Historical Plaque Properties


John A. Saunders - Blacksmith
88 Water Street
Stratford, ON

John Arthur Saunders was born on June 12, 1866.  He was the son of David Saunders who was born in Scotland (1829) and Jessie Garvie, daughter of Joseph and Janet Garvie, who was also born in Scotland (1834). John was the 5th of seven Saunders children. It was noted that the family were members of the Scottish Presbyterian Church, and they farmed in the Sarawak district of Grey County.


Edith Mary Hushard was born April 19th, 1867, in Owen Sound, Ontario. Her parents James Hushard and Abigail nee Chalmers also lived in Grey County. 


On July 21, 1887, John and Edith were married. John was 21 and Edith was 19.


In the latter half of the 19th century, Sarawak Township was not unlike the rest of the peninsula where transportation was by either horse or oxen-drawn sleighs over the open fields and roadways making a blacksmith an important member of the community. John worked as a blacksmith for his entire life.

By 1889, John A. Saunders became the blacksmith in Carluke (Ancaster Township). working on the stage that ran every day to Hamilton. Due to changes in means of transportation, workers like blacksmiths had to travel to places where work was available.  In 1901 John and Edith were living in the village of Streetsville and in 1904 moved into Peel County.


Blacksmiths were particularly important in the new towns that sprang up in the West along the railway lines. With the growing railway in southwestern Ontario, John and Edith moved to Stratford. In 1906, they became the owners of 88 Water Street. The year previously they had their one and only child, Jessie, who later became an accountant.


By 1911, John and Edith had left Stratford and moved to Orillia where John worked for 72 hours a week at a place called Wheel Works.


By 1931, the three of them had moved to the town of Weston, Ontario where John passed on January 31, 1942, of cancer.