Vincent Street was renamed St. Vincent Street in 1879:

That the street heretofore known as Vincent Street shall hereafter be called and known as Saint Vincent Street

City of Stratford -Flashback Friday

Admiral Nelson's boss

St. Vincent Street is one of the original Canada Company streets laid out by the deputy provincial surveyor, John McDonald. It is one of Stratford's longer streets, and now runs from Lorne Avenue in the south to Caledonia Street in the north.

It appeared on the 1834 map unnamed. Shortly thereafter, Canada Company officials chose the name St. Vincent in honor of Admiral Sir John Jervis, who became Earl of St. Vincent for his victory at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent in 1797.

Jervis went to sea as a 10-year-old boy. Another famous admiral who went to sea as a boy, age 12, was Horatio Nelson. Though Nelson was 24 years younger than Jervis, the two were destined to sail together later in their naval careers, and they became good friends.

John Jervis was born at Meaford Hall, Stone, Staffordshire, England, on Jan. 9, 1735. He was accepted into the British Navy in 1749, at age 14. He became a lieutenant in 1755 and served with Gen. James Wolfe at Quebec in 1759, the year after Nelson's birth. Jervis so distinguished himself in the Quebec Expedition, that he was made a commander. He became a vice-admiral in 1793. Almost four decades after Quebec, in 1795, Admiral Sir John Jervis was appointed the British commander in chief of the Mediterranean fleet.

He asked Nelson to serve as one of his captains. Nelson's distinguished reputation was now recognized, and he was delighted to be serving under Jervis, a highly skilled commander for whom he had great admiration. Admiral Jervis had a similar respect for Nelson. He ordered Nelson to fly the broad pendant of a commodore, which meant Nelson held senior officer rank, with the status, though not the actual post, of junior admiral.

Admiral John Jervis

Victory at Cape St. Vincent by D.Orme

Nelson transferred to the Captain, a ship with 74 guns. After many years, he had finally found in Jervis a leader of his own heart. He was dispatched by Jervis to Elba on a hazardous mission to bring off the small garrison and naval stores. After a narrow escape from a squadron of Spanish ships, he fulfilled his task and set out to rejoin the flag of Jervis for the great Battle of Cape St. Vincent.

Cape St. Vincent is the extreme southwest point of continental Portugal and Europe, where the Sierra de Monchique (continuing the Sierra Morena broad mountain ridge) runs out into the Atlantic in step-like precipices. Cape St. Vincent (Portuguese spelling Cabo de Sao Vicente), is in Algarve Province of southwestern Portugal and forms the Ponta (point) de Sagres, a promontory on the Atlantic Ocean. Known to the Greeks and Romans as the site of a shrine, it was called the sacred promontory. The name St. Vincent is believed to have originated with St. Vincent of Saragossa, deacon and proto martyr of Spain, who died in the year 304. St. Vincent was known throughout the Roman Empire.

The most famous Battle of Cape St. Vincent was fought on Valentine’s Day, 1797, between the British and Spanish fleets. The second major battle of the French revolutionary war was fought 15 miles off the cape. The British fleet, with 15 ships under Admiral Sir John Jervis defeated the Spanish fleet of 27 ships under Don Jose de Cordoba. As a result of his triumphant victory, Admiral Jervis became the Earl of St. Vincent. Jervis outlived Nelson by 18 years. In 1821 he was made admiral of the fleet, the first officer to hold that rank. He died at age 90 in 1823. By Stanford Dingman

Tom Brown

Tom Brown scandal

John Brown, a two-term mayor of Stratford, was Tom Brown's father (see Brown Street). Tom lived at 144 St. Vincent St. In the civic footsteps of his father, Tom Jr. was both a Stratford alderman and multiple-term mayor. He was on the council in 1919, and in the mayor's chair from 1923 through 1925. He then went back on the council from 1926 into 1930. He didn't complete his 1930 term. Rather, he skipped town in a cloud of shame.

The Beacon-Herald rocked its readership with these front-page proclamations: “Theft of bonds charged against Ald. Tom Brown” and "the city alderman has been missing for the past two weeks.

The paper said the charge against Brown stemmed from the theft of $3,000 in first-mortgage loan bonds from one of his clients. As well, another client discovered $6,500 in bearer bonds missing from her safety deposit box. City residents hurried to check their safety boxes. The list of Brown’s clients grew, showing a loss in the amount of $80,000 (about (1.2 million in 2019 dollars) in missing bonds and securities. To make maters worse, Brown had left town owing creditors close to $40,000.

A $2,000 award was posted by the Ontario government and the City of Stratford for information leading to the arrest of Tom Brown.

Between the time Brown disappeared and when he was said to have died in Mexico, there were reported sightings in various places, among them Montreal, Honolulu and Toronto. The Beacon said he had arrived in Mexico from Buffalo, using the name John Thomas Boyd. The American consul was involved with his death in Mexico because he had claimed to be a U. S. citizen. The American vice-consul was with Brown when he died in 1930. Apparently, he died of heart failure as a result of an infection and acute alcoholism. Source: Text and image Dean Robinson's book, Not the Last Waltz and other Stratford stories.

* More details of this story, including a list of investors who lost money, can be found in Dean Robinson's book Not the Last Waltz and other Stratford stories.

114 St. Vincent St.

The Mayberry house, built in 1902 at 126 St. Vincent St. N.

Charles Mayberry, historical property

Cam Mayberry was principal of the Stratford Collegiate Institute for 37 years, until his retirement.

In 1902, the Mayberry family moved from their residence on Douglas Street to a new house at 126 St. Vincent St. N.

It was built on property that Charles had bought in 1894. The Mayberrys were still living there when he died in 1938 at age 81.

Cam Mayberry became a highly respected member of the community as well as a prominent leader in both the city's and Ontario's educational systems. Source: Historical Plaque Properties

* Mayberry Place was named for him (see Mayberry Place).