Historical Plaque Properties


Edward Kane - Mason
243 Queen Street
Stratford, ON

Edward Kane was born on March 30, 1827 in the tiny village of Newtownstewart, which is located at the confluence of the Strule and Owenkillen Rivers and is overlooked by two hills, uniquely named Bessy Bell and Mary Gray, in the County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. He was the son of John Edward Kane and Anna McAleer.

Like many of their countrymen who would follow during the “Great Famine”, the Kane family made the momentous decision to seek a better life and set sail for Canada in 1842.  In 1843 John signed a lease to farm 80 acres of land on Concession 5, Lot 2 in the Gore of Downie Township in Perth County.

On February 3, 1850, Edward married Susanna McFadden at St. Joseph’s Church in Stratford. She was the daughter of Hugh McFadden and Mary Keon. Their first child, Elisabeth, was born on September 2, 1850. Sadly, Elizabeth died sometime before 1852, likely succumbing to one of a number of childhood diseases that accounted for a high infant mortality rate, at the time. The couple’s second child, Patrick, was born February 5, 1852. But tragedy again struck the young family when Susanna died, perhaps during childbirth, which was not uncommon, or not long after Patrick was born.

Left as a single parent, Edward decided to marry a second time and wed Susan McGuire on January 21, 1856 at Stratford’s St. Joseph’s Church. She was born on October 8, 1837 in Ireland, the daughter of Roger McGuire. Susan emigrated to Canada in 1846 with her family.  She and Edward had at least nine children: John Edward (b. 1856); Hugh (b. 1857); James Henry (b.1858); Francis Edward (b. 1860); Susanna (b. 1863); Owen (b. 1865); Charles (b.1867); Katherine (b. 1868); and Ellen (b.1873). Two of their children, Susanna, who was born ten years after the death of Edward’s first wife and named in her memory appears to have died in childhood according to a comparison of census data as did their last child Charles. 

A mason by trade, Edward built a new house at 243 Queen Street to provide a better home for Susan and his family, which was a step-up from their single storey log house in Downie Township. One can also suspect that Edward wished to take advantage of the construction boom started by the expansion of the Grand Trunk Railway in Stratford and the high demand for tradesmen such as himself.

The couple lived on Queen Street until their move to a house at 24 Huntingdon Avenue in the mid-1880s where they lived until Susan’s death in March 1915. Following her death, Edward went to live at the House of Refuge, a senior’s residence, which was built on the current site of Spruce Lodge. He died on March 3, 1920 and is buried in Avondale Cemetery alongside Susan and other members of the family.