Historical Plaque Properties


Simeon Pilling - Boilermaker/GTR
116 Dufferin Street
Stratford, ON

Simeon Pilling was born in Lancaster, England on January 17, 1843. He was the third of five children born to Samuel Pilling and Jane Elizabeth Pickles.

At age nine, Simeon emigrated to Canada with his parents who farmed and raised their family on Lot 9 Concession 3 in Brantford Township.

On December 24, 1869, Simeon married Mary Riley in Brantford. Mary was born in Lancaster, England on June 20, 1849, and emigrated to Canada with her family as a child.

Simeon describes himself on the 1871 census as a blacksmith. When daughter, Ruth, was born in 1874 the family was living in Waterloo.  He moved to Stratford in 1875 to work as a boilermaker for the GTR.
According to Stratford City directories, Simeon and his family were living on Dufferin Street near Cherry Street in 1881, likely in rented accommodation.

Simeon and Mary had six children. Elisabeth Jane (1870) and Viola Francelia (1872) were born in Branford. Ruth was born in Waterloo, Ontario in 1874 and died sometime before her seventh birthday.
The youngest three children, Harry (1875), William James (1879) and Lena (1883) were born in Stratford.
In 1890 Simeon purchased lot 17 & 18 from Patrick Dyer and built a home on lot 17 on the west side of Dufferin, north of Elm. They lived there with their five children. When numbers were assigned to houses, this became 116 Dufferin Street.

At the time of the 1901 census, Simeon and Mary were living at 116 Dufferin Street with their youngest daughter, Lena, and granddaughter, Lizzie Ellis, who they raised after the death of their daughter, Viola in 1897.
Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth Jane, never married and died at age 33 of consumption.
Harry and his wife, Lillian Sturgeon, settled in North Bay where Harry worked as a machinist for the railway. They had two daughters. Harry died in 1923 at age 48.

William also relocated to the North Bay area where he married Lillian Ellis in 1924. The couple operated a grocery store at the corner of Judge Avenue and Lakeshore Drive in Ferris for many years before their retirement. They had one daughter. William died at age 87 in 1967.

Widowed after a 2-year marriage to Rueben Norfolk, Lena, married John Doherty and raised their three sons in Stratford.

Simon sold the house at 116 Dufferin Street to George Henry Ritz, a butcher, in the fall of 1904. He moved his family first to 25 Mowat Street and later to 125 St. David.  They were living on St. David when his wife, Mary, died on November 12, 1912.

The next year he married Annie Prest, who had been widowed twice. The couple lived in her home at 30 McKenzie Street until Simeon’s death on February 9, 1923.

Simeon is buried in Avondale Cemetery alongside his first wife, Mary, and daughter, Elizabeth.  His second wife, Annie, is buried in Avondale with her first husband, John Wells