Historical Plaque Properties


Joseph Sharman - Manufacturer - Stratford Foundry and Agricultural Works
220 Hibernia Street
Stratford, ON

Joseph Sharman was the oldest of seven or eight children (five who survived) born to John Sharman (1806-1883) and Isabella Gibb (1817-1902). Joseph may have been the first settler child born in Stratford. John Sharman was a blacksmith from Bedfordshire, England, who arrived in Stratford in 1834 with his first wife, Lydia Brown, who died shortly after arriving. The Canada Company surveyors had just completed the town plan when they arrived, and John purchased the first lot that the Company sold. He established the first blacksmith shop on the lot which was across from what is now St. Joseph’s Church.


In 1839 John married Isabella Gibb, the daughter of immigrants from Northumberland, England who were farming in Downie Township. John’s blacksmith business prospered, and he was soon able to purchase additional land to farm, as well as being appointed a Crown Lands Agent for the sale of properties in the northern townships of the county. The Sharman blacksmith business led to the establishment of The Stratford Foundry (later the Stratford Foundry and Agricultural Works), the settlement’s first, located on Birmingham Street at St. Patrick Street, which manufactured farming equipment.


On August 5, 1864 Joseph married Isabella Logan, the daughter of Scottish immigrants James Logan (1814-1893), a book agent, and Alexina Urquhart (1816-1896). Isabella was born in London Township, Ontario in April 1843.

By 1871 Joseph had taken over the family foundry as proprietor, working with his brothers James and John Jr. He became a Deputy Crown Lands Agent and served on both the Perth County and Stratford councils.

Joseph continued to operate the foundry but became increasingly interested in farming, cattle breeding in particular. One of his sons was sent to England to select Hereford stock. Soon “Joseph Sharman and Son” was one of the main Hereford breeders in Canada. Their farm was located on the old Stratford Agricultural grounds off Britannia Street.


In 1885 Joseph, Isabella, their eleven children, and a herd of pure-bred Hereford cattle moved to Manitoba, establishing a successful farming operation.  Joseph’s brothers Robert and John Jr., also moved to Manitoba (near Brandon), where they farmed. His youngest brother, William, worked as a cattle broker in Selkirk, Manitoba, and later worked for Union Trust in Winnipeg. Joseph’s brother James was the only family member to remain in Stratford, where he was involved with the family business, also serving as a councillor, city assessor, and school board trustee.


The house at 220 Britannia was built in the summer of 1875. The lot was first owned by Robert Sharman, Joseph’s brother, in 1871, then John Sharman in 1873, and finally Joseph Sharman in 1874. Joseph was listed in the tax assessment records as a manufacturer from 1875 to at least 1880, and then as a farmer. The house continued to be owned by Joseph Sharman until 1894. From 1887 to 1894 it was rented to a farmer, then a clergyman, and finally a travelling salesman.


Joseph and Isabella had eleven children, most of whom were ambitious, successful adults who were definitely not afraid of moving to new provinces, cities, or countries.

Henry Burton (1865-1953) was a doctor of philosophy and New Testament scholar, who by 1930 had moved permanently to Pennsylvania to teach at a college, eventually retiring to California, where he died. His wife, Abbie Lyon, was a writer and biographer.
George Christopherson (1867-1943) became a railway conductor in Missouri and Iowa, living his final days in California.
John Howard (1869-1899) became a dentist. He died in a boating accident in 1899 In Manitoba.
Isabella Josephine Maude (1871-1949) was a school teacher when young, eventually marrying A. R. Tingley, a police magistrate and barrister in Regina.
Frederick Joseph (1875-1911) became a dentist, living in Chicago.
Charles Rose (1876-1949) served in WW I, eventually moving to Calgary where he was a clerk.
Edward Dufferin (1878-?) became a homesteader in Saskatchewan. Later in life he worked as a car repairer in Winnipeg.
Sara “Sally” Wilson (1879-1949) lived in Regina, married to an editor who later became a commissioner with the Red Cross.
Annis Alexina (1881-1980) married a journalist and ended up in Regina.
Jessie Eleanor (1883-1967) married a physician, living first in Manitoba and then in Regina.
William James (1884-1970) received his medical degree and eventually opened a bacteriology laboratory in Winnipeg specializing in venereal disease.

Joseph died on October 20, 1922 in Russell, Manitoba. Isabella died on February 11, 1924 in Regina. Both were buried in Birtle, Manitoba. They had approximately eleven grandchildren.