Historical Plaque Properties


William R Marshall - Merchant
9 Caledonia Street
Stratford, ON


William Marshall was born in Suffolk, England. He emigrated to Canada with his parents and siblings in 1850 at the age of 22.

William Marshall first moved to Woodstock where he was engaged in the dry goods trade with a Mr. Elwood.


He soon moved to Stratford and entered the dry goods business here. His father, John, was a grain dealer in Stratford at the time. William Marshall married Charlotte Ann Barnett before 1858.
The 1861 Stratford Census shows they had three children and by 1871, William and Charlotte had added three more children to the family the last of their seven children, was born in 1874.

By 1871 William was in business as a "Produce Commission Merchant." In this business he employed German and Gaelic speakers to communicate with the local farmers in their own language. He bought produce, mainly apples, butter and poultry, from these farmers and enabled by the burgeoning rail network, exported these goods to the United States and England.
The 1878 city directory indicates that he also sold cheese making materials in his store in the market located in the original Town Hall. His home at the time was on St. George Street (now Mornington Street) at the corner of Caledonia.

When the town hall was destroyed by fire in 1898, Marshall was one of the first merchants to build on Market Place. Today, part of his original building houses revel caffe.

In 1904, Thomas Birch built the Edwardian home around the corner on Caledonia for the Marshall family. Marshall's wife died four years later and he lived quietly with his daughter, Agnes, until romanced blossomed and 56 year old Agnes married 29 year old H J Cotty an insurance broker from England.

William R Marshall lived with his daughter and son-in-law until his death in 1924. When William R Marshall died, the headlines on page one of the Beacon Herald, Wednesday, August 13, 1924, read "W.R. Marshall, Oldest Resident of Classic City, Passes, Aged 96."