Historical Plaque Properties


John Henry Taylor - Merchant & Tailor
138 Front Street
Stratford, ON

Construction at 138 Front Street began in 1904. Assessment records show that builder David McGregor owned the property that year.  The house was completed during 1905.  The buff brick home is an example of Edwardian Classicism, with its simple, balanced design, straight roofline, uncomplicated ornament, and relatively maintenance-free detailing.


John Henry Taylor and his bride Nellie Rymal Graham were the first residents of this home.  They were married in London, Middlesex County, on April 5 1905.


John H. Taylor had moved from Brant County to Stratford in 1904 to become retail manager of the Stratford Clothing Company.  John was born in January 1878 in Paris, Ontario.  John was the second of five children born to blacksmith Henry Taylor and his wife Rose McCabe, as listed in Canada Census of 1891. John’s father was born in England, and his mother was born in Ireland. John continued to reside with his parents (and 3 adult siblings) in Paris, Brant County until 1904, where John was working in a factory as a tailor.

John H. Taylor’s wife Nellie was born in North Norwich, Oxford County, on March 15 1883. Nellie’s mother Emma Horning, and her father Andrew Cook Graham, farmed in East Middlesex, Dorchester South.   Both Nellie’s parents, and three of her grandparents, were born in Canada. Nellie was the youngest daughter of five sisters and two brothers born between 1869 and 1885.


John and Nellie Taylor moved into their new home and soon welcomed their first son, Kenneth Gerald, in November 1905. Their second son, Douglas Graham, was born in November 1911.  During those years, John worked as a Cutter for retailers of clothing, and also was a Merchant Tailor on Downie Street.  Merchant Tailors sold clothing, tailoring services and inventory for home sewing and mending (cloth, buttons, thread, etc.).


The Taylors moved away from Front Street in 1911. John H. Taylor had become a designer at Queen’s Clothing by 1913, and the family lived on Cambria Street.  Beginning in 1914, John H. Taylor was established as a Merchant Tailor at 101 Downie Street. He prospered in this business until 1927, operating the latter years at 21 Downie. The family’s final Stratford home on record is found in the 1927 directory, on Norman Street.

John H. Taylor and family vacated both the business and the residence before the 1928 directory was completed. The reason is unknown. Their sons were adults by this time. John and Nellie may have moved to the United States, possibly Michigan, where several immediate family members then resided. Son Kenneth had moved to Michigan in 1926, and was living with his wife Olive in Detroit in 1927.  Nellie’s mother Emma Horning had died in Sanilac County Michigan in 1911. Nellie’s oldest sister Harriett is shown on the Graham family tree as living unmarried in Sanilac County Michigan when she died in 1952.


An extensive search of North American records and databases did not confirm the obituaries for John H. Taylor and his wife and sons.