Historical Plaque Properties


Benjamin Rigg Jr - Chandler
136 Elizabeth Street
Stratford, ON

In 1827 Benjamin Rigg Junior was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, the third of six children born to Benjamin Rigg (1791-1874) and Mary Johnston (1788-1871). Benjamin Senior was a turner (a person who turns wood on a lathe).


On June 22, 1849 in Dalrymple, Ayr, Scotland, Benjamin Jr. married Jane Fulton. Jane was the daughter of William Fulton, a mason, (1787-1872) and Jane (Jean) Boyd (1788-1872). In the 1851 Scotland Census, Benjamin Jr. and Jane were living in Dalrymple, where Benjamin was a turner.

By around 1860 Benjamin Jr. and Jane had emigrated to Ontario, farming just outside of the Stratford town limits. In the 1861 census Jane’s niece and nephew, Catherine and John Fulton, were living with them (although the census does not list the relationships, and in fact lists Jane as being single although she had married Benjamin several years earlier).  Much of Benjamin Jr.’s family emigrated at the same time, including Benjamin’s parents (his father listed as a turner in the 1861 Canada census), and four of his brothers: Isaac, William, Robert, and Anthony. It appears that only their sister Ann remained in Scotland. We can assume that the somewhat elderly parents decided to emigrate with their five sons.  Isaac operated a sawmill (also a carpenter and builder) at Erie near Gore. William was alternately listed as a carpenter and a car repairer. Robert and Anthony were also carpenters.


In the 1865 tax assessment roll Benjamin Rigg Jr. is listed as a chandler (later listed as a soap maker) living on Lot 26 on Elizabeth Street. By 1869 he was still living at this address, while renting the adjoining Lot 27. Benjamin owned both lots between 1870 and 1872. In 1873 the lots were severed, Lot 27 being purchased and built upon by William Wilson, carpenter. By April 1875 Benjamin had built the current house at 136 Elizabeth Street. In the 1876 town directory, Benjamin is listed as a manufacturer of soap and candles, his business being located on Erie near Cambria. By May 1879 Benjamin had sold the house and was living in it as a tenant. Around 1880, Benjamin and Jane moved to Collingwood, where Benjamin was a grocer. Their names do not appear in any census of 1881, so it can be assumed that they were in the process of moving and were not in either town at the time that the census was taken. In the 1891 census they were living in Collingwood and Benjamin was listed as a merchant. Jenny Rigg, age 18, was listed as their daughter in that census, but there is no record of Benjamin and Jane having had any children. It appears that this particular Jenny was Jennie Rigg Wilson, the daughter of Jane’s niece who had earlier lived with them, Catherine/Kate Wilson (maiden name Fulton). The census taker listed her name assuming that Rigg was her surname when in fact it was her middle name.


Benjamin died in Collingwood in May 1892. He was buried in Avondale Cemetery. Apparently Jane lived with her niece and family in Fullarton after Benjamin’s death. Jane died in Fullarton in October 1899. She was also buried in Avondale Cemetery.