Mary Smith, Historic St. Marys
In 1973 the Stratford Perth Archives created a travelling exhibit of approximately 70 photographs of St. Marys homes. The display boards were set up in the lobby of the Public Library and attracted great interest. Accompanying text panels explained the aim of the exhibit: “.…to show not only historic or classic structures but rather a sampling of all types of houses that help to create the unique atmosphere of older St. Marys.”
These photographs are now at the Museum where, 40 years later, they provide a record of how structures can change through time. For example, this photograph shows a two-storey frame house, 151 Jones Street West. Today it belongs to David and Brenda Crawford and looks very different.
In 1973, it had belonged to the Sandercock (or Sandercott) family for more than half a century. Samuel and Annie Sandercock purchased the property in 1919 for $700. When they moved into this house, the family had just been through a very difficult period. Two young sons had been killed during World War I.
Samuel, born in England in 1870, came to Canada when he was 18. He married Annie Jackson in 1895 and by 1902 was working at Maxwell’s. When World War I broke out, Samuel enlisted with the 110 Perth Battalion on March 20, 1916 although he was 45 years old and the father of seven children. He persuaded his two oldest sons to enlist as well. William, age 19, a machinist, enlisted April 10, 1916. Cecil, not quite 18, enlisted April 20, 1916.
All three Sandercock men were sent overseas. Samuel, because of his age, never saw active duty but William and Cecil were both posted to France where they served with the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles. William was killed Aug. 23, 1917. Cecil was killed almost exactly a year later, Aug. 28, 1918.
Their youngest brother, Wilbert (also known as Tiny), was not yet a teenager when his brothers were lost. He lived with his parents and, when they died, he stayed in the Jones Street house, living a bachelor’s life, not particularly interested in property maintenance. However, he was a genial, well-liked man, employed by the Town’s public works department in his later years. When he died in 1974, age 68, his work colleagues were pallbearers.
Today 151 Jones Street West is trim and well cared for. Its current owners are horticulturalists and have created beautiful gardens. The background information was uncovered as part of a property history report for the Crawfords, prepared at the St. Marys Museum. For more information about this service, call 519-284-3556.