Historical Plaque Properties


James M. Smith - Retired Farmer
83 St. Vincent Street S.
Stratford, ON

The American foursquare house at 83 St. Vincent St. S was originally built by Charles E. Moore. Mr. Moore farmed just outside of the small town of Seabringville but there is no indication that he ever occupied the house. The first occupant was James Mallet Smith who moved in with his wife in 1914.  

James Mallet Smith was born on February 22, 1863 in Wilmot Township near Waterloo Ontario, the eldest son of Thomas Robert Smith and Elizabeth Henryetta Mallet. Thomas Smith was born in England in 1829 and came to Canada and settled in the Waterloo county area where he met and married Elizabeth, the daughter of James and Elizabeth Mallet. James Mallet had farmed in England and he had acquired a farm in the Waterloo area where he raised his family.


The Smiths would have seven children, James’ older sister Margaret born in 1861, Carolyn in 1865, Ellen in 1867, Jane in 1870, Lillian in 1876 and Robert in 1878. In 1903 Thomas Smith passed away leaving his eldest son James as head of the household with the responsibility of the family farm, his widowed mother and three of his middle aged sisters and brother. At the time of the 1911 census James was 48, still single and managing the farm in Wilmot.


On February 10, 1912 James married Marion Rebecca Kerr in New Hamburg. Marion was born on May 31,1875 and grew up in New Hamburg where she lived with her parents Robert and Elizabeth Kerr. The Kerrs had immigrated from Ireland. Shortly after in 1914, the Smiths moved to their new home in Stratford. 

During 1915 Marion gave birth to their only child Maurice Robert Smith and shortly afterwards the Smiths moved to London where in 1921 they were residing at 210 Ridout St.


James Mallet Smith passed away on December 22, 1928 in London and is buried in Avondale Cemetery. His wife Marion lived a much longer life and passed away in May 1976 and she too is buried with him in Avondale Cemetery. It appears his sisters Carolyn, Jane and Lillian never married and are buried in the family plot in St. James Anglican Cemetery just south of New Hamburg along with their parents and brother Robert who was killed in action September 15, 1916 in Kemmel, West Flanders, Belgium.


Their son, Maurice Robert Smith, went on to be a successful student at the University of Western Ontario. It was noted in the 1935 yearbook that he directed a short play for the Players Club at the University.   He was also a member of Le Cercle Francais.