According to the 1861 census, David and Ann’s family had grown to include four more children, Cecilia, Adeline, Edwin and David A. Crippen. David’s occupation is noted as a blacksmith.



John Jacka, Ann’s son, married Jemina Oliver while they were living in Stratford. The rest of the family did not remain in Stratford for long as they emigrated to Alpena, Michigan where David would eventually establish a successful iron and brass foundry where engines, mill casings and agricultural implements were manufactured. His younger brother also followed the same path and started a foundry in Manistee, Michigan.