Historical Plaque Properties


William Hoodless - Retired Farmer
180 Cambria Street
Stratford, ON


William Hoodless was born on February 5, 1815 in Caldbeck, Cumberland, England. He was the son of John Hoodless and Sarah Clarkson, their third child and first son in a family of eight children. John and Sarah were married in 1809 in Cumberland. Sarah died in 1841 and some time after that John and all of his children except his oldest daughter Jane emigrated from England to Canada. This included his daughter Sarah and her husband George Skelton.


The Hoodless family settled in East Zorra and by 1847 Sarah and George Skelton had bought a farm near Woodstock and John Hoodless Jr. and the rest of the family settled on a farm closer to Hickson. In the 1861 East Zorra census, 46 year old William was noted as a labourer on his brother’s farm.


Shortly after the census was taken, on June 27, 1861, William married 37 year old Rachael Youngs in Ingersoll. She was the daughter of Gabriel Youngs and Amelia Fields, of West Zorra. Rachael’s family had settled in the area shortly after the American Revolution.


William purchased a farm in West Zorra. He is listed in the Oxford & Norfolk County Directory of 1867 as living on Concession 5, Lot 30. The 1871 West Zorra census show the couple living on their farm along with one servant and two labourers. Here he and Rachael lived there and farmed until 1875 when they built the house at 180 Cambria Street.


Unfortunately, William died a few years after they moved to Stratford, on January 27, 1877. Rachael continued to live in the house until her death. She had family connections in Stratford: her brother Lanty’s son, Benjamin, and grandson, John Lant Youngs, lived near her. John bought a large section of property near Rachael on the corner of Cambria and Birmingham Streets. 


John established his own construction company and throughout his career was responsible for building many of the iconic buildings in Stratford such as the City Hall and in 1904 his grand Edwardian house at 240 Birmingham. John Lant Youngs became mayor of Stratford in 1919.


Rachael Hoodless died in 1904 and was buried in the tiny cemetery at Trinity Anglican Church on County Road 59 near Hickson beside her husband, William, and her father-in-law, John Hoodless.