Historical Plaque Properties


Margaret Dow - Pioneer Farmer
61 Caledonia Street
Stratford, ON

Margaret Dow nee Stewart was born in Perthshire, Scotland about 1787. She married Alexander Dow sometime before 1822 as their daughter, Margaret, was born in 1824. It is not known if there were other children older than Margaret.


No records exist to show that Alexander Dow ever came to Canada. On the headstone for Margaret in Hampstead Cemetery, she is named as the widow of Alexander Dow; however, he is not buried there.


According to the land records in the book The Hills of Home: North Easthope Township 1827- 1997, Margaret Dow leased Lot 24 Concession 12 in 1845. If this is the correct date, she leased the property the year before she emigrated from Scotland.


In 1846, Margaret, at age 59, her daughters, Margaret (Peggy) age 22, Catherine age 20, Christina age 15, and her son James age 8, arrived in their new home. Perhaps she was joining Stewart relations as there were a number of Stewart families near to her property or perhaps she set off on her own looking for a better life for her children.


The 1851 census shows the family living on the farm in North Easthope in a one storey log home. By 1855, Margaret Dow is recorded as having the deed to her property. Within 9 years she had gone from renter to owner.


By the time the 1861 census was taken, 23 year old James became the head of the household. The Agricultural Census for that year shows that of their 100 acres, 44 ½ were under cultivation and 55 ½ were woodlot or “wild”. The farm was valued at $3000 at the time. Two years later James married Catherine Stewart. They would become the parents of six children.


Margaret later sold the farm to Peter Doerr and in 1878 she and two of her three daughters, Margaret and Christina, moved to Stratford to 61 Caledonia Street. Catherine had died a year earlier at the age of 51.


James and his family also moved to Stratford where he worked as a farm implement dealer. At first they lived at 76 Mornington but later moved to Mornington Street at the corner of Duke Street. Part of People Care stands on that location today.


Margaret died in 1884 at the age of 97. Her daughters continued to live in the house until 1911. Margaret Jr. kept house but Christina went to work first as a trimmer at Gordon & Orr and later as a mantle maker. Margaret died in 1909 at the age of 85 and Christina two years later at 80. Margaret Stewart Dow and her daughters are buried in Hampstead Cemetery, North Easthope.