Historical Plaque Properties

 

Peter Megan - Builder & Carpenter
123 Brunswick Street
1885

Peter Megan was born in 1839 in Rivière Beaudette, Quebec, a small community on the St. Lawrence River near the Ontario border. He was the son of Patrick, a farmer, and Brigit Megan both of whom were born in Ireland.
By 1870, Peter and his older brother, James, had moved to Stratford and set up a grocery business on Market Street. Market Street is now the section of Downie Street between Ontario and Wellington Streets. They were listed in Lovell’s Business and the county directories for a number of years.
In 1869, Peter had married Mary Jane Graydon, the daughter of Richard Graydon and Nora Davy of Toronto. Mary Jane shared a similar background to Peter as her parents had also been born in Ireland. Their first child, Mary Mabel, was born in October 1871 and baptized in St. Joseph’s Church. The family lived on Cambria near Shrewsbury. In 1873, a second daughter, Jane (Jennie), was born.
When James Megan left Stratford, Peter left the grocery business and began a career as a carpenter. The 1881 city directory lists Peter as a “contractor & builder”. In 1885, Peter bought the property at 123 Brunswick from John King of Downie and built the house that stands there today. According to the city directory of 1888, Peter’s business was located on the corner of Albert and Nile Street.
Their family grew and by the time the 1891 census was taken their two daughters, Mabel and Jennie were 19 and 16 respectively, as well as three sons, Charles, 14, Francis Peter, 12 and Gerald, 6.


Jennie was a modern young woman who by the time she was 23, in 1896, had a career as a stenographer employed by R. T. Harding, a local barrister. In the same year, Charles was working as a reporter for the newspaper, The Beacon, and Frank (Francis) was a clerk for N. A. Bosworth, a druggist.


In 1899, Peter Megan sold 123 Brunswick Street to A. G. Lloyd, a grocery merchant at 45 Wellington Street.


At about this time the family seems to have broken up. Peter was recorded in the 1900 Michigan census and later the 1910 census along with his children Charles and Mabel. Jennie was working in Goderich as a stenographer, according to the 1901 census, while Mary Jane was living in Stratford on Church Street with Francis and Gerald.


In 1904, Mabel, who had become a school teacher, returned to Stratford to marry Herman Kempe. Francis married Mary Leonard in 1914 and moved to Toronto. Gerald left for Montreal to study at McGill University. He joined the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Forces in 1915 and was killed in action in France in 1918. There is a memorial erected in his memory in Avondale Cemetery.


Jennie returned to Stratford where she was employed as the police court clerk. She lived with her mother at 136 Church Street. Mary Jane Megan died in 1919; Jennie in 1960. They are buried beside the monument they erected for Gerald after his death in France in WWI.


Peter Megan never returned to Stratford to live. No record of his death was found but he was last recorded in the 1920 Michigan census at 82 years of age.