Historical Plaque Properties


John Henry Taylor - Merchant Tailor
297 Cambria Street
Stratford, ON

The 2 1/2 story house at 297 Cambria was built by prominent contractor William Schenk, who built many homes in Stratford, several of which have ACO plaques, including the house he built for himself at 273 Cambria St. Shortly after its construction in 1913, he rented it out to John Henry Taylor and his young family.


John Henry Taylor was born in Paris, Brant County, Ontario on January 31, 1878, the second of five children born to blacksmith Henry Taylor and Rose McCabe. John’s father was born in England and his mother was from Ireland. By 1904 John was living on St. Andrew St. in Stratford and working as the retail manager for the Stratford Clothing Company at 12 Market St., now the north end of Downie St. from Albert St. to Ontario St.  On April 5, 1905 he married Nellie Rymal Graham in London, Ontario.  Nellie was born in North Norwich Township, Oxford County, on March 15, 1883 the youngest daughter of Andrew Cook Graham and Emma Horning who were farmers in nearby East Middlesex, Dorchester South.


John and Nellie Taylor moved into their newly built house at 138 Front St. and soon welcomed their first son, Kenneth Gerald on November 11, 1905. Their second son, Douglas Graham was born November 18, 1911. During those years, John worked as a cutter for clothing retailers as well as a designer for the Queen Tailoring Company on William St. In 1913 the Taylor’s moved to the newly constructed house at 297 Cambria St. and the following year John had established his own merchant tailor business at 101 Downie St. where he sold clothing and inventory for home sewing and mending, as well as providing tailoring services. He prospered in this business until 1927, in the latter years operating at 21 Downie St. In the early 1920’s the family moved into another newly constructed home at 95 Norman St.


For reasons unknown, by 1928 the Taylor’s had vacated both their home and business with no traces of them in Stratford. Their eldest son Kenneth became a salesman and emigrated to the United States in 1926 and was living with his wife Olive in Detroit, MI in 1927. John and Nellie may have moved to the United States as well where several of Nellie’s immediate family members then resided.


An extensive search of North American records and databases could not confirm addresses or obituaries for John Henry Taylor or his wife and sons.