Historical Plaque Properties


Sidney G. Etherington - Machinist - GTR
135 Cobourg Street
Stratford, ON

This home was built in 1928 and occupied by Sidney George Etherington (1894 – 1982) and Lillian Jane McEwin (1901 – 1981) their entire married life.  At the time of their marriage on November 12, 1927, George was thirty-three and Lillian twenty-six years old. 


George was the son of Albert and Sarah Etherington.  The 1901 census shows George (then seven years old) living with his parents as well as several younger children.  He had three brothers and three sisters; all of the Stratford area.  He followed in his father’s footsteps and trained as a machinist for the Grand Trunk Railway.  A veteran of World War I, George resumed his career as a machinist at the Grand Trunk Shops which became part of the Canadian National Railway in January 1923. 


Lillian was born in St. Pauls, just outside Stratford, to parents William James and Catherine Wilson McEwin.  She had six brothers and one sister.  Lillian continued to work throughout her lifetime, employed by local firms, the Kroehler Furniture Company and Canadian Fabricated. According to the Voters List of 1963, Lillian worked as a ‘clerk’. 


The lot on which the house was built was originally part of a much larger lot (Lot 192) purchased by Richard Pengally in 1867.  He built the Ontario cottage (141 Cobourg Street) in 1868.  In 1877, the original lot was divided and the westernmost portion bought by Stewart McDonald who built the house (133 Cobourg Street) still standing closest to Nile Street.  In 1927 this lot was severed and the house that George and Lillian bought was built.

Military records for George indicate he lived at 117 Regent Street, Stratford (his parents’ home), was single, Presbyterian, and a machinist when he was drafted under the Military Service Act on June 14, 1918 in London Ontario.  He was slight at “5 feet 6 inches in height, chest 32 inches”, with a “fair complexion, grey eyes, and light brown hair”.

Voter registration for 1963 lists George as retired. Given his age at the time (sixty-nine years old) and the closing of the CNR Shops, his retirement may be connected to what was happening with the Shops. Lillian was still working.  George died at age eighty and was buried November 13, 1982 at Avondale Cemetery.  Lillian died at age eighty and was buried in Avondale by the Reverend F. G. Braby, an Anglican priest, a neighbour who lived across the street at 164 Cobourg.