Historical Plaque Properties


Makins House - Annie Nurse; Pearl Teacher; Lucy Homemaker
100 Water Street
Stratford, ON

Annie, Pearl and Lucy Makins were born in the Township of North Easthope, the daughters of William Makins and Eleanor (Ellen) Douglass. Their father, William Makins was born September 16, 1835 in County Armagh, Northern Ireland the son of John Makins and Mary Ann Greer. The family emigrated to Canada in 1844 and took up farming in the township.

About 1866, William married Mary Ann Cardwell the daughter of Alexander Cardwell and Mary Ann Douglas. The Cardwell family had emigrated from Ireland to New York, where Mary Ann was born on March 3, 1842, and then to Canada about 1845 where they settled on a farm in Downie Township. William and Mary Ann had at least five children, one of which, a daughter, died at two months and a son, James Cardwell Makin, who practiced law in Stratford and was appointed a Justice of Ontario’s High Court in 1934 (now known as the Superior Court of Justice). Mary Ann died at the age of thirty-six on September 20, 1878.

Left with four surviving children, William continued to work the farm, while his widowed mother and a servant helped with the house and growing family. On July 9, 1885, William married Ellen Douglass the daughter of Thomas Douglass and Eleanor Cardwell who had also emigrated from Northern Ireland. Ellen was born in Downie Township on October 1, 1853. It is evident that the Douglass and Cardwell families intermarried and that William’s first and second wives may have been related. William and Ellen had five daughters including Ethel who died in infancy in 1891 and Mary who wed James Rutherford in 1907.

William and Ellen retired from farming and moved to Stratford about 1906 and took up residence at 104 Water Street. Ellen died on November 8, 1919. Before his death on July 21, 1921, it appears that William began the process to sever the property for the purpose of having a house constructed at 100 Water Street for his three unmarried daughters who lived there for most of their lives.

Annie Ellen Makins was born April 19, 1886. She practiced nursing for over fifty years. Her obituary noted that she was a charter member of the Registered Nursing Association of Ontario and a life member of the Woodstock General Hospital Alumnae and member of St. James Anglican Church. She died on October 4, 1975.

Edith Pearl Makins was born July 2, 1893. She graduated from Stratford Normal School in 1917 and for the next forty years taught at a variety of country schools and then at the New Hamburg High School and finally at the Waterloo-Oxford Secondary School until her retirement in 1957. She died on April 3, 1986 at the age of ninety-two and was the last surviving member of her immediate family.

Lucy May Makins was born on February 28, 1896. She appears to have remained at home looking after the house while her sisters pursued their careers. Her obituary noted that she played an active part in the community for many years. She died on January 11, 1986.

Most members of the Makins family, discussed, are buried in Avondale Cemetery.