Historical Plaque Properties


William Cash-Carpenter
260 John Street North
Stratford, ON

The lot where 260 (formerly 236) John Street North is located was purchased by William Cash, carpenter, by April 1871. The house was built in 1872.


William Cash was born February 25, 1835 in Glasgow, Scotland, to William Cash  and Margaret Russell.  He was the first of two children born in Scotland, followed by another six born in McKillop Township, Huron County where the family farmed after emigrating around 1839.


In approximately 1865 William married Elizabeth Sparling. Elizabeth was born December 15,1839 in Toronto Township (present-day Mississauga), one of eight children born to George Sparling and Isabella Orr, Irish immigrants who had come to Canada by 1833. Elizabeth’s parents were farming in McKillop Township, Huron County by 1850.


In the 1871 census, William and Elizabeth are recorded living in Seaforth with their daughters Isabella and Margaret. William was listed as a labourer in the 1861 census, still living with his parents. He is listed in the 1871 census as a framer carpenter. Most farmers and their sons learned basic carpentry skills while working on the farm, and in many cases the farmers themselves or their sons moved to nearby towns to try to establish their own carpentry business. It appears that William moved to Seaforth to establish himself as a carpenter. It would seem that he had his sights set on working as a carpenter in a larger town, as he purchased a lot in Stratford by 1871 and built the house on John Street North in 1872. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine how long William and his family lived in the house, as the records are incomplete. The tax records still list him on John St. in April 1873, but after that it is unclear. Neither of the Stratford/Perth directories in the 1870s lists William. Their first daughter named Isabella died in Huron County in December 1872, and it isn’t clear whether the whole family was living there at that time, or whether just Elizabeth and her sick daughter were living there with family for support. In the 1877 birth record for their second daughter named Isabella, William was living and working in Goderich as a labourer. Apparently, William was not successful as a carpenter, and by 1881 he and his family were living on a farm in McKillop Township.


Apparently farming in McKillop Township wasn’t ideal either, for in the censuses of 1891, 1901, and 1911, William and Elizabeth were farming in Johnson Township, Algoma District near Sault Ste. Marie. William died June 13, 1918 in Gordon Lake,Algoma and is buried there. Elizabeth died August 29, 1919 in Simcoe County while staying with her daughter Maggie and family. She was buried with William in Gordon Lake, Algoma.


William and Elizabeth’s daughter, Margaret “Maggie” Eleanor (1869-1951) was a school teacher who married and farmed with her husband in Simcoe County. Annie Maude (1872-1937) married and lived in the Algoma District. Isabella Alberta (1877-1941) was a dressmaker when younger, married an engineer, and emigrated to Minnesota. William Edwin (1882-1961) also emigrated to Minnesota, where he married, becoming an engineer, foreman, and mechanic for an iron mining company. William and Elizabeth had seven grandchildren.