Historical Plaque Properties


Charles Venn - Fowl Dealer & Egg Merchant
Perth Line 34
St. Marys, ON


Charles Venn was born in Hannover, Germany in 1815. He emigrated to Canada around 1861. Two years later on May 28, 1863, forty-seven year old Charles married nineteen-year-old Marie Elizabeth “Eliza” Bartja. Eliza was the daughter of William Henry and Christina Bartja. The Bartja family had emigrated from Hannover, Germany in 1862. The couple would eventually become the parents of eight children.


According to the book Memories of Downie, Charles Venn bought a half acre of land from Catherine Kastner which she had severed from her property, Lot 13 Concession 1, Downie Township. Charles Venn built a house on the property and the next August his second son, Alfred Herman, was born there.


Although the 1871 census listed his occupation as a labourer, on the registration for Alfred Herman he appears as a fowl keeper. Two years later, in March 1872, on the birth registration of his first daughter, Louisa Caroline, his occupation is noted as “Egg Merchant.” 


In 1876 Charles Venn sold the house and moved his family to Grey Township, Huron County. Here another son and daughter were born. Charles continued to earn a living as an egg merchant. Like others at the time Charles wanted more land and moved his family to Algoma where he took up farming.


By the time the 1881 census was taken in Garden City, Algoma, Charles, who was sixty-five at the time, was noted as a farmer. Eliza and their children who ranged in age from 12 to 2 made up the family. When the 1891 census was taken Charles was still farming in Laird Township, Algoma and another two children had been added to the family. Charles and Eliza had five sons; Robert, Alfred, Alexander, William and Walter and three daughters; Caroline, Emma and Louisa.  The older boys were helping on the farm at the time.


Walter married in 1895 and moved to Illinois where he died in 1899. Louisa also predeceased her parents and died in 1902 of tuberculosis.


Charles Venn died in 1905 at the age of 89. Alexander married in and continued to farm in Laird for another dozen years. He and his family later moved to Weyburn, Saskatchewan and then to British Columbia.


The rest of the family moved to the United States. Eliza died in Washington State in 1908 where she was living with her daughter Caroline and her son-in-law who was in the US Army.