Historical Plaque Properties

 

Rev. Hugh Ferguson - Inspector - Children's Aid Society
7 Daly Avenue
1916

Since its construction over a century ago in 1916, the lovely brick house at 7 Daly Avenue has been owned by members of only two families, the Fergusons and the Thomases, making it one of Stratford’s true family homes.

The house was built by William Orns, a lineman with Stratford City Hydro, who lived next door at 11 Daly Avenue. At the height of the First World War, on November 11, 1916, he sold the new house to its first occupants, the Reverend Hugh Ferguson and his wife Lizzie, for $3,250.

Hugh Ferguson was born on July 7, 1872 in North Sherbrooke Township, Lanark County near Elphin, Ontario, the eldest son of farmers, David and Mary Ferguson. He clearly took his studies and his religious calling seriously and in the late 1890s he enrolled in the prestigious Presbyterian College in Montreal. In this period, as part of his preparation to become a minister, Hugh worked as an assistant minister in Vankleek Hill, near Ottawa.

On June 22, 1899, Hugh married  Lizzie Gladys Davis in Woodstock. Lizzie was born on April 1, 1879 in Peel County, Ontario to Henry Davis, a labourer, and his wife, Janet. How Hugh, who had spent his time in Eastern Ontario and Montreal, came to meet a young woman from Oxford County is lost to history.

After Hugh’s graduation from Presbyterian College in 1900, he and Lizzie attended to various ministries throughout Ontario first in Carleton County and later in Westport, near Kingston, and Queensville, just north of Toronto. By 1911, Hugh had left the ministry and become an inspector for the Children’s Aid Society of Perth County. We do not know if this relocation and career change was to bring Lizzie closer to her family, to enable Hugh to more directly help others in need or to bring more stability to their growing family. Before moving to 7 Daly Avenue, they lived at 127 Centre Street in Stratford, where their family now included four children (Dorthea Janet, Hugh Clifton, James Alex and Kenneth Gordon). Their fifth child, Ruth, was born in Stratford in 1918.

Hugh was a well-respected member of the community, eventually rising to the position of Superintendent of the Children's Aid Society in the 1940s. There are many stories of Rev. Ferguson fostering children in crisis in his own home, while they waited for adoption. Rev. Hugh Ferguson died June 24, 1947, at age 74.

Lizzie lived in the house for many years after Hugh's death. She died at age 81 in 1960, passing 7 Daly Avenue on to her widowed daughter, Dorthea Easun, who was a well-loved music teacher. Dorthea turned part of the family home into a recital hall and she continued to live in the house and give music lessons there until she sold it to its present owners in 1994.

Hugh and Lizzie Ferguson and Dorthea Easun are all buried in Avondale Cemetery.