Historical Plaque Properties


Samuel James McKelvey - Carpenter
369 West Gore Street
Stratford, ON


Samuel James McKelvey was born in Dorset, England on August 1, 1838. He was the fifth child born to Samuel McKelvey and Ann Symes. Samuel Sr. was a cabinet maker and his son followed in his footsteps, becoming a carpenter.


Samuel James McKelvey married Ellen Mary Way in Dorset on September 17, 1865. During the three years after their marriage, they welcomed two sons, James George, and John Samuel, and daughter, Ellen, into their household.


On May 27, 1869, the family boarded the Nestorian in Liverpool, arriving in Quebec City on June 7th.
They settled in Mitchell, Ontario where Samuel worked as a carpenter.

Samuel’s brother, John, followed him to Mitchell in 1870 and married Annie Newman.  John and Annie relocated to Manitoba after 1881 where they farmed. Samuel’s sister, Sarah, and her husband, James Smitheringale, emigrated in 1874 and raised their family in Mitchell.

Four more children were born to Samuel and Ellen after their arrival in Mitchell, Irving Albert (1869), George Henry (1871), Catherine Ann (1873), and Anne Emma (1875).  In 1877 tragedy struck their family as scarlet fever spread through their household, taking the lives of their three youngest children.  Eight-year-old Irving was gravely ill but recovered.


The following year Minnie Emma was born, and Samuel purchased two lots on Galt Street (later renamed West Gore) in Stratford. He built a house on one of the lots for his family of seven.
After moving to Stratford four more daughters were welcomed into the family. Annie (1879), Fanny (1881), Jean (1883), and Lillian (1887).


Four of their nine surviving children, James, John, Ellen, and Minnie, made their way to Manitoba to farm. Annie and Fanny worked for a while In Calgary but are buried in Manitoba. Irving was ordained in the Methodist Church and served a number of pastorates in the London Conference. He was residing in Victoria, BC at the time of his death in 1943.


Jean married Albert Myers in 1911 and lived in Stratford at 266 Huron Street until her death in 1916 at age 32. Lillian married Wilbur Collins in 1914

Samuel purchased two of the adjacent lots in 1899, increasing the size of the property to 4/5 of an acre.
In 1900 at age 62 Samuel gave up carpentry and took employment as the custodian of Hamlet School, just a block from his home. He worked there for 15 years, until the year before his death in 1916.

After his death, his youngest daughter, Lillian and her husband, Wilbur Collins, took over ownership of 369 West Gore and lived there with Lillian’s mother, Ellen.  In 1920 Ellen died. This was also the year that Lillian and Wilbur became parents to a daughter, Jean.

Wilbur worked as a shipper for the GTR. In 1929 Wilbur and Lillian sold 369 West Gore and moved to 205 Hibernia Street.


Samuel James McKelvey died October 26, 1916. He is buried in Avondale Cemetery with his wife, Ellen Mary Way, who died on September 4, 1920.