Historical Plaque Properties


Felix Devlin - Proprietor/Perth Brewery
75 Birmingham Street
Stratford, ON

  Felix Devlin was born in Guelph, Ontario in 1854 to parents, Felix Sr. and Ann Gore. Felix Devlin Sr. was born in Ireland in 1821. He married Ann Gore, born in 1821, in 1843. Their first two children were baptized in the Drumaul Parish Church in Antrim County. Ann was born in February, 1849, and John in December, 1850.  This was the time of the Great Irish Famine which started in 1845, and lasted until 1852. 2.1 million people were lost due to death and emigration. Felix Devlin Sr. and his family were among the 20-25% of the population that left Ireland at that time.


In 1854, they settled in Guelph where Ann gave birth to twins, Felix and Mary. By 1862, five more girls were added to the family. The 1861 census for Guelph shows Felix Sr. was working as a teamster. Eleven year old Ann is listed with the family but John is not. Considering the death rate for children at that time, it is possible he died even before the family left Ireland. In 1862, Margaret was the last child born to the family. Ann, aged 41, died within the year of giving birth, leaving her husband to care for eight children.

The 1871 census shows the family living in the South Ward of Guelph. Felix Sr. continued to work as a teamster and young Felix was working as a painter. The youngest three girls were attending school.
In 1879, young Felix married Mary McCurdy who was born in 1859. She was the daughter of Daniel McCurdy, a farmer from Nassagaweya Township, and Catherine Doyle. Nassagaweya was originally part of Halton County. When the Regional Municipality of Halton was created in 1974, the township became part of the Town of Milton. Both of Mary’s parents were born in Ireland where they married before emigrating to Canada. It is interesting that the occupation for Felix on his marriage registration was that of farmer.

The 1881 census shows Felix and Mary were living with the McCurdys, and Felix was farming with his father-in-law. Felix and Mary had their first child, Daniel, in 1881. Three years later, both of Mary’s parents died. Felix and Mary took over the farm as the 1891 census shows. The couple had added another son, Felix, and a daughter, Catherine, to their growing family by the time the census was taken. In August of 1893, their second daughter, Margaret Mary, was born.

By 1895, Felix had moved his family to Stratford where he had gone into the brewing business with Thomas Steele on the corner of St. Patrick and Birmingham Streets. The family was renting the house on Birmingham Street. Felix Devlin was the third occupant but first owner of 75 Birmingham which he purchased in 1899. Sadly, his wife, Mary, died shortly after the house was purchased.

Felix rose from being a brewer to the proprietor of the brewery. The brewery’s name changed several times before becoming Perth Brewery. Felix’s sons both worked at the brewery as the manager, Daniel, and brewer, Felix Jr. In 1916 the brewery closed due to Prohibition.

Prohibition in Canada was the ban on alcoholic beverages that arose in various stages, from local municipal bans in the late 19th century, to provincial bans in the early 20th century, and national prohibition from 1918 to 1920. Ontario's temperance act was in effect from 1916 to 1927.

Felix retired in 1916. Daniel took over as proprietor of the brewery when prohibition was over and Felix Jr. joined the Provincial Police in St. Thomas. Margaret married Alvin Whaling who worked at the brewery when it reopened. Catherine married Christopher McKeough, trainmaster for the Grand Trunk Railway, which later became the Canadian National Railway.

Felix moved in with Catherine and Christopher at 11 Birmingham, where he lived until he died in 1925. He was buried in Avondale Cemetery next to his wife, Mary.