Historical Plaque Properties

 

Louis Soehner - Trimmer/G.McLagan Furniture Co.
187 Cobourg Street
1905

Louis Jacob Soehner was born on January 30, 1871 in the village of Floradale in Woolwich Township, Wellesley County. He was the son of Heinrich (Henry) Soehner and Elizabeth Wolfhard.


Henry Soehner was born in Baden, Germany. At the age of twenty-two he boarded the ship Helvetia in the port of Le Havre, France bound for America. He arrived in New York City in April 1854.  From there he made his way to Floradale where he began farming. In October 1855, he married twenty-five year old Elizabeth Wolfhard, who had also emigrated, with her family, from Germany a few months after Henry. Originally they were bound for Buffalo, New York. However, plans seemed to have changed, and they carried on to Floradale where she met and married Henry. The couple had seven children, including Louis who was their fifth child. In addition to farming, Henry also earned his living as a wagon maker.


According to the 1891 census, twenty year old Louis was employed as a servant although he still lived at home. By 1895 he worked at a saw mill in Floradale.


On May 15, 1895 Louis married twenty-two year old Margaret (Maggie) Gilliland the daughter of George Gilliland and Elizabeth Bell. She was born in Port Hope, Ontario. Louis and Maggie had two sons: Howard (b. 1898) and Walden (b. 1908).


About 1900, Louis and Maggie moved to Stratford where Louis went to work for the G. McLagan Furniture Company as a furniture trimmer. George McLagan, a skilled cabinet maker and designer arrived in Stratford in 1886 and established his furniture manufacturing business, which lasted until 1952. McLagan’s company was the catalyst for establishing Stratford as a prime furniture manufacturing centre in North America and beyond until the mid-twentieth century. At his death in 1918, the Toronto Star noted that McLagan “contributed more to the furniture industry than any other man in Canada.” Louis worked for McLagan’s for thirty seven years. During that time he perfected his skills as furniture maker and rose in the ranks from furniture trimmer to furniture finisher and ultimately to foreman of one of the shops.


Louis was also active in the affairs of Knox Presbyterian Church where he was an officer for sixteen years and was also a member of the Avon Chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Maggie died in May 1957 and Louis passed away on August 21, 1962. They are buried at Avondale Cemetery along with their son Walden who died in 1947.