Historical Plaque Properties


James Hamilton - Retired Farmer/Gentleman
19 Daly Avenue
Stratford, ON

James Hamilton was born about 1816 in Ireland. While information about his family is scarce, it is known that in 1845 James married twenty three year old Elizabeth Sarah Henry also born in Ireland.
In 1846, Elizabeth gave birth to their first child, John Robert Hamilton, in Markham Township, north of Toronto. The year and location of John’s birth suggests that James and Elizabeth had likely emigrated with their families in the early 1840s where they met and married in the Markham area, which had a fairly large Irish community.

In 1847 the couple with their baby made the arduous journey from Markham to Perth County and settled in Ellice Township. They lived in a one storey log house on Concession 7, Lot 22. They may have travelled with Elizabeth’s family. According to the 1851 Census, a Henry family lived not far from James and Elizabeth. The family included a fifty year old Sarah Henry who was a widow and may have been Elizabeth’s mother.

Over the years, James expanded his farming operation and land holdings either through ownership or lease. During their eight years in Ellice Township, Elizabeth gave birth to another five children, three daughters (Sarah Jane, Isabella Frances and Elizabeth Ann) and two sons (James Bredin and William Henry).

By 1855, James and Elizabeth moved the family to North Easthope Township, where James initially leased and then purchased land from James Trow who was a real estate and land developer as well as local politician who ultimately would represent Perth South as Member of Parliament between 1872-1891. To accommodate his ever growing family James built a two storey frame house on Concession 3, Lot 42. During the next ten years, Elizabeth gave birth to another four children, two boys (Ezekiel Braddin and Samuel Thomas) and two girls (Mary Ellen and Minnie) for a total of ten children. Between 1855 and 1868, as in Ellice, James expanded his farming operation by acquiring more land.

James and Elizabeth placed a premium on education. Unlike some of their neighbours, all of their children attended school. While in Ellice, James provided a portion of his land for the construction of a one room, log school house, which was the first school in the district. Two of their sons John and William became physicians and another son, Thomas, became a lawyer.

Following graduation from McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine in 1871, John Robert Hamilton established his practice in Stratford. The 1870s was a time of continuous development in the town and in 1873 a survey for what was then known as Daly Terrace was completed. John purchased a half-acre lot on the south side of Daly Terrace, which he either transferred or sold to his father. James was in the process of retiring from farming and appears to have sold off parts of his farm and transferred a part to his son James before settling the family in Stratford.

Initially, James sub-divided the property into two parts and built what is now 25 and 29 Daly Avenue as rental properties. He subsequently further subdivided the east part and in 1875 built what is now 19 Daly Avenue for his family. John Hamilton lived briefly with his parents before marrying Sarah Lenore Orr in 1877 and by 1881 lived down the street at what is now 3 Daly Avenue. Sarah died in 1885.

James lived in the house at 19 Daly Avenue until his death on November 2, 1887. Elizabeth continued to live in the house until 1890. They are buried in Avondale Cemetery along with other members of the family including his son John and daughter-in-law Sarah.