Historical Plaque Properties


Henry Whitworth - Caretaker - St Marys Methodist Church
232 Elgin Street East
St. Marys, ON

The first person with an interest in living at 232 Elgin Street East, St. Marys was Henry Whitworth.   He purchased it from James Stanley on March 10, 1874 for $175.00.


Henry was born on July 28, 1833 in Carlton in Lindrick, Nottingham, England to parents
William (1799-1881) and Martha Johnson (1808-1849). He emigrated from Liverpool, England to New York, New York, USA on November 16, 1855 at the age of 22 years on the ship Southampton.  Henry first settled in Augusta Township, Grenville County. He married Rachel M. Pearson, whose father was Captain Pearson of Maitland, Leeds Country, Ontario. Together they had two daughters Sarah Martha, born in 1860 in Augusta, Grenville and Rachael born in 1863-64 in St. Marys according to the 1861 and 1871 Census.


On February 10, 1877, Henry turned the house and property over to his daughters and in 1879 he purchased another house across the street (lot 37) on Elgin Street East.  His wife, Rachel, died in 1885 and is buried in the St. Marys Cemetery. Henry married Elizabeth (Eliza) Stonehouse Slater on February 22, 1887. 

When he rented 232 Elgin Street, his first tenant was Moses White, a harness maker. In 1894, he rented to Richard Shepard and continued to rent to Richard until 1908 when he purchased the house from Henry.  After moving from Elgin Street, he purchased a home on Lot 2, Church Street North where he lived until his death on April 24, 1913. He is buried along side his first wife, Rachel.


Henry Whitworth was the caretaker at St. Marys Methodist Church from 1870 until he retired 40 years later, so he was very much part of the church’s history. He entered into his duties with a holy zeal, feeling that upon him rested responsibilities beyond those usually attached to that position.   When he moved to St. Marys, he had to face the world without money or education but with an inbred determination to make the best of life that characterized him until his last day.


In his obituary, it says” He was a man of strong opinions and as a temperance man he was most outspoken, an avowed and eternal enemy of strong drink and never so happy as when he was dealing sledge hammer blows upon the traffic”.  He was thrown from the rig he was driving upon the hard pavement and succumbed to his injuries the next day.  His daughter Sarah never married and became Methodist Deaconess, head of the office department of the Toronto Deaconess home and Rachael married Louis Blanchard and moved to Clover Bar, Alberta. His second wife, Eliza continued to live on Church Street until her death in 1918.