Historical Plaque Properties


Mark Dunn - Mason and Foreman, McLeod Milling Co.
244 Church Street
Stratford, ON

In 1904 the house at 244 Church Street was built by Mark Dunn on a lot which was owned by the Canada Company and left vacant for many years. All of the nearby lots, including Hamlet School next door and many homes, were built on well before this time.


Mark Dunn was born on February 4, 1865 in Downie Township, Perth County. He was the ninth of fourteen children born to James Dunn (1831-1907) and Mary Elizabeth Plews (1833-1931) of Yorkshire, England. James and Mary were married in 1851 and emigrated to Canada the same year. It would appear that they first moved to Saskatchewan and then moved to Ontario (first to Peel County and then to Perth County) in about 1856. They were farmers in Downie Township. Some time between 1881 and 1891 James and Mary moved to Stratford along with several of their children, including Mark.
Mark Dunn is listed in the 1896 Stratford city directory as a stone mason, and he was living with his parents at this time. (His father is also listed as a stone mason, so we can assume he was trained as a mason before leaving England.) In 1898 Mark married Caroline Sarah Walton of Stratford. It appears that Mark and Caroline lived with Mark’s parents on Erie Street from the time of their marriage until they built their house in 1904 at 244 Church Street.

In the 1900-1902 city directory, Mark is listed as a teamster (a driver of a team of animals); then from 1904 to 1906 he is listed again as a mason. In the 1905-1906, 1907, and 1909 directories he is listed as a miller. Some time between 1910 and 1912 he became a foreman at McLeod Milling Company. From 1913 on he is listed as a teamster. His obituary mentions that he conducted a dray business (a short distance shipping company, probably still using horses at this point in history) after his time at the milling company.

Caroline (Carrie) Walton was born in London, Ontario in 1873 to Henry and Sarah Ann Walton (both born in England). Caroline was the third of nine children (all born in Ontario), the first four born to Henry’s first wife Sarah Ann (who died at 28 from typhoid fever), and the remaining five born to his second wife Elizabeth. Caroline’s parents moved from London to Stratford some time in the 1880s. Henry is listed in the census as a fitter and then later as a machinist. In London he was a fitter with the Great Western Railway, so perhaps he moved to Stratford to work in the locomotive shops.

Mark and Caroline had three children: Caroline G. Dunn (1900-1901); George Henry Dunn (1902-1919), who died of pneumonia just short of his seventeenth birthday; and Norman Rankin Dunn (1907-2009). Norman and his wife Bernice lived with Norman’s parents and later just his mother at 244 Church Street for several years. He was born and raised at 244 Church Street, attended Hamlet Public School next door, and spent his last years at Cedarcroft Place, the long-term care facility located in the building that first housed the school. Norman and Bernice had three children.

Mark Dunn died at 244 Church Street on November 6, 1940. Caroline Dunn died in August 1965. Both are buried in Avondale Cemetery